Farms Serving Hospitality and Restaurant Employees
Farms Serving Hospitality and Restaurant Employees (FarmsSHARE) is an emergency food assistance program launched by CFSA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FarmsSHARE program provides a free box of locally-grown produce and protein sourced from small, sustainable farms to households in need.
The Pilot Program
CFSA obtained key funding to launch the project from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (Blue Cross NC Foundation).
At the onset of the pandemic, restaurants and food service companies that buy from local farmers suspended service and laid off thousands of workers. As a result, many small farms lost income from restaurant sales that helped keep their farms viable.
To connect farms and hospitality workers, and to ensure everyone along the supply chain got paid fairly, CFSA developed a network of participating food hubs, farmers, and farmer cooperatives to aggregate in-season, locally-produced foods to distribute over 20,000 boxes to laid-off restaurant and hospitality employees.
CFSA partnered with Piedmont Culinary Guild and regional food hubs to enroll food service workers in the program. Once enrolled, laid-off workers were able to pick up a share from their former employers once a week for eight weeks. Recipients also had the option to receive farm-fresh proteins, such as eggs and meat.
CFSA received additional financial support for the FarmsSHARE pilot program from Whole Foods, Cardinal Healthcare, Duke University’s Office Durham and Community Affairs, Carolina Farm Credit and Xylem Watermark, Xylem’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program as well as many individual supporters.