RALEIGH, N.C. (March 21, 2018) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today that it will sponsor an edible Victory Garden at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. A shared project with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Bland Landscaping and the Durham Bulls, the garden will contribute to Durham’s edible landscaping initiatives.

Blue Cross NC’s investment will subsidize the costs of the garden for its first three years, including initial expenses to convert the space into a garden. The garden and surrounding green space’s conversion will be complete this spring.

“The garden will help connect and unite our community around food,” said Cheryl Parquet, Director of Strategic Community Investments of Blue Cross NC. “The best way to understand the relationship between our local food system and food insecurity is to see it in action. This interactive space will teach students, families and the community where their food comes from and will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s efforts to address hunger in downtown Durham.”

The collaborative project, designed and installed by Bland Landscaping, will convert a 1,600 square foot area of existing decorative plants along Jackie Robinson Drive to an edible garden for education, inspiration, and produce collection throughout the year. Through the garden, the community will learn about food systems, with all produce gathered and shared through Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Mobile Markets and agency partners

“The Victory Garden is a distinctive project, and we’re delighted to have the support of Blue Cross NC,” said George Habel, Vice President of Special Projects for the Capitol Broadcasting Company, the parent company of the Durham Bulls. “This alliance of invested partners will help our community thrive through access and education as it relates to growing food locally.”

In addition to the Durham Bulls Victory Garden, Blue Cross NC will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle through a day of service at Thrive NC presented by Blue Cross NC. On Friday, May 11, more than 100 Blue Cross NC and Thrive NC volunteers will pack 600 bags for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Backpack Buddies Program.

The BackPack Buddies program provides more than 2,300 children with nutritious groceries for a weekend, when free school breakfast and lunch are not provided. According to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, one in four children in North Carolina is at risk of hunger.

Volunteers will also pack groceries for Wake County senior citizens in need. Bags will include fresh produce and nonperishable items to provide supplemental groceries.

Thrive NC also includes a two-day food festival, scheduled for May 10 and 11 at City Market in Raleigh. Tickets to the Thrive NC food festival cost $30 per night, and include unlimited food and drink samples, access to public cooking demonstrations from award-winning chefs, and live music throughout the night. Tickets are available at goThriveNC.com. All ticket sale proceeds will be donated to North Carolina nonprofits that address issues related to food insecurity.



About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. 

About Thrive NC

Thrive NC presented by Blue Cross NC celebrates how communities thrive when they are healthy and active. Thrive NC is a two-day event featuring an immersive culinary experience with contributions from top chefs and restaurants, live music, and an opportunity to give back through community service. A collaborative summit will kick off the event to engage stakeholders in meaningful conversations to address statewide food system challenges. Join us to discover how food brings us together at the inaugural Thrive NC presented by Blue Cross NC on Thursday, May 10 and Friday, May 11 in Downtown Raleigh at City Market.

About Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle pioneers innovative, transformative solutions designed to end hunger in our community. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is a nonpartisan, 501c3 non-profit organization and a member of the Feeding America National Network of Food Banks.  As a Feeding America Food Bank, we recover and distribute food to our low-income neighbors, but we know putting food on a plate is not enough. We also provide programs designed to empower people with skills to meet their own food needs through culinary job training, beginner gardening, and cooking healthy on a budget. We feed, teach, and grow to create a hunger-free and healthy community.



Melissa Biediger, Communications Specialist – Blue Cross NC melissa.biediger@bcbsnc.com or (919) 770-4092 

Jeff Kleiber, Event Executive Director – Octagon, event manager of Thrive NC jeff.kleiber@octagon.com or (919) 531-0240 

Chris Vurnakes, Sr. Event Coordinator – Octagon, event manager of Thrive NC christopher.vurnakes@octagon.com or (919) 451-4602 


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