As the first organizations we worked with, our 2021 Gardyn Grows for Good recipients hold a special place in our hearts.
Written by Kate Mullinger, Gardyn’s Grow for Good (G3) Program Manager.
We launched Gardyns Grows for Good (G3) in 2021 and by working with different communities around the country, we saw how Gardyns can benefit schools, shelters, and even bunnies! Fresh, nutritious food is essential for human health and well-being, and at Gardyn, it’s our mission to make it accessible and sustainable for everyone.
By watching how Gardyn has helped various communities, we are able to determine how we can continue to grow G3. In February 2022, we opened our applications to find more philanthropic organizations and people working to give a hand up, and we were overwhelmed with the number of do-gooders responding to the needs of their communities. For many of these communities, giving a Gardyn would allow for year-round fresh produce, in areas that can’t grow anything for 6-8 months out of the year.
As we add more organizations to our G3 community, we want to share them with you, our family of Gardyners! In April we selected the organizations below to receive Gardyns and we can’t wait to write about their individual stories, but for now, here is a little snippet about each one.
Feed’em Freedom Foundation
Location: Corbett, OR
Who they serve: Anyone experiencing food insecurity
What they do: Create educational programs on agriculture for Black and BIPOC youth while growing food for those who need it.
Feed’em Freedom Foundation was born out of Mudbone Grown as a way to further support the surrounding communities. Mudbone grown has successfully created a community of farmers by growing a farm from the ground up themselves and educating others on how to do the same. As Shantae and Arthur set out to initially create a homestead, they felt a bigger calling that included all of their Black and Brown communities. The stronghold of systematic oppression and industrialized racism in the food system is something that Mudbone Grown and Feed’em Freedom Foundation are striving to change daily. By helping people gain land stewardship, providing a regional food security response, and growing economic prosperity for Black Oregonians, people can gain sovereignty.
“By understanding the needs of our community, identifying gaps in the food system, and finding ways to close the gaps, we are building the prosperity and health of historically underserved communities.” -Shantae Johnson
Denver Community Fridges
Location: Denver, CO
Who they serve: People experiencing food insecurity
What they do: Stock fridges around the Denver area.
Denver Community Fridges believe that community work must be done collectively in order to be successful in combating food insecurity. They encourage all members of the community to engage with the fridges in ways that feel restorative and supportive to them. The organization seeks to improve food access and security for those in the Denver community in an autonomous and anonymous way. If you live in the Denver area, you can simply visit one of their fridge locations to pick up or drop off food (and other personal hygiene) items!
“Often, when I am stocking a fridge, I will strike up a lively conversation with someone about what kind of foods they like to eat, what impact the fridges have had on their life, and ways we can improve. Getting to meet my neighbors over food is beautiful.” -Sara McCafferty
Location: North Dakota
Who they serve: Survivors of sexual and violent crimes
What they do: Restore dignity to victims of sexual assault, human trafficking, and violent crime.
Project Dignity is often working with the most vulnerable in their community, seeking to restore as much as possible, as swiftly as possible. Not having access to food, clothing or shelter steals even more dignity than has already been stolen through the crimes committed against survivors of sexual or violent assault. Food, clothing, shelter, and therapy are all things the staff at Project Dignity work at being able to provide for survivors. Noelle is excited to have a Gardyn for survivors to connect with fresh food and heal through gardyning and cooking.
“We have a HUGE amount of food insecurity both in my community at large, as well as the smaller community that Project Dignity serves. Food, water, sleep – if we can’t get these things… we can’t function.. Food is essential to help with growth and healing, both physically and mentally.” -Noelle Myers
Location: Aurora, Illinois
Who they serve: Homeless community members
What they do: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and give people the chance to hope again.
Over a thousand people are served through Hesed House’s shelter and housing programs annually. People receive support related to housing, support systems, life skills, legal issues, physical/emotional abuse, mental/physical health, and much more! The staff at Hesed House work tirelessly to break people free of the factors binding them to homelessness, and Karen and Lauren felt a Gardyn would not only provide fresh veggies to guests but also uplift their spirits.
“We rely on food donations daily and often we do not have the ability to serve our guests fresh vegetables. Having a Gardyn on-site would ensure we can always provide a healthy option.” -Karen Santos
Edible Healing Garden
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Who they serve: Low-income patients
What they do: A clinic that grows a hospital garden to provide patients with healing food.
The Edible Healing Garden is working to create a hospital garden that provides horticultural therapy, facilitates sensory development for children, and nutrition education for patients. Katherine wants the experience of getting healthcare to be a positive one where patients can visit the Gardyns and connect to healthy eating. By connecting patients to improved food security, nutrition education, and attitudes and behaviors towards healthy eating, they can truly heal. The Gardyn will be used as a food pharmacy so the staff at Edible Healing Garden can directly provide patients with what they need.
“As a dietitian, I can only support my patients so much by providing recommendations, and recognizing their health barriers also helps me realize the limits of my ability to help them. I am very passionate about everyone experiencing their best quality of life, and I believe that nutrition is an essential part of that.” –Katherine Chen
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Who they serve: Anyone who experiences food insecurity
What they do: Provide free regeneratively grown produce, herbal remedies, and seedlings that benefit the community on three levels; economical, educational, and wellness.
Marigold Farms is trying to create a place where the community can gather and grow, eat, and learn from one another. It’s a place for not only addressing food issues but health issues too. Mental and physical health are very much entwined when it comes to growing local sustainable food, and with a Gardyn, this community will thrive year-round! Gisa is passionate about giving the people in her community access to nutrition whenever they need it.
“At the base of all these wonderful gatherings comes food and community. People learning from one another and growing together. That’s why Marigold Farms Inc. was created, to go to the community and ask, ‘How Can I Help?’” -Gisa Seeholzer
Congratulations to all the G3 Recipients!
We hope you all enjoyed reading about the missions and stories of these organizations. If you know of a community or person that is striving to fight food insecurity, please share our G3 page so they can apply for a Gardyn!