This summer, The Food Group is partnering with Lakewinds Food Co-op to help fight childhood hunger. Through this project, Lakewinds pays emerging farmers from communities that are historically underrepresented in farming (immigrants, people of color, refugees) to grow kid-friendly varieties of organic vegetables, which are being distributed to local children experiencing hunger.
The emerging farmers participating in this project, who are also enrolled in the Big River Farms Farmer Education program, receive support, education, and access to land, infrastructure, equipment, and distribution channels as they learn to build independent organic farming enterprises. In partnership with Lakewinds Food Co-op, the farmers are growing more than 4,000 pounds of certified organic produce that is kid-friendly and culturally universal including broccoli, cherry tomatoes, carrots, sweet peppers, and zucchini.
Amber Stenson, Associate Director of Big River Farms, commented, “Many of the farmers in our program have expressed a strong desire to help feed their communities and people experiencing hunger with the nutritious organic vegetables they grow. However, farmers also need to sell their produce at prices where they can make a living, which often makes it difficult for them to sell their produce in this context. This partnership with Lakewinds Food Co-op allows the farmers to get paid market price for the top quality organic produce they are growing while also expanding access to fresh produce for more people.”
The fresh produce will be distributed by The Food Group to four of our local food shelf partners including Brian Coyle Center Food Shelf, Little Kitchen Food Shelf, Waite House Food Shelf, and Sabathani Community Center Food Shelf. These local food shelves serve significant numbers of families with children. Ethan Neal, food shelf manager at Waite House, commented, “These produce deliveries are great for the families we serve as we constantly have fresh food available.”
This partnership with Lakewinds Food Co-op simultaneously distributes vital, free, and healthy fresh produce to families in need AND supports emerging small-scale farmers who are building independent organic farming enterprises.
Kate Kearns, staff member at Lakewinds Food Co-op stated, “We’re excited to be part of this project because it brings together so many things we’re passionate about at Lakewinds — cultivating a resilient local food economy, encouraging small organic farms and farmers, and supporting our greater community in any way we can.”
- Meet the Big River Farms farmers
- Become a member of the Big River Farms CSA
- Explore the Big River Farms Farmer Education Program
- Make a donation to support the Big River Farms farmers
This post was written by Kelsey Ohme, The Food Group Senior Development Officer – Institutional Giving. Questions about this project? Contact Kelsey.