The Food Project strives to improve access to healthy food in the communities in which we work and to support the health and well-being of community members and their families. The Food Project has been working with neighborhood gardeners in Dorchester and Roxbury since 1998. Since then, we have expanded our programming to Mattapan, as well as to Lynn and Gloucester on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Staff, youth, and volunteers from The Food Project work together with our community partners to support a wide range of programming in our communities. Local schools and families receive raised-bed gardens and gardening support through our Build-a-Garden program. Low-income families purchase produce from our farms at a reduced price through our Farm to Family program. Our neighbors purchase fresh and locally produced vegetables at our farmers' markets in Roxbury and Lynn. Community gardeners and cooks share their expertise with others in our "Grow Well, Eat Well, Be Well" workshop series. Children of all ages learn about growing their own food and eating healthily during our in-school and afterschool educational programming. Community members of all ages learn about food justice in our youth-led food systems and food justice workshop series.
TFP's Vision for Community Programs
We believe that every person has a right to real food. This right extends beyond the consumer's purchasing power: every person has the right to access the space, knowledge, and resources for growing the food they eat and to access fresh and nutritious food grown by others. It is only when people engage with each other around multiple aspects of the food system, from seed to plate, that a stronger community food system is built.
The Real Food Hub Model
We call our holistic approach to community programs the Real Food Hub model. A Real Food Hub is a partnership between The Food Project and local community institutions to support the health of children and families through better access to healthy food: growing it, purchasing it, preparing it, and sharing it with their neighbors. Real Food Hubs link TFP's expertise in sustainable agriculture, youth development, and community food systems with the expertise of our partners in education, family support services, community organizing, and community development. Combined, our programs can achieve more than mere food access – they give families the skills, tools, and resources to define healthy food options and practices that build physical, social, and cultural well-being.
The Food Project offers a variety of programs both as part of our Real Food Hubs and in other community locations:
The Build-a-Garden program helps residents of our target communities to grow their own food in raised bed gardens filled with healthy soil. Participants are provided with seeds, transplants, workshops, growing guides, and other support as needed. Gardening support is also available to families and groups outside of our target communities.
Low-income families in Dorchester and Roxbury purchase produce from our farms during the summer and fall at a reduced price. Participants can use SNAP benefits to purchase their weekly shares.
The Food Project sells fresh, local, and sustainably produced vegetables straight from our farms at our farmers' markets in Roxbury and Lynn. Customers can use their SNAP/EBT benefits to purchase produce, and can take advantage of matching benefits provided by the Boston Bounty Bucks program.
The Food Project serves as the Massachusetts Host Site for FoodCorps. FoodCorps Service Members teach hands-on nutrition education; build and care for school gardens; and work to bring high-quality local food to school cafeterias, students, and parents. FoodCorps Service Members facilitate educational programming about gardening, cooking, science, and nutrition at local schools, community centers, and other organizations.
Community members attend gardening workshops, cooking workshops, and other events led by TFP staff, youth, and community members. Workshops are hosted in the Dudley Greenhouse and The Food Project’s Dudley Street office. Community gardeners are also invited to our annual City Farm Festival.
TFP's youth interns, our most experienced youth staff, lead workshops for adults and teenagers focusing on food systems, food justice, and healthy eating.