With our farm-based education programs, nearly 3,000 students aged Pre-K to college typically visit The Urban Farm each year. We make student connections to where food comes from covering topics including plant science, nutrition, and environment. Outdoor experiential learning is essential for creating positive food memories, while sparking curiosity and exploration for young minds. The earlier children are introduced to the taste of fresh foods including vegetables, the more impact on their long term health. Families need support to grow up healthy eaters. In 2022, we have so many schools, youth groups and scout groups reaching out ready for us to return in the classroom and coming back to the farm!
The Urban Farm was an important place for high school students all during the pandemic and we are excited to continue these connections. Being outside safely, connecting to nature and each other socially and learning that food is a resource they are able to grow themselves has been a great experience for these students. In 2021, with your support, we doubled the high school internship program and hope to be able to grow the program in 2022.
A new farm apprentice program developed to bring vocational education to underrepresented populations in agriculture and environmental careers was kicked off in 2021. Grace and Chris were an integral part of our team. This pilot program is an important part of our future at Grow It Green, as we help build skills and encourage new pathways for students that build resilience in our diverse community.
At the Early Street Community Garden, over 100 families garden with us, surrounded by a unique and sustainable public parklet. This year, we welcomed many new partner organizations like Neighborhood House, Homeless Solutions, Colonial L.I.F.E. and Wind of the Spirit to spread the therapeutic benefits of gardening and provide food for local residents.
In 2022, we are building collaborative programs with other local organizations, and reaching out to our neighbors with new sliding scale produce shares, outreach for SNAP participation, bomba training sessions, open houses and a new cooking class we are working on. Please help us fund all of these initiatives.
Addressing nutritional inequity is only possible in partnership with local organizations. Each year, the farm and garden are planned and planted to grow nutrient dense, healthy fresh food distributed to our partners in the community as part of a more just and more healthy food system creation. Your support and a lot of determination is what helps get fresh food to the people who need it. In 2021, we gave record donations of fresh produce to nourish.NJ, Interfaith Food Pantry Network, Table of Hope and Newark Science and Sustainability. Grow It Green was able to fulfill a critical need this year starting a new partnership with Newark SAS, supplying a large majority of the produce for their Farm to Table Co-Op Shares bringing fresh nourishment to Newark families.