1) What’s your group’s background?
Franklinton Gardens (FG), a nonprofit urban farm in the Franklinton neighborhood, has worked to build a neighborhood-based food system through urban farming and community-minded produce distribution. We maintain an 11-garden 2.5 acre urban farm in Franklinton, and we distribute our produce throughout Franklinton. FG has worked with many community partners to help improve healthy food access in the community. The organization formed as a group of concerned neighbors in 2007 who created a community garden in response to the lack of fresh food availability in Franklinton. Franklinton Gardens has since grown into one of Columbus’ most successful urban farming operations, growing and sharing food throughout the Franklinton community in effort to to create more healthy and equitable food system through environmentally friendly food production.
2) Describe your Community Initiative Project.
In Franklinton, 50% of people are food insecure (according to an OSU study), there is no grocery store in an area where transportation is limited, and corner stores stocked full of processed food are prolific. Over 30% of households in Franklinton do not have an automobile, and the median household income is just under $17,000. Food insecurity is a consequence of poverty and poor access to transportation to travel to a grocery store. Franklinton Gardens currently addresses this by organically growing food in Franklinton and by distributing that food directly to households through a subsidized CSA program that works with low-income neighbors who otherwise could not access fresh, local produce. In addition to our household-based produce distribution, Franklinton Gardens donates a small amount of food to community meals and cooking classes every year that offer prepared meals for free to those in need. We would like to increase our ability to donate our fresh produce directly to those meals, and this grant project would provide seed funding to allow us to double our weekly value of produce donations, from $75/week worth of produce, to $150/week worth of fresh produce over our 20 week summer growing season.
3) What is your goal for this project?
Franklinton Gardens goal is to increase our weekly donation of fresh produce to community meals and cooking classes in Franklinton from $75 worth of produce to $150 worth of produce each week. This will allow community partners who offer community meals and cooking classes to incorporate more healthy produce in their meals, and it will also allow more of our residents to access prepared fresh and healthy food at no cost. Many of our residents rely on community meals and charities to fulfill their dietary needs and food budgets, and this project recognizes the ability for FG to share our produce with community partners, while maintaining the ability to be financially solvent. We hope that by providing produce for classes and meals in Franklinton, more residents will consider purchasing FG produce at the summer market stand and our low cost weekly produce box. We currently have relationships with Local Matters, Lower Lights Health Center, Mount Carmel Healthy Living Center, the Dowd Center, Holy Family Soup Kitchen, St. Johns Episcopal Church, and Gladden Community House. We plan to work with each to identify when they serve meals or teach classes, and how Franklinton Gardens produce can be incorporated into current programming.
4) How much money do you need and what will you use it for? (talk real numbers)
Franklinton Gardens currently donates $75/week worth of fresh produce to various organizations in Franklinton that use the produce in community meals and cooking classes. These meals are offered for free in our neighborhood, and they are a consistent point of relief for many of our low-income neighbors that need additional resources to help feed themselves and their families. Our produce donations generally involve carrots, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, salad mix, kale, collard greens, turnips, radishes, raspberries, and garlic. The donations and delicious fresh food preparations are embraced by the community meal organizers, and many of the groups would love to incorporate more healthy produce, but they simply cannot afford to purchase it. Franklinton Gardens wants to double our produce donation allotment in 2017 to $150/week during our 20 week summer growing season. So we need approximately $1,500 worth of grant funds to help scale our farming opperation so that we can produce an additional $75 worth of produce each week from June-October.