Funded through the USDA's Agriculture, Food and Research Initiative (AFRI) grants program. Award Number: 2011-68004-30079

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North Carolina

WNC Foodshed Summit: Forming Our Regional Identity, Elevating our Collective Wisdom

On Friday, January 29th, 2016 the WNC-AFP, in partnership with Community Food Strategies and the Local Foods Council of North Carolina, brought together over 80 participants from across Western North Carolina to discuss findings from the Western North Carolina Community Food Security Assessment (pdf), share exciting projects that address issues of hunger and food security, and create plans for moving the work forward in the region.  Similar meetings will be conducted across North Carolina, hosted by Community Food Strategies. Additional resources, including presentations and photos from the event can be found on the Community Food Strategies website.

In Western North Carolina (WNC), the AFP project was designed to engage organizational leaders working within the community food system to create a common agenda to better understand and address food security in the 27-county region. This WNC Food Security Advisory Committee, in collaboration with a research team from North Carolina State University, designed a community food security assessment (CFSA) to systematically examine community food issues and assets to inform actions that make the region more food secure. The report summarizes key findings from the WNC CFSA.  

You can download the Western North Carolina Community Food Security Assessment report (pdf) and the presentation on their findings (pdf).

Join us on Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 at 12pm ET for a webinar on the WNC-CFSA results and implications.  More information can be found on our webinar page.

Harvest synthesis

WNC Whole Measures excercise

WNC Community Food Security Advisory Committee

Summary of Purpose - January 2014

Background & Formation

In the spring of 2013, the Appalachian Foodshed Project (AFP) Management Team held a series of convening’s across the tri-state region (NC, WV, and VA) to announce the opportunity for community stakeholders to conduct a Community Food Security Assessment in each state. 

NC stakeholders decided to use this opportunity to address our need to better align and leverage the many efforts among organizations and individuals working in western NC - especially in communities that have been underserved and are economically vulnerable - to improve access to healthy local food and expand food security.  

The first step was to convene a small group of regional leaders.   The initial goals of the WNC Community Food Security Advisory Committee were to:

  1. Choose a governance strategy
  2. Create a proposal for a common agenda (shared goals, values, and shared measures)
  3. Develop a process to engage stakeholders across the region

In August 2013, this leadership committee met for the first time and decided to use the framework of collective impact to ask what it would take to form a “backbone organization” to strategically align community partners across the WNC region toward a Common Agenda.  The intention of a backbone organization is NOT to conduct projects ourselves or duplicate the good work that others are doing, but to help with coordination of strategy, communications, developing shared measures and data, and developing mechanisms for attracting, sharing and disseminating resources.

This short (2.5 minute) video provides a brief introduction to the collective impact framework.

Who has been involved?

Erica Anderson (Land of Sky Regional Council)
Jana Bartleson (Toe River Health)
Angel Cruz (NCSU)
Darcel Eddins (Bountiful Cities)
Emily Elders (WNC Food Policy Council)
Virginia New (EFNEP)
Tim Richards (WNC Community Foundation)
Alphie Rodriguez (Community Transformation Grant)
Michelle Schroeder-Moreno (NCSU)
Laurie Stradley (NC Center for Health & Wellness)
Ross Young (Madison County Extension Director)
Facilitator: Tracy Kunkler (Sims & Steele Consulting)

Common Agenda for group (consent given December 2013)

Increase availability and accessibility of safe, local, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods for all people in WNC:

  1.  Increase bridging and bonding food system networks  to connect available resources for all people
  2.  Connect farmers and growers to food insecure populations in economically viable manners; for example:
    • Farmers selling seconds
    • Gleaning
    • Getting people to the markets and markets to the people
    • Community gardens and agriculture

Governance Strategy

The WNC CFS Advisory Committee and the regional AFP management team are both using a method of shared leadership called Dynamic Governance.  Some of the principles include:

  • Collaborative decision-making to create a level playing field. Active consent - everyone within their Range of Tolerance - is the basis for governance decisions.
  • Two representative links from this advisory committee participate fully in governance decisions of the AFP Management Team at the tri-state level:
    • Darcel Eddins
    • Jana Bartleson
  • Michelle Schroeder-Moreno and Angel Cruz are AFP Management Team Links to this committee and participate fully in decisions here. 

Some Domains of Decision-making for this Advisory Committee Include:

  1. Managing Deliverables and Budget for the Community Food Security Assessment
  2. Managing the Process for the Community Enhancement Grants

Community Food Security Assessment

A Community Food Security Assessment (CFSA) is a collaborative and participatory process that systematically examines a broad range of community food issues and assets, so as to inform actions to make the community more food secure. A primary objective of an assessment is to provide strategies for community-based solutions to local matters of food security through coalition-building and promoting education and awareness. A CFSA is a freeform process which communities shape according to the unique dynamics of their resources, challenges and aspirations.

The AFP has been working since March 2011 to build a network of interested stakeholders to develop the framework for a community food assessment in West Virginia and the Appalachian regions of Virginia and North Carolina.

WNC Aim for CFSA

The WNC Food Security Advisory Council, as a backbone organization, will create an action plan including:

  • A communication and collaboration plan for WNC
  • Shared measures using the Whole Measures for Community Food Systems
  • A database of meaningful assessment data
    • County Data Profiles
    • Reference to related Assessments; e.g. Feeding America, Manna

Community Food Security Enhancement Projects

A formal call for CFSEP applications will be sent to our various stakeholders/collaborators as well as to extension personnel working on community food security issues within the tri-state Appalachia region. Criteria for the CFSEP will be developed by the CFSA Steering Circle Team. The application process will justify the CFSEP need and be reviewed by the AFP.    



NC Regional meeting was held Friday, November 2, 2012, from 9am-noon.
TRACTOR Food Hub project, Burnsville, NC.
Hosted by Tres Manger, Yancey County Extension office.
Agenda and notes from the November meeting
Food Policy Issues in Western North Carolina Summary of Survey Results

Email Angel Cruz for more information.

North Carolina Regional Meeting Summary December 2011