Grant Success Stories

Rocky Run Farm

Isaiah Allen and Whitney Allen

Rocky Run Farm

Mission: To grow "good, honest food" including fruits, vegetables and livestock by utilizing sustainable farming practices without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

"We stumbled on this piece of land randomly [while searching for a farm]... One step at a time, we built what we have today. One goal is to be a model for people to see that two people starting from scratch can build a farm and make a living. We continue to do that through grant funds, which have helped out a lot, as well as budgeting, saving our money and being really smart with our purchases."

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Katy Poitras

Cat Tales works to find forever homes for cats while providing a safe, happy environment while they wait to find their perfect person. The cafe partners with Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary to identify cats in shelters in critical need of a second chance, then provides care and places them with foster families before facilitating quality adoptions. The cafe setting provides a space for guests to soak up a visit among the cats and, in turn, socialize them to humans and make them more adoptable.

"North Carolina is consistently among the top three states in the country for cat euthanasia. The only way this statistic will change is through spaying and neutering – we will never adopt our way out of euthanasia. There are simply not enough homes for all the animals born every year.

One of the most effective ways to prevent cats from entering shelters is through trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning (TNVR) community cats. The idea is that semi-social cats who live in communities with people who appreciate them can peacefully live out their lives as long as they're not reproducing. This is where [Cat Tales] comes in, and it's how we'll use our grant funds, which we were thrilled to have recently been awarded from Orange County Economic Development to purchase traps and equipment for TNVR. Our goal is to be a resource to the community by loaning out traps and equipment and offering hands-on training and education about TNVR.

We hope to build a team of volunteers and would love to hear from anyone who has experience in TVNR or who wants to learn. If you're interested, please reach out to"

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Kamal Bell at Sankofa Farms

Kamal Bell
Sankofa Farms

The mission of Sankofa Farms is to get people who are affected by food deserts access to healthy, nutritious food. Through that mission, we've seen that there's an intersection of policy, education, Black land laws and entrepreneurship.

"We've been in operation since 2016 when we first purchased the farm. Everything was covered in trees. In the past seven years, we've slowly built greenhouses and hot tunnels and also implemented a sustainable farming system. We used our grant funds to install irrigation. We were dry farmers the first four years, but now we have automatic irrigation and a well that is 125 feet deep that pumps out a lot of water for us."

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Vimala Rajendran
Vimala's Curryblossom Café

Mission: To prioritize sustainability, accessibility, worker and social justice while serving delicious local food in a warm, hospitable atmosphere that fosters community.  

"I am committed to local agriculture, the local economy and growing the community around wholesome, healthy food. The food we serve is the same food that I served my children as I raised them in this town... The love and care I put into the food that came to my table is the same love and care I put into sourcing the food from local farmers and serving the community. Before the pandemic, we received an Orange County Economic Development Grant, with which we bought two pieces of equipment; a large tilt pan that helps us make huge amounts of food, [which] according to health regulations, we're supposed to cool in a timely manner. So, we bought an ice machine with the rest of the money."
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Stephanie Alston

Black Girl Group

Black Girl Group is on a mission to connect men and women of racially diverse backgrounds to companies seeking to hire or outsource more diverse talent.

"I used my grant funds to hire a business development team. Our revenue increased 5x off that one grant. Orange County chose me. The opportunity to relocate to Orange County showed up for my family and I right before the pandemic began and it has been the best decision of my life."

Owners of Big Spoon Roasters  Opens in new window

Mark and Megan Overbay

Big Spoon Roasters

Mission: To build a healthier relationship with our planet through delicious, nutritious foods made without compromise.

"We found the forever home for our business here in Orange County. It’s the perfect building, it’s the perfect location, and we have been so pleased because of the incredibly supportive business community. The grant money we received allowed us to hire people ahead of the busy holiday season, before there was some growth in our business, and train them – when you have a handcrafted product, training is a big part of what we do – so that they were ready to do the work."
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