A growing season is the period of the year when crops and other plants grow successfully. It varies from place to place. At Gallatin Valley Farm to School, our growing season kicked off in March as we planted starts in our greenhouse bus. But amid the global pandemic, within months the seeds of hope and inspiration we planted stunted before our eyes.
Gallatin Valley Farm to School is a food literacy and access organization. We connect kids and families with local food in the garden, classroom, cafeteria, and community. Like most, we have altered our approach to delivering programs during this pandemic.
When September arrived and COVID-19 was far from disappearing, we turned to our community. Th rough parent surveys, teacher feedback, and a shared sentiment throughout the nonprofit community, we soon realized we had to respond to a growing need for weekly childcare and academic support through our program outreach.
One growing season may come to an end, but we take the valuable lessons we have learned and the community partnerships we have made and sow the seeds for a robust season to come.
Our staff may be small, but the Gallatin Valley is mighty. Our Fall Scholarship Campaign kicked off September 14 with a lofty goal of $20,000 or seventy-two scholarship spots. With the generous support of our board, family members, corporate matches, and a lot of community “friendraising” through Facebook, we not only met but exceeded our goal by September 30.
Funding in place, another challenge quickly presented itself. With the end of outdoor garden season and a moratorium on classroom visits, we found ourselves without a physical place to hold programs. However, the call for connection and partnership echoed throughout our team conversations: “Let’s keep growing.”
Once again, we turned to our community for ideas and connections. Thrive Inc., an organization that mentors, educates, and supports children and families through various program efforts, came through. They provided us with a physical space to hold our fall programs, which has become a vital connection to those community members who benefit from these programs the most.
Throughout this process, we have come to an important realization: In meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in our community, we are able to create a stronger Gallatin Valley. One growing season may come to an end, but we take the valuable lessons we have learned and the community partnerships we have made and sow the seeds for a robust season to come.
Gallatin Valley Farm to School looks forward to hosting our fifth annual Winter’s Bounty Feast on Friday, March 5. This year, we will highlight the importance of our local food system through a partnership with local growers, chefs, and restaurants and bring the feast to you through a virtual event. The funds raised during this culinary feast will go directly toward creating sustainable, equitable, and accessible program opportunities for kids and families in our community.
If you are interested in learning more about our Winter’s Bounty Feast, or you’d like to donate your time, talent, or resources to our mission, please contact email@example.com.