Produce to the People (www.producetothepeople.org) is a food justice non-profit organization in San Francisco, working to foster a community minded, local food system that considers and supports the need for fresh produce for all people in our city. Our intention is to build food security and community health through garden and food education, the creation of green jobs for youth, and the growth, harvest, and dispersal of organic backyard and community grown produce.
Produce to the People promotes systemic change by addressing the multiple layers of creating food security, which includes providing fresh, healthy food to those in need, but is also coupled with empowering people to learn how to maintain a healthy diet, as well as help to create secure and just local food systems. We believe that a model that includes food education and experience with free food distribution creates a more sustainable way of keeping our community healthy and engaged in self-care, care of each other, and care of the living space and environment that we share. Our work addresses the root of food and health based oppression by providing opportunities for underserved people to learn new skills, be a part of a team, be empowered by fulfilling projects, exercise responsibility and decision making, meet new friends, and have a place to feel safe and at ease.
Produce to the People (PttP) is comprised of our Backyard Harvest Project, Community Gardens Project, and Youth Employment and Education Program.
PttP’s Backyard Harvest Project collects excess produce from residential fruit trees and community gardens in San Francisco, and distributes the food to low-income families and individuals in our community through local food pantries, free farm stands, and soup kitchens.
Our Community Gardens Project partners with other local groups that have land and need help with the garden design, development and maintenance of food producing community gardens and welcomes community members to take part in the gardening process, learn skills and receive harvested food, with the bulk of the produce being distributed through free food programs.
Our Youth Employment and Education Program creates green jobs and environmental education for high school students, harvesting backyard fruit, building and maintaining community gardens, growing vegetables, making compost, and learning about food justice, environmental stewardship and community organizing.
Produce to the People was founded in June 2009, and since then, we've harvested and distributed over 5,000 lbs of locally grown, organic fruit through our Backyard Harvest Project, serving approximately 150-200 people per week during the summer and fall, which are the most bountiful fruiting seasons in San Francisco. We have cultivated ongoing relationships with four distribution sites the Free Farmstand, the produce cart at the Free Farm, the Julian Pantry, and Martin de Porres House of Hospitality.
We have employed 9 high school students through our Summer Youth Employment Program, working with the Mayor's Youth Employment and Education Program, The New Directions Employment Program, and the Summer Work Experience Program. We have also helped provide garden and food education for over 60 more high school students through our ongoing involvement in the Mission High School garden.
In the last year, we've helped build four new community gardens, two of which are now maintained by the communities that own the land, and two of which we care for and support ongoing through our Community Gardens Project. The two gardens we are actively cultivating are the Free Farm (www.thefreefarm.org) and the Mission High School Garden. We began farming the Free Farm in January 2010 and have harvested and distributed over 1,000 lbs of produce between April and July 2010, and continue to have abundant crops and lively volunteers at our twice weekly community workdays. The Mission High School Garden is a student driven, raised bed garden built over a parking lot, used for the education and empowerment of two service learning classes, and the enjoyment of other students and neighbors. Both of these gardens are collaboratively organized.
Produce to the People was founded in June 2009, and has been largely volunteer run our first year of operation, including the director of the organization. We've spent this first year focused on program coordination, development and providing tangible results of the need and potential for our work and collaboration. We've made great progress in these regards, and are planning to spend our second year on organizational structure and fundraising, working to grow into a sustainable non-profit structure while maintaining our grassroots, locally-invested ideals.
We have been developing a budget and organizational development timeline (in essence, a business plan) and are beginning to coordinate an Advisory Board. Our intention is to operate in a way where both the programming and back office aspects of Produce to the People are transparent, so we can be held accountable to our community, and so that other community groups can access our development process to create similar organizations and projects.
Your contributions would enable us to create infrastructure that will help us solidify Produce to the People as a sustainable organization, including salaries for a director and assistant director, stipends for youth leadership, liability and youth group insurance, fiscal sponsorship fees, and direct support (in terms of tools, supplies, etc.) for the youth program, harvest project, and gardens we work with.
Produce to the People is a non-profit organization, fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Parks Trust (www.sfpt.org), making all donations tax deductible. If our funding is successful, we request your name, address, and phone number to provide you with a donation letter for tax purposes.
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