For 12 years, Gardening the Community (GTC) has worked with young people in Springfield, teaching job and leadership skills through gardening. At the same time, the program grows thousands of pounds of food each year, which it sells at affordable prices to members of the community for whom fresh, healthy food is often out of reach.
Project Bread provides funding and technical assistance to GTC, helping to develop metrics to evaluate the program’s impact and find areas for improvement, and supporting workshops on farming best practices. The area of Springfield the program serves is a food desert, and staff and board members have also led the campaign to bring a full-service supermarket to the area.
Most of all, GTC is growing community. “We don’t tend to hire people who have farming experience,” says Anne Richmond, GTC Program Director. “We hire people in our community who are passionate, have a hunger to learn, and are connected. We want to make sure we have strong accountability back to the residents of our neighborhood and community.”