New Nonprofit Produce Purpose Plants Itself in Raleigh

New nonprofit producing social change

Poised to grow some good is Produce Purpose, a new 501(c)(3) planting its roots in Raleigh. The sustainably focused org has entered into contract with William Peace University to carry out its mission of facing myriad social problems simultaneously—from special needs unemployment rates and climate change to arable farmland crises and campus nutrition issues.

“Produce Purpose provides desperately needed meaningful employment to people with special needs through on-campus hydroponic farming,” explains Executive Director Matthew Harvey. “In doing so, it promotes healthy nutrition for on-campus dining, a multitude of immersive learning opportunities for the academic curriculum, and appreciation for the special needs community within the greater campus culture.”

The nonprofit operates through hydroponic farms—essentially growing plants sans soil—which translates to hands-on tasks that lend well to the special needs community, whose work leads to fresh and healthy fare heading to campus dining halls and onto students’ plates. … Everybody wins! 

For Harvey, this organization’s MO is personal—his brother Gregory has autism, leaving Harvey to be his eventual sole caregiver. So, Harvey operates the nonprofit with a goal of providing for his brother’s future, along with others in the special needs community.

Looking ahead, Produce Purpose plans to continue partnering with more schools throughout the Triangle. To boot, keep your eyes—and appetite!—out for the org’s first harvest this fall (fingers crossed for September). 

“Produce Purpose is a true nonprofit that strives to make a profound impact not only on the lives of those with special needs and their families, but also all members of the William Peace University academic community,” says Harvey. “It is our hope that like-minded people who are committed to such important social issues will support this endeavor.”

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Suarez

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.