Monday, June 24, 2013

Fresh Fork

Divinity Lutheran Social Ministry committee members received a grant for $43,000 for Redeemer Crisis Center in Cleveland, OH which is one of the Hunger Network Centers.  In this grant $12,000 is available for fresh fruits and vegetables and baby formula.  Buying the baby formula is not a problem but the logistics of getting the best available garden produce to our clients became a bigger problem than one might imagine.  Lettuce for example does not weigh much and would be quite easy to transport to the center.  Then we thought about watermelons and our need for 500 of them and also fresh corn which would be a shipment of 3000 ears.  The center does not have a truck and rental is expensive seeing we would need shipment for 22 prime weeks of the growing season. 

Praying on the matter and talking to a friend was the next step in the process of solving the problem.  My friend introduced me to Fresh Fork Markets which began in 2007 by four Western Reserve Students in an Entrepreneurship Education Consortium.  They were challenged to come up with a business idea that was viable for northeast Ohio.  The president is Trevor Clutterbuck who originally planned on being a lawyer instead is managing a Community Supported Agricultural subscription program which has grown to over 1000 people receiving bags of locally grown food during the 22 week growing season.  Their mission is to provide locally grown food from 100 farmers in our area to the consumer when it is fresh, ripe, and of the highest quality.

Talking to Trevor he came up with a plan that Redeemer Crisis Center will for 22 weeks starting in June until November weekly receive the best of Ohio locally grown fruits and vegetables. Fresh Fork Market will also donate to the center if they have overages of food after filling their subscription baskets   It is really a miracle that we will be able to provide the poor in our area the first fruits of the harvest.  The food will be used to provide healthy lunches served at noon during the seven week program for children, take home fruits and vegetables for the 70 children who attend the Bible School, and as nutritious additions to the bags of food given to families on a monthly basis.  Instead of only boxes and cans will be the abundance of the harvest to enrich their diet and their lives.  In addition, Fresh Fork Market will partner with us on programs on cooking, recipe suggestions, and assist us in our efforts to continue this program when the grant money is no longer available. 

This is a win-win situation with the poor receiving nutritious food and our community benefiting by putting $12,000 into the local economy to support employment in our own geographic area.  Thanks to Concordia Lutheran Ministries Foundation for providing us the funds to make this dream a reality for us.  

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