Our Farm Fresh Program is a partnership between Wasatch Community Gardens and Valley Plaza, a residential unit housing individuals with severe mental illness, managed by Valley Behavioral Health. The majority of the residents are low-income individuals who lack access to, and information about, fresh produce and healthy food.
WCG staff make weekly visits to Valley Plaza in the spring, summer, and fall to distribute fresh produce to residents and work with kitchen staff to prepare healthy snacks to serve to residents, such as smoothies and gazpacho. WCG staff also organize field trips for residents to visit several of our garden locations, including the Green Phoenix Farm where we grow the organic produce provided to residents.
We have pivoted the program in order to be able to continue to provide fresh produce to Valley Plaza residents during the pandemic. During the 2021 growing season (June – October), we will be making weekly deliveries to Valley Plaza residents of individually-packaged snack bags containing fresh, organic produce, such as cherry tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, peppers, pears, and berries. Produce is grown at our Green Phoenix Farm, where we host a Job Training Program for women experiencing homelessness. Beginning in 2021, we will also grow produce for the program in plots at our Grateful Tomato Garden and 9-Line Community Garden.
In order to make the snack bags more fun and engaging to encourage Valley Plaza residents to try new vegetables and fruits, we have created a theme for 2021 of “Eating in Color.” This theme will be incorporated each week in new and different ways and could involve having a snack bag containing many different colors of tomatoes, for example, or a snack bag of different produce (carrots, peppers, pears, etc.) that is all yellow in color.
We are honored to partner with Valley Behavioral Health to serve the community in this way.