Full Circle Moments: How this Western NC Group is Addressing Meals Insecurity on the Root


If you find yourself in Boone, NC, locals may recommend you stop by F.A.R.M. Café. Known for its fresh menu, cozy atmosphere and welcoming staff, this pay-what-you-can café is serving up something even greater to the local community.

F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Café is a non-profit restaurant where everybody eats, regardless of means. With a goal to serve delicious food while also relieving hunger in the local area, patrons are encouraged to pay what they can, or volunteer an hour of their time in exchange for a meal. If financially able, patrons can also help their neighbors by donating more than the suggested amount for their meal and “pay it forward.”

Since opening in 2012, 175,000 meals have been served in the restaurant. Of those, up to thirty percent have been given in exchange for a meal token (prepaid by other patrons and community partners), volunteer time, or for less than the $10 suggested donation amount.

Reduce Waste. Feed People.

In 2021, more than 1.5 million North Carolina households didn’t have enough to eat, making North Carolina the 10th hungriest state in the nation.

Shockingly, nearly 40% of all food in America is wasted each year.

F.A.R.M.’s Café is on a mission to change this through its food recovery and redistribution program, F.A.R.M. Full Circle.

It’s a win-win for all involved. F.A.R.M. Café locally purchases 95% of its food, however the Full Circle program helps local farmers and grocers divert usable food away from the landfill and into the mouths’ of the community.

Recovery

A majority of the foods donated through the Full Circle program are used to create meals which are distributed to partner agencies serving food insecure individuals at no charge to the consumer.

The program starts by collecting imperfect fruits and vegetables, over-ordered food items and other products at risk of going to waste from local grocers, farmers, and small businesses.

One of those local donation partners is Be Natural Market.

“We donate imperfect produce that didn’t sell or items that get sent to us by mistake,” said Catherine Reczek, owner of Be Natural Market. “This program is very special to me. It makes me feel good that instead of being wasted, F.A.R.M. Café creates incredible tasting food from our donations.”





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