The Giving Grove extends its reach in the fight against food insecurity
The Giving Grove, a Kansas City-based nonprofit, has recently expanded its services into rural Kansas in a partnership with The Big Garden in Omaha, Neb.
The Giving Grove traditionally serves urban communities, but with grant funding from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, The Big Garden will open a satellite program in Kansas to serve individuals and families in rural communities with food insecurities.
“Rural communities represent some of the highest rates of food insecurity in America. Our original Giving Grove program model only addressed hunger in urban areas. We are proud that The Big Garden has found a way to expand the number of people we reach,” Giving Grove CEO Robert Reiman says. “This is the power of The Giving Grove Affiliate Network. Our model allows our affiliates, such as The Big Garden, to take the Giving Grove program in new directions. The compounding effect of shared knowledge and best practices ensures that we are operating at our highest capacity, feeding more people and creating more environmentally friendly community space.”
Since launching in 2013, The Giving Grove has planted 241 orchards that provide free, holistically-grown fruits, nuts, and berries for communities with high rates of food insecurity. Its mission is to provide healthy calories, strengthen the community, and improve the environment through a nationwide network of sustainable little orchards that dramatically increase access to healthy foods.
The Big Garden will plant four orchards this fall in Colby, Emporia, Wichita, and Bonner Springs. Each organization that will tend the orchards has committed to donating future harvests to food pantries, soup kitchens, and local social services agencies.
The Omaha expansion is the first time The Giving Grove will address food insecurity in a rural setting. Orchards will reach 15% of all food-insecure individuals, creating more than 10,570 servings of free and healthy foods.
With a lifespan ranging from 50-60 years, each orchard will produce more than 232,000 servings of food for people in need while sequestering carbon, reducing stormwater runoff, and providing urban tree canopy.