Skip to main content

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve health, promote economic security and work to dismantle racism in NC and contribute to community-based research literature. We believe communities suffering from racism, environmental injustice and economic disinvestment should have reliable and affordable access to healthy foods and the opportunity to live healthy lives.

We Believe

We believe healthy food access is a right, not a privilege, and all people no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or age hold this right. We acknowledge that communities of color and low-income communities have suffered disproportionately from racism and discrimination and acknowledge their assets, resources and resiliency.

Project Descriptions

Food Fitness Opportunity

Child Nutrition  The Child Nutrition Project, led by the Carolina Hunger Initiative, focuses on increasing access to healthy foods served through federal child nutrition programs statewide and provides nutrition education in Orange County. To learn more, contact Tamara Baker at

Community Gardens  Working alongside our community partners, we help organize groups around projects where individuals can grow an abundance of their own food for their family. These projects often lead to improvements in health, stronger communities and a reconnection with lost cultural traditions. To learn more, contact Brett Sheppard at

Communities on the Move  In 2018, the Communities on the Move program facilitated the creation of social environments that promote physical activity among nearly 100 community members across three distinct, low-resource neighborhoods in Orange County, NC. New in 2019, we are engaging multi sector stakeholders and empowering residents to build “active living coalitions” to create health-oriented culture change throughout all of Orange County and Lenoir County, NC. To learn more, contact Judit Alvarado at

Community Circles  The Community Circles project facilitates community conversations on the relationship between poverty, racism and food insecurity to develop action plans to strengthen community food security. SNAP-eligible residents and those receiving SNAP benefits will have an opportunity to discuss community issues and develop sustainable solutions such as action plans that will enhance long-term access to healthy food, economic security, and social inclusion in their communities. To learn more, contact Tiki Windley at

Food Policy Councils: Orange, Warren  Food councils are actively supporting local government in policy- and systems-level work to structure local and regional economies around an overarching vision of a just, healthy, and sustainable food system. Though food councils have existed since the 1980s, recent years have witnessed a dramatic increase in their numbers. From 2010 to 2012 the number of food councils almost doubled, from around 111 to 193, and by now there are more than 300. In North Carolina, 30 food councils cover 36 counties. To learn more, contact Bill Kearney at or Molly DeMarco at

Healthy Retail  In partnership with local and regional storeowners and managers, we are designing and testing innovative strategies to help customers select and purchase healthy foods in grocery and other retail settings. These strategies integrate best practices from the field of behavioral economics, which encourages us to examine how psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors affect people’s economic decision-making. We hope to share our lessons learned with public health practitioners working to improve community-level health through environmental and system-level interventions. To learn more, contact Brett Sheppard at

Social Marketing  Borrowing from the field of traditional marketing, social marketing aims to influence a behavior to benefit individuals or communities for a social good. Using the four P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement, this methodology can be used to design campaigns that increase fruit and vegetable consumption among at-risk populations.The FFORC social marketing project aims to promote strategies on budgeting for healthy foods among young mothers in Orange County to reduce the distractions that lead to hectic and unhealthy grocery shopping.To learn more, contact Judit Alvarado at

Where To Find Our Projects