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Food Insecurity

Local Nonprofit Accepted Into Nation's First Food Recovery Accelerator

ReFED, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit committed to scaling solutions to reduce food waste, has selected a local organization to participate in its inaugural Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator program.

Seeds That Feed (STF), a Northwest Arkansas food recovery nonprofit, was recently accepted into the ReFED's Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator program, the only U.S. nonprofit wholly dedicated to reducing food waste. STF is one of ten US-based nonprofits, out of over 125 applicants, selected for participation. The Accelerator aims to catalyze ideas and inspire actions that lead to a doubling of healthy food available to the 40 million Americans facing food insecurity.

Thanks to the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, in partnership with +Acumen and in collaboration with a world-class, 50-member Expert Network of industry leaders, STF and nine other food recovery organizations will be developing scalable, money-generating ideas over the next three months. Each participating organization will receive $30,000, plus an additional $100,000 will be awarded to a selected winner at the end of the Accelerator.

ReFed Expert Network

"We are a small nonprofit with a big vision," explains Alyssa Snyder, Co-founder and Chief Seeder at STF. "The opportunity to work alongside nine other like-minded organization, and in conjunction with an Expert Network of more than 50 leaders in the field, is an absolute game changer. Improving the lives of our neighbors through food is what drives us forward, and the opportunities ReFED is creating are quite literally providing the fuel that we've so desperately needed."

STF will be working on its newest program, the pHed Initiative (pronounced 'fed'). Working with regional farmers and healthcare providers, pHed provides direct-to-door access to free fresh produce and other healthy foods for home-bound and at-risk populations experiencing chronic illness.

The accelerator's one-of-a-kind, highly customized curriculum will combine a virtual classroom with in-person ReFED Learning Labs in San Francisco and Chicago, that focus on co-creating earned revenue models and technology-enabled solutions using human-centered design.

For more information on Seeds That Feed contact Margaret Thomas, Chief Feeder at 901.674.1248 or margaret@seedsfeed.org

Connect with Seeds That Feed

For more information on ReFED and the official press release, please visit ReFED.com and ReFED Accelerator Press Release.

ReFED Accelerator mentioned in Fast Company's World Changing Ideas

Education

90 Single Parents Awarded Fall Scholarships | Now Accepting Spring Applications

Founded in 1984, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas (SPSF NWA) creates a network of support that empowers determined single parent families through access to education in Carroll, Madison and Washington County.

The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA (SPSF NWA) is proud to announce traditional scholarship allocation for the Fall 2019 semester. A total of 90 single parents from Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties have been awarded scholarships to create better, brighter futures for their families through higher education. The total value of the fall scholarships is $154,000.

Students can use their scholarship awards to cover personal and educational expenses, allowing them to overcome barriers to pursuing their degree, without having to worry about day-to-day expenses. These scholarship disbursements allow students to focus on achieving success for themselves and their families.

"As the fall semester begins, we are excited that we can offer this opportunity to hard-working, determined single moms and dads," said Executive Director, Tyler B. Clark. "The scholarship was established to offer a hand up to families who want to build a pathway to prosperity by completing their education journey. Helping our graduates secure good jobs with benefits is our ultimate goal," Clark continued.

Since 1984, SPSF NWA has awarded thousands of scholarships worth $6.5 million to 9,500 residents of Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties. The next scholarship deadline to apply for the scholarship is October 15th, for the spring 2020 semester. For a complete list of eligibility requirements, visit www.SingleParentScholarshipFund.org.

Traditional scholarships include Associate's, Bachelor's, and the M.A.T degree program. Full-time students receive $2,000 per scholarship, part-time students receive $1,000 per scholarship and have semester-based deadlines.

SPSF NWA scholarships are funded entirely by community support, which includes grants, donations and fundraising events. A private foundation has funded the organization's administrative costs, which means that community support goes directly toward scholarships and supportive programs which turn poverty into prosperity for low-income single parent headed households.

CONNECT WITH SPSF

Community

Local Internships Where the "I" Stands for Impact

These local Northwest Arkansas-based nonprofits are seeking interns for the fall semester.

Nonprofit internships can be some of the most fulfilling and meaningful work experiences one can have during their time in college. With the fall semester fast-approaching, we are happy to share that three local nonprofits have put out a final call for interns. From art education to refugee resettlement to land conservation—the opportunities to make an impact as an intern in Northwest Arkansas don't get much better than these.

Mellow Yellow Photography

Art Feeds Interns for Fall 2019

Art Feeds is looking for a self starter, creative, continuous learner who can manage messes and enjoys making the world a little brighter + more fun. If you are unfamiliar with Art Feeds, they work with schools and children's organizations to implement creative and expressive curriculum with the primary aim of feeding the creative development and facilitating emotional expression in children. They strive to cultivate an environment where students are empowered to express themselves. Students are exposed to all forms of art: painting, drawing, dancing, sculpting, writing, music, photography, performing arts, mural making and more. They use these forms of expression to help the students explore, express and integrate emotional expression through visual, performing and creative arts. Their programs and processes are created to facilitate healing as well as cognitive and developmental growth.

Art Feeds is interested in who you are, not the awards you have received. Internships are on a semester basis and require a generous time commitment. These internships are unpaid and are located in Fayetteville, AR. No housing provided, but they are happy to work with institutions to arrange academic credit where available. Their fall internship will begin in late August and end the first week of December. Following your intern application, they may request an interview in their downtown Fayetteville office.

Interested applicants can apply HERE.

Learn more about the organization at artfeeds.org

Canopy NWA Interns for Fall 2019

Next up is Canopy NWA, who recently shared that they still have a few remaining internships available for the fall semester! If you are unfamiliar with Canopy NWA, they work to welcome refugees to Northwest Arkansas. