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Happy New Year, CAFN!

Just like that, another year lies behind us and a new one stretches out ahead on the temporal horizon (we’re getting metaphysical today - buckle up!).

Three hundred and sixty-five brand-new, non-refundable, non-guaranteed, twenty-four-hour days, wide open and available to us to do with what we will.

Well, to be exact, at the time of this email’s sending there are a little under three hundred and sixty-four days remaining, including what’s left of today. Read on for more musings on the idea of the new year below in our January Food for Thought theme.

In our first newsletter of the year, find CAFN updates, some Food for Thought, food system job opportunities and events this month, and information on a food pantry client survey and a county-wide reference app to visualize food insecurity.

Let’s get to it, CAFN! Time waits for no one.

Welcome back, CAFN! See our quick overview all the Plan updates we have so far.
Communications: planning a collaborative marketing project with Wake County Solid Waste’s organics recycling (composting) program; planning events

Food Recovery: also discussed compost - generated ideas for partnerships and direction of compost as a potential climate change offset; continued discussion of depackaging/digester machines for food banks

Food Access: reflected on the year’s successes and challenges, the Circle’s direction, structure, leadership and capacity, and identified new sub-circles for specific areas

Missed a Circle meeting?
New to CAFN, and want to attend a meeting?

No worries! Check our calendar to find all upcoming Circle meetings, and read the latest minutes on the Google Drive to get caught up before you go. Let Erin Gallagher know if you need access, or help determining which Circle best fits your background and interests.

Wake Cooperative Extension News: Survey and App Launch

Wake Food Pantry Patronage Survey

As part of CAFN’s Comprehensive Food Security Plan, a food pantry client survey has been created in collaboration with Wake County Government and agencies providing support to Food Security Programming. The survey primarily aims to determine the needs of food pantry clients in Wake County. Share this news with your networks!

The survey will:

  • Focus on factors leading to pantry visits, preferred foods, and interest in additional programs, classes, and services

  • Allow us to build upon ongoing regionally specific outreach and support

  • Help us understand gaps in services, improve the targeting of services, and spread awareness of resources

  • Provide information gained to food pantries and food banks to help in their efforts

  • Enable results to be used as an indicator to measure progress of food security work (part of the CAFN Food Security Plan)

The survey is available in both English and Spanish. The survey can be accessed in digital format online (English form, Spanish form) as well as in paper format (English PDF, Spanish PDF). 

The Social Equity Reference Map for Wake County is available!

A dynamic mapping application referencing the Community Vulnerability and Economic Health Indexes is now up and running!

The idea behind the app is to serve as a reference guide for the many different geographies existing in Wake County, such as food insecure areas, vulnerable communities and NC Opportunity Zones adopted by the NC Dept. of Commerce.

The application combines the Social Equity rankings which offer insights into the characteristics of our communities. Organizations and individuals can also apply their own data within Wake County or gather data from Wake County’s Open Data resource to make their own maps.

Send LRP VISTA an email for any questions or more information.
We tend to ascribe a magical, suspended-in-time meaning to the idea of a new calendar year. It therefore carries an astronomical (pun intended) amount of cultural and personal weight, regardless of which calendar you go by. We (the West) mostly follow the Gregorian calendar. In it, we find ourselves in the year 2019 of what we call the Common Era. In the Buddhist calendar, it’s currently 2562 BE (Buddhist Era). In the Islamic calendar, we’ve arrived at 1440 AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae, referring to the Hijra). Japan follows a blended calendar - it’s 2019 CE, but it’s also the year 31 by imperial Heisei timekeeping.

These calendars have their rhymes and reasons, but one can argue that it’s all up in the air. There is the atomic clock - from which we get Coordinated Universal Time - and it is meticulously synchronized, so it’s as close to accurate as we’ll get. Still, like that Chicago song goes, does anybody really know what time it is?

If you think about it, every day - every second - can be seen as the beginning of a new year. Chicago asks: does anybody really care? The now is where we are, so we shouldn’t be too concerned with rather arbitrarily declared milestones... right?

Paradoxically, it’s very hard for us to inhabit the now. The song goes, “I was walking down the street one day / Being pushed and shoved by people trying to beat the clock.” We have our own big plans and aspirations, and then we have our society which tells us we have to do it all and then some. And it’s all from the get go, right out of the gate: we’ve got a year from midnight to get it all done, and we’d better get started.

