Executive Chef Renee Boughman saw people struggling with food insecurity in the North Carolina high country near her hometown of Boone and wanted to make a difference. By using her talents as a chef she rallied others to start a nonprofit restaurant that is completely pay what you can where everyone from millionaires to homeless people routinely sit next to each other to enjoy a meal where most of the ingredients are locally sourced. As a result she has served over 115,000 meals since opening in 2012.
"The F.A.R.M. Café started out as a concept where we would be able to feed people of less means and do it in a community restaurant setting where people could come together and eat together in a way that gave dignity and allowed them to share their stories if they chose to."
EXECUTIVE CHEF OF F.A.R.M. CAFÉ
Feed All Regardless of Means (F.A.R.M.) Cafe is a donate-what-you-can restaurant in Boone, NC, where no one is denied a meal due to an inability to pay. Individuals unable to make suggested donations are encouraged to volunteer an hour of their time in exchange. Patrons unable to contribute time or a monetary donation can utilize “pay-it-forward tokens” (purchased by other patrons) at the cafe.
In May of 2018, the cafe launched its food recovery and redistribution program, F.A.R.M. Full Circle. In its first year of operation, staff and volunteers diverted over 15,000 of usable foods from the landfill and distributed over 20,000 servings of produce and prepared meals to agencies serving food insecure individuals at no charge.
Since opening in 2012, F.A.R.M. Cafe has served over 115,000 meals made from fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. Twenty percent or 23,000 meals have been provided to individuals exchanging tokens, volunteer time, or less than the suggested donation price.