hat would happen in our community if no one went hungry? If every man, woman and child had healthy food to eat every day? If no family or person had to worry about where they would find their next meal? What could be accomplished in our schools if every child showed up with a full belly, in a healthy state of mind and ready to take on the world? What would happen if local parents could spend more time focused on their work during the day than how they will buy dinner for their families at night? What would the High Country look like if everyone could afford healthy food? One local nonprofit is not only looking for the answers to these questions, but also working toward them one day at a time. Feed All Regardless of Means — that’s the idea behind downtown Boone’s pay-as-you-can F.A.R.M. Café, which has effectively turned the tables on the restaurant world (and the nonprofit world, for that matter).
See the Need
Although small tables are available for folks who’d like a little privacy, most diners enjoy making new friends and meeting new faces through community seating and shared lunch counters at F.A.R.M. Café in downtown Boone.
Story by Jessica Isaacs Photography by Peter Morris
Like most folks across the nation, residents of the High Country were affected by the economic downturn in 2008. The following year, Renee Boughman, who had been working in fine dining for several years, couldn’t help but notice that her hometown hadn’t done much healing and that a lot of people continued to suffer. “I had been listening to programs on the radio, reading the local newspaper and talking to people,” she said. “I knew folks from the Hospitality House, so I knew there was a problem with food insecurity.” With neighbors in need tugging at her heartstrings, Boughman got a few friends together to begin a discussion about what they could do to help. “We had our first organizing meeting, if you want to call it that, at the public library. It was myself, Andy Long, who is the current chef/owner at Over Yonder restaurant in Valle Crucis, and Shelley Wilson, the minister of High Country United Church of Christ,” Boughman explained. “We all went to the same church together, so the idea kind of blossomed out of that community, but we quickly knew it wasn’t that select.” A brainstorming session sparked an interesting idea that they were each willing and excited to get behind. “We were originally thinking about starting some type of culinary program that would help train people who were unOctober / November 2016
High Country Magazine