Louisville based non-profit, New Roots believes, “Just like air and water, everyone has a right to fresh food.”
In June 2017, Facilities Management Services pbc and New Roots, an organization that works with food insecure neighborhoods to create sustainable systems to access farm-fresh produce, worked together to pilot a program for our front-line workers.
We are a mission driven business that listens to our community and our employees. In 2016, FMS team members completed surveys and indicated that education around healthy living and eating is a need and want. FMS President Scott Koloms and New Roots Executive Director Karyn Moskowitz saw this as an opportunity to partner and drive the food justice movement.
Moskowitz is very passionate about food justice and has been running the New Roots Fresh Stops since 2009. There are 15 Fresh Stop Markets that serve several communities around Louisville and Southern Indiana. Anyone can become a shareholder with New Roots and pays for their produce on a sliding scale. Depending on your income, you can either pay $6 or up to $40 for a share. Each share comes with ten varieties of seasonal, locally farmed and organic fruits and vegetables. Each Fresh Stop is unique to the neighborhood and offers community, information on the produce and even a chef who cooks with the food in the share.
At FMS, we decided to pilot a new program with our front line workers to offer these shares at a deeply discounted price. We paid $21 of a $26 share and our employees paid $5 out of their paycheck for six weeks this summer. Our goal was to reach 20 people and we had 30 sign up!
Each week, our team members were exposed to familiar and unfamiliar vegetables and new ways of cooking. Not only were they bringing the food home for themselves and their families, but some of our employees shared with neighbors, friends and family members. It was a beautiful example of paying it forward.
Feedback is really positive and everyone who participated this year really wants us to do it again next year. We recently attended a meeting with other neighbors, including Heine Brothers Coffee, Louisville Grows and the Louisville Free Public Library, to discuss the possibility of opening a Fresh Stop Market right here in Portland.
The neighborhood really needs a Fresh Stop and we hope that we can help get this off the ground running based on our pilot program’s success!