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Food for Life - Schools Programme

                                                                                    

DIG IT Projects in USA

See what our counter parts are doing in the USA and how they are providing their communities with the knowledge to GROW their OWN and what benefits it can give them.

Introduction

Mission and Objectives 

Threshold Foundation was founded in 1993 and incorporated in 1996 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The organization’s mission is to empower low and moderate income families by developing a self-reliant and sustainable food system and local economy in Lancaster County and surrounding areas of eastern Pennsylvania through community-based and youth-focused enterprises, urban agricultural projects, life skills, and educational initiatives. 
 
Threshold’s overall objectives might be expressed in terms of the often-used phrase, “triple bottom line”, which emphasizes the desire to achieve economic viability (the economic bottom line), while also providing services to the community (the social bottom line) and in a manner that is mindful of the environmental consequences of human activity (the environmental bottom line).
 
The organization’s economic bottom line objective is to ensure that its operating costs are covered by a mixture of earned income, donations and grants, so that it can continue to conduct its programs. The social bottom line objective is evident in Threshold’s 15 year history of nutrition and health education for youth and adults, training of youth in gardening and customer service:
“Threshold Foundation began as a prevention/intervention program offering skills-building workshops as a mechanism to help inspire at-risk youth to gain job skills, graduate high school and go on to college. From 1993 until 1998 the Foundation served more than 150 court-referred youth, and from 1999 the Foundation focused on presenting programs in classrooms for teachers of the School District of Lancaster.
“Today the Threshold Foundation promotes the sustainable development of Lancaster city by nurturing a new generation of young leaders. In 2003, the Threshold Foundation began a community garden for Crispus Attucks Homeless Shelter and in 2004 started Dig-It! as a pilot project for youth. Participants began to sell their organic produce at local farmers market in 2005. Over the last three years the program proved to be highly successful at engaging, educating and mentoring over 250 low income, culturally and racially diverse youth in schools, camps, probation and parole programs.”
  

Context

 
Threshold Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2009-2012 defines the context of its work this way:
 
“Food insecurity is closely tied to poverty as the working poor and others with genuine need, including small family farmers, may not have the money to access nutritious food. Fixed costs from rent, transportation, health care, etc. consume much of the family income. The overall poverty rate in the Lancaster County is 7.8% (35,553) individuals. The greatest numbers of low income individuals are located in the City of Lancaster, Lancaster Township, Manheim Township and the Borough of Columbia. The greatest percentages of poverty occur in the City of Lancaster (21.20%), Millersville Borough (16.4%), Leacock Township (15.4%), Earl Township (15.0%). Poverty is highest in African-American (28.7%) and Hispanic families (38%)…
“In reaction to the above trends [of pressure on small family farms and disconnect between local farms and family meals], Threshold Foundation Inc. is organizing around “sustainable agriculture” and “community food security”. The focus of sustainable agriculture has been primarily about the way agriculture is accomplished (environmentally, economically and socially viable). This is a movement to support family farming and small farms while educating urban youth and community residents about the importance and connection of sustainable agriculture, community food security and nutrition. The emphasis of community food security has been one of assuring that everyone in a community has access to good quality, culturally appropriate food. It is an endeavor that seeks to move our community beyond a “food pantry” and “community meals” mentality as the way to deal with hunger. These efforts while closely connected by the production and consumption of food, have been operating somewhat separately.”
 
The Mobile Farmers Market (MFM) was conceived as a demonstration and exploration of the feasibility of delivering fresh produce to vulnerable populations in the area. The model was developed both as a means of increasing farm profitability and meeting the needs of vulnerable populations and reducing their costs for healthy food. 
 
Beyond the MFM demonstration, Threshold is developing a local marketing system for fresh food, particularly for vulnerable populations, who have limited access to affordable high quality food because of limited resources and access to transportation. This system is intended to expand the market for local foods (produced by our farm and by
 
farmers in the Lancaster area) and to encourage more local food production in our area and possibly in other areas as our experience gains wider publicity. In addition, Threshold is committed to offer experience to community youth in our farming program in sales and customer service.
 
In part, the MFM project is a demonstration of the financial and operational feasibility of a mobile produce marketing system as a means of supplying residents of low-income areas, delivering fresh produce to WIC and Senior Citizen beneficiaries of the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and to low-income residents of inner city neighborhoods where access is limited because supermarkets are not present.  

The Threshold Foundation is a charity organisation based in America which supplies the community with locally grown produce, grown on their farm by their students.