On Labor Day afternoon (Sept. 4 from 2 to 6 p.m.), we’re hosting a concert fundraiser at the beautiful Pluck Farm!

This will be fun for the whole family: Enjoy games, an 18-hole disc golf course, gorgeous scenery, and  delicious cuisine from food trucks. The following food trucks will be on site: Blue Window (Mediterranean fare), Larine’s Kitchen (fried fish, sandwiches, fries), and Alsies (ice cream).

 

Admission is free, and no RSVP is required. 10% of Steel String purchases will support OCLW’s mission. Donations to Orange County Living Wage are encouraged – help us continue to lift wages for the entire community!

The concert will feature performances by Blue Cactus, Mellow Swells, and Titan and Crew (East Chapel Hill High’s jazz band).

This will be a great occasion to celebrate workers and remind our community why we must keep fighting for an economy that works for all.

 

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

Kathleen Shapley-Quinn, MD and Todd Shapley-Quinn, MD
(Kathleen is founder of recently certified living wage employer Carolina Advocates for Climate, Health, and Equity

To commemorate Labor Day, WCHL’s Aaron Keck hosted a panel discussion featuring local workers whose employers are certified with us. Tammy Price from Chapel Hill Transit, Alaina Plauche from Meantime Coffee, and Ben Sellers from Ten Mothers Farm reflected on what it means to be paid a living wage. OCLW’s Susan Romaine and Andrea Cash spoke about our organization’s history and mission. Listen to the audio clips via WCHL’s website. 

And don’t forget to take part in our social media campaign this Labor Day weekend.  In a separate segment, Aaron and his husband Brad talked about their date night plans that will include stops at living wage employers like Belltree, Lantern, Epilogue, and more.

Carrboro Farmers’ Market

Between Sept. 1 and Labor Day on Sept. 5, we encourage you to show some love for Orange County’s living wage employers! Thank them for helping to create a more just and sustainable local economy that works for all! Check out our directory and make plans to spend some of your dollars with one or more businesses/organizations on our roster. Then, post to social media using our hashtag – #OrangeCountyNCLivingWage – between Sept. 1 and Sept. 5. And be sure to tag Orange County Living Wage and the employer you’re featuring!

A bit of background: While the federal minimum wage hasn’t budged from $7.25 per hour in more than 13 years, Orange County

Living Wage’s 2022 living wage is $15.85 per hour, or $14.35 per hour if the employer pays at least half the cost of health insurance. We commend the approximately 250 living wage employers currently on our roster – more than 8,500 employees work for them.

Since our nonprofit was founded in 2015, OCLW living wage employers have collectively raised wages by $2.7 million – money that is often spent right here in our backyard!

Thank you for showing your appreciation for these positive change makers in our local economy!

Meantime Coffee

 

Rebecca Scothorn (Market Ambassador), Nandini Singh (UNC MPH Practicum Student), Maggie Funkhouser (Market Manager), Laura Perez (Market Assistant Manager). Photo by Tom Simon.

BY ROXANA BOYD

Kellogg’s Breakfast, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, and Super Sweet 100. On Saturday, July 9, from 8:30 a.m. and until noon, these tomato varieties and dozens more will be on full display during the Carrboro Farmers’ Market Tomato Day. The annual event returns to Carrboro Town Commons for the first time since 2019, after pausing for safety reasons during the pandemic.

Tomato Day draws upward of 6,000 people, making it the Market’s biggest day of the year.

“Tomatoes are a big deal around here,” says Maggie Funkhouser, the Market’s manager, with a laugh. “They’re big enough for us to have a day dedicated to them.”

This year, in addition to the traditional tastings, visitors can taste tomato flights to sample the many varieties. The event will also feature live music, recipes, and special merchandise like Tomato Day shirts and posters. Ricky Moore of Durham’s Saltbox Seafood Joint – who  won the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast just a few weeks ago – will serve tasting portions of chilled yellow tomato soup with summer garden garnishes. “This is sort a homecoming for me,” he recently posted on social media, “because when I move here 14 years [ago] I worked in Carrboro and I spent a lot of time at the market and bonded with many of the farmers during that time.”

The farmers not only sell their tomatoes but share their knowledge and recommendations with customers, whether they have a recipe in mind or are searching for inspiration.

“It’s really beautiful in that way,” says Maggie. “It’s a wonderful chance to learn about this special fruit, special vegetable, and the farmers that just adore it and really put a lot of love into growing them every year.”

The farmer-customer relationship sets Carrboro Farmers’ Market apart, even on normal market days. Owners must be present during market hours for a certain number of weeks, giving customers a great sense of respect and trust when it comes to the products and where they come from, Maggie says.

The Market, one of the oldest and largest in North Carolina, is thrilled to be one of the 315 (and counting) certified living wage employers in Orange County – their certification became official last month. 

“It’s a point of pride to be able to offer it, but it also is an expression of gratitude,” says Maggie. “It’s a way to appreciate staff members who work really hard and are really good at what they do.”

She and two other part-time staff members work as a team and rely on support from interns, students, the Market’s Board, volunteers, and the community at large.

“We have a really small team, but we do really big things, and we all wear a lot of hats,” she says. Managing the market, communicating with vendors, posting to social media, and writing grants – they do it all.

Maggie learned about the Orange County Living Wage certification program through living wage employers in the community – market vendors, restaurants, and others, including the Town of Carrboro.

“We have a really wonderful relationship [with the Town of Carrboro], and there’s a lot of mutual support,” she says. “Certainly, them being living wage certified is a hugely impactful thing, and it affected me.”

Two of the Market’s vendors are living wage certified – Chapel Hill Creamery and Short Winter Soups.

Flo Hawley of Chapel Hill Creamery. Photo by Tom Simon.

Flo Hawley, owner of Chapel Hill Creamery, wants her employees to be happy. “We want to be fair. We know that things in this area are good for sales, but it’s also expensive to live here, and housing is always an issue,” she says.

“[A living wage] means I can hold down just one job,” says Allana Frost, who works for Short Winter Soups. “I live with a partner, and together we can afford a mortgage and food and take care of ourselves.”

A living wage helps recruit and retain employees during a time when staffing seems to be difficult for everyone, says Flo. She believes her employees stick around because they enjoy local food and working with their hands.

Alanna Frost, kitchen manager at Short Winter Soups, helps customers at a recent market. Photo by Tom Simon.

The importance of local food came into clear view in the last few years, when the pandemic exposed a fragile food system and supply chain, Maggie says.

“We all acknowledge that we need to work together towards a stronger, more resilient local food system,” she says.

Shoppers found empty shelves at grocery stores, but the Carrboro Farmers’ Market could offer those products every single week, Maggie says.

“There’s a real symbiosis in Carrboro,” she says. “We have such a wonderful robust farmers’ market, and we have restaurants that are really interested in featuring local food.”