Nourishing Minds, Bodies, & Communities In 2020
Through all the challenges of 2020, FRESHFARM has remained committed to our mission to support sustainable agriculture and improve food access and equity in the Mid-Atlantic region. We are so proud of what we have accomplished this year, which would not be possible without your support. By taking a systemic approach to increasing food equity across our region, FRESHFARM continues to nourish minds, bodies, and communities. Below you’ll find a sampling of what we have achieved together this year.
- Donate fresh, nutritious, local food to neighbors in need through the FRESH Food Drive.
This year’s FRESH Food Drive was our most successful ever. A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us raise over $16,000 to purchase fresh market food to feed our hungry neighbors! This year’s FRESH Food Drive supported the following emergency food assistance organizations: AFAC, Food Rescue US, Shepherd’s Table, First Church of Christ Holiness, Food for Others, DC Central Kitchen, and A Place to Stand. As one of our partners said, “Thank you for seeing a need and joyfully doing all that you could to give these families hope for a brighter tomorrow.” We extend this same thanks to all of you — your support made it possible for folks in need to enjoy a delicious, fresh Thanksgiving meal!
- Innovate new food distribution systems and partnerships to make fresh food available to families and seniors at a time when food insecurity is at an all-time high.
The Pop Up Food Hub brings fresh food from our network of farmers to vulnerable communities, opening doors for community institutions to participate in the local food system. This year, we launched new partnerships in Northern Virginia and implemented home delivery of fresh produce to families in need, delivering fresh food to over 2,200 people in our region.One of our newest partnerships is with the Arlington County Council of PTAs to provide local produce for 900+ families in Northern Virginia. Read about the partnership in ARLNow. The Arlington CCPTA has already surpassed their $20,000 fundraising goal in support of this program!
- Continue food and garden education for young students when schools closed.
Last spring, when schools closed, our FoodPrints team quickly collaborated to develop flexible and adaptable models of virtual garden and food education. While virtual learning continues, we continue to stay connected to our students, engaging them in hands-on learning at home, transferring cooking and garden exploration skills to home, and maintaining important connections to our well-loved teachers. This fall, we added in-person, small-group gardening groups as an innovative approach to hybrid learning.
- Keep farmers markets open when many businesses closed.
When the pandemic hit, we quickly established policies that would ensure farmers markets could stay open safely as essential food retail outlets for farmers and shoppers. The market team worked closely with local and state officials in DC, Maryland, and Virginia to respond to the crisis, and offered guidance and support to other market organizations and jurisdictions in the region.
- Support economic opportunity for farmers and small businesses.
This year, our farmers markets served a network of 250 farmers and producers, and the Pop Up Food Hub partnered with 22 of our farmers for wholesale purchasing, serving as a consistent and reliable retail outlet for farmers who had lost business during the pandemic. For the first time, the Pop Up Food Hub is operating well into the month of December, connecting local food to members of the community. Just this year, orders from the Pop Up Food Hub account for $450,000 in additional revenue for our farmers, and we look forward to growing orders next year, even once the pandemic is over.
- Pilot positive, community-based food education in childcare communities.
FRESHFARM’s new Community Food Education program is a grassroots farm-to-childcare partnership that aims to to break down barriers to healthy food access and food education in childcare communities. Participating families receive weekly fresh produce shares at deep discounts in conjunction with Chat and Chew cooking and community-building sessions with our Community Food Educators.
- Provide access to fresh food across our region by increasing purchasing power at farmers markets.
The FRESH Match program makes fresh, nutritious food more affordable by matching what shoppers spend when they use SNAP, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) benefits at the market. Starting this year, we offered an UNLIMITED match for SNAP transactions at all of our markets, significantly increasing the purchasing power of shoppers using this benefit.
- Support neighborhood farm stands in communities with low access to grocery stores and fresh food.
FRESHFARM farm stands are an innovative retail model to bring fresh produce to traditionally underserved neighborhoods. There is a strong demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in the neighborhoods the farm stands serve, and the farm stands fill a critical need by meeting shoppers in their ability to pay for fresh produce.
- Nourish curiosity and excitement for fruits and vegetables in young students.
FoodPrints’ hands-on approach to food education nurtures a sense of curiosity and excitement around fruits and vegetables, such that young people gain comfort around fresh produce and gain experience preparing a variety of nutritious meals. We encourage kids to use their 5 senses to explore new foods and involve them in growing, harvesting, and cooking food.
- Strive to become an anti-racist organization.
This year, FRESHFARM publicly committed to becoming an anti-racist organization. As part of this work, we are partnering with the “Center for Race, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion” from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, who will help us to develop, implement, and sustain a racial equity work plan. The FRESHFARM staff participated in three racial justice training sessions and are working to evaluate our programs through an anti-racist lens. Our Board of Directors has changed our bylaws and adopted a resolution to ensure that a meaningful proportion of the members of the Board will be individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. And we have updated our 2021 market application process to be more equitable, open, and transparent. These steps are only the beginning, and we are committed to continuing this work to realize our full potential for change and deliver on our mission’s promise.To learn more about FRESHFARM’s work this year, please see our 2020 Impact Report.