A local program that aims to increase community involved solutions to address food insecurity was launched this week.
The 2021 Neighborhood Food Champions chosen for the program will receive training and mentorship to develop a food access project. The proposals from 15 recipients include gardens, pantries and farming initiatives. Participants will receive $2,000 to start their projects.
This year’s program is broken up into two parts and includes four Neighborhood Food Builders, participants who have previous experience in the food system.
The effort to strengthen local food systems with targeted neighborhood solutions started in 2017. The Indianapolis City-County Council recently increased the program’s funding to $70,000.
In a statement, Mayor Joe Hogsett said he is committed to this issue.
“This program equips residents with tools and skills to achieve progress,” Hogsett said, “while bringing diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and talents to the table to solve the complex issues of food insecurity.”
The 12-week program is a partnership between the Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS) and the Center of Wellness for Urban Women.
Below are the recipients of each program, along with their proposed projects:
Neighborhood Food Builders:
Steph Gray – Thank You Neighbor Community Fridge Program
Nicholas Selm- Flanner Farm Stand
Veronica Collins-Kelly – Eastern Star Church the ROCK Initiative
Kathryn Seelig – Nora Community Garden Farm Stand
Neighborhood Food Champions:
Delorus (Dee) Alderman – Gram’s Gardens
David Blackmon – Operation Love & Peace
Priya Gangwani – Pathway to Immigrant-Friendly Food Banks
Daniel Garcia – Farming the Far East Side
Tammi Golden – Planting seeds for a better tomorrow…
Ross Jamison – The Gardens on Oxford
Erica Jaree – Indigenous Seed Cultivation and Preservation Initiative
Torian Jones – Flanner Farms Soil Remediation Initiative
Autumn Lowry – Plant to Plate Project
Michael McFarland – Food Desert no more
DeAndrea Rayner – Indy Community Pantry
Sybil Saterfield, – Second Chance Personal Development Farm Program
Amber Toombs – No Questions Asked Food Pantry
Zainab VanHorn-Ali – IMCA Urban Community Garden
Lydia Watson – Neighborhood Go Grocery by NBC