New Year, New Optimism!
City Green is moving into 2021 with a sense of optimism, hope, and renewed energy. Though 2020 was full of obstacles, it showed us how community partners can come together to step out of these challenges even stronger than before.
Addressing new challenges meant coming up with creative solutions. This, as well as a collective shift towards virtual and online gatherings, resulted in more frequent and meaningful discussions with partners new and old. For our Garden State Good Food Network, these challenges have inspired us to reinvigorate our partnerships and to get brand new partners on board. This winter, we’ve been focusing our efforts on providing technical assistance to farmers markets and farm stands throughout New Jersey to help them become SNAP-authorized. More SNAP-authorized farmers markets means more shopping opportunities for New Jersey SNAP beneficiaries, which will prove to be essential as the need for healthy food options persists. City Green’s work in this arena will position more local fruit and vegetable growers to participate in and benefit from the Good Food Buck SNAP-doubling program, and will make our state’s local food system more accessible and resilient.
To help facilitate these partnerships, City Green is also revamping our Good Food Buck Member resource hub by transitioning documents to all digital formats, and installing a membership forum where partners can discuss successes, challenges, and ideas amongst each other. Improved communication tools such as this will be invaluable as we all continue to navigate the operational shifts imposed by the pandemic. The updated Good Food Buck resource center will help to make the program more accessible to participants, as well as allow for us to better leverage our network’s knowledge, resources, and connections.
Concurrently, City Green is working with the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance to establish a statewide Farmers Markets and Growers Coalition. This coalition will ultimately serve to connect farmers with communities and markets, and will further connect them with the Good Food Buck incentive program.
These cohesive efforts across the Garden State Good Food Network and partner coalitions will elevate the Good Food Buck nutrition incentive program as a powerful change-making tool for healthy food access in New Jersey. Our growing network’s collective efforts will also help to prove widespread impact and leverage federal nutrition incentive funds for New Jersey, which City Green will be pursuing through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) federal grant program this March.
There are so many things to look forward to this year, and we are anxiously waiting for warmer weather and the farmers market season to watch our partners and the Good Food Buck program thrive in new and exciting ways!
About the Grantee
City Green is a 501(c)3 urban farming and gardening organization, based in Clifton, New Jersey working to revitalize New Jersey communities through agriculture, educational programming, and food access initiatives.