Camber Foundation Invests $100,000 to Fight Food Insecurity in Eastern NC

Camber Foundation Invests $100,000 to Fight Food Insecurity While Fueling Local Economies and Health Education

Two organizations serving Eastern North Carolina, Feast Down East and Ripe for Revival, caught the attention of Camber Foundation due to their full-circle approaches that address health and wellness, education, and economic development – three areas that Camber Foundation recognizes as priorities for their philanthropic support in the region.

North Carolina’s Food Desert Problem

Despite NC’s robust agriculture, it is estimated by the USDA that more than a million North Carolinians live in a food desert – an area where most residents do not have access to affordable, nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. According to data from the North Carolina Department for Health and Human Services, about 10.9% of the population in North Carolina – roughly 1.2 million people – are experiencing food insecurity. Approximately 394,000 of those individuals are children, with about one in six children facing hunger.

Feast Down East

Feast Down East (FDE) serves Pender and surrounding counties by providing education and operational support to farmers and increasing food access to areas of greatest need. The organization reports that many regional small to mid-sized farmers, especially those historically marginalized and underserved, experience infrastructure and logistical barriers that make it difficult to develop sustainable relationships with large-scale customers. To address this, FDE created the Food Hub, a central distribution and delivery center that provides farmers with technical assistance and access to wholesale clients such as restaurants and grocery stores.

The Local Motive Mobile Farmers’ Market (Mobile Market) brings fresh produce directly into food-insecure communities. In addition to SNAP benefits, the Mobile Market accepts vouchers that come from other FDE programs; the Food Rx Program partnership with Novant Health and Black River Health Services, the Fresh Food Voucher program, and Farmers Fighting Hunger, all of which are cost-free ways for local organizations and agencies to feed their patrons.

Camber Foundation’s $50,000 grant will used to expand and support existing programs.

Ripe for Revival

Ripe for Revival Mobile Market Bus

Serving Nash and surrounding counties, Ripe for Revival connects with local markets where they can sell their excess produce, something Ripe for Revival calls “bridging the gap between farm excess and food access.” The Mobile Bus Market program travels to underserved communities and utilizes a pay-what-you-can model so that no farmer is forced to waste any of their crops, and every community has food on its tables.

Education and inspiration are also core components of Ripe for Revival’s work. Each Mobile Market bus is equipped with a demonstration kitchen where volunteers and staff showcase ways to prepare seasonal produce and conduct taste tests to excite people of all ages about healthy eating. Ripe for Revival also fosters programs at local schools and afterschool care facilities, including a partnership with Nash County Community College, where farm-fresh excess produce is used in its culinary program.

With a grant of $50,000 from Camber Foundation, Ripe for Revival plans to more than double the number of counties and people it serves via the Mobile Bus Market program.

A Distinctive Approach

“These two organizations stand out because of how they address food insecurity by fostering connections and opportunities across communities through agriculture,” said Leslie Ann Jackson, president & CEO, Camber Foundation. “Organizations like Ripe for Revival and Feast Down East are crucial because they provide access to necessary nutrition for deserving communities, while paving the way for future generations of progress through education and economic development.”

Camber is honored to invest in Feast Down East and Ripe for Revival, two noteworthy organizations that improve access to healthyfood in food-insecure areas via mobile markets, provide educationin their communities, and fuel local economiesby expanding markets and outlets for farmers to sell their goods.

For more information about Camber Foundation, its impactful grants, and grant application details, click here.

cam·ber | \ ˈkam-bər \ A positive, upward curve built into the beam of a bridge intended to distribute the load.