RAFI Come to the Table Conference Offers Food, Faith, and Farm Advocacy

RAFI Come to the Table 2017 Conference. Source: rafiusa.org, Pittsboro, North Carolina.
RAFI Come to the Table 2017 Conference. Source: rafiusa.org, Pittsboro, North Carolina.

The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) 2017 Come to the Table Conference is a biennial gathering of food, faith, and farm advocates focused on relieving hunger and strengthening local, sustainable agriculture in North Carolina. This year’s conference is Thursday, March 16, 2017, 8am-5pm.

This year’s conference theme is “Bridging Divides: Cultivating Food & Faith Connections.” Participants will have the opportunity to attend workshops covering theology and food, community development, racial equity, and food and farm policy.

The conference location is the Durham Convention Center, 301 W Morgan Street, Durham NC.

Gather with community members, faith leaders, farmers, gardeners, farm workers, hunger relief agencies, and others for a day of workshops and presentations. This is a great opportunity to engage in conversations and strategy sessions on “relieving hunger and strengthening local and sustainable agriculture.” Thousands of people from across North Carolina have attended the conferences since their start in 2007.

The 2017 keynote speaker will be former NFL player turned NC farmer and hunger relief activist, Jason Brown of Louisburg NC.

Jason Brown left a successful career as a lineman in the NFL to become a farmer in eastern North Carolina. After his departure from professional football, Jason moved back to the state and purchased a 1,000-acre farm in Louisburg. He and his wife, Dr. Tay Brown, have dedicated themselves to aiding in local hunger relief efforts. Their farm, First Fruits Farm, has made national headlines for its donation of hundreds of thousands of pounds of food to those in need. Thousands of volunteers have lent helping hands in their harvest and gleaning events. In their work with Wisdom for Life Ministries and First Fruits Farm, Jason and his wife Tay are demonstrating how to live a life of purpose and how to promote community development through agriculture.

At this year’s conference, we will explore both the history and present state of our food system: how and why food is produced and distributed the way it is, and how faith communities can support a system where both farmers and consumers are thriving. Attendees will both hear from experts in the field, and be asked to share their own experience and wisdom as participants in the food system.

Workshop tracks will include these topics and more:

  • Building Strong Foundations — skills and core knowledge for community work and hunger relief.
  • Theology & Food — interfaith conversation from our community of practice on broadening our lens for food and faith.
  • Farmer Voices & Cooperative Development — voices from the field, stories from farmers less visible in the food system, and cooperative projects.
  • Getting Food to the Table — a closer look at production and process in food system: issues affecting farmworkers and food workers.
  • Policy — a dual look at agricultural policy and hunger relief.

See program, schedule, and keynote details at rafiusa.org/cttt.

Tickets are $30 for general admission which includes lunch. Exhibitor fee is $75. Tickets are available online here (EventBrite). Registration closes on February 28, 2017. Scholarships and travel stipends may be available. Contact Carson via email to find out.

RAFI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pittsboro, North Carolina and incorporated in 1990. The Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA’s mission is to cultivate markets, policies, and communities that sustain thriving, socially just, and environmentally sound family farms. RAFI works nationally and internationally, focusing on North Carolina and the southeastern United States.

Visit the RAFI website at rafiusa.org to find out more about their work and events, or find updates on the RAFI “Come to the Table” Facebook page.

 

Source: RAFI. Edited by Kay Whatley.

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