Mercy Farm, a program of Mercy Ecology began in late 2010 when the Sisters of Mercy decided to reopen their 39 acre property in Benson, VT. The mission of Mercy Ecology/Mercy Farm is one of care for the Earth through teaching the new Universe Story, environmental education, organic gardening and sustainable living. Mercy Farm supported this mission through "Project Homestead" by growing and sharing food with community people who are "food insecure" through Fair Haven Concerned food pantry. Food insecurity in Vermont is a growing concern. It is defined as "the lack of access to enough food to meet basic needs at all times due to a lack of financial resources" (HungerFreeVermont.org.) Benson, VT in Rutland County is a town of just over 1000 people. Of this population, 7.4% are unemployed; 14.5% have received SNAP benefits within the past 12 months; and 22.3% of families with children have an annual income which falls below the poverty level. When there is a female head of household with children under 18 that number jumps to 45% (Statistics are from FactFinder, the US Government Census data site.) Fair Haven, the partnering community has statistics that nearly mirror Benson. Mercy Farm was able to share with the food pantry over 400 pounds of fresh produce that included tomatoes, peppers, herbs, fruit, lettuce, and other greens, squash and potatoes. We hope to continue to share produce with the food pantry again this year. Benson does not have a food pantry and is not looking to start one. The people of Benson go to the food pantry in Fair Haven. We would like to continue and expand upon "Project Homestead" again this year.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA