1. Project overview, including primary objectives and how it will strengthen the greater valley, community..
The intent of this project is to expand access to healthy, nutritious local food for all members of our community, especially low-income citizens, while providing education, and linking community and economic development and family-self-sufficiency. Community Food Connections (CFC) is requesting support to leverage this work and two of its programs, Farm to School and the Phoenix Public Market, which builds capacity for small, local farmers and micro-businesses. Partnering with Arizona Homegrown Solutions (AZHS) we will reach out to near-by low-income neighborhoods and schools and work together to teach Market customers, school children and community members how to raise and prepare food for themselves to improve their health and generate income, eat healthier, and to support local farmers and businesses, a critical component to healthy bodies and a healthy local economy. CFC and AZHS will host urban farming classes at the Market and at two community gardens on a regular basis. These classes will teach adults and children how to create their own vegetable gardens, raise chickens and implement sustainable growing and environmental practices. They will also encourage children to get involved in and become part of the process, and make healthier food choices. In addition, CFC will strengthen its Farm to School program, which links local farmers to school cafeterias so children receive fresh local produce in their school meals, create school gardens, and receive classroom education by farmers and gardeners. This improves the nutritional content of the children’s meals, supports local farmers and helps children begin to know and respect where their food comes from. CFC staff that have experience working with small farmers and understand packaging requirements for schools and gardening have begun linking these elements together. Without someone assisting the farmers and schools it is difficult for small farmers unaccustomed to the requirements of large schools’ meal programs and schools that only deal with national food distributors, to work together. CFC will be the bridge to get things in place. CFC also serves as a clearing house for schools that need produce but do not know who might have it locally. The project also supports Arizona Home Grown Solutions, which focuses on bringing gardens directly to communities. Their “Designing for Peace” project assists low- income communities in learning how to compost for waste reduction and soil improvements, plant trees for food and passive cooling, build vegetable gardens, and harvest rain water. Once these communities build their gardens and begin producing food they can eat what they need and sell the surplus at the Phoenix Public Market. CFC hosts AZHS at the Phoenix Public Market with its Community Exchange Table where community members that work with AZHS can sell their product for income.
All of these activities, including holding urban farming classes, bringing local food to schools, and raising it in low- income communities, increase citizens’ knowledge of how to live healthier, generate income for low-income residents and small local farmers and gardeners, build community, and share the seed of a new lifestyle for our children.
3. Giving Area(s) supported:
At Risk Citizens
4. Location of the project area (if applicable).
The project will take place at both the Phoenix Public Market in Downtown
Phoenix and at several sites in the Central Phoenix area where gardens can
be planted and programs run by AZHS.
5. Target population(s) served.
The target populations are low-income citizens that lack access to healthy
food, citizens, including children, that are looking to produce more food
themselves, small local farmers struggling to remain viable and school
children who need healthier meals.