There is a direct correlation between poverty, reduced access to fresh, quality foods and higher occurrences & death rates from certain chronic diseases. This is exactly the convergence of issues that have emerged in our rural communities. GRRO's work is designed to bring the above-described issues into consideration, debate and funding allocation as municipalities and service organizations explore funding and programming options for the 5-County area.
Vance County, where GRRO calls home, has the 2nd worst health outcomes of the 100 counties in North Carolina. The health statistics for Vance County tell a grim story. This community spent an average of $9,629 per person annually for health care; this is 4% more than the average in North Carolina, in a county where the median household income is 35% lower. There are also higher occurrences of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type II diabetes and kidney disease and deaths from these diseases. And members of this community live with food insecurity at more than twice the average rate in the U.S. (24% vs 10%).
Our programs focus on increasing access to fresh, locally grown produce to the people who need it most.
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
Economic Development Through Micro-Market Farming
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.
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 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.
Mobile Food Pantry
Green Rural Redevelopment Organization is committed to being a part of the solution to our rural communities’ issues of food insecurity by providing access to healthy nutrition. The addition of our mobile healthy food pantry to this area will fill a significant gap in disenfranchised residents’ access to good nutrition. The GRRO GFI is a partner agency with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and has created a mobile food pantry to serve the people who are most needy in our communities.
It is important to recognize that food insecurity and chronic disease make up a cycle that often defines the lives of individuals or families that we serve in the Kerr-Tar region. Add to this, the stress that accompanies living in persistently poor rural communities, and the management of chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, it becomes clear that providing access to a healthy food pantry makes sense.
In a study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University, there are identifiable patterns in how families with low food security interact with and make decisions about food shopping:
Price is a major factor in food shopping decisions
Nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats cost much more per calorie when compared to sugary snack foods, packaged and frozen food, and candies
They purchase foods with a much longer shelf life, in order to make sure that the foods don’t go to waste if not used immediately
Fresh vegetables and fruit are passed over to purchase canned vegetables and fruit
GRRO’s programs utilize a combination of methods to help get more nutritious foods into the diets of the disenfranchised in our community. The organization creates health-focused community programs in collaboration with healthcare providers and agencies. Our programs pivot around three principal services:
Provide fresh, locally sourced produce and foods
Educate consumers about proper food storage and preparing meals using fresh produce
Provide access to foods and support programs via our mobile food pantry and mobile refrigerated farmers market
In our rural service areas, the issue of access is magnified by the lack of reliable, if any, transportation, both public and private. This has a direct negative impact on some community members’ ability to getting food to their homes from area food pantries. This is a significant factor that limits the ability of traditional food pantries to reach many of the residents that are in need.
Healing Hearts @HOME
GRRO Healing Hearts @ Home Mobile Medical Clinic
GRRO has acquired and launched our GRRO Wellness on Wheels Mobile Medical Clinic, a 33 foot RV that is designed to serve historically marginalized populations in our rural communities. We began our mission by piloting a series of COVID-19 Testing Events that attracted an average of 100+ people to each of our community events. People received education, PPE & food boxes as an incentive for getting tested.
Our mission during this next phase of the Coronavirus fight is to provide access to COVID-related pre-testing and vaccinations to people who have difficulty accessing these services. The Wellness on Wheels Mobile Medical Clinic began conducting mobile COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Clinics in March of 2021, partnering with community organizations, faith communities, health departments and municipalities.
The residents of our 5-County area in North Carolina are in the middle of a series of chronic disease epidemics that include certain cancers, diseases of the heart, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, diseases of the kidneys and obesity. Significantly, these chronic diseases can be treated, and their impact reduced by improving food access and changing unhealthy eating habits.
Our Food Rx program is designed to help people learn how to use fresh, healthy foods in their diets to manage certain chronic diseases-high blood pressure, type II diabetes, diseases of the kidneys, heart disease, certain cancers and obesity. Our program has provided over 800 healthy meals to people who needed nutritional support in their health support systems. Additionally, the Food Rx program was a premier food distribution partner in the NC DHHS / Duke COVID-19 Social Support Program, delivering some 1,700 healthy food boxes in a 6-month period to people who were directly impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
We have also partnered with local healthcare providers to create a referral program for their patients that can benefit from improving their food choices as part of their healthcare strategies. Patients from participating medical practices can access:
Weekly supply of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit, honey, chicken, and eggs delivered to their medical office via our refrigerated mobile farmers market
Tasting events where they can try healthy dishes
Free recipes for healthy dishes to try at home
Free line dancing, Zumba, Yoga and other physical activity classes
Community Health Workers & Peer Support Specialists
Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of the community they serve. This connection to the community enables them to serve as a liaisons between health and social support services and community members. CHWs work to facilitate community members' access to services and to improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery by the agencies and organizations.
GRRO has a team of trained Community Health Workers deployed across 8 North Carolina Counties: Granville, Nash, Durham, Franklin, Vance, Wake and Warren.
Many members of the CHW Team are trained/certified Peer Support Specialists. Peer Support Specialists help to advance recovery and add value to behavioral health systems shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment. Peer Support Specialists help people become and stay engaged in their recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of mental health treatment into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.
Peer support offers a level of acceptance, understanding, and validation, which are often not found in many other professional treatment relationships. By sharing their own lived experience and practical guidance, Peer Support Specialists help people to develop their own goals, create strategies for self-empowerment, and take concrete steps towards building fulfilling, self-determined lives for themselves.
Connect with us to learn more about these programs and other community initiatives.