The 2023 Rural Food Forum

presented by the Green Rural Redevelopment Organization

and the Eva Clayton Rural Food Institute

Thursday, January 12, 2023
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Vance-Granville Community College
Civic Center

The Rural Food Forum will engage our stakeholders in Eastern North Carolina in an in-depth conversation around access to Healthy Foods and its importance to individuals and community health, sharing their experience and informing our priorities in the future. 


The Agenda
"Healthy Food for All."

Please note that agenda items and times are subject to change. Additional information and speakers will be added soon.

8:30 a.m. | Registration Opens 

9:00-9:30 a.m. |  Welcome/The Launch of The Rural Food Institute 

We will hear from GRRO founders Henry and Ardis Crews and Executive Director of the Eva Clayton Rural Food Institute Ms. Earline Middleton on the importance of growing rural communities and ensuring access to health foods.


9:30-10:15 a.m.  | Plenary- Setting the stage
This plenary will set the table for what the attendees will experience for the day and share what’s happening in the sphere of food, health and nutrition. 

10:15-10:30 a.m.  | Break

10:30-11:15 a.m.   |   Breakout Sessions 

10:30-11:15 a.m. |  Session A - The Realities of Rural and the availability of Healthy Food

A conversation about food systems in our communities:

  • Bringing in the voices of the community to discuss the realities of rural food systems, barriers, successes, resources. 

  • Express why rural food is so important and the health indicators 

  • Rural areas suffer from food insecurities and certain health disparities

10:30-11:15 a.m. |  Session B - A Conversation about Research, Resources and Results 
Bringing a panel of institutional voices together to discuss the challenges of programming in rural communities and what currently is being done in rural spaces. 

10:30-11:15 a.m. |  Session C - Equity and Racism in Food Systems

The role and influence racism plays on health and food systems. Barriers and work that’s being done to overcome. 

11:15-12:30 a.m.  | Lunch

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.   |   Food for Thought: A panel conversation with current and

former congressional members

What’s going on in the food system space and what role public policy plays in helping move the needle as it relates to food. 

What work can be done to influence policy in the farm bill?                      

12:30-12:45 p.m. | Break

12:45-1:30 p.m. | Breakout Sessions

12:45-1:30 p.m. | Session D - Tailored Care Plans

What is tailored care and how NC will be addressing the needs of food for Medicaid recipients. Also speak on the importance of managing the care of their recipients. How this program will be implemented in rural communities. 

12:45-1:30 p.m. | Session E - School Nutrition: From Kindergarten to Grad School

What does school nutrition focus on, the scope of the role nutrition programs and the educational system plays in talking about food for children, to pantries in high schools and on college campuses. How programs like farm to preschool can work. 

12:45-1:30 p.m. |  Session F - Farm for Health, Access, and Profit

The role food hubs play in supporting rural farms/farmers and local fresh food distribution. How farmers and food hubs become profitable through collaboration. 

1:30-1:45 p.m. | Break

1:45-2:30 p.m.  | Table Facilitation

Let’s start talking about ideas and solutions that will work in our unique rural communities. 

2:30-2:40 p.m. | Break

2:40-3:25 p.m. |  Session G - Emergency Food Providers

The role emergency food providers play in rural communities when it's not an emergency.


Talk about how programs have become normalized and operate on a daily basis. How they’ve had to become more innovative in their programming to ensure they can accommodate the growing number of people seeking their assistance. 

3:25-3:35 p.m. | Break

3:35-4:15 p.m. | The Funders 

Talk about the programs you all are providing in rural communities and how you all are addressing the needs of these communities. 


You will also hear from attendees regarding what is needed as far as resources to better serve in these communities. 

4:15-4:30 p.m.  | Closing Thoughts and Next Steps

Forum Outcomes

  • The further development of GRRO's Rural Food Institute
    (Information and insight to launch) 

  • The Rural Food Institute will develop trusting relationships to collaborate on other food issues in rural communities.

  • Establish a set of statewide measurable recommendations regarding access to health food in rural areas

  • Further development of a Rural Food Council