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One America - Food Project

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One America

Program: Food Project, Lincoln, MA
Contact(s): Pat Grey, Co-Director: (781) 259-8621
Purpose: To teach professional and personal skills to youth through the production of food for low-income citizens and local businesses

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Created by the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1991, the Food Project is a summer program that brings together diverse youth from the city and suburbs to participate in hands-on preparation of food, from growth to packaging. Sixty-six teenagers--50 during the summer and 16 during the academic year--are chosen to receive a stipend and lead hundreds of volunteers. Sixty percent of the participants are from the city, and they are predominantly black, Hispanic, and Cape Verdean, while the remaining 40 percent are from suburban communities including white, Asian and other ethnic groups. In 1994, the Food Project became a grassroots urban food, land and economy project.

Program Operations

The Food Project's diverse group of teens produce over 40,000 pounds of organic food in an inner-city neighborhood in Boston. The food is then served at shelters, where the teens also volunteer once a week, or it is sold in local farmer's markets. The Food Project operates programs during the summer and academic year. The 66 teenagers lead 1,000 kids and young adult volunteers in planting, weeding, harvesting as well as making presentations about the program over 2,000 times a year. They farm on formally vacant urban lots in Roxbuy and on 21 acres of conservation land in rural Lincoln. They are also involved in management by serving on the board of trustees and various other committees.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

In the last 6 years, 200 teenagers have grown over 200,000 pounds of organic food, rejuvenated two acres in the city and 21 acres in Lincoln, and have provided volunteer opportunities to over 4,000 youths. In 1993, the Food Project received recognition and a grant from President Clinton's "Summer of Service" as one of the 16 best youth conservation corps in the nation. In 1996, the Food Project was one of only 13 organizations nationally to receive funding through the USDA's "Local Food Security Act." In 1998, the Kellogg Foundation selected the Food Project to be a national model and awarded the group $615,000 over five years.

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