Five organizations fighting food poverty with organic farming

You may take access to fresh, organic produce for granted: if there’s a nearby farmers’ market or high-end grocery store, you likely have you pick of fruits and vegetables grown by organic standards. However, if you live in a food desert, or have a tight budget, such items likely strike you as luxuries. Farmers and food activists around the US not only recognize the presence of regions where fresh food is scarce; they’re also building organizations and even working farms to address unequal access to high-quality produce in these neighborhoods and communities. Here are a handful of groups not only growing produce, but also working to ensure it gets to those suffering from food poverty.

  • New Roots Urban Farm: Right here in St. Louis, New Roots has dedicated itself to “empowering youth and building social just food systems” by establishing a small farm in the city’s North Side. Projects include apprenticeships for neighborhood kids, and a farmers’ market for residents with little other access to fresh produce.
  • Durst Organic Growers: This 22-year-old organic farm was recently recognized by Woodland, CA’s League of Women Voters with its Democracy Works Award for its contributions of a quarter million pounds of food to the Yolo Food Bank in the past year alone.
  • Growing Home: Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood is known for its high rates of crime and its decades-long economic decline. Growing Home trains homeless and low-income individuals in organic farming practices while increasing the availability of fresh food.
  • Detroit Black Community Food Security Network: Founded in 2006, this organization fights food poverty with its two-acre urban farm, an annual harvest festival, and its Ujamaa Cooperative Food Buying Club.
  • Growing Power: Founded in Milwaukee, this organization now also runs projects in Chicago, and is also working to establish regional outreach training centers around the country. Founder Will Allen was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 2008 for his work at addressing food and economic poverty.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course… what other organizations do you know of that are fighting lack of access to food with organic veggies? For more information on food poverty, check out Sustainweb’s Food Access Network.

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