A Community Outreach Update – Fall 2021

Hello Durham Co-op greater community, it is your favorite Community Outreach Coordinator here with another Co-op updates. As the seasons changes and bring us inside and closer together we are doing our best at the co-op to work with community.

October has come and gone and our monthly giveaway with it, nothing says Halloween like a lovely orange gourd carved or painted on your doorstep, and we hope all of our owners enjoyed the free pumpkins this season. We may not have gotten to see the ways you made your porches most appropriate for the safely distance tricks and treats you might have invited this year. What we do know is that we were part of many seasonal traditions this year in community and were happy to provide donations of pumpkins where we could.

Our neighbors in the Lakewood at the Lyon Park Community center held a lovely seasonal event, a Hallowed Halloween Harvest Festival that featured stories from community elders and tales of local black, brown, and native histories in Durham. In fact we were also apart f a motivational history telling scavenger hunt that referenced the history of our co-op’s campus as a former brickyard that was owned by the Uncle of famed Durham poet, activist, and religious leader Pauli Murray.

We were happy to provide them with space at our picnic tables for their “build your dream” activity. As well, we donated 55 pumpkins to the Lyon Park center to also aid in the celebration of all things autumnal.

A local teacher reached out to our produce manager Gus, for donations of pumpkins to have a conversation about the anatomy of the plant. We were happy to oblige and always want to support deeper understandings of how food grows and what comes before we enjoy the produce we sell.

As the month drew to a close our pumpkins did find their way into some most fuzzy of hands, or rather paws and hoofs. As a part of or attempt to create as little waste as possible we donated pumpkins to some of the local farms and animal rescues in the area.

In fact, we made a lovely drive out to the Animal Park at the Conservator’s center to provide some enrichment items for the many large cats that have a home there. If you check out their social media you’d find lovely pics of Lynx, Leopards, and tigers (Oh My!) making great fun out of our left over gourds.

Our pumpkins didn’t just provide amusement, they also provided nutrition. We are happy to say that both left over pumpkins and produced culled from the floor, as only to insure the best possible produce selections when you shop, have been a part of a recent community partner we have found in Hux Family Farm.

Hux Family farm is a lovely setup some 20min outside of the city where residents can enjoy the many goats that act as both ambassador and instructors for the farms goat yoga, held weekly. They many kids, and their sires, enjoyed the yummy pumpkins. Fun fact, their seeds are a great natural de-wormer, which is fortunate as we all know de-wormers are becoming harder to come by nowadays.

Gourds weren’t the only thing we were providing this season, oh no, we have already participated in some lovely seasonal events. Immacualta Middle School received an amazing fair-trade woven basket filled with even more lovely products and goodies from some of our black owned vendors.

Also, co-op owners who are on top of our newsletter should be familiar with one of our ongoing partnerships with CEF. The, Community Empowerment Fund, held their annual Piggy Bank Bash. This year it was safely streamed online and like any other year we are happy to support through the donation of a raffle prize. We know that without organizations like CEF teaching and assisting in financial literacy and utilizing community to empower those who are in need of support many would not have access to the homes, cars, education, and many other resources they utilize every day.

CEF is always looking for community volunteers to be CEF members. Please consider visiting https://communityempowermentfund.org/ or checking out their Durham location in the M&F bank local offices.

We also donated some pomegranates and persimmons to the fine establishment of Alley 26 downtown this year. They are an amazing bar and restaurant, but if you haven’t tried some of their grab and go fixin’s or cocktail ingredients like the simple syrups I’m sure the produce is headed for, that please stop by our specialty department or make a trip over to them, I know you won’t be disappointed.

Finally, November came to a close we were happy to donate to these many community partners, and are happy to say that turkey’s made it to many dinner tables thanks to the efforts of Fatherhoodofdurham.org and a local community partner named Angel who has been utilizing our prepared foods and produce to give directly to those in community out on the streets and to work with Urban Minsitries.

We are always happy to be doing what we can to be in community and we always want to know what you think. If you have any ideas or suggestions for ways for the co-op to remain with community please email raafe@durham.coop, and remember Everyone Welcome.