South Park Fresh Starts (SPFS) is a partnership project between Yard Farmers and the Providence Regina House Food Bank in South Park.
The purpose of the program is to distribute vegetable plant starts to food bank clients. We provide educational materials in both Spanish and English, opportunities to ask questions of professional growers, and supplies for growing vegetables inside.
SPFS is a program designed to supplement the produce available to local food bank clients. With more people finding themselves in tight economic situations, the Providence Regina House Food Bank in South Park has seen their amount of patrons sky-rocket to record setting numbers. Talking with community members made me realize that there was a lot of untapped agricultural knowledge in South Park. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that most of this neighborhood was farmland. Seeing this trend and understanding the local history, all while trying to imagine creative solutions, it occurred to me that I already had the skills to help.
Next door to the food bank is a small greenhouse that had gone unused for several years. With some help from Kathy Pryor, the Sustainable Communities Advocate at Washington Toxics Coalition, we were able to get the greenhouse in working order. Currently we have more than 1600 plants growing, with the opportunity for more on the way. In about a month we will start distributing these on Saturday mornings during the regular food bank hours.
Food Banks typically have a difficult time obtaining fresh, nutritious produce from donors, so this project is attempting to fill that gap by empowering clients to supplement their diet with hyper-local, healthy vegetables.