Good Bowls are new at the Co-op! Created by Chapel Hill-based company, Equiti Foods, Good Bowls offers a line of healthy frozen meals made here in the Triangle and now available on Durham Co-op’s shelves. Good Bowls were created by UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition professor Dr. Alice Ammerman as a way to use local North Carolina produce, especially seasonal extras and seconds, and make a delicious, nutritious, frozen meal that has a long shelf life and can be used to provide access to healthy food for all North Carolina residents, regardless of income.
Good Bowls started two years ago with selling at a local farmer’s market and has now grown to be available in all co-ops in the region, on the shelves in many of the local universities, and available for home delivery throughout the triangle. They offer 8 different recipes which are all based on the Mediterranean diet featuring abundant seasoned roasted vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils.
One of the missions of Good Bowls is to support the local food system by locally sourcing as many of its ingredients as possible. They are currently produced at the Weaver Street Market Food House, so are tied into the extensive network of local farmers from around the state. Additionally, Good Bowls just recently received the USDA Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grant so over the next three years they will be working to build and promote the local farmer/producer network and bring even more North Carolina grown produce to local residents through their healthy frozen meals.
In addition to locally sourcing their produce, Good Bowls is also on the mission to promote food equity in our North Carolina communities, hence the name Equiti Foods. Their goal is to ensure that through a number of initiatives, all residents have access to nutritious food, regardless of income. Their most popular program, brought on by the pandemic, is the Pay-It-Forward program. During the bi-monthly campaign people from the community donate a meal through the Good Bowls’ website, and they work with a local restaurant to cook a Good-Bowls-style frozen meal that is then donated to food-insecure families in the community. This program not only benefits local restaurants but also donates hundreds of meals a month to families in need. Plus, Good Bowls is rolling out a vending machine program that places Good Bowls at worksites in an effort to give workers that may be in traditionally underserved areas access to healthy food during their workday.
As Good Bowls continues to grow in the coming years, they plan to continue to build a strong local food economy and also expand their food equity initiatives through more worksite wellness programs and by offering Good Bowls at a discounted rate in food deserts throughout the state.