Build the Hill is the latest project of the Carolina Microfinance Initiative, a student group that co-founded a microfinance bank in Guatemala City in 2010. Now they turn their gaze closer to home; the aim of Build the Hill is to connect local entrepreneurs, or would-be entrepreneurs, with small amounts of affordable capital to help them expand or start-up businesses. They will combine this with an offer of pro-bono consulting services provided by students, a service that they are calling social consultancy. They are in the process of connecting their first client, Heide’s Gourmet Butter Mints, to an interest-free loan of $5,000 and are also developing the client’s website, online store and Facebook page.
Carolina Sanitation Initiative
Ankit Bilgi ’18
Hiren Gihwala ’18
Two UNC students envisioned the Carolina Sanitation Initiative upon seeing the lack of sanitation awareness in the country their families are from. They recognized that the problem wasn’t necessarily a lack of resources in the region but rather a lack of knowledge on the proper methods of sanitation. The Carolina Sanitation Initiative will be working with the international nonprofit organization CORD India to develop a sanitation curriculum as well as mechanisms that will be implemented within the schools and youth groups in Thamaraipakkam, India.
Hannah Sloan ’18
Gabrielle Beaudry ’18
FreshSpire is a multifaceted notification system that connects consumers and grocers by alerting nearby shoppers of time-sensitive deals on produce. This system helps budget-conscious families afford traditionally more expensive nutritious foods and liquidates perishable produce inventories before they reach landfills. By advertising food that would otherwise be thrown out, FreshSpire addresses gaps in effective food distribution without increasing food production, and increases the opportunity for all socio-economic classes to afford a nutritious diet. The FreshSpire mobile application will also provide an expiration date calendar to reduce waste at the household level. Additionally, part of the FreshSpire mission includes forwarding a portion of proceeds to local food banks. The five co-founders of FreshSpire, Inc. began this project their senior year of high school and incorporated during the summer of 2014. The FreshSpire team is passionate about social innovation, sustainable ideas, and doing their best to make a positive impact.
Heavenly Groceries Community Cookbook
Alexander Peeples ’18
Ayat Soufan ’15
Kristian Curry ’15
Jemeia Kollie ’17
Heavenly Groceries is a local food bank located in Chapel Hill. About 50 people come each morning and another 40 come each afternoon. Many of the people that come are supporting large families and need to bring as much food home as possible. During food distribution, recipients select the food they want from a variety of healthy choices. The issue is that often clients do not know how to utilize all of the food so some of it goes to waste. The fellowship project solution is to create a cookbook with recipes that use many of the most common donations. Since many of those who come to Heavenly Groceries are sometimes homeless,the cookbook will also include a section about recipe options that don’t require a traditional kitchen so that they, too, can benefit from the full range of the donations. The final component of the project is to request recipe submissions from the local neighborhood. As a community-led organization, Heavenly Groceries wants to make sure any action has neighborhood input. This input could be encouraged with two recipe prizes. Plans are to distribute the cookbook through other local food banks as well.
The Sonder Market is a student-run, worker-consumer, not-for-profit, food cooperative that brings local, affordable and healthy food directly to UNC’s campus. The goal is not only to provide the Carolina community with fresh food but also to foster relationships between consumers and farmers by bringing transparency to the processes in which food travels from farm to plate. Additionally, Sonder Market’s campus presence encourages healthy eating habits and provides vocational opportunities for agricultural entrepreneurs looking for change by operating as an open organization. In the past year, Sonder members collaborated to create an extensive business plan, established relationships with local farmers to sell us produce, and secured the rights necessary to sell on campus. The Sonder Market officially launched on UNC’s campus on Oct. 27, 2014 and continues to grow.