We load a set of 365 days that have not yet occurred with ambitious resolutions and a set of expectations which we heap upon the year to come. Why? We say that we want to better ourselves, achieve more, etc. I would argue, though, that it’s really just because everyone else is doing it. I had a Civics & Economics teacher in high school who was only partly joking when he exhorted our class to be antelopes, not lemmings. Antelopes were quick, making their own way while leaping gracefully over obstacles; lemmings followed the pack in a neurotic, unthinking collective frenzy to get...nowhere. Antelopes, for the purposes of this discussion, live in the now; lemmings live in some made-up, stressed-out place and time that’s a blend of past and future.

Being in the now is especially hard when we have urgent and complex work to be done, and dreams of what could be - like what CAFN works towards (what December’s Food for Thought theme of climate change and hope explored). It’s harder when you’re a volunteer in such an organization, and you have very limited time, resources and energy (a reiterated thank-you to you all!). We can offload the burden we place on ourselves and our time - or cancel it entirely - when we look at what we must do, and what we want to do, in the lens of the now. Without tethering these things to lemming-like ideas which will only pull us further away from the sphere of reality, we can say, “I want to do x, I need to do y, and I will focus on that and only that.” What happens is then not bound to anchors like a year, or weighed down by expectations that ground ambition before it has a chance to fly. We give ourselves the chance to embrace the now as the gift it truly is rather than ungratefully skip forward to the next (and trip over our own feet in doing so).

So in the absence of unrealistic resolutions attached to a point in time no different than the others it resides among, and in the presence of these three hundred and sixty-five brand-new, non-refundable, non-guaranteed, twenty-four-hour days, wide open and available to us to do with what we will, what will we do with our time this year?

Let’s get to it and find out.

Happy now year, CAFN.
Add your reflections on January's theme using the hashtag #happynowyear when you comment on our Food for Thought social media posts.

Ask someone else what they about it. Think about it while you go about your day. You can even reply directly to this email!
Send us your events! 

If you'd like to share your event with CAFN, please send Erin Gallagher an email with all the details you see below by mid-month prior to the event.

Check the CAFN calendar for Circle meetings this month and other CAFN happenings (like our Progress Meetings and other gatherings!). You can also check our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for news, events and more.

1/8: A Place at the Table’s First Birthday Celebration!

  • “Drop by the cafe from 7-2 for food specials, surprises, and giveaways. And from 4-6 for cake and drinks.”

  • Where: 300 W. Hargett St., Suite 50

  • When: 7 am - 2 pm and 4 - 6 pm

1/14-15: Value-Added Dairy Conference

  • “This conference will provide opportunities for dairy producers to learn more about on-farm processing and other value added components for dairy operations.”

  • Host: NC State Extension

  • Where: Asheville, NC

1/15: Sustainable Spirits is back for 2019!

  • “Sustainable Spirits is a casual monthly gathering for the sustainability community organized by the North Carolina Composting Council and other organizations.”

  • Where: Naughty Penguin Tasting Room in Morrisville, NC

  • When: 5:30 - 7:30 pm

By 1/16: Apply for a paid internship as a Youth Ambassadors for a Better Community Project Leader

  • “Paid 10-week summer internship that provides hands-on opportunities to gain the skills and experiences necessary for a successful career.”

  • Host: North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

  • Where: Raleigh, NC

By 1/18: Order free seeds from URI Cooperative Extension

  • “URI Cooperative Extension is pleased to offer FREE vegetable, flower and herb Burpee™ seed packets to schools, community and youth groups, 4-H clubs, community gardens, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and individuals throughout the continental US!”

1/27: Ready Garden Grow: An Introduction to Vegetable Gardening

  • Host:

  • Where: East Regional Library, Knightdale, NC

  • When: 1:30 pm

Apply now: Community Engagement Coordinator

  • 10- week internship with Triangle Land Conservancy at Walnut Hill Nature Preserve

Registration Open: National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

  • “Join 1,000+ of your fellow anti-hunger advocates in Washington, D.C., for two days of networking opportunities, content-rich sessions, interactive training, and the National CACFP Leadership track, followed by a day on Capitol Hill.”

  • Hosts: Feeding America and FRAC

  • Where: Washington, D.C.

  • When: February 24-26

CAFN wants YOU!

Want to volunteer or join a Circle?
Have ideas for CAFN, or just want to talk food systems?
Know someone whose knowledge, experience, or interest would help
us in our work toward an equitable, sustainable Wake food system?

Get involved, bring your friends and let us know what’s on your mind.

We welcome new voices and volunteers to help us #endhungerwake!

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