The Growing Project!

The Problem

Food insecurity is a growing problem in Colorado and the nation. At a Fort Collins townhall meeting, the speaker stated that her biggest concern for the city's people is the lack of availability of food. Between water shortages, hail storms, and public policies, the local producers struggle to feed the people that depend on them. As a result, the Food Bank for Larimer County purchases the majority of its distributed produce from places like California and Nevada. This produce is often unsellable at the time of purchase, and is then transported across several deserts and mountain ranges. This food is second rate, at best. The most fragile members of our society, the food insecure, are eating our worst food supplies. Furthermore, emergency food assistance only treats the symptoms, little is available in the way of treating the problem.

Plan of Action

In 2008, the seed has planted. We applied for a small grant through Do Something which allowed us to file for 501(c)3 non-profit status. This was more instrumental to our development than we originally anticipated. In 2009, we started our first community garden, Mulberry Community Gardens, and piloted the Glean Team with a couple of local farmers. Despite a season ridden with late frosts, devastating hail, and then early snow, we were able to grow and glean food in the excess of 1,000 pounds. That means after we all our volunteers and members took food home, we donated 1000 pounds of the freshest produce around to the Food Bank for emergency food assistance distribution. For 2010, we're giving 110%. We've set a goal of growing and sourcing 10,000 pounds of produce for distribution to the Food Bank and other food assistance organizations. Mulberry Community Gardens and the Glean Team with be key to achieving this goal. Also, we're launching a youth experiential education program with a detention home by putting in a large garden on site. This garden will serve as part classroom, part food source, part rehabilitation system. All food from the garden will be used in the kitchen. Mulberry Community Gardens will be supplementing this food supply. In 2011, we hope to put in more community gardens. We are already planning one for the local homeless shelter and for a youth day home. As soon as we are able to secure enough acreage for large scale production, we hope to launch a low-income CSA. In the meantime, we've been discussing this program with a local farm. Although the details are rough, we think we will be able to purchase shares from the farm for distribution to qualifying families.

Project Updates

The Growing Project is certainly growing. We've filed for non-profit status with the IRS and have registered with the state of Colorado. We've picked out a three acre plot of land and have received our first donations of seeds and tools. We've tripled the number of people involved and are constantly going to conferences and meetings to involve more people. We will put our first seeds in the ground in April. Hooray!

Find a Campaign