It’s called the Healthy Food Hub, and it’s the brainchild of three local nonprofits who want to transform a place now known as a food desert into an urban oasis for low-income patrons.
Furthering a tradition of urban gardening that spans at least three decades, East New York Farms! is a Brooklyn based non-profit focused on food justice, urban agriculture and community education. Historically overlooked for funding, littered with abandoned properties and better known for urban crime than urban gardening, East Brooklyn Farm! has emerged from a troubled past through the efforts of established residents and new immigrants.
One of New York’s outlying suburbs, East Brooklyn has a colorful history punctuated with the neglect and abandonment of white flight and a newer, more diverse population caught in a state of flux and change. East Brooklynites have learned self-sufficiency the hard way.
Rural Action has been awarded a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant to support the Southeast Ohio Food Hub Network, three food hubs that provide access to food, agricultural business training, and employment opportunities for people in Perry, Athens, and Morgan counties.
These counties, located roughly an hour from Columbus, Ohio, have all been classified by the Appalachian Regional Commission as “distressed,” according to Tom Redfern, Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator with Rural Action. “Distressed” means many things, but in this part of Ohio, the classification means little access to healthy food, chronic illness and obesity, as well as few employment opportunities that provide a living wage.
Why would an established affordable housing lending institution decide to change its name?
“Lowcountry Housing Trust has been the South Carolina leader in affordable housing lending,” says Anna Hamilton, strategic initiatives director for the organization. “As we worked under our previous name of Lowcountry Housing Trust, we thought that we’d really love to see a grocery store here or a daycare there. To realize our vision of a sustainable community, we added community business loans and healthy foods retail loans. We believe our new name, South Carolina Community Loan Fund says what we really do because our mission had evolved to more than just affordable housing.”