The City of Henderson donated a number of vacant lots to GRRO, which has engaged community members of all ages in cleaning up the lots, tilling and planting the land, and creating community gardens and greenhouses. Participating growers get training on how to grow the best produce, and they are on their way to getting organic certification and receiving USDA funding and technical assistance. Recently, two of the lots were GAP (Good Agricultural Practices)-certified for 23 different crops, which can now be sold to schools, hospitals and other institutional markets.

GRRO and its sister organization, the Southern Organic Female Farmers Association, which actively recruits and engages women in the farming and gardening programs, recently launched a new model of urban self-supporting agriculture that provides increased access to healthy local food and improved training/certification so small organic producers can reach new markets. Together, these groups are keeping Henderson’s people and its environment healthy.

Our Role

Through our Resourceful Communities program, we provided a grant to GRRO that supported demonstration “micro-market urban farms” and Farm Only Grocery Stands. We’ve also provided a range of technical assistance through workshops and one-on-one consultations, supporting stronger project planning/evaluation, marketing, crop planning and consumer/customer outreach.

This is part of Resourceful Communities’ efforts to target the “food deserts” of North Carolina. Food deserts are typically rural areas where people do not have easy access to markets or stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Henderson’s micro-farms increase the region’s food security – a stable and sustainable source of food.

Why This Project Matters

Our Resourceful Communities program works with grassroots organizations to improve economically and socially distressed rural communities in a way that preserves its natural character and unique culture. In Henderson, our partnership with GRRO is creating job opportunities, training small-scale farmers to be profitable, and increasing access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables for low-income consumers. As a result, the neighborhood is greener and residents are spending more time outdoors.

Learn More

Blog: Micro-Farms Making an Impact in Henderson, NC
News Article: Residents, city, county work together to green Henderson (The Daily Dispatch)
Resourceful Communities’ Initiatives on Food Security