Columns Food Fund Fridays

April 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Food Fund Fridays – Growing Hope Brings Backyard Gardens to Low Income Families

Ypsilanti, Michigan’s Growing Hope  has been around since 1999, trying to get local communities and school gardens to grow healthy food. Their programs include gardening classes, rentals of tools, small equipment, and information, as well as the Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Program which allows low- or no-income families to install gardens right in their backyards.

Now they’re looking to expand. After seeing one waiting list after another for their raised bed program, they’ve decided to open it up to the general public and need to raise an additional $20,000 to make the project as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible.

Fueled by Veggies has joined up with local restaurants to take old cooking oil and use it to fuel a converted truck. As they write on their Kickstarter page,

“Service and delivery-based businesses are hard to be profitable because of the rising fuel costs, so this strategy is another part of our formula for success.”

This vehicle will be used to provide raised-bed services to families who can afford it, allowing Growing Hope to fund even more gardens for their low-income families.

(Source: Growing Hope)

While they have start up money for most of the program and its staff, the Kickstarter campaign will fund the truck’s conversion as well as the next season of raised-bed installations for low/no-income families.

Once the program is started, they’ll be using the truck to deliver composted soil to all people who want it for their backyard gardens. There are a lot of great non-profits out there doing similar work but Growing Hope is really combining their charity with a sustainable business model that will help people of all incomes eat better from their own backyards.

-Tove K. Danovich