WHAT WE DO
* RAISE AWARENESS *
*RESPECT CULTURAL IMPERATIVES *
GrowingSOUL pivoted our focus and significantly expanded our reach during the pandemic. We ran logistics for and distributed 750,000+, 32-pound USDA Farmers to Families Food Boxes throughout West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and New York. Overall, we fed 3 million of our neighbors in need; 1.5 million in New York City alone.
For the efforts of the community partners in our Collaborative, growingSOUL received a Certificate of Recognition under
The New York City Mayoral Service Recognition Program...
... AND NOW WE ARE GETTING OURSELVES BACK TO THE GARDEN!
is dedicated to educating the public about
the vital role of human interdependence and reciprocity
in developing and promoting a ZERO WASTE
sustainable food system that benefits the health of
individuals, communities, and our planet.
One that helps community members connect to one another
and our earth, and in the process of growing food, helps grow our SOULs.
At growingSOUL, we advocate for, demonstrate and teach the strategies necessary to create an integrated zero-waste sustainable food cycle solution including: composting, local food production, preparation and preservation all fueled by renewable energies, and overseen by a Food Security Council. Our Earth Defenders volunteer corps are a universal community, a diverse multi-generational organization, where young and old people from all walks of life engage in hands-on opportunities where they can own their knowledge, become lifelong learners and connectors, spread the word and be a part of growing a movement, not apart from it.
Through our zero waste food solutions, we
CONNECT, ENGAGE & NOURISH.
Together, we are building the healthy soils in which good food
and strong communities grow & THRIVE.
WE ARE CURRENTLY FOCUSED ON EXPANDING OUR
PUTTING STOCK IN OUR COMMUNITIES PROGRAM TO INCLUDE
THE REGION OF NEW YORK THAT WAS THE HOME OF THE ORIGINAL WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL.
JOIN US AS WE ARE GETTING BACK TO THE GARDEN!
OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE MAKING VEGETABLE STOCKS, BONE BROTHS, SOUPS & STEWS
IN THE CATSKILLS KITCHEN AT THE CORNELL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FOR SULLIVAN COUNTY.
Our interconnected programs detailed below include:
Yard Link, Soil with SOUL and Second Helpings: A Plant Food Solution for nutrient recycling via composting & growing fresh food production;
Putting Stock in Our Communities: A Zero Waste Kitchen for food processing & preservation;
The Collaborative for integrated equitabledistribution;
The Earth Defenders workforce development and internship program to engage and train the community;
& Food Councils, Food Security Coalitions and Solid Waste Advisory Committees to oversee everything and keep us thriving. GrowingSOUL and our rural New York community partners are currently building the Sullivan Catskills Food Security Network hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County.
We collect community food scraps
and compostables to effectively
grow healthy soil in which we help communities to grow healthy sustainable food.
Redirected 75 tons of food scraps from our wholesale partner and Culinerati kitchen scraps to feed farm animals
Diverted 1400 tons of food scraps out of landfills via composting
Enriched the soils along the Underground Railroad, effectively “growing” new topsoil to cover an acre of food production land
Cultivated & Produced over 9 tons of organic produce on that acre
Established urban farms and farmers markets, teaching at-risk youth to grow, prepare, market and compost their food, bringing healthy produce and value-added products to residents in food deserts
Launched the first municipal curbside-pickup composting pilot program in the Washington DC Metropolitan region; by educating through civic meetings, trash-free school lunches, and weekly email updates, we achieved a 94% participation rate
We recover seconds and ugly produce and process them into bone broth, soup stock, stuffings, muffins and dehydrates that we donate into the community.
Engaging with growingSOUL in the kitchen is Putting Stock in Your Community.
Distributed over 750,000 32-pound boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat throughout Maryland, New York, Virginia and West Virginia to feed over 3 million people
Diverted 501 tons of valuable nutrients out of our solid waste stream
Processed & Redistributed 1,002,721 pounds of produce
Prepared & Donated 1525 gallons of soup, applesauce and braised greens, 5550 gluten-free protein muffins, 935 gallons of dehydrated fruit, applesauce and pumpkin seeds
Fed the equivalent of 835,601 meals valued at over $1,700,000 including Thanksgiving dinner for 3000 at-risk families
Donated and continue to share out 10,000 pounds of food weekly
Education & Advocacy
We work collaboratively to create educational opportunities based on reciprocity to become part of the sustainable culinary world.
We work with volunteers ages 4-94 from all walks of life and partner with stakeholders from all aspects of food systems in our workforce, education and advocacy work.
Implemented a micro-enterprise workforce development program
Supported immigrant students by providing the opportunity to get community college credit for our high school horticulture program
Developed apprenticeships for young people and adults with disabilities
Trained 482 volunteers for 3175 hours, and students for 820 SSL hours
Funded partial college tuition, food manager training and/or licensing fees for apprentices
Co-Founded the Montgomery County Food Council, acting as Coordinator and head of the Environmental Impact Working Group
Educational Co-Chair on Maryland Governor’s Composting Task Force
Vice-Chair of Montgomery County's Solid Waste Advisory Committee