Nourishing Our Community

Urban Seeds is the lead organization for Nourish, Community Food Buying Club (nourishevv.org). Thanks to a generous grant from Welborn Baptist Foundation, we are able to collaborate with several community partners to initiate this project with the goal of diminishing nutrient-insecurity in the Evansville area. Nourish has two key strategies:

  • To provide nutrient dense staple foods via an online shopping platform at prices that will be, on average, 40% lower than big-box shopping, and
  • To facilitate an educational series that will empower families to cook nourishing and culturally familiar meals at home.
  • More recently, we have been granted additional funds to ease the transition in the year of Covid from Relief to Recovery, with the longer-term goal of our community’s settling into Restoration/Resilience. Our 2021-22 themed grocery boxes will be underwritten at 50% to further make nourishing food available to the children and families in our community.

There is a delicate balance between the importance of filling empty bellies and that of embracing our moral obligation to fill those empty bellies with foods that nourish–as opposed to deplete–our health and well-being. Families living with nutrient-insecurity are often relegated to the lowest nutritional value foods due to the low cost of those foods. Unfortunately, those foods happen to be highly processed with additives and chemicals, some of which are linked to diminished learning capacity and behavior challenges in children, as well as being associated with chronic disease states later in life, such as obesity and diabetes.

The goal of the Nourish is to increase access to more of the high nutritional value foods, more whole in their nature and lower in processing, to truly nourish the children in our community so that they may grow into our next generation’s leaders. As important is our embrace of building trusting relationships with our members so that they will be responsive to resilience-building and restorative behavior change leading to regular family meals, cooked fresh.

Nourish will increase access to nourishing food for our members by providing nutrient-dense foods at wholesale prices. In June of 2021 we will open a new online platform to offer themed grocery boxes, with 50% underwriting made available via a generous grant from the Evansville Covid Relief Fund. We anticipate ~ 12 months of very low pricing to be shared with our Nourish family members.

The logistics of Nourish:

  • Members will use an online procurement platform to order perishable and non-perishable themed food boxes. Ordering will be made every other Tuesdays by 3 PM. Groceries items will be available for pick up at Trinity United Methodist Church at 216 SE Third St, Evansville IN 47713 every other Thursday from 4 – 5:30 PM, following the Tuesday orders. Family members will pick up their pre-ordered, pre-paid food boxes from the front of the TUMC, facing 3rd Street.
  • Payment using SNAP/EBT, Debit, or Credit Card is accepted. Members are expected to order at least one grocery box per month for a minimum of $10.00.
  • Upon delivery by our distributors, the food items will be aggregated into temperature-controlled bags and/or boxes per each family’s order.
  • Nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations will be provided (scheduling pending as Covid restrictions are eased) to coincide with the ordering closure and rendering of payment for orders. Class attendance will be incentivized with points being awarded; these points will be redeemable for kitchen tools, with a quarterly drawing for more points providing the opportunity to redeem for small kitchen appliances such as a blender, insta-pot, pots, and pans. (Addendum: with Covid, in-person education classes and shared food tastings had been stopped but we look forward to resuming in person classes when it feels safer to gather in public).
  • Following nutrition guidelines and SNAP staple food requirements, the following foods will be ordered in bulk and stored on site on shelves for the dried goods and in a refrigerator and freezer for the perishable items.
    • Legumes & grains
    • Pasta
    • Fresh and frozen produce
    • Meat
    • Eggs
    • Various dairy produce to include cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter
    • Condiments & sauces
    • Dried herbs & spices
    • Two themed dinner boxes, one Mexican the other Italian, each containing ingredients for two meals
  • Staffing
    • The Nourish program coordinator is a 20+ hour per week position. The coordinator will be on site for the entirety of the Thursday grocery distribution day and on Tuesdays to help families with their online orders, as needed.
      • Tom Z. may be reached at (812) 213-7225 or via email at nourish@urbanseeds.org.user.s408.sureserver.com
    • Volunteers will be on site during the food aggregation days with no more that 6 adults present at any given time, under the supervision of the staff
    • A ServSafe-certified Food Manager will be on site at all time during the delivery, sorting, and aggregation of food
    • The TUMC site is not open to the public
  • Partners
    • Funding partners
    • May 2021 funding from the United Way Evansville Covid Relief Fund will allow for ~ 12 months of providing themed food boxes at an additional 50% off from wholesale pricing
    • Deaconess Health Care is providing the access to their food procurement wholesale pricing
    • Trinity United Methodist Church is providing the kitchen space with required grease trap for food aggregation and storage
    • Urban Seeds is the fiscal agent and will provide administrative oversight to all aspects of Nourish
    • Purdue Extension is providing RD’s as teaching partners for the educational classes (Addendum: with Covid, this aspect is on hold for now)
    • YMCA is providing use of their kitchen for some of the cooking demonstrations, and is providing child care for parents while they are in class (Addendum: with Covid, this aspect is on hold for now)
    • Healthy Communities Partnership is acting in an Advisory Board capacity

 

Nourish is a collaborative community project, managed by Urban Seeds

www.urbanseeds.org

Director, Robin Mallery may be reached at director@urbanseeds.org.user.s408.sureserver.com, or at (530) 263-4827

5444 E. Indiana St., #353 Evansville, IN 47715

 

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