November 2022 Newsletter

As the trees show us how beautiful it can be to let go of what no longer serves, the Alliance steps into a few new dances. Our monthly meeting centered guest speakers this month as we discussed exciting possibilities. Workshops are being planned to familiarize participants with Climate Smart Agricultural Practices (CSAPs to those in the know), and although the gardens are tucked in with garlic and other over-wintering crops, the learning is stepping into high gear. Thanks for joining us on the ride!

Program Updates:

Common Ground High School

This is CGHS’s 25th anniversary year! They are celebrating with events for the community and sharing beautiful images from around the farm. Who would have thought in 1997 that the “little farm that could” would be a leader in the state, region, and nation in urban farm education? Congratulations, CGHS!

Image description: in the early days of CGHS (in the 1990s), a green building with white trim is nestled among trees with a large dirt patch in front. There are two adults talking at the foreground left of the image. In the background right of the image, tables are filled with seated young people. Between the photographer and building, a few people are scattered, walking around the dirt yard. /end description

Ebony Horsewomen

The crew from EHI just recently returned from a trip to Washington DC where they visited the African American History Museum and stopped at the Bill Picket Invitational Rodeo. The rodeo stop was about more than watching the showmanship and athleticism of the riders, horses, and bulls, but also so that Patricia Kelly, the founder and CEO of EHI, could accept her Crown Royal Rider Award. Trips like these are key to expanding the possibilities for youth in EHI and all of the Alliance programs. Getting familiar with the halls of power, learning about the process of making changes at a large scale, and beginning to know that the people in those suits are humans just like the rest of us! Congratulations, Ms. Pat and the rest of EHI’s folks! 

GROW Windham

In mid-October, GROW Windham youth led tours of their garden spaces for community members during the Open Garden Day/DÍa de JardÍn Abierto (apologies for the incorrect lettering).


As always, it is a *busy* time at GVI. As their youth fellowship cohort gets under way, they find themselves planning their Harvest Fest (a celebration of the bounty the Reservoir Community Farm ensures for Bridgeport residents) and have just served as the hosts for the New CT Farmer Alliance’s policy launch party. Combining the farm’s productivity with community means that GVI has to consider policies and their impacts on neighbor’s lives. The New CT Farmer Alliance’s policy platform centers racial equity and features five main pillars that call for changes at the local, state, and national level to make farming in CT more equitable. These pillars are:

  • Improve the economic viability of farming
  • Make farmland more accessible
  • Improve agricultural infrastructure
  • Confront climate change and build climate resilience
  • Increase access to affordable healthcare for farmers

Huneebee Project

After a successful gala, Huneebee Project is seeking to meet and exceed their fundraising goal for next year’s programming to ensure participants get a fair wage and the bees get the care they need. One of the ways they are doing this is through the sale of their honey and beeswax products on their website. With the goal of funding wages to teach and expand job skills specifically, Huneebee Project faces different hurdles than many Alliance partners. We have a great deal to learn!

Image description: a three-level bee hive box sits at the foreground of the image. The top and bottom levels are white or off-white and the middle level is baby blue with pink puffs of paint on the side facing the viewers. The bottom level features the phrase “justice 4 all” on the side facing the viewer, with a black image of the scales of justice on the other visible side. Another two-level hive box sits just behind the hive in focus. /end description

Institute for Community Research

It’s been a bumpy month at ICR, but progress continues. New opportunities to work with area health agencies, parent groups, and culinary collectives are unfolding to great anticipation. The Active City project is now being analyzed so that findings can be shared with as wide an audience as possible. Some early findings include a better understanding of how big an issue transportation is for young people seeking to participate in organized sports in the North End of Hartford. As more data is analyzed, it will be described as clearly as possible and shared here.

Keney Park Sustainability Project

KPSP doesn’t let the grass grow under their feet! Even as the gardens are closed up for the cold season, the staff and volunteers continue to expand access to fresh, local food for Hartford residents by installing new garden beds at local schools. In addition to the recent installations, they continue their work to connect with area youth and their families through their Trunk-or-Treat party. From 4-5:30 on Halloween night, families are invited to show off their costumes, enjoy the music, and watch a fun movie for the season.

