At the Food Shuttle, we believe that beating hunger can only happen through collaboration with different organizations working together on all aspects of the food system. That's why in our newest Community Spotlight series, we'll be focusing on organizations doing good work in our community to fight hunger at all levels.
Ruthie Wofford is an Americorp VISTA sponsored by Wake County Cooperative Extension, in the role of Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Capital Area Food Network.
Q. What is CAFN?
Ruthie: Capital Area Food Network is Wake County's food policy council. Our mission is to cultivate healthy people, communities, and economies through vibrant food and farm systems. CAFN was developed out of the effort of the Raleigh Wake Food Policy Council Taskforce in the Fall of 2013, in an effort to fill prevalent gaps in our local food system – like a puzzle with pieces missing. CAFN is the culmination of an effort to form a diverse community network that could address these gaps and connect members from every link in Wake County’s food system.
One of our main initiatives is tracking and implementing the Wake County Food Security Plan. This document, which outlines 41 hunger-fighting projects, was funded and endorsed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners and developed alongside partner organizations such as Community Food Lab and Wake County Cooperative Extension.
Q. Why is it important for cities to have food councils?
Ruthie: By providing Wake County citizens with an opportunity to actively engage various parts of our local food system, we are able to have significant impact on what is being done to help local families who are food insecure. Additionally, there are a lot of hunger-fighting efforts in our county, and CAFN encourages the many organizations involved to collaborate with one another. This allows them to avoid creating gaps or overlap in their services.
Q. What local organizations are involved with CAFN?
Ruthie: We have over 15 partner organizations that support CAFN and help us implement the Food Security Plan. Some of the most involved organizations include Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Wake County Cooperative Extension, Community Food Lab, and Alliance Medical Ministry.
Q: What is your background? What is your role at CAFN?
Ruthie: I began working for CAFN in August 2017 when I was hired as an AmeriCorps VISTA by Wake County. Before that I was working for Hunger Solutions Institute in Alabama after I graduated from Auburn University. Now I am the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for CAFN. This position allows me to work with passionate hunger fighters in the Triangle. I track the progress of the Food Security Plan, create and implement outreach plans, and do administrative work for the organization.
Q: Why should and how can people get involved in their local food system?
Ruthie: Food systems are pivotal to the health and success of a community! Citizens can become involved with a local food council, participate in a community garden, and donate their time or resources to a local hunger-fighting nonprofit.
The public is welcome to CAFN Community Gathering Tuesday 3/20, 5:30-7p. Dinner provided! Come learn how you can get involved in building a thriving local food system. https://capitalareafoodnetwork.wordpress.com/