FRESH Programs and outcomes to date:
- Since 2005 our “FRESH Crew” program has engaged more than 100 New London teens during 30,000 hours of food security projects and training. Participating youth learn work and life skills, receive leadership training and serve the community. They grow and distribute fresh food, assist in educational projects with children and families, and enjoy a rich first work experience.
- Each year hundreds of students benefit from FRESH presentations and experiential learning opportunities throughout the New London schools.
- Since 2006 FRESH has been growing produce on the FRESH Farm, 5 miles from downtown New London, on the campus of the Waterford Country School (WCS), and using the produce for community celebration and education, and to supply the FRESH Market.
- FRESH Market first ran in 2007, operating from an old parking shuttle (now used as the “FRESH Bus”, as we were able to upgrade our Market vehicle in 2009), was developed as a bridge to fresh food in a transportation poor area. Run by youth, this market serves primarily low-income, elderly eaters. From 2007-2009, 30,000 pounds of FRESH produce has been sold for an average price of 20 cents a pound in under-served neighborhoods of New London. Youth grow and harvest the food, run the market, service customers, collect feedback, and make improvements.
- In early 2007 youth and adult staff together identified our need for an urban, high profile garden in New London. Our site is neighbor to the largest Middle School and Elementary Schools in New London (total of more than 1000 students), as well as the building which houses both the NL Senior Center and Office of Youth Affairs. By 2008 we had transformed the abandoned tennis court from derelict and dangerous into a productive community resource.
- 1000 children have participated intensively (many more have visited!) at this educational site to date through after-school programs and classroom visits.
- CGC hosts 100 community gardeners each year. And new community gardens are springing up throughout New London with our support! From 2007 to 2010 community gardening in New London tripled or better!
- 1000 neighbors and visitors have participated in weekly [summer] lunches, workshops and garden parties since CGC was founded
FRESH Program Goals and Objectives: 2013
Youth Program Goal: Train and engage youth in community food security projects
- 50 youth ages 13-16 will receive 30 hour food systems literacy training which will include hand’s on intro to agriculture, food security primer, intro to culinary, work skills. We will produce a manual for this training and make it available to others.
- 6-8 youth ages 15-19 will be employed and receive on-going job training as key staff for the Farm and Market Programs, as well as assistants in the training programs for younger teens. These youth will participate intensively in the farm and market programs, including helping to develop outreach and educational materials with FRESH Adult Staff, community volunteers, and Interns, and actively delivering these materials at Market Stops, the CSA program community, and at other related events. Through these efforts we will outreach to at least 1000 people in 2013.
- 2-4 Interns will be paid a stipend to spend 300-1000 hours immersed in our projects with a focus on one of our three areas: farm, market, and youth.
- 200 school children ages 5-13 will visit our farm and garden sites for field trips integrating core academic curricula with our brand of experiential education of stewardship and health.
Market Program Goal: Participate in “the marketplace of food and ideas”:
- CSA customers experience increased consumption of local whole foods, receive recipes and other advocacy around home food production and culinary skills. Sliding scale project generates positive cash flow and is accessible to a broad range of eaters. 100 share holders in 2013; FRESH produces 75% of distribution. 5 or more partner pick-up sites, each collaborating with FRESH to publicize and coordinate program.
- Mobile Market- Targeted roving farm stand to increase access and connect food security movement throughout our broad community. 50% EBT SNAP and other restricted income sales. Sell to at least 200 unique customers
- Connect and organize more broadly and generate revenue by vending at special events. Attend and vend at 2-3 events per month from June through November, including 2-3 which include vending added-value/ processed / ready to eat products. Interact with 500+ NLC residents
Farm Program Goal: Produce food and serve as a living classroom for hundreds of trainees, students and volunteers-
- Increase production through improved management and project growth- Utilize 100% of currently developed area, lay ground work for field expansion in 2014, and continue development and execution of fertility and production plans.
- Hold Monthly Workshop/Workdays to include community in the work, educate, celebrate and model working together to transform the food system.
- Enrich educational environment through signage, intentional development of site to promote learning. Improve system for recruiting and retaining volunteers.