Building Bridges 2.0
A farm-based after school program for Pittsfield’s favorite kids
Building Bridges is an organization with an idea for a community farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This organization will serve as a safe space for youth in-need to feel a sense of empowerment and agency over their lives. This organization will be low-income and youth-centric. The farming will serve as an educational after-school program that teaches crop planning, growing, harvesting, and cooking with the produce grown on the farm. Enriching after-school programming is essential to a thriving community. Parents need to work, and our youth need a place to go that is warm, welcoming, and educational.
We strive to boost our community from the inside out.
Ally with Other Organizations
We will bridge the gap between other organizations that strive to help our youth and our community by offering another sector of programming: agriculture and food centered around emotional and mental wellness. This organization doesn’t necessarily strive to help – rather – we strive to empower. Farming and gardening and connection with nature is proven to boost feelings of self-efficacy and responsibility, which we hope to instill in our youth.
Building Bridges will also serve the community by providing weekend workshops, community farm days, pick-your-own-vegetables days, and farm harvest dinners. The community members that participate with us will learn how to grow, harvest, and cook with fresh produce. We will also partner with local organizations that strive to support our youth to bring well-rounded, skills building programming to the kids in-need.
This organization will soon apply to be a nonprofit and will start securing grants. We foresee a start date of Spring 2021. We hope to achieve this goal by receiving generous donations from our community, being supported by foundations, and by having built a strong, passionate board of directors that strives to help our community. For now, we’re looking for an organization to take us under their wing.
How You Can Help
Access to food
Our community garden will provide access to healthy food for the kids, their family, and the community as well with sliding scale CSA’s, weekend workshops, open farm days, and pick-your-own family fun.
We’re always looking for people to contribute to the workload. Whether you have tons of experience farming and would like to offer mentorship, or just want to get in on the fun of growing food – reach out!
All of the money donated goes directly into our programming. There are many costs that come with this work – soil for the beds, seeds, land rental, and even things as simple as bottled water for the kids after a fulfilling day of farming. All donations are appreciated with so much gratitude; no matter the amount.
If you know anyone who may benefit from our program, or others who may be able to assist in funding or offering support for this program – share the details! Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out and since this organization is focused primarily on community connection, we appreciate every advocate.
This community garden isn’t focused on helping, but focused on empowering the people in the community we call home. Many organizations approach communities in-need as though they know exactly what will solve all of life’s greatest problems. We don’t. We know what we think can help, and we collaborate with our community in order to bring in exactly what they’re looking for, and the tools they actually need to feel empowered while retaining their sense of self-efficacy and dignity.
After School Program
Our after school program aims to provide all of the benefits of other after school programs, and more. What makes our program different is that we’re teaching youth valuable skills and empowering them to take ownership over a valuable asset to the community. Through growing food, harvesting food, and cooking with the food we grow – they will gain valuable life-skills, a feeling of self-efficacy, and access to farm-fresh, life-giving food that is normally seen as a luxury.
Our weekend workshops will offer intergenerational experiences for families across Berkshire county. Our weekends give us the chance to open up our space to guests to engage with us in the garden space. From family cooking classes to “Pick Your Own” harvest days – we will offer a variety of workshops that will educate our community on gardening, cooking, and nutrition.
Access to healthy food through youth empowerment
Pittsfield’s kids will help bring healthy food to the community! By learning to grow food in this Pittsfield-based community garden, there will be opportunitites to bring food home, to assist in organizing a sliding scale CSA, and to sell food to the community we love.
Healthy Cooking Education
The great thing about our programing is that it takes our youth, as well as our community as a whole, through the entire farm-to-table process. Our ultimate goal is to empower our community through growing food, but also to educate and to eliminate that pesky “access” problem that plagues many of our low-income communities. We will grow, harvest, and cook with the produce. One of our founders, Brooke Bridges, was a personal chef for years and taught cooking classes to youth – bringing skill, passion, and a desire to spread awareness around healthy eating and how accessible it can be!
We Know How to Cook!
One of our Founders – Brooke Bridges – ran two food businesses in LA, a bagel operation for a short period of time in 2017-2018 here in Pittsfield, and has a personal chef company called Your In-Home Chef
We want to teach our kids how to cook delicious healthy food with passion, fun, and skill!
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