Kate's Volunteer Food-Security Projects
Updated: Nov 9
We wondered where to put BCC Member Kate Young's contribution in the BCC volunteers post, but this overachiever's accomplishments are worth singling out on their own.
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In 2010, at age 64, I joined the Peace Corps and served in Guatemala from 2010-2015 on food security issues, creating several family and school gardening projects. (This is my idea of retirement!)
Once back in Durham, I started volunteering with an innovative food security group just getting started: Durham Farm and Food Network and, under that umbrella, End Hunger Durham andPlant-A-Row. These groups focused on filling gaps in providing access to immediate food relief in Durham.
I love the creative work of helping to develop projects that fill a community need, then handing them over for others to maintain and develop further. That is what has happened with all the food security projects I have had the privilege to contribute to in Peace Corps and Durham.
Both working with the communities and becoming part of them and helping with this development phase gives me a lot of satisfaction. My babies, I guess you’d say.
My contributions have focused on two areas:
Immediate food relief through pantries. For a couple of years, I operated a pantry focused on the Latino population. I also reached out to all the pantries in Durham to get updated information on their services (because no one really had current information) and to assess their needs and capacity for storing things like fresh produce. Updating pantry information became one of the primary gaps we filled and still is.
A whole team of us now work on collecting the data, and uploading it to the EHD website. An app gives everyone up-to-date info on their cell phone.
This month, the County of Durham is hiring a food security coordinator who we hope will take over the responsibility of maintaining the database that End Hunger Durham has created.
Increase the amount of fresh produce available to pantries through Plant-A-Row.
Developing this project was the brainchild of Eliza Bordley (Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Garden Educator at the time), Nicole Connelly (a local family farmer), and myself.
We bring pantry operators and gardeners/farmers together to share their activities and learn from each other.
We help facilitate partnerships by providing contact information, pertinent details about pantry operations, and mapping. This year, we also developed a website to further expand the Plant-A-Row network and pantry-food producer partnerships.