Thanks to the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, Baton Roots is beginning its new Farmership program!
These Farmerships will help us with two key outcomes. First, we want to increase the amount of fresh produce with community farms open for harvest to the public. Second, we want to teach community members and residents how to properly and successfully grow produce.
We believe these outcomes are particularly important when looking at the sobering data provided by the 2020 Map the Meal Gap Study. It shows that more than 64,000 people (14.4%) of people in East Baton Rouge Parish are considered food insecure. Nationally, that number is down to 11.5%.
The fact is, people in our parish are struggling to keep food on the table. They often do not know where their next meal is coming from. One-third of the chronically food-insecure people in our parish do not qualify for any type of nutrition assistance program. That means local pantries and nonprofits are often the only options for essential foods.
The Farmership program is going to improve health outcomes for those residents. It will attack the issue of food insecurity with educational programming and income generation opportunities for teens from underserved communities and persons re-entering society and the labor market. The program will create a workforce development path for urban agriculture and green infrastructure.
With hard work and the help of generous sponsors such as the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, we hope to put workforce development opportunities in a community burdened by unemployment and underemployment.
Stay tuned for more news in 2022 regarding this new program.