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National Resilience Fund Round 2 Grantees

Slow Food USA Awards $24,000 in Grants to Good, Clean and Fair Food Projects, With Special Focus on Black-Led Initiatives

Brooklyn, NY — Sept 29, 2020 — Slow Food USA announced the second round of recipients for the National Resilience Fund today. This group of 15 recipients demonstrates the strength and creativity of activists in regional food systems, and highlights how food unites communities in both joy and the pursuit of justice.

When Slow Food USA announced this round of funding in July 2020, we committed to grant a minimum of 50% of funding to Black-led initiatives, as part of our ongoing work to be an anti-racist organization. Out of 15 funded projects, nine are Black-run and five specifically serve Black communities.

“Slow Food is not interested in a one-size-fits-all approach to the massive problems facing our food system in 2020,” says Anna Mulé, executive director of Slow Food USA. “The farmers, chefs, advocates and youth on the ground are connected to their local communities and know how to cultivate resilience and healing through food. We are proud to support their incredible work.”

Funders for Round Two of the National Resilience Fund include Whole Foods Market, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, The Russell Family Foundation, Betsy Lydon Memorial Fund and St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop, in addition to many individual donors.

Centro de Apoyo Mutuo La Olla Común

Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Centro de Apoyo Mutuo La Olla Común currently operates out of a 3-story building in deteriorating conditions, where a Community Mutual Aid Center serving Río Piedras is being developed. The building will be transformed in phases: (1) a community kitchen for the weekly breakfast and food storage, (2) biulding out the social dining room for when it gets safe to eat inside a building, and (3) creating a space for health services and emotional support. The team and community are aware of the need to be prepared for ongoing crises and emergencies, and this grant will be used in the development of the space and to support the team, many of whom first came to the project when they themselves were in need.

Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico

Caguas, Puerto Rico, and surrounding areas

Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico has been in the battle against hunger and food insecurity in Puerto Rico since 2013. Within the pandemic situation, Comedores Sociales was reconfigured to continue its mission against hunger, avoiding the risk and agglomeration of people in community soup kitchens, establishing the Solidarity Food Bag Strategy. This initiative includes buying local grown food, assembling bags as per family composition, and carry-out logistics, and recently expanding capacity of both food storage and community kitchen to prepare for the recurring climate and political crisis that we have been experimenting in Puerto Rico.

Crop Swap LA

Los Angeles, California

Crop Swap LA transforms vacant lots, front yards and backyards into fully functional gardens. We want our community to know how inexpensive it is to grow their own produce and how much better they will feel eating fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. The mission of Crop Swap LA is to create locally sourced and nutrient dense food, creating green jobs, and cultivate economic prosperity in the communities where it works. The growing method used is regenerative organic, which requires no tilling, revives the land, and creates an environmental idea for healthy food to grow.

Farm Fresh Food Relief Project (FFFR)

Bay Area, California

This project activates the Bay Area food system in response to COVID-19.  The FFFR project focuses on simultaneously expanding food access and supporting local farmers in a time when demand for emergency food is surging.  This project delivers 800 food boxes per week to the people most in need: low-income families. 

Feed Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Feed Louisville is a network of local restaurants and an outreach distribution team taking hot and hearty meals directly to people living on the streets each day. We started as a response to the pandemic and distribute 3,000 meals weekly. 

The pandemic forced many local emergency kitchens and shelters to operate at a reduced capacity. Those that are operating are dealing with the challenges of social distancing and loss of volunteers. Feed Louisville quickly filled the gap by taking food directly to people where they are staying in camps and on the streets, minimizing the need for movement amongst a vulnerable population. 

Valley Verde garden to table Project

Santa Clara, California

We organized a seedling giveaway in May 2020. Any low income family that has gardening space and wanted to grow their own food was encouraged to register. Each family received 7 vegetable seedlings, which included care and harvest instructions. We partnered with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to deliver the seedlings to home, and also provided a contact-less pick-up option at our site. Families would drive up to our site, and we would place the seedlings in their truck.

Our goal is to provide the families that are struggling, due to COVID-19, vegetable seedlings so they can grow their own food. We want to fight food insecurity and build community/food resiliency.

Garfield Produce Cold Transport Storage

Chicago, Illinois

Prior to COVID-19, Garfield Produce donated 1/3 of its production to nearby food pantries and sold the rest to local food distributors serving local restaurants. The restaurant shutdowns related to COVID-19 reduced Garfield’s commercial sales revenue by 95%. Deliveries to food pantries in East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, and Englewood significantly increased, especially on account of Garfield Produce’s participation in the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Nutritious microgreens are sorely needed and well-received by the under-resourced residents of the urban food deserts that the program serves. 

