A group of long-time Growing Hope supporters pledged $50,000 in matching funds for our Sowing Resiliency Spring Fundraising Campaign. To meet this match, we will need help from all of our supporters. With a donation of $50, $250, or $500, together we can support our work in this consequential time. From now until the end of June, your contribution will be matched dollar-for-dollar and you will make a difference by ensuring access to healthy food among our community’s most vulnerable. Donate today!
You may have seen the recent County Health Department data showing that the crisis is disproportionately affecting communities of color in Ypsilanti. As of early April, 44% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County were in 48197 and 48198 zip codes, while only 29% of the county’s population lives in these zip codes. What’s more, 48% of residents who have been hospitalized due to the virus are black, despite the fact that only 12% of county residents are black.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is shining a harsh light on the racial health disparities that already existed in our county. Prior to this health crisis, the Ypsilanti-area had some of the highest rates of chronic, diet-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and lower life expectancy than any other part of Washtenaw county. The data shows that underlying health conditions can make a person more susceptible to contracting the virus.
Your donation today addresses these health disparities by bringing more fresh food to our Ypsilanti community and supporting our local farmers and food businesses.
Not long into this crisis, the Growing Hope staff recognized we had the infrastructure, resources, and expertise to contribute to the immediate needs of our community in unique ways. With that, we have moved quickly to retool our programming using a multitude of strategies with the following initiatives:
- In partnership with The Farm at St. Joe’s Hospital and Zilke Farm Kitchen, we started the Ypsi Area Online Market. This online farmers market offers customers an opportunity to purchase local food for safe pick-up at our Ypsilanti Farmers Marketplace and our partners’ locations. We accept food assistance like SNAP/EBT funds, making sure that everyone, no matter their income, has access to healthy food.
- On our farm, we are moving quickly to ramp up our vegetable production so we can donate more food to pantries in our neighborhood like Hope Clinic and Beautiful Gate Church. Working under strict COVID-19 safety guidelines, we are utilizing our hoop houses to their fullest potential and increasing our cold crop production in our market gardens.
- For over a decade Growing Hope has installed raised bed gardens in lower-income Ypsilanti neighborhoods with our Home Vegetable Garden Program. Normally, we accept 25 new families every year, but this growing season you can help us nearly double the program so that even more Ypsilanti families have the materials, resources and skills to grow their own food.
- We know how important it is for home gardeners to have access to vegetable seedlings during times like these. That’s why we have already propagated nearly 4,500 seedlings on our farm.
- While our face-to-face youth garden programs have been postponed, we are working hard to educate and inspire Ypsilanti youth in new ways. With your support we can reach more Ypsilanti families and children as we put together gardening activities, seasonal recipes, and lessons to include with the raised bed vegetable gardens and seedling distributions.
Unfortunately, food insecurity and health disparities in Ypsilanti existed well before COVID-19. As we look to the future, let’s work together to ensure “going back to normal” means something much better for the most affected in our community. This moment of crisis calls us to reflect on what kind of world we want to build. While we know the path ahead will be difficult, let’s choose one that leads to the future we want.
Please consider supporting Growing Hope’s important work during this critical time. A gift of $50, $250 or $500 will go a long way in ensuring our market, garden and youth programs can continue addressing the highest needs in our community.
Thank you for giving hope! Stay safe, stay connected, and stay healthy. Donate today!