Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today that it will sponsor an edible Victory Garden at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. A shared project with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Bland Landscaping and the Durham Bulls, the garden will contribute to Durham’s edible landscaping initiatives.
Blue Cross NC’s investment will subsidize the costs of the garden for its first three years, including initial expenses to convert the space into a garden. The garden and surrounding green space’s conversion will be complete this spring.
“The garden will help connect and unite our community around food,” said Cheryl Parquet, Director of Strategic Community Investments of Blue Cross NC. “The best way to understand the relationship between our local food system and food insecurity is to see it in action. This interactive space will teach students, families and the community where their food comes from and will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s efforts to address hunger in downtown Durham.”
The collaborative project, designed and installed by Bland Landscaping, will convert a 1,600 square foot area of existing decorative plants along Jackie Robinson Drive to an edible garden for education, inspiration, and produce collection throughout the year. Through the garden, the community will learn about food systems, with all produce gathered and shared through Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Mobile Markets and agency partners
“The Victory Garden is a distinctive project, and we’re delighted to have the support of Blue Cross NC,” said George Habel, Vice President of Special Projects for the Capitol Broadcasting Company, the parent company of the Durham Bulls. “This alliance of invested partners will help our community thrive through access and education as it relates to growing food locally.”
In addition to the Durham Bulls Victory Garden, Blue Cross NC will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle through a day of service at Thrive NC presented by Blue Cross NC. On Friday, May 11, more than 100 Blue Cross NC and Thrive NC volunteers will pack 600 bags for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Backpack Buddies Program.
The BackPack Buddies program provides more than 2,300 children with nutritious groceries for a weekend, when free school breakfast and lunch are not provided. According to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, one in four children in North Carolina is at risk of hunger.
Volunteers will also pack groceries for Wake County senior citizens in need. Bags will include fresh produce and nonperishable items to provide supplemental groceries.
Thrive NC also includes a two-day food festival, scheduled for May 10 and 11 at City Market in Raleigh. Tickets to the Thrive NC food festival cost $30 per night, and include unlimited food and drink samples, access to public cooking demonstrations from award-winning chefs, and live music throughout the night. Tickets are available at goThriveNC.com. All ticket sale proceeds will be donated to North Carolina nonprofits that address issues related to food insecurity.
Contact: Chris Vurnakes