Junior League of Duluth’s goal is to build a coalition of Community Partners with shared vision and resources to establish a food secure community through empowerment, enrichment, and education.
What is food insecurity?
Food insecurity is the most broadly-used measure of food deprivation in the United States. For the USDA, food insecurity means that “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”
How many people are affected by food insecurity?
In 2013, St Louis County, with a population of 200,327, experienced a food insecurity rate of 12.6%, or 25,170 individuals. The food insecurity rate for children in St Louis County is 19.5% or 7640 individuals under the age of 18. (http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1565415/err173.pdf, http://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2013/overall)
What is the Let it Grow Project?
Junior League of Duluth is employing a multi-strategy approach that will help address employment barriers, food access, and food insecurity in a USDA-identified Food Desert. One of those strategies is to build aDeep Winter Greenhouse for Community Action Duluth’s Seeds of Success Program (SoS). Operation of this greenhouse will enable SoS to grow greater quantities of healthy food all year round as well as expand their transitional employment program into a time of year when their fields are idle.
SoS currently runs an 18-week farmers market in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood that has no grocery store. Food grown in this greenhouse will allow the Lincoln Park Farmers Market to expand into the winter months, offering their affordable fresh produce for sale year-round alongside value added products and storage crops from other vendors.
The Deep Winter Greenhouse will exist in concert with other food-related projects happening nearby: a new community garden and edible forest will share the adjacent lot, and the new Denfeld Whole Foods Co-op is across the street with a space for educational programs and cooking classes. Once the greenhouse is built and the garden is growing, this space will become a catalyst for further conversation and educational programming.
Where will this greenhouse be built?
The greenhouse will be built in the Denfeld neighborhood of Duluth, Minnesota across Grand Avenue from the new Whole Foods Co-op on a flood damaged, underutilized site.
When will the greenhouse be built?
Foundation work will begin in Summer of 2016.
This greenhouse will be operated by SoS. It will allow them to expand their transitional employment program into a period when their fields are idle.
SoS currently offers an 18-week farmer’s market at Harrison Community Center from June – October. This winter market could offer value-added products from other vendors, as well as storage crops from the root cellar. The greenhouse will also be used to teach both student and adult audiences how to garden during the dormant season.
What is unique about this greenhouse?
We are building a Deep-Winter Greenhouse, designed for vegetable production in the depths of winter, while maintaining a low carbon footprint and low operational costs. There are few organizations adopting this deep-winter growing method, especially in areas as far north as Duluth. We have the opportunity to be a part of an emerging Deep Winter Producers Association
Who are our Community Partners and what are their roles?
Community Action Duluth and their Seeds of Success Program – greenhouse operator
City of Duluth – owner of development
Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community – funder
Duluth Community Garden Program – operator of community garden
Whole Foods Co-op – funder and classroom space
Lincoln Park Fair Foods Access Campaign – funder
How will this greenhouse be funded?
A combination of JLD fundraising efforts, Federal grant monies, the generosity of our community, grants, as well as funds designated by our project partners, including Zeitgeist Center for the Arts and Community and the City of Duluth.
Active Junior League of Duluth Roles
- Facilitate the construction of a greenhouse in West Duluth
- Facilitate the development of a multidimensional approach to food access
- Expand, promote, and develop educational programming addressing how to grow, obtain, prepare healthy food
- Engage neighborhoods of West Duluth and Lincoln Park to give voice to their food security strategies
- Develop a stage for food advocacy
- Promote food access solutions offered by Edible Duluth: Denfeld development
- Build a resource center for schools
- Transform a compromised, underutilized urban site into a place of higher purpose
- Incorporate research opportunities into design
- Support establishment of CSA or Farmer’s Market on site
- Promote innovation in both design and operation
- Provide financial support for greenhouse construction