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Capital Area United Way Support Food Access Through Basic Needs Grant

Capital Area United Way defines a strategy addressing "Basic Needs" by supporting programs promoting: Access to Food: number of meals served; amount of food distributed directly to individuals and families; Access to Emergency Shelter: number of shelter nights; increasing access to temporary housing; emergency assistance to prevent eviction/homelessness; Access to Transportation: increasing transportation solutions for individuals; and Access to Family Supports: increasing access to short term supports for families to create stability.

Baton Roots Community Farm is one such program specifically addressing the needs around "Access to Food". Through its Community Farm systems, located in area schools, parks, and housing developments, Baton Roots is able to help grow more fresh food. This food is able to be freely distributed to local residents, students, and families.

Because of the extent of the reach, Baton Roots was awarded $50,000 for the year. These funds help place the program in an extraordinary lead at the start of the fiscal year, helping support program initiatives like:

  1. Increase and improve the impact of Baton Roots program delivery through existing programs such as Hustle and Grow, Harmony Gardens, food preparation demonstrations, and other means of direct community resident engagement. Seek alliances with additional groups that can connect to those most in need. For example, work collaboratively with groups associated with re-entry programs (for persons formerly incarcerated) and systems that support food access (such as SNAP).

  2. More aggressively coordinate, promote, offer, and communicate educational programming focused on the foundational concept that (1) diet and nutrition have a direct impact on health outcomes and (2) that people can take direct action (such as backyard gardening and preparing healthy foods at home). Continue work with the American Heart Association, Geaux Get Healthy, and others who work in this area, as well as forge new alliances.

  3. Increase Baton Roots employment opportunities and encourage entrepreneurship to (a) increase fresh food production and (b) as a means of connecting food-insecure families to sustainable urban agriculture practices. Target employment for youth, unemployed, underemployed, and re-entry program participants (formerly incarcerated) through new, in-development programming such as Farmerships.

Thank you for the support, Capital Area United Way!!

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