Current projects

 
 
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A partnership of EducationNC and BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of North Carolina. The project aims to lift up the voices of 100,000 North Carolinians to shape and impact public problems and public solutions in North Carolina. The project focuses on issues of education, health and wellbeing. FIG helps to gather and lift up voices around important school food system and child health issues. Learn more about REACH on their website.

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KIPP charter schools are some of the premier examples of public charter schools in the U.S. As part of their commitment to excellence, KIPP ENC is collaborating with FIG to develop and execute a plan to bring social, environmental, and food justice to their school nutrition programs. We support KIPP ENC with everything from developing a vision for their school nutrition services to student-informed menu changes to sourcing and bidding changes to designing school wellness policies that reflect the culture and commitment of each school to student wellbeing and success. Learn more about KIPP ENC on their website.

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CPSC is a k-8 charter school in downtown Durham on a mission to provide an incredible education to local students regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, or any other perceived individual and cultural differences. To that end, CPSC recognized the need to provide high quality meals to all students, regardless of their ability to pay. FIG joined CPSC to help them navigate the National School Lunch Program, develop innovative and delicious student menus, find a caterer willing to try something entirely new in school food, and incorporate more food systems education across the campus and curricula. 

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 Tar Heel Eats 

Tar Heel Eats is Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ (CHCCS) answer to making school lunch cool again. This fully electric vehicle brings delicious breakfast and lunches to high schools and keeps it cool by 1) responding to student preferences more quickly than a traditional cafeteria menu; 2) popping up randomly – you have to check out social media to find out where they’ll be next!; and 3) you can still use your school lunch account to pay for items on the truck - the truck always has fully reimbursable meals on board. FIG and Cornell’s BEN Center are teaming up to study the impact of alternative meal options like Tar Heel Eats to improve school meal options and service.

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FIG developed Durham Bowls to convene the Durham community around school food. Chefs and School Nutrition Managers will team up to develop a unique and delicious recipe – a meal in a bowl – to compete in the inaugural Durham Bowls competition. The rules are written by Mr. Jim Keaten, Director of Child Nutrition for Durham Public Schools. Teams will be asked to meet the same strict requirements Mr. Keaten faces when developing recipes for students in Durham. That means a tight budget, limited kitchen tools, and strict nutritional requirements. In an event open to the public, teams will offer tastings of their Bowl, and a panel of Durham students will present the awards.

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SNAP-Ed provides funding to states to conduct nutrition promotion and obesity prevention work to individuals and families that receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits. FIG and UNC-Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) are partnering to provide a program that engages SNAP recipients in empowering discussions of how best to use SNAP dollars, followed by an exercise using pre-formated shopping lists to try and increase purchase of fruits and vegetables/decrease purchase of sugary beverages among SNAP users in mostly rural North Carolina.

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SPOON is a youth empowerment program that trains middle school students and their teacher allies to understand and improve their local school food systems. SPOON was developed by FIG and sponsored by Self-Help Credit Union, Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, and Bank of America Charitable Foundation. SPOON is currently being developed and improved in conjunction with Durham Public Schools and the Durham Hub Farm. Eventually online and in-person training programs will be available, along with all materials, for schools across North Carolina and beyond.

 
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Chapel Hill Foods is a new business that seeks to provide cash- and time-strapped early childcare centers with delicious, conscious, CACFP-compliant meals and menus at affordable prices in the stores where center directors already shop. FIG is helping to develop recipes, menus, and product formulations that fit the needs, budget, and facilities of early childcare centers regardless of geography and center size. Want to learn how your center might participate in the initial testing and launch? Contact FIG.

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FIG partners with Self-Help in a variety of ways. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Self-Help aims to benefit communities through strategic investments. We work with Self-Help's Healthy Food Systems and Charter School lending teams and their Real Estate Development team to reimagine what community food systems can do.

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Good Bowls is a project of UNC Chapel Hill's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Good Bowls are healthy, delicious, and locally sourced frozen meals that will be sold using a cost offset model. During the Good Bowls pilot, they will be available for purchase in food co-ops and convenience stores. These meals are SNAP eligible in all sales locations. FIG has contributed to recipe design, formative work, and product testing with prospective customers.