In February of this year, the GrowHaus, a nonprofit urban farm and education center that supplies food at affordable prices to the underserved Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, launched a program called Mercado de al lado -- it means "your market next door" -- that supplies residents with a "basic" food box, or a "family" food box of fresh, seasonal and organic produce and fruit, plus eggs, grains, bread and more. The "family" boxes are $20 a week and the "basic" box is sold for $12, and local companies, including Bluepoint Bakery and High Plains Food Co-Op, donate many of the items, while all the leafy salad greens are plucked straight from the beds inside the GrowHaus.
And while the program is off to a great start -- the GrowHaus is selling about thirty boxes each week -- additional financial assistance from all of us could significantly help to increase their food distribution. "With a little extra capital, we could be doing a lot more," says Adam Brock, founder of the Growhaus.
As a way to raise money, the GrowHaus has implemented a neighborhood catalyst campaign that seeks assistance from the community -- those of us with a little extra change to spare. "We're looking to raise $6,500 from our community, and so far we're about one-third of the way there," says Brock, adding that if the GrowHaus can pull in another 4,000 within the next two weeks, "We'll be able to accomplish numerous things to take our food distribution efforts to the next level."
For example, "We'd be able to upgrade our food sorting infrastructure to ensure that we can handle larger volumes of food and upgrade our equipment in the market, which would enable us to sell more ingredients and baskets," says Brock. In addition, "We could send our 'street team' of residents and volunteers out into the neighborhood schools and churches to help spread the word and build the capacity to distribute our boxes at other drop-off points in the community."
If you'd like to contribute to the campaign -- every dollar helps -- go to www.neighborhoodcatalyst.org/en/growhaus and give the GrowHaus an early Christmas present.
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"In order for Mercado De Al Lado to truly make a neighborhood-wide impact, we need your help to invest in its continued growth," stresses Brock. "If our campaign succeeds, we'll have the means to let thousands more people know about our new program, particularly in Elyria-Swansea and Globeville. We'll be able to sort and store our food more efficiently, saving hundreds of dollars and many more hours of work, and we'll be providing economic and leadership opportunities to more residents in of our community."