Why This Work Is Important
We live in a country with abundant resources, yet hunger exists for almost 50 million Americans. As a nation with over 325 million, hunger touches roughly 1 in 6 of us – including more than 1 in 5 children. Further complicating the problem, good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is the foundation for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity threatens that critical foundation.
How We Work
Hunger is a long-term condition of poverty across the country. Too often, our solutions are limited to food charity and distribution. At The Giving Grove, the empowerment of individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities is at the very core of our approach to achieving greater food security.
Our founders were deeply concerned for the growing number of hungry people and frustrated with the unending nature of emergency food relief. They concluded that the old mantra of teaching man to fish is an important underpinning for creating a sustainable solution to greater food justice. Access to healthy food grown by and shared among neighbors creates a food system that nourishes communities for decades.
The Giving Grove brings together the resources needed to develop community orchards. These community orchards:
Offer healthy Calories: the average 15-tree Giving Grove orchard produces almost 4,000 pounds of healthy food each year, 74,000 pounds over its lifetime.
Strengthen Community: Neighbors meet neighbors, children connect with nature, celebrations are held in the orchards and improvements are made to nearby homes.
Act as Carbon Farms: Air quality improves, soil biology is enhanced, and storm water runoff is mitigated.
Launched in Kansas City in 2012, The Giving Grove has helped communities in the Kansas City metro area plant over 160 orchards with nearly 2700 trees. Now, The Giving Grove is bringing community orchards to food insecure neighborhoods in major cities across the nation.
Using St Louis Missouri and Omaha Nebraska as pilot “replication” sites, the building blocks for replication are now in place. Based on our pilot process, we have evidence that:
- the business model is ready to be shared,
- our program aligns with the needs and resources of many urban communities,
- we have experience with the financial resources to get the job done right, and
- this programming can make a dramatic impact on food insecurity in cities across the country.
Becoming Part of this Movement
In the initial stage of our scaling efforts, we intend to prioritize expansion into specific cities. Our target cities combine “need” with “best in class” gardening/urban-farming non-profits that have the ability and sophistication to readily add new programming.
History has demonstrated that the greatest achievements for transformation in society occurs when individuals and groups collaborate and work toward common goals. If you share our vision for empowering communities to sustainably grow healthy food – in neighborhoods where the need is greatest using methods that leave the soil healthier and planet happier – we look forward to meeting and collaborating with you.