This year, Sprouting Hope celebrates five years of growing and sharing food with our community. In that time, we have grown and distributed over 20,000 pounds of fresh food to our community partners at the Mel Leaman Free Clinic, the local senior center, and to our neighbors through two food banks. We started growing in a small plot in town and now we manage 13,000 sq ft of annual and perennial beds, two hoop houses, and roughly two aces of food forest. We’ve logged over 20,000 volunteer hours and have hosted visitors from Florida, Iowa and everywhere in between. Sprouting Hope realizes its impact is growing and our community sees us as part of the family.
This year, Sprouting Hope is launching three new programs. We have added a market gardener component to our Homegrown Program. Our 5 new market growers will be growing fresh organic produce to sell at Marion’s Farmers Market. Our hope is that our growers contribute to the strengthening of that space and add variety for customers. We have also partnered with the Farmers Market to increase the capacity of the market by teaching educational and nutrition workshops and by working to increase the number of SNAP recipients who utilize the market. Lastly, we have partnered with Marion Senior High School to create an entrepreneurial program focused on land use and conservation, agribusiness and social innovation. We are about to break ground with the first diversified vegetable garden at a high school in our county.
The Stories of Our Impact
In order to adequately celebrate our impact and tell the stories of the many lives we encounter through our work, this year, our blog posts will feature the writings and stories of the families and folks we work with. Along the way, I’ll provide updates about the successes and challenges of our programs and will continue to offer tidbits of advice. I hope you enjoy taking the time to be a part of our journey and hearing the voices of our Sprouting Hope family here in Marion, Virginia. Thanks for celebrating 5 years of hard work and love with us.