Engaging and Empowering for Change
While challenges surrounding food, poverty and education are numerous, the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation is dedicated to identifying the countless solutions. This young nonprofit organization is focused on engaging and connecting emerging leaders and community-based organizations working in these areas to make a positive impact, according to Nation Hahn, founder of the nonprofit.
“We believe the issues we’ve chosen to address—food, poverty and education—are super-interconnected,” Hahn said. He and recently named Executive Director Alexis Trost are focused on finding solutions that cut across all three topics. “If you have a 26% percent poverty rate, the education system will not be the education system we all want it to be. And until we build a more vibrant local food economy and local food system, we cannot address food insecurity.”
A Moveable Gathering for Good was held in July in Raleigh.
The work of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, started just last year, is still evolving but its Gathering for Good events are gaining traction. These events are designed to engage people in productive conversation, planning an overall vision and figuring out next steps together.
Some of the Gathering for Good events have brought people together to talk about the emerging Raleigh Food Corridor, which Hahn said is a connector in Raleigh designed to link diverse parts of the city and organizations that want to eliminate hunger, provide access to quality food, educate the community on healthier choices and empower people to grow their own food, businesses and neighborhoods.
“We’ve looked at projects that can tackle the issues we’re concerned about, and we jumped on board with the concept of the Raleigh Food Corridor because it cuts across all the boundaries of food, poverty and education,” Hahn said. While the organization is interested in regional and even state-wide progress on these fronts, focusing on something as grassroots as the Raleigh Food Corridor is a great way to focus energy.
“The Food Corridor is only about 2.5 miles long, so you can really harness the energy and cluster nonprofit and donor dollars and civic energy to have a greater impact. Our hope is that this cluster will then spin out to impact other parts of the city, such as Southeast Raleigh, the State Farmers Market and then beyond to the larger local food system,” Hahn said.
This illustration depicts the many events of the July Second Saturday event. Check the Second Saturday Facebook page to see what’s happening this Saturday!
(Image by Caryn Sterling, www.drawinginsight.com)
The Foundation exists to accomplish a number of goals, but the overarching theme is civic engagement, Hahn said. The Second Saturday events, which kicked off early this summer and are modeled after First Friday events in Raleigh bringing attention to the arts, focus on local food issues, and present a great opportunity for civic engagement. So Hahn and Trost have joined Second Saturday organizers in planning, coordinating and promoting various local food events for these days.
Last month, they hosted a Moveable Gathering for Good – an interactive walking tour of Raleigh exploring local foodways, existing food assets and areas with room for growth, as well as a service project with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Activate Good where over 50 volunteers came together to turn a vacant lot in to a collection of raised beds in Southeast Raleigh.
Second Saturdays are gaining momentum; over 75 people joined the walking tour last. And Hahn said people are now approaching his organization to see how they can plug into the conversation and the movement.
This Saturday, August 9, will feature numerous Second Saturday events where all in the community are invited to participate, learn and get engaged. Events will include another interactive Gathering for Good exploring food and its relationship to place and volunteer activities throughout downtown Raleigh. Sign up here online and follow Second Saturday on Facebook.
Inspired by the legacy of Jamie Kirk Hahn, the Foundation is working to help individuals and organizations built their capacity to build a healthier, equitable, and more vibrant community and region. This work is channeled through training programs and convenings around critical issues in North Carolina. Visit www.jamiekirkhahnfoundation.org to learn more and to see how you can connect into this work.