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Polk County Community Foundation honors Culberson with food grants

The Polk County Community Foundation recently launched a new grant program to promote the role of local food in creating healthy, sustainable communities. The Paul Culberson Local Food Initiative will award $100,000 for innovative projects that increase the supply and consumption of locally harvested foods.

A statue of Paul Culberson in his garden, by artist Philip Dusenbury, is on display at the Polk County Public. (photo submitted)

The initiative seeks to impact the community by educating members about the importance of local food, growing the demand for local food through increased consumption and supporting the production of quality food by local farmers. Grant proposals that address one or more of these impact areas are now being accepted.
The foundation finds that food touches many issues critical to the well-being of the community. In addition to being healthier for children and adults, fresh food helps build closer connections with one another in the community and conserves energy that would otherwise be used to ship or truck in non-local food.
Issues of food security have recently gained international attention as crop damage and shortages around the world can trigger spikes in costs to local consumers and contamination outbreaks abroad cause alarm here at home. Home-grown investments like this initiative not only address these security issues, they also help preserve farmland by enabling farming to be an economically viable livelihood.
The Polk County Community Foundation’s Board of Directors established these new grants as a tribute to Paul Culberson, who invested decades of his life enhancing the community. Culberson served for 20 years as the volunteer executive director of the Polk County Community Foundation, working to achieve the Foundation’s vision of improving the quality of life for all citizens in Polk County and the surrounding area.
He retired in 1977 as the county extension chair, helping the agricultural community in Polk County during his 31 years with the extension service. He also served as the state president of the NC Agricultural Agents Association.
The Quality Local Food Initiative is in addition to the Culberson Agricultural Development Fund, an endowed fund, which was  established as a perpetual tribute to Paul Culberson and funded by many members of our community.
Paul Culberson Quality Local Food Initiative grant applications are available online at www.polkccf.org or at the Community Foundation’s office and are due by Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 1 p.m.
Local organizations who are interested in submitting a proposal are encouraged to contact Noah Wood, director of grants, to learn more. Creativity is highly encouraged.
For more information contact the Polk County Community Foundation by visiting 255 South Trade Street in Tryon, calling 828-859-5314, or checking online at www.polkccf.org.
-article submitted by Noah Wood