The GCF Farm at Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina (Durham) has donated 20,636 pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina in 2012, more than doubling last year’s amount.
Seven years ago, the Durham Goodwill acquired 13 acres of property next to its headquarters, of which it converted half for the development of a farm. Last year the farm produced 10,000 pounds produce but with the help of a new farm manager, Cullen Whitely and a new volunteer program, the farm was able to double its yield this year. All produce is donated to the local food bank, which values the donations because it has very few sources of fresh produce.
“Next year we’ll donate more than 40,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables to the food bank and our goal the following year will be to double the amount once more,” said Durham Goodwill CEO Dennis McLain.
In addition to the new developments in leadership and volunteerism, the increase in produce is also attributed to expanded garden space and more greenhouse use in colder weather to grow summer vegetables, including cucumbers and tomatoes. The farm also expanded the area under cultivation with the help of volunteers.
The farm has cisterns that can store 120,000 gallons of water captured from the main facility’s roof. The farm’s greenhouse provides seedlings and also produces 200 pounds of vegetables each month. The Durham Goodwill has also started an outreach program giving talks about the farm’s mission and encouraging other companies with sizable property to start vegetable gardens.
The farm received special recognition this October when its entry of a trombone squash garnered first place at the state fair.
For more information visit the GCF Farm website.