Feeding our neighbors in need
Dismantling discriminatory systems while advocating for justice & equality for all is at the heart of everything we do
WE CONSIDER FOOD SOVEREIGNTY TO BE THE ULTIMATE FREEDOM
growingSOUL, Sustainable Opportunities for Universal Learning, is a grassroots non-profit founded in 2009 by then-Maryland resident Jessica Weiss. The Chesapeake Foodshed region’s first Zero-Waste Food Justice program, growingSOUL is a legacy project honoring the history of neighbors sharing healthy fresh food with those in need seeking their freedom along the soil trails of the Underground Railroad. Our mission is to engage and assist communities in reducing hunger while simultaneously reducing food waste.
growingSOUL creates, implements and advocates for sustainable, interconnected, reciprocity-based food systems benefiting the vitality of communities and their residents as well as our planet. Our programs connect residents to one another and our earth, and in the process of growing food systems, helps grow our SOULs. Multi-generational, diverse volunteers engage hands-on, becoming lifelong-learners, connectors and part of growing a movement, instead of growing apart from it.
What We Do
Putting Stock in Our Community
Processing & Preserving in the Kitchen
Workforce Development, Community Engagement, Education & Advocacy
YARD LINK creates zero-waste food systems through small-scale urban gardening and composting utilizing low-carbon footprints, effectively growing healthy soil in which we help communities grow healthy sustainable food.
THE CULINERATI facilitates collaboration between government, NGO’s and the business sectors, creating partnerships leading to systemic change benefitting the community-at-large.
FEEDING OUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED
PUTTING STOCK IN OUR COMMUNITY ties together food production ~ recovery ~ preparation ~ preservation ~ donation ~ redistribution ~ and recycling. We recover seconds and process them into bone broth, soup, muffins and dehydrates that we sell with a Buy-One-Gift-One model.
As an urgent response to Covid-19, growingSOUL pivoted our programming to focus on the more immediate needs of our community. "Last Mile Food Box Delivery" ensured that healthy 32-lb fresh food boxes reach those in suffering from the pandemic. Between July 2020 and May 2021, growingSOUL fed over 3 million people in DC, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. In appreciation for including all 5 boroughs in our efforts and feeding over 1.5 million New Yorkers, we are proud to announce that growingSOUL received the City of NY Mayoral Service Recognition Award 2020.
of fresh food in +750,000 boxes
778 refrigerated trucks
18 NYC & 35 Mid-Atlantic Collaborative Partners in
all 5 NYC Boroughs;
DC, Maryland, Virginia & West Virginia
+3 million people fed July 2020-May 2021
Why We Do What We Do
"The Sandy Spring site is dedicated to the past, present, and future residents of Sandy Spring in hopes the activism that has characterized the community for centuries will continue in the future. This [site] has long been a source for contemplative thought and a place to recognize that we are dependent on this land and should be watchful caretakers."
Taken from the dedication to the spring for which Sandy Spring is named, we hope to honor the rich tradition of activism and contemplative thought as we are growingSOUL.. Our current system of food growing and distribution is irreparably broken and is having a devastating impact on the health of individuals, communities, and the planet. We can begin to solve this crisis by moving away from the energy-wasting model prevalent in the U.S. of growing food far from its ultimate destination, thereby eliminating the resulting pollution and heavy carbon footprint such a system creates. By teaching the principles of how to grow your own food, we believe ageism, classism, and most "isms" can be dismantled by empowering communities to have equal access to healthy food. Ultimately we will create a new kind of diverse multi-generational organization, where young and old people from all walks of life work side by side on cooperative sustainability projects that connect, educate and nourish one another.