Access to Healthy Food and Food Start-ups Expands with Nonprofit Merger

Access to Healthy Food and Food Start-ups Expands with Nonprofit Merger

The Growing Entrepreneurs photo shows a group of the teen employees in the greenhouse they manage at Grand Acres Community Garden. Photo by Ian Christman.

A young woman had an idea for a business making Sofrito, a popular seasoning Puerto Rican cooking. Working with New Haven Land Trust’s “Growing Entrepreneurs” program, she grew the vegetables and perfected her recipe. She researched consumer protection legislation and talked with the New Haven Department of Health to make sure she followed the regulations. She then found a commercial kitchen, designed labels that met standards, and calculated nutrition facts for the product.

In less than five months, she was selling homemade Sofrito in the community and at the CitySeed Winter Farmers Market. 

Opportunities for starting similar food-based businesses are expanding thanks to a pending merger between the New Haven Land Trust and New Haven Farms. The combined organization will also help more families garden in their neighborhoods, learn how to cook healthy meals, and address food insecurity on a greater scale. 

The merger is supported in part with a grant from The Community Foundation, which has been a supporter of both organizations.  

“We are thrilled to see our two organizations formally merge as our educational, agricultural, health, and environmental work is very much aligned and complementary,” Board Chairs Tyra Pendergrass (New Haven Land Trust) and James Farnam (New Haven Farms), said in a joint statement. “Our shared vision and demonstrated work of cultivating community connections and supporting neighborhood vitality will undoubtedly deepen and expand as a merged entity.”

New Haven Land Trust (NHLT) was founded in 1982, as Connecticut’s first urban land trust, operates 55 community gardens and six land preserves across the city of New Haven and runs The Schooner summer camp, bringing urban youth onto the Long Island Sound to explore the marine ecosystem and learn to sail.

New Haven Farms (NHF) was founded in 2012, and promotes health and community development through urban agriculture, cultivating seven urban farms in New Haven to organically grow fruits and vegetables and provide health and wellness education through their farm-based wellness programming. 

As a combined organization, New Haven Farms and New Haven Land Truts will make green space more accessible to all city residents, thereby creating a healthy environment that will promote community social connections, physical activity, and positive health outcomes.

Learn more about New Haven Land Trust and New Haven Farms on giveGreater.org. 

Did you know? 

The Yale Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) found that one in five households in seven low-resource New Haven neighborhoods, including Fair Haven and Hill North, experience "limited or uncertain availability of food" or "skipped meals because [of] no food or money for food in the past 30 days."  

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.   

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