Maintaining the cold chain is critical for microgreen product delivery. The Garfield Produce team has been using commercially purchased cooler chests packed with ice to maintain the cold chain, and will use this grant to refrigerate an insulated storage space constructed in their donated delivery van.

Harvest Project Collaborative

Dallas, Texas

The Harvest Project Collaboration’s goal is to highlight locally grown food by providing underserved communities in Dallas County access to fresh, healthy, and locally grown food. Harvest Project has the vast network and distribution capabilities, and Heard That Foundation can help source and organize produce from local farmers. By purchasing produce from local farms at full price, and then distributing this to underserved communities, this project not only provides healthy food for those who need it most, but this collaboration will help foster relationships and connections leading to a paradigm shift in these communities empowering them with food to feel more stable, safe and connected to their local food systems.

Oko Farms Must Move

New York City, New York

Oko Urban Farms (Oko Farms) is NYC’s only Aquaponics Farm and Education Company located in Brooklyn, New York. Due to changes in New York City policy and licensing requirements by GreenThumb, Oko Farms can no longer operate sustainably at its current site. At a time that COVID-19 hit New York City, it became even more evident the importance of this work as it relates to teaching people how to sustain themselves when our food chain is interrupted. Oko Farms wants to continue this essential work to provide good, clean, and fair food to vulnerable communities in New York City.

Seeding Resiliency with the Ark of Taste

NW Oregon and SW Washington

Michelle Weeks of  Good Rain Farms works to emphasize that the Ark of Taste catalogue is not just a historic record of what has existed in the past, but a living resource for people to reconnect with cultural and ancestral practices. By creating an Ark of Taste fund and network of Indigenous land cultivators, the project goal is to make “heritage varieties” accessible to those who tended to them for generations. As the budgets of small farmers shrink due to COVID losses, there seems no better time to activate this work.

The Garden Club Project

Central Ohio

The Garden Club Project will serve the communities who need fresh produce to help them eat healthier. The project is run by young leader Te’Lario Watkins  and encourages families to eat and potentially grow produce that will help increase their health with three initatives: 1.Nutrition Education -Teach kids and families about healthy eating habits. 2.Grow A Garden – Encourage & assist kids and families start their own garden. 3. Buy Local Produce -I want to support my local farmer friends and buy their surplus produce and donate it to families who need it.

TradeRoots Afro-Diaspora Gardens

Madison, Wisconsin, and greater Dane County, Texas

We are growing Black diaspora crops in gardens that foster horticultural, culinary, and seed-keeping activities in the community. We seek to connect people with each other and the land by creating spaces for participatory events that highlight versatile cultivation techniques and culinary traditions surrounding crop varieties of Black cultural relevance.

Trap Garden

Nashville, Tennessee

In order to promote a more sustainable local food system, while providing nourishment to Nashville’s most food insecure families, Trap Garden wishes to purchase 9 weeks of CSA shares from The Nashville Food Project’s Growing Together farmers. These CSA shares have been grown by new American farmers and will provide culturally relevant food to families chosen by Trap Garden and another organization that specializes in community outreach called, Protect the Culture. This partnership will both support Growing Together farmers and provide necessary nutrition and food sovereignty education to families that face increased food insecurity during the trying times of COVID-19.

Urban Growers Collective: Fresh Move Mobile Market and Emergency Food Response

Chicago, Illinois

Urban Growers Collective is leveraging existing and emerging resources in Chicago and the metro area’s communities of color (primarily south and west of Chicago’s Loop) to provide food in response to Covid-19. Urban Growers Collective provides fresh produce boxes and prepared meals from Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) owned food businesses to community site partners to distribute to those in need. Through these activities, UGC employs community residents, grows innovative partnerships across the food system, and expands food growing spaces.

Urban Roots Initiative: Empowering and Engaging BIPOC Communities through Urban Agriculture

Sacramento, California

The Yisrael Family Urban Farm (YFUF) is transforming the hood for good by using urban agriculture as a tool to empower, engage, and employ our communities. YFUF is taking a proactive approach through their Urban Roots Initiative to provide more local, organic produce to community members as well as educate youth and adults about combating diet-related diseases through growing and cooking their own food.