By: Nation Hahn, Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation Board President
The Fresh Food Innovation Challenge, aimed at increasing access to fresh food for the most vulnerable in our community, has now ended our first phase with the announcement of the Community Nutrition Partnership as the recipient of the $25,000 grant. Community Nutrition Partnership was selected by a panel of expert judges after a morning long Pitch Day event held in downtown Raleigh.
Community Nutrition Partnership, a collaboration between Papa Spuds and North Carolina State Catholic Campus Ministry, plans to work with volunteer couriers and volunteer food preparers to offer an increased supply of low cost produce to Clark’s Promise and Oak City Outreach Center. In addition to increasing the supply of produce, Community Nutrition Partnership will provide healthy and nutritious recipes for the food providers and guests to use.
We will work with the Community Nutrition Partnership to help their idea become a reality during phase two.
The entire Fresh Food Challenge provided hope and inspiration to everyone who participated.
Alexis Luckey, Chief Operating Officer of Eastern Carolina Organics, a finalist with the Fresh Food Challenge, said, “The Challenge brought together an inspiring and humbling group of community members, all with a passion to address the health and nutrition of those in need, and eager to forge new collaborations to meet that goal.”
The Food Ark was another finalist. The Food Ark is a student-led-and-run 501(c)3 nonprofit that grew out of Enloe and Broughton High Schools. The students told us that they witnessed “first hand the food insecurity of a third of their peers,” and they felt a desire to do more to increase student achievement and opportunity. The Food Ark has launched a food pantry, for example, in an effort to address immediate needs. They also have launched school gardens at both Enloe and Broughton.
Celia Zhou of The Food Ark, and her fellow leaders, presented the concept of a Mobile Food Ark.
Food For Thought, a current food provider for the Oak City Outreach Center, offered up a concept of nutrition strips that would be packed with flavor and nutrition both. Chef Scott Crawford and Chef Kim Floresca both offered to work with Food For Thought around increasing flavor and providing ideas for distribution.
Every single idea, even the non-finalists, offered up new ideas and inspiration for how we better serve our most vulnerable. The entrants were a reminder that great ideas, energetic individuals who care, and immense possibility remain even in the face of coarsening political dialogue, a dysfunctional political climate, and a seemingly steady drumbeat of negative news in each edition of the morning paper.
In the final months of Jamie’s life, she had begun to dream big about what it might take to generate better food for those most in need. She understood the value of nutrition in her own life and hoped to bring it forward to others. Unfortunately she was not able to make that dream a reality during her life, but I am hopeful that the Fresh Food Challenge will provide a concrete step towards making it happen now. I believe that the entire challenge offers up a reminder that the work of improving our community is not just the work of a lifetime, but the work of generations yet to come. It was a reminder that one person’s example can be a catalyst for change even when they are not physically with us. And that gives me hope.
If you wish to support any of the finalists, please get in touch with us as we move forward.
About the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation:
The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation is focused on engaging & connecting emerging leaders and community-based organizations who work on the issues that will impact the future of our community — poverty, food justice, hunger, and public education. Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation co-founder Nation Hahn stated, “In the final months of Jamie’s life, she had begun to consider how we might generate better food for the most vulnerable among us. This challenge is in keeping with her vision, values, and belief that we must do more for those in need.”
About Clark’s Promise:
Clark’s Promise seeks to relieve the daily suffering of those experiencing homelessness in Wake County, one person at a time. Clark’s Promise supports the work of personnel through community partner Southlight Healthcare who work engage and support those on the streets, Monday through Friday. Clark’s Promise assists with medical care, medicine, and other basic needs through the support of a caring, committed engagement nurse. Clark’s Promise also connects the homeless with other area organizations that can help sustain them, and is done so with love, compassion, and respect.
About Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness:
Created in 2006, the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness is the integrated efforts of The City of Raleigh and Wake County governments to address the need to end and prevent homelessness, leading community efforts such as Project Homelessness Connect, The Oak City Outreach Center, and The Wake County Homelessness Resource Guide. The mission is to strategically lead and engage the community in collaborative efforts to prevent and move people out of homelessness with a contribution of three guiding principles: advocacy, convening, and communicating.