(Image description: in a green, grassy field, several poles have been driven into the ground to mark out the area of a new school garden. Volunteers in t-shirts haul wheelbarrows full of compost to new bed sites. Behind the garden space, several trees are still in full green leaf. /end description)

New Britain ROOTS

The cold season is usually a time for dreaming of the next growing opportunities. ROOTS doesn’t bother with dreams; they get out there and make the opportunities happen. Recently, the ties between the youth program and the New Britain Senior Center allowed for a novel chance to hear from both youth and elders what they notice about today’s food system. These intergenerational conversations allowed youth to share their concerns about the food they can access while elders shared their concerns about food traditions and family history slipping away thanks to “new” diets and fast food. Each participant got the chance to bring home a bag of produce as a thank you for their time and perspectives. Hopefully more conversations like this will take place across the state so that we can work together to ensure that CT’s food systems meet the needs of the people we love.

Nonprofit Accountability Group

NAG’s eternal optimism and hard work leads to a revival of an old community care method: the Rent Party. Neighbors get together to share what they have with one another in hopes of raising enough money to keep folks who might be struggling in their homes. This week’s Rent Party features music, food, and raffles to help raise funds to keep Hartford residents in their homes now that the impact of the rent moratorium is so much more noticeable thanks to the number of people being evicted, even if they have paid their back rent! To learn more about NAG’s housing efforts, please stop by their website at and sign up for their weekly newsletters. And as always, “remember to drink water”!

Nourish My Soul

This year, it looks like NMS will be able to lead a high school level program again, along with their myriad other offerings. The From the Ground Up leaders gathered to imagine a future they want to work toward, one where the land is honored and the people can eat. Since entering into the arrangement with the East Granby Land Trust through which NMS has access to the farm, the high school leadership program hasn’t been able to gather thanks in large measure to social distancing and other pandemic considerations. Now that they are back together, who knows what will come from Granby!

(Image description: a bee is shown flying towards a light-yellow brassica blossom. Behind the bolted brassica, you can see the dried grasses and other hearty native vegetation ready for its cold season rest. /end description)

Solar Youth

In collaboration with several partner organizations, Solar Youth offered their fall festival to much community praise. Young New Haven residents got to play together, create together, and enjoy a good time in the sun. The collaborations built through events like these can offer new opportunities for young participants to learn about the work happening in their communities, connect with young folks from other nearby communities, and to break down barriers between joy and action.

Summer of Solutions Hartford

To make sure that everyone who needs one gets a winter coat, SoS is hosting their Coats and Cocoa event the day before Halloween. They encourage everyone to wear their costume and have partnered with organizations across the area to bring a free gourmet hot cocoa bar for participants in the event to enjoy. This event will feature a trunk-or-treat, food, and a movie at the food truck park in Hartford.

Alliance Updates

The fall event draws near! ReSet, the business incubator in Hartford, is offering us their space to gather and learn together in on Saturday, November 19 from 11-2. Guest speakers for the second half of the event include farmers, food business entrepreneurs, political figures, and other leaders to share their experiences pursuing their passion to ensure that food is a human right. Teens will determine the agenda for the day by vote and discussion upon their arrival.

In addition, the most recent weekly update features a question: what would you like to have featured as the theme for next month’s meeting? As always, there are options available, but the chance to include your own option is also present. This month’s meeting focused on alternative funding mechanisms, especially memberships, sponsorships, and merchandise sales. We discussed more than just how to use these methods for funding this work, but also WHY these methods help to move the program and organization into a new frame for addressing the issues our communities face. It was a very useful conversation. In case you missed it, please check out the notes here. Connecting is key to making the work you all do flow across the state, but the needs you are facing should be supported. You don’t have to do it all alone! Please share your thoughts on skills-building, concepts, and frameworks you want to explore in the next monthly meeting here.

Finally, our first report to NRCS was received by our program officer. We still have some outstanding receipts needed for transportation to the July event, and the conversation about supplying food for participants has been met with silence. The fall event will feature snacks upon arrival and lunch before everyone leaves. If possible, please bring plates, cups, flatware, and other eating/drinking ware so that we can make this event as close to zero-waste as possible!

Please be good to yourselves and each other. Thank you for the work you do!

(Image description: a field of flowers such as fall mums and coastal roses is seen through a heavy fog. An archway in the middle of the field is covered with white blooms. The viewer cannot see the backdrop of the field much beyond the flowers because the fog is so thick. /end description)

Published by ctyouthfoodalliance

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

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