The Issue: Lack of Fresh Produce in Urban Areas
"Minneapolis and St. Paul are the twin cities of food deserts," Business Insider reports. Minneapolis was almost half food desert in 2006, and St. Paul was a third food desert. For families with financial constraints or lack of transportation, living in such an environment means fresh produce—and thus proper nutrition—is a rarity.
The Campaign: Delivering Fresh Produce to Underserved Families
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Youth Farm to deliver fresh produce to underserved families. For every $10 raised, Youth Farm can distribute one grocery bag of fresh produce to a youth participating in one of its free eight-week programs. Recipes in multiple languages accompany the produce to help the youth practice cooking skills they gained the prior week and to help them share their knowledge with their families. In 2014, Youth Farm aims to reliably provide locally grown vegetables to more than 200 families.
To discover another way to support Youth Farm, check out our deal for Common Roots Cafe, which counts Youth Farm among its produce suppliers. Common Roots and Groupon will each make a donation to Youth Farm for every Common Roots Groupon sold.
Youth Farm produces more than just food. Through summer and school-year programs available for ages 9 to 24, it cultivates young leaders: responsible, essential community members who know how to grow healthy foods and why it's important to do so. In five Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods, participants begin as Youth Farmers, 9- to 11-year-olds, who get their hands dirty in the soil and learn the basics of transforming what they grow into nutritious dishes. From there, they grow into All Stars, Project LEAD members, and finally Farm Stewards, all while building their skill set and becoming increasingly engaged in the distribution of what they grow.
That last aspect is another integral part to the Youth Farm programs. Not only do participants build a community among themselves, they also serve the community that surrounds them. During the summer program, Youth Farm families receive full grocery bags of vegetables every week of the eight-week program. And this can add up fast. In 2013 alone, Youth Farm's 800 participants distributed more than 10,000 pounds of produce and prepared more than 12,000 healthy meals.