1 out of 8 South Dakotans is food insecure, meaning they don’t have reliable access to the food required for an active, healthy life. 1 in 6 South Dakota children are food insecure. Although food banks and shelters offer food, much of it lacks the nutrients required to maintain a healthy, productive lifestyle. Good health is essential to a strong community. This is where Fork Real comes in.
We believe that everyone deserves access to fresh, nutritious meals and a welcoming environment in which to eat them. We are a “pay what you can” cafe built off of three main ideas:
- REAL people
- Sharing REAL food
- Having REAL conversation
Fork Real currently operates in the lower level of the Creamery building in Rapid City. This is a temporary location while we build awareness of our mission and raise funds for a permanent location. We serve lunch three days a week with a crew of 7-10 volunteers working together to prepare and serve meals to customers in search of a healthy meal and stimulating conversation. Our menu changes daily to incorporate seasonal, local produce into delicious, balanced meals, including meat-free and grain-free options. Flexible “pay what you can” pricing enables all customers to afford a meal, either through monetary donation or by volunteering their time and talents. Our volunteers and patrons reflect the diverse community of Rapid City: from inmate volunteers, to busy professionals, students, and unemployed individuals. Volunteers and patrons alike are encouraged to dine at the community table, where they can share their unique backgrounds, experiences, and skills over something everyone has in common: lunch. Aside from cafe lunches, we offer several other services:
- Free cooking classes for families and individuals with limited budgets, providing them with the knowledge and skills to cook their own healthy meals on a budget.
- Catering services for a wide range of events.
- Meal prep for busy individuals and families who want to incorporate healthy eating into their lives but lack the time required to prepare meals
Money raised on CrowdRise will help Fork Real purchase the food and supplies used in our cooking classes. Class members are taught to cook using a crock pot, electric skillet and a hot plate, as many do not have access to ovens or stoves in their living space. At the completion of the class, members leave with a crockpot or electric skillet, and the skills to prepare healthy, economical meals.
Any additional funding or grant money will be used towards purchasing real estate for a permanent location for the Fork Real Cafe.
Within the next year, Fork Real plans to support the families and individuals in Rapid City, building a stronger community by doing the following:
- operate a mid-size cafe in the East of 5th district serving breakfast, lunch and dinner 6 days a week with a Saturday “family-style” lunch - bowls on the table and seated next to a soon-to-be friend. Our flexible pay-what-you-can pricing and delicious hearty meals will continue to attract people from all walks of life seeking nourishment for their bodies, minds, and souls.
- Expand our educational opportunities, creating a culinary program for inmates and low-income students.
- Hydroponic gardening
- After-school mentoring program
Support Fork Real’s campaign to “put a fork” in the hunger that prevents our community from being the healthiest it can be. Through REAL people, sharing REAL food, having REAL conversation, every member of Rapid City has the ability to make our community strong.