North Carolina Food Resiliency Plan


The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and the Duke World Food Policy Center (WFPC) are analyzing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the North Carolina (NC) food system. This analysis will inform recommendations aimed at improving NC food system resilience and mitigating existing disparities in health, wealth, and opportunity that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and rural communities. The food system does not exist in isolation and offers opportunities for philanthropic impact on interconnected issues, such as poverty, housing, health, environment, economic opportunity, and rural community development. This research, supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, will create a strategy for NC philanthropic community investments.

Research Approach

Over the course of 2020, the project team will convene individuals and representatives of existing formal and informal grassroots networks, organizations, businesses, and agencies at the local, state, and national levels. CEFS and the WFPC research will collect and analyze information about opportunities via surveys, webinars, listserv gleaning, interviews, case study and story development. Data collection will provide a quantitative analysis of the scope and scale of the issues. Collected stories will provide insight into the lived experience to help NC funders understand the human side of the data. Analysis will illuminate the complexity of the food system across interconnections of poverty, health, access to land and wealth building mechanisms. It will also reveal the realities of food producers, the scale of food investments needed to benefit community needs, as well as marketing, distribution, and policy implications.

Deliverables and Project Dissemination

The project team will produce both short-term and long-term recommendations and principles for a food systems philanthropic investment strategy that moves away from charity models to root causes of inequity and contributes to food system resilience. These recommendations will be informed by COVID-19 impact but are intended to address the food system beyond the global pandemic.

The team will first uplift and connect front-line food and community organizations directly affected by COVID-19 to funders. The team will assess how immediate needs are reflective of historic inequities and fractures in the system that require alternate approaches to rebuild and create new resilience and sustainability.

The project team will then capture longer-term investment opportunities (rebuilding, building new, re-imagining of systems) that are called for and led by the communities most impacted by stated inequities and can be supported by institutions and foundations.

CEFS and the WFPC will create communication products to share successes, innovations, and lived experience of food system issues. The team will share final outputs with community members and funders to support creating a more resilient and equitable food system.