Hi folks. This is Anika with an update on the Capital Area Food Bank's From the Ground Up Food Grant at Clagett Farm. My co-worker, Emily, and I have been visiting the 9 agencies who receive and distribute fresh produce from the farm to their underprivileged clients.
It seems like agencies that serve underprivileged people are always stretched to their limits. So they're always excited about getting free food, but they don't always have the time and energy to make the systematic changes that we hope will accompany the FGU Food Grant. Sure, step one is always getting food to the people. But a big premise of the Food Bank is that we must also offer education that leads people toward self-sustainability.
Now the FGU Food Grant is one step removed from the people it serves. We don't take food directly to clients, but rather to agencies that serve clients. So our challenge is to educate not only clients, but agencies as well. At the beginning of each season, we bring 3 staff from each of the participating FGU Food Grant agencies to Clagett Farm. Farmer Michael takes us on a hayride tour of the farm and tells us about their sustainable practices and the benefits to both humans and the land. We also do a cooking demo with "less common" veggies like spicy mix and kohlrabi. We encourage agencies to try new things and to nudge their clients to try new things too.
Some agencies are a little hesitant at first, but they get the hang of it in no time. After two years of participating in the FGU Food Grant, Martha's Table has gone all out! This summer they built raised, movable garden beds
in an underutilized parking lot by their trash bins. This will be a learning
tool for the kids on-site. (A lot of the Clagett produce goes to feed the
children in Martha's Table's onsite program.) Growing in the beds are wax beans, bell
peppers, tomatoes, onions, kale, celery, morning glories, and lots of herbs.
Martha’s Table appreciated the tomato seedlings they got from Clagett – all of
their tomatoes came from you! They even built a trashcan compost which can
be easily rolled for aeration. Check out their blog post about their garden at:
and see the pictures below for a sneak peak:
Aromatic herbs help deter the smell from the trash bins behind them.
Peppers & tomatoes in cute containers.
Can you believe they did all this in a matter of weeks?
As more proof of what they've learned from being involved in the FGU Food Grant, I witnessed firsthand the storage of tomatoes OUTSIDE the refrigerator. Martha's Table - you get a star of approval from us!