2016 Co-op Patronage Seedling Grants
Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf: Farm Stand Project - Initial Grant Award: $1,000 (actual check: $1,395.97)
The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf works to alleviate hunger by feeding people and cultivating opportunities. As the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont, CEFS serves over 11,000 people each year. CEFS is constructing a farm-stand to attractively highlight their ever-changing selection of seasonal, fresh produce. This farm stand will enable them to promote the consumption of healthy, fresh produce to the thousands of food insecure community members who rely on the Food Shelf for nutritional assistance. It will also allow them to provide seasonal recipes, nutrition education materials and relevant outreach materials (including WIC, 3SquaresVT, and the Farm to Family program) to their clients.
From Kelly Saunders, Development Director: "Our program staff and operations staff have been so excited to have this farm stand available. When the weather was warmer and we were getting gleaned vegetables during the harvest season, this stand would be set up outside for our guests (you can see an example of this in the picture from August that I have attached). Now, we are using this stand in our waiting room to make fruits and vegetables easily accessible for people who are coming in for assistance with groceries.
The staff and our guests really appreciate the more natural and attractive look of this stand for displaying vegetables. It makes the “vibe” of our grocery room so much more welcoming and significantly less industrial/institutional when compared with our old method of displaying fruits and vegetables. It also looks lovely when set up by the mural in our grocery room that was made possible by City Market!
Here are some stories that our program staff have collected about the guest response to the vegetables and fruits that we display in the farm stand:
- “A couple came in this afternoon and were thriled to see the farm stand fully stocked with “yummy stuff, fresh stuff.” They filled a small box with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. They said that these are things they normally can’t afford and they don’t usually have enough of.”
- “So many of our older visitors are urged by their doctors to eat certain produce, such as bananas, or to eat a mix of colors for the full range of nutrients, but their food money does not go very far and they have to choose quantity over quality. Recently, when one of these guests visited the food shelf when the farm stand was set up inside, they said, ‘Oh, great! You have just what my doctor told me I should be eating!’”
- “We have a young couple who come in almost every day. They first lived in their car, but now live in a tent and use warming shelters when the temperatures get very cold. When they saw the peaches we had stocked in the farm stand, they took a couple and snacked on these while continuing to pick out their meals for the day. They said that they once went three days without eating, so they have been sure to get a little extra food each time they visit and also pick up fruits that will last through the weekend.”