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Based in Henderson, NC, GRRO designs and manages programs to aid the rural communities in the area, using a holistic approach to battle poverty, hunger and chronic disease. GRRO’s team of consultants creates successful custom programs designed for rural NC communities.
Rural Program Design Evaluation & Review
Strategy Development. Stakeholder Engagement. Community Integration.
Our team assists grant-making foundations, agencies and grantee organizations to design, evaluate and review community programs targeted to positively impact rural North Carolina Communities.
Project Design & Delivery
GRRO designs and delivers projects related to farming and food production in rural communities. We help create targeted, measurable and effective projects and programs.
Training & Skills Building
Revitalize Land. Improve Lives. Develop Social Entrepreneurs.
The success of community resource programs depends on expert material development and skilled program delivery. GRRO has developed an extensive network of experienced individuals and organizations whose expertise is drawn from to accomplish training objectives.
Organic Micro-Market Farm School Curriculum
We introduce farmers to organic, micro-market farming and focus on sustainable practices that help grow quality produce from our rich Carolina soil. First and foremost, our Micro-Market Farm School teaches people how to be stewards of the land. Our hands-on curriculum utilizes our farms in Henderson, NC to provide our students with experience in small farm planning, planting and equipment. and utilize them for hands-on learning and real-life growing, both outside and in controlled environments such as greenhouses. In addition, students are taught how to run farms based on surrounding market needs.
Economic development through micro-market farming.
Community farming is a key part of economic development in rural areas that have few other fresh food options. Small scale farming for food production creates a community-controlled, local food system that leads to small business development. Our neighborhoods and communities benefit in multiple ways: beautification, particularly in places where there are empty or abandoned lots; fresh, locally grown produce becomes more available and more affordable; people lead more active lifestyles, which improves health and quality of life; and re-establishes community connections.
The goal is to immediately service family needs within our community by growing healthy local food. We are building an entrepreneur community, since those who work in our farm school will have the opportunity to take over an existing vacant lot, after graduation and begin their own micro-market farm. We educate, train and empower residents to live better and productive lives and healthier communities. Training promotes income generation through farming and business opportunities that lead to self-sufficiency.
Farming cooperatives are formed by groups of farmers to help solidify their market strength in multiple ways. As members of a business collective, farmers benefit from the group operations, purchasing, marketing and processing of their farm products.
Greater than the sum of its parts.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are three primary principles that uniquely characterize a cooperative organization:
The User-Owned Principle: The people who own and finance the cooperative are those who use the cooperative.
The User-Control Principle: The people who control the cooperative are those who use the cooperative. They democratically elect a board of directors. The board sets the overall operating policies, approves the annual budget, oversees its operation, and distributes the benefits derived from use of the cooperative to members. The board also hires professional management to handle the day-to-day operations.
The User-Benefit Principle: The cooperative's sole purpose is to provide and distribute benefits to its users on the basis of their use. While the goal of agricultural cooperatives is not to generate a return on investment, they, like all businesses, must cover costs and generate capital to cover expansion and unforeseen emergencies.
Educate. Empower. Engage.
Modern agricultural cooperatives, regardless of size, are an important part of the world-wide food marketplace. The mission of cooperatives, large and small, however, always remains the same--to serve its members. GRRO has created two cooperatives of 40+ small farms in both urban and rural communities that have grown into thriving community assets. SOWFA, The Southern Organization of Women in Farming and Agriculture, is a tax-exempt cooperative dedicated to fostering and engaging women in the industry, helping to identify resources, training, and support systems to this growing group of non-traditional farmers. The Southern Sustainable Initiative, SSI, is a for-profit entity that focuses on economic development for our member farms, and by extension, our rural communities. SSI functions as a purchaser/seller for its member farms. This rural cooperative also functions as a resource for community non-profit organizations, offering them affordable access to healthy, locally grown and processed foods for purchase and distribution to their consumers.
Farm to Classroom
GRRO has created a series of programs and projects that pivot on providing access to sustainably-grown fresh vegetables and fruit.
"We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams, ...nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children."
Former First Lady of the United States
We partner with childcare, early education and school administrators to make changes to their food purchasing and education practices to help create a supportive culture of wellness in their facilities.
Procurement Program: Works with dietary and food service professionals in pre-school and school nutrition roles to plan the transition replacing canned fruit and vegetables with fresh, locally grown produce.
Food STEM Curriculum: Introduces a grade appropriate science, technology, engineering and math curriculum that revolves around various methods of growing vegetables and fruit, including hydroponics and onsite gardens.