January Newsletter 2022

Gratefully receiving guidance from the Nonprofit Accountability Group (NAG, donate here), the CT Youth Food Program Alliance is sharing accessible-by-screenreader newsletters based on information shared in our monthly meetings. These newsletters will feature image descriptions for blind and low-vision users. At this time, I do not have access to translation services. If someone is able to offer such services for the newsletter, please let me know.

December Meeting

As you all know, the Alliance does not hold monthly meetings in December due to the busy nature of that time of year. Information in this newsletter was gleaned from your organizational newsletters and/or social media accounts. Please let me know if there are any concerns via email at Kathy.engle-dulac@icrweb.org

Common Ground High School

On December 18, 2022, Common Ground High School held their Winter Market, featuring school-grown vegetables, locally-made teas, crocheted creations, skincare goods, wreaths, and other goods grown, made, packaged in the New Haven area. Bringing the community together to share in the bounty of the region helps to connect people to place, and food to people.

(Image Description: several cardboard boxes with their tops open line a hallway. These boxes are full of fresh vegetables and bread.)

In this vein, Common Ground has been a key player in the New Haven area getting food to families through Haven Harvest, a produce delivery program bringing fresh local foods to over 200 New Haven families during the covid 19 pandemic. Disha has mentioned the need to fundraise for this program in previous monthly meetings. Updates on this program will hopefully be forthcoming. Learn more or donate at https://commongroundct.org/food-assistance-for-common-ground-families/

Ebony Horsewomen Inc.

This summer, Ebony Horsewomen is looking forward to sharing their documentary, made in collaboration with Joe Young Studios and Sankofa Productions, “Horse of a Different Color”. This film centers the voices of Hartford leaders, activists, and educators to tell the stories of the city and its most vulnerable communities. More to come on this project as information becomes available.

FRESH New London

Shifting their procedures to meet community need while preserving community health, FRESH has moved food box distribution to drive-through only. They have sought volunteers to pack boxes for distribution but require that volunteers wear masks. Community care throughout this public health crisis has required shifting expectations on the fly, and this org has done well in their efforts in this regard.

(Image description: a flyer titled Food Pantry Pick Up, Wednesday 5, 12 pm-2:30 pm, at the Senior Center of New London, on the corner of Brainard and Mercer streets. The image of a mustachioed person driving a green cartoon car with vegetables poking out of the back window is topped with the heading “food for the people” in red text. Below the image, Important Information is listed in bullet form: drive through only, keep your windows rolled up, be prepared to open your trunk, and stay in your vehicle unless you are opening your trunk. This information is also listed in Spanish on the flyer.

Grow Hartford

Grow Hartford, the youth program in Hartford Food System, has not offered any updates due in some measure to the recent hiring of a new Executive Director for the organization. More information as it becomes available!

GROW Windham/Windham Youth Core

During this colder season, GROW Windham is seeking to increase access to funds for young and aspiring farmers. They are sharing information about grants and micro-grants UCONN extension is offering to budding agriculturalists to launch their growing careers. Their listing of upcoming grants includes:

  • American Farmland Trust’s New England Farmer Microgrant- DUE JANUARY 7 (FRIDAY!)
  • UConn Solid Ground Stipends for Beginning Farmers – Due January 21
  • Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative Seeding for Success Stipends- Due January 26th
  • National Young Farmers Coalition Young Farmer Grants- Due January 28th
  • CT Women’s Business Developement Council Equity Match Grant- Opens Jan 17 and closes Feb. 13th
  • CT Dept of Ag’s Farm Transition Grant, New Farmer Microgrants- opens for one week in the spring

To learn more, check out GROW Windham’s post on their facebook page linked here.


On Wednesday, January 5, Farmer Ellie, the ED of GVI, hosted a community conversation online to offer guidance on how the community could support the Reservoir Farm, GVI’s primary growing space in Bridgeport. Over the past several years, concerns about the city’s willingness to continue to lease the farm to GVI have been heard, and the team there hopes to keep the farm growing.

(Image description: a wooden farmstand shows shelves lined with potted plants on a green lawn. To the left, a sign shows some small text on a whiteboard. To the right, a young Black masculine person in a bright blue t-shirt directs the viewer’s attention to the shelves of plants with wide-flung arms pointed in the farmstand’s direction.)

Institute for Community Research

Since ICR’s move to smaller office space, development activity has hit a fever pitch. New program proposals are offered up daily and grant applications are constantly in the works. The ED has been looking to retire for several years and now, through a more cooperative leadership structure than most nonprofits in Hartford utilize, two new co-directors are ready to step into leadership with a renewed focus on whole-organization engagement in decision making and strategic planning. The food work is shifting in its expansion to focus on the impacts of climate change on our young partners in this work, particularly on their ability to identify what they can do in the face of these enormous challenges. As always, more to come when information becomes available.

Keney Park Sustainability Project

On December 18th, KPSP supported the winter market at The Sto, an open space at the Swift Factory site on Love Lane in Hartford. This holiday marketplace focused specifically on Black-owned business vendors in Hartford. This is one of the ways KPSP is encouraging investment of Hartford dollars in Hartford entrepreneurs, keeping the economy local and building its strength. The learn more about markets at The Sto, please take a look here.

(Image description: a Save The Date flyer features the title “Shop the Originals: Connecticut” The words The Sto in bold black print, Holiday Market in bold red text. Saturday, December 18, 2021, 12 pm-4 pm at the Swift Factory, 60 Love Lane. Save the Date is written in the corner in script in red, green, and black text.

New Britain ROOTS

After their successful year-end fundraising efforts, New Britain ROOTS is tempting us all with starting our seedlings too early!

(Image description: trays of various young seedlings with plant tags sit in a sunny window.)

Nonprofit Accountability Group

NAG continues their work of sharing local resources to increase access by our neighbors. Recent shares include the Parents Matter Zoom Support Group meetings in East Hartford (Wednesday January 5) as well as CT birth doula training opportunities offered by Earth’s Natural Touch. In addition to these opportunities, NAG has been sharing information about the North End Little Pantries (NELP), a system of little free pantries scattered throughout Hartford’s North End neighborhoods. Several other partner organizations have supported these little pantries, so sharing learnings from this effort could be helpful at our next monthly meeting.

Nourish My Soul

AnaAlicia, the ED of Nourish My Soul, is offering a session on prioritizing health, a response to diet culture and the tradition of new year’s resolutions. This session is offered online at 7 pm on 1/6/22. Please find the FB event page here.

Solar Youth

To celebrate the solstice, Solar Youth distributed donated outer wear around New Haven for wintertime play. In addition, they offered zero-waste gift wrapping services for the holidays. That seems like a creative way to increase community engagement in your organization and its mission.

(Image description: two children in heavy winter coats, hats, and face masks pose next to a giant snow head with snack pack wrappers for eyes, a cheezits pouch for a nose, and two sticks for hair/antennae in a snowy field.)

Summer of Solutions

The SoS Hartford team has been keeping their Pink Pantry and Fridge stocked for their neighbors. In addition, they have been collecting funds to feed local families throughout the holidays. In addition, they have been running their “Really Really Free Market”, offering exchanges of goods for neighbors of their garden. SoS is not running youth programming at this time, but their community benefit programs continue throughout the winter.

Alliance Meetings

We have mentioned the desire to hold our monthly meetings at a time when young participants can be a part of the discussion. Please fill out the doodle poll below to let us know when your young folks can be a part of our meetings so that we can work together more effectively.

Thank you all for all you do. Stay safe out there!

Published by ctyouthfoodalliance

The youth contingent leading CT's quest for justice in the food systems of our state.

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