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Triangle Farms For Food: Strategy and Action Plan

Added on by Erin White.

Working with the Conservation Trust of North Carolina and a host of project partners, Community Food Lab has helped produce an innovative land conservation strategy for the Triangle region of NC. The strategy targets agriculture and local food systems as important sources of economic leverage and long-term community support for protecting the remaining open spaces of the Triangle. The region is growing rapidly, and the richness of the area's farmland and farm culture is ultimately at stake if effective solutions can't be developed. Community Food Lab helped design a planning process that included the input from many farm and farmland experts, the creativity and first-hand experience of many community members, as well as innovative GIS modeling and data analysis. Community Food Lab co-authored the plan, designed many of the final images, and produced the final report.

Our hope is that this model of regional farmland planning through an agricultural and local food lens is a replicable approach for other locations, and that our Triangle strategy is carried forward by project partners to create meaningful impact in land planning, local food economies, and public awareness around the importance of farms and farmland. 

Find the final plan and supporting documents here.  The project was funded in part by the Triangle Community Foundation.

Durham Public Schools HUB Farm

Added on by Erin White.

The Durham Public Schools HUB farm is a 30-acre site supporting experiential farm, garden, and outdoor education for students throughout the Durham school district. As a mixed educational resource, the Farm is a model of flexible programming and activity that uses its landscape of fields, ponds, and woods for education at all grade levels and alongside many community partners.

In creating this vibrant farm and outdoor education site for Durham Public Schools, we worked with a collaborative team of partners and advisors to build a phased site plan, a network of supportive and invested stakeholders, and initial grant funding to support key site improvements. In close collaboration with Landscape Architect Katherine Gill of Tributary Land Design, Community Food Lab led a multi-pronged design approach to early planning that combined education and curriculum opportunities, creative funding strategies, landscape design, and diverse community engagement.

Over 18 months, we worked with partners to create a stable advisory board, initial site management team, and action plan designed for incremental growth of the project. In the two years after our involvement, the HUB Farm has continued to grow in size and reach. A collaboration with an NCSU Design/Build studio culminated in an innovative floating classroom. Up to 300 students per week visit the Farm, engaging in all aspects of the site. The Farm runs a CSA box program and operates a seasonal on-site farm stand. Plans are in place to obtain GAP certification for the Farm, which would allow produce to be used in DPS cafeterias. 

With initial funding from DPS Career and Technical Education to create hands-on STEM education, this visionary project has transformed an unused 30-acre school property into a K-12 learning farm; a whole-district hub for garden and outdoor education and a regional model for innovative farm-to-school initiatives. 

Raleigh Food Corridor

Added on by Jennifer Truman.

Along with multiple partners, stakeholders, and like-minded organizations, Community Food Lab is working to create a shared vision for a vibrant local food corridor defined by its participants. Corridor can be imagined as a civic engagement project, a food justice initiative, and a catalyst for the local and regional food systems.

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Durham Food Hub Development Study

Added on by Erin White.

Working for Durham's Reinvestment Partners, this collaborative project with Jennifer Walker of Poiesis Design and Planning determined the feasibility of developing a 4500sf building into a community-based food hub. We are continuing to provide strategic support, consultation on the pre-design, interface with the project Architect, and help connect the Food Hub to other food system efforts on the block

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Express Mart Remodel

Added on by Erin White.

We helped generate a key idea that helped motivate the project and shaped the outcome: that the neighborhood would benefit if local food principles were integrated throughout a multi-block revitalization effort. Beyond this concept, design effort stayed minimal and looked for cost-effective choices to improve the street character, increase safety, respect the residential neighbors, and present a new face to the community.

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