FRESH's Annual Appeal!
December 11, 2019
As the year draws to a close, FRESH New London is reflecting back on a year of change and constancy, of maturation and great new opportunities!
We are so grateful for dedicated volunteers, talented young people and generous donors.
Some 2019 Highlights:
· A commitment from the City of New London that FRESH will maintain our large urban farming site at the corner of Mercer and Williams!
· Agricultural Expansion: FRESH grew more than 6,000 pounds of food for NL residents on eight sites throughout the City (we grew on 3 sites in 2018). Thanks to the leadership of Sean, our Farm and Project Manager-- and a partnership with Connecticut College--we plan to grow even more next year!
· Snack Beds: This innovative approach to getting fresh, local food to people started as a brainstorm at the first community meeting for the Five Year Master Plan for Urban Agriculture. In 2019, FRESH built a total of 21 snack beds at 4 different locations! We planted strawberries, peas, cherry tomatoes & other easy to harvest snacks for community members.
· Community Supported Agriculture: We piloted a small “veggie subscription” with a weekly harvest of produce for 12 families, most of whom were low income and received the CSA shares at no cost. In 2020, we will expand the CSA to 25 families and offer it on a sliding scale.
· Our Youth Crew program was dynamic and profound in large part due to the leadership of Youth Organizer Julie! We worked with 27 teenagers in 2019, and dozens of younger kids. As one of our young people reflected of her time with FRESH, “I learned that teamwork is better than doing things by yourself and I also learned what being a leader is!”
· Continued Investment in the McDonald Park Community Garden: This year we completed the perimeter fence, gardened with a dozen community members and planted a healing garden under a beautiful shade structure!
· Learning and Connection for All Ages: FRESH organized a diverse and dynamic set of workshops and events for community members at the Urban Farm and Education Center including:
o A Six Week Gardening 101 Workshops in April/May
o Strawberry Festival with a Mohegan educator and food justice activist
o Collard Green Cook Off with 7 guest chefs
o Completion of the Five Year Master Plan for Urban Agriculture!
o Our FRESH Advisory Board has been engaged in deep organizational development work and we are reaping the benefits of their hard work and engagement!
o Volunteers! We worked 141 volunteers in 2019 for a total of more than 2,600 hours of service!
o Started growing at the Cottage Street Urban Farm! We will continue to develop this almost acre of arable land in the heart of New London in partnership with the owners!
In 2020, we are going to carry on! Looking forward with confidence means that we are able to continue building on the gains of 2019! For the last few years, we have accomplished all this work with a staff of four: two full-time and two part-time staff. So, next year we plan to scale up in a measured and sustainable way to hire a community organizer and a farm assistant. These two new positions will help us accomplish our ambitious but attainable goals in growing food, empowering youth and connecting communities!
We hope that you will support FRESH New London with a generous end-of-the-year contribution. We have enclosed an envelope for your convenience! We are trying to grow our reach too, so please jot down the names and contact info of 2 or 3 friends who’d appreciate knowing about our work, mission and vision.
With All the Joy of the Holiday Season!
Alicia Frida Julie Sean