Making Healthy, Farm-Fresh Food Accessible to All
Everyone deserves access to healthy food. Real Food CT is a Newtown-based nonprofit that is running Giving Gardens, connecting local farms to food pantries and figuring out how to make their Small Farm Model a sustainable piece of the regional food system. Serving northern Fairfield, and Southern Litchfield and New Haven Counties, through its programs, Real Food CT was able to donate over 31,000 pounds of fresh produce to 12 different pantries in 2021.
Our land and our food have a very special way of deepening the connection of the human spirit. Real Food CT wants this connection to happen early. The Young Farmer Internship program has already trained 15 high school and college students that are interested in agriculture and service, with another 10 lined up for the 2022 season.
After collecting surplus for donation from local farms for the last two seasons, the Real Food CT team is eager to implement the Farm-to-Pantry Direct Purchasing Program this year. Through government grants and regional partnerships, Real Food CT will look to reward farmers with upfront payments for their produce, securing the most nutritious and flavorful food for neighbors in need. Real Food CT will be announcing a “Real Food Fund” this spring to serve as the hub of this project moving forward.
Looking to the future, Real Food CT will continue to build momentum toward replicating a Small Farm Model in underserved communities in the region, particularly Bridgeport and Danbury. The goal will be to provide employment opportunities for aspiring BIPOC farmers to run a small farm, gain valuable experience and become an integral part of the local food system.
The Small Farm Model will replicate the Giving Gardens in Newtown that are producing tens of thousands of pounds of produce on less than an acre of land. Upon execution, the new Small Farms will be tied into the Real Food Fund, providing a revenue stream that will connect the new farmer to a local food pantry.
In March, Real Food CT began its “Grow Your Own” education series, a once-a-month series that will take community members through the growing season with helpful demonstrations, troubleshooting and an opportunity to share costs and experiences.
Like any nonprofit, Real Food CT runs on community support, grants, sponsorships and donations. Reach out to Founder and Executive Director, Sean Fitzpatrick, to discuss ways that you can get involved.
For more information, visit RealFoodShare.org.