Riot at New Sarum: Nonprofit celebrates local ties with weekend event

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023

SALISBURY — Sometimes, supporting a nonprofit organization is as simple as going downtown for a good time.

On Saturday, Riot at New Sarum, Bread Riot’s annual fundraiser, saw a parking lot and brewery packed with plenty of people all there to champion a cause they recognize and support.

“People here know Bread Riot and want to support us in a fun way,” said Jessica Moorman, a Bread Riot board member. “A lot of times when we are out at events, people we meet have never heard of us. People who come here want to come here and support us.”

To buy produce from local farmers for its local programs, Bread Riot raises funds through donors and grants, but once a year, its organizers collaborate with New Sarum Brewing Company for an all-day event.

It’s an informal celebration of local foods, brews and music.

“This is our annual event,” Bread Riot Vice President Tirsh Dunn said. “We used to do a farm-to-fork dinner, but it was hard to coordinate.”

“This is more about bringing awareness to what we do and how we support the community and the local farmers. It’s less focused on having a farm-to-fork dinner and more about how people in the community can help our organization.”

Moorman added, “Its sort of like a local celebration. There are local bands, local vendors and New Sarum even did an experimental beer with muscadine (grapes).

Bands, including The Stokes and The CJ Sunshine Band, provided musical stylings for visitors who could try their luck in a raffle or enter a silent auction with various gift baskets.

“A lot of folks from the community contribute to the baskets that go into the auction,” Dunn said. “A lot of those are farmers and local vendors, so there is very much a local vibe.”

Moorman said that Bread Riot sold event T-shirts plus logo mugs handmade by Pottery 101.

That the event features such a hyper-local focus is appropriate given Bread Riot’s mission of supporting local farmers.

Through the organization’s summer programs, nearly 10,000 pounds of local produce was distributed, more than 750 people served fresh food, and 17 small farmers benefitted.

“We support small farmers in Rowan County by purchasing their produce,” Dunn said. “We do that through grants and fundraising (such as events like Riot at New Sarum).

“We purchase from the farmers and then take that produce to places where they don’t have fresh food, like low-income senior housing where they can’t get out.”

The organization also creates an outlet for selling produce so that farmers can still move their produce during the winter months when farmers markets are not typically in season.

“(Our programs) allow us to support local farmers in the winter when the farmers market is closed and allows people who want to buy that fresh produce to still do so,” Moorman said.