Address Food Insecurity in the Bronx
Mi Oh My Hydroponic Farms (MOM) has been awarded a grant by the Bronx Community Foundation
to address food insecurity in the Bronx. MOM wants to grow the maximum amount of food with these limited funds, and be the most effective it can in distributing and educating about healthy food for food-insecure Bronxites.
Challenges, And Scope Of Work:
MOM intends to grow microgreens and culinary mushrooms, and distribute these foods via a program led by a 3-person cohort. It will be a challenge to distribute these foods in food-insecure communities. There is the current employment and food insecurity caused by COVID19
, which increases the level of need. Additionally, there is typically lower familiarity with the applications of fresh produce in diet and nutrition because of a historical lack of access in redlined black and brown communities, or in the case of immigrant families, who have been displaced from their traditional food system. There is an understandable skepticism about community outreach done by the government or NGO’s regarding these topics
To address these problems, and break through the barriers to implementing programs, the 3-person cohort will develop a program specific to a neighborhood, city block or even single building, to raise awareness and distribute food produced by MOM. Most ideally, these programs would be deployed in their own neighborhood, where they have existing social capital, relationships and trust. The cohort may consider setting up decentralized cultivation systems near the sites we are serving, if it increases the longevity and resiliency of the program. In particular, this can be implemented with MOM’s system of cultivating oyster mushroom buckets outdoors. This system consists of collecting coffee grounds from cafes, straw from nearby stables and other organic residuals with high utility as mushroom substrate. The system would ferment/process and cultivate mushrooms in an appropriate community garden or other space, near the food-security-recipient population. The cohort may also educate residents within the community about our cultivation techniques, on a subsistence or commercial scale.
Participation in the cohort will require a humble commitment:
15-25 hours per week
Initial training in farm operations and cohort consensus building approximately 2 weeks
Followed up by 1-2 weeks of strategy development.
July- August will initiate the strategy
September review of data collection
Metrics of Success:
Benefits For Cohort Members:
LBS of food distributed
# of people served
Attendance of workshops
Follow up and continuing participation by residents
Establish cultivation with permanent or semi-permanent status
# of people educated on cultivation methods
Cohort members will also be eligible for acceptance into the co-op, as they will have worked the equivalent, or exceeded the number of hours required from a probationary member. Cohort members will receive professional development, by learning cultivation methods for growing microgreens and mushrooms, that allow for urban, high-yield farming under flexible environments and circumstances. Lastly, if MOM develops a partnership with a Bronx academic institution to study the impacts of our program, participants may be co-authors in academically published papers.