Saving the West Foundation
STWF - ED Center
A grant from LA 2050 will allow the STWF Ed Center to directly combat food deserts in South LA. 1) Secure a local undeveloped plot of land, (city-owned) to initiate the STWF Organic Urban Farm 2) Expand Young Gardener’s program to tend the urban farm. 3), Develop a Young Food Entrepreneurship program teaching the business of food. 4) Market produce and fruit from the urban farm at local farmer's markets. Over time, this program creates a recurring revenue source for the self-sufficiency of all programming.
Describe the mission of your organization.
Saving the West Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit that works to improve the lives of young people in urban and rural communities. STWF highlights the importance of academic excellence and environmental sustainability. Our work is dedicated to solving issues of inequality for folks who live in populated areas and those who live and work on the land.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- South LA
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
Many of the residents of South Central Los Angeles suffer some of the greatest rates of income disparity in the country with 25.8 percent of residents within a 5 mile radius living below the poverty line. The average per capita income is 18,337 dollars a year, about half the average per capita income in the United States overall. Due to the soaring costs of housing and transportation in LA County, many people who work full time, even families with two incomes, often cannot make ends meet or put enough food on the table. Before the pandemic, an estimated 1 in 5 people in Los Angeles County lived with food insecurity, but after the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of people needing food assistance has increased markedly. It is estimated that 1 in 4 of our neighbors faces food insecurity. Food insecurity is one of the main issues that the STWF Ed Center addresses through its programming.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
1) Secure a local undeveloped plot of land, (city-owned) to initiate the STWF Organic Urban Farm 2) Expand Young Gardener’s program to tend the urban farm - this will be a paid afternoon activity for 15-18-year-olds. 3), Develop a Young Food Entrepreneurship program teaching the business of food. 4) Market produce and fruit from the urban farm at local farmer’s markets. The strong response to both our “Monthly Food Giveaways” and “Young Gardeners Program” confirmed the need. People want to learn how to grow their own produce and have access to healthier eating. Families are tired of living in a “Food Desert” and waiting to get the access they deserve to healthy, nutritional food in this neighborhood. They prefer to take matters into their own hands and become more self-sufficient. By educating themselves on growing food and plants native to Los Angeles, they are able to better meet their own needs.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
The Entrepreneurship component of our proposal will be aimed at high schoolers and young adults. We believe the impact of a hands-on holistic urban farming and food business program will have a ripple effect of positivity throughout the community, the County, and beyond. If proven to be successful we expect our food giveaway and young gardeners program to decrease the number of families who do not have access to nutritional healthy resources and gain the knowledge to grow their own produce. Healthier eating habits ensure that families’ chances of contracting health issues such as obesity, heart problems, and diabetes decrease significantly.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
STWF Ed Center Tutoring Program stats on the difference tutoring makes for young folks. Over the past 5 years, information and data from our tutoring programs are cataloged to gain a better understanding of who we are assisting and how the program is benefiting our students. The young gardeners program is in the early stages of development. The program launches on April 10th and we expect to have data showing how much our young gardeners have learned during the 6-week program. We also expect feedback from all of our families to help improve and develop the ongoing gardening program. In future courses, students will have the option to join our beginners or intermediate gardening course. The idea behind the Young Gardeners program is to teach kids how to grow healthy foods and the connection between clean air, clean water, and nutritious eating habits.
Which of the learn metrics will you impact?
- Enrollment in afterschool programs
- High school graduation rates
- Opportunity youth (“Disengaged youth” 16-24 not working or in school)
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to CONNECT
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE
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