FOOD, RESOURCE, EDUCATION, SECURITY, HEALTH
Our mission is to encourage and empower broad participation in the hands on transformation of our food system from what it is to what it ought to be:
Healthy, Just, Sustainable, Accessible, Productive and Beautiful!
We envision broad participation in and universal access to a robust, productive, equitable, healthful and sustainable local food system in New London, Connecticut.
Practical agricultural projects will proliferate in our county; these will be vibrant and varied and well supported. They will include enterprises from seed to plate to generate money and jobs as well as educational and wellness programs to influence public health, community development, social justice and ecological stewardship.
Healthy food will become the norm in our community as we help all people gain universal access to the opportunities, resources and knowledge necessary to eat well and live happily.
New London ranks 154 out of 169 CT towns and cities in food security. FRESH New London is trying to change that!
Food: Resources, Education, Security, Health in New London (FRESH) has been working since 2004 to transform the food system from what it is to what it ought to be: healthful, universally accessible, sustainable, just and beautiful! Rooted in collaboration, a diverse group of community partners has been critical to our success. Since that time, a constellation of practical food and health related projects has been created with broad support from the region's Food Bank and other Emergency Food Providers, New London Public Schools and City Government, and a range of child and community based not-for-profits. In 2006 we developed the FRESH Advisory Board which consists of founding advisors, community members, partners, and youth, who steer FRESH and help network the organization throughout New London.
A 2005 report by the Connecticut Food Policy Council ranked the City of New London 154th out of all 169 towns and cities in the state. (Community Food Security report) As one of the chief investigators of the report later commented, the city of New London was "weak on every indicator". This included the two most correlated with poor CFS: transportation/ access to food, and per capita poverty levels (which was ranked 163 of 169 total municipalities in the state). Also noted was New London's lack of access to food production resources (162 of 169) like commercial farms, C.S.A programs, and community garden spaces. Without the strong emergency food system which is in place (33 of 169), New London's rank would have been substantially worse. It was the lack of access to transportation or physical proximity to fresh produce (166 of 169 in the study) that inspired FRESH's original Mobile Market program, which has now grown to include partnerships with participating neighborhoods, allied agencies and private enterprises to distribute affordable healthy food to those who lack access. Our target populations are those most poorly served by the current food system: the young, elderly, those without much money, urban eaters, & small farmers. We find the food system an exciting place to focus our work exactly because it impacts so many aspects of life. Community benefits include improved public health, neighborhood beautification, opportunities for positive civic engagement and celebration, experiential education of ecological literacy, youth employment and leadership training, bolstering the local economy through agricultural production, processing, and marketing, as well as the priceless and re-emerging benefits that come from improved family nutrition, intimate knowledge of natural rhythms, and stewardship of natural resources.
In early 2008 FRESH co-founded with community partners the Greater New London Farm to City Coalition (GNLF2C) which has convened multiple meetings of stakeholders, including consumers, local farmers, community gardeners as well as institutional buyers and brokers, to strategize and learn from each other- as well as conducting focus groups, surveys, engaging consultants and researching/studying the state of our food system and identifying future steps.
At this time, FRESH is bringing new and old partners together to develop facilities and establish comprehensive programs that meet the food needs of low-income eaters, builds community leadership and skills, and generates resources towards our ultimate goal: a strong, sustainable, accessible, healthy, and just local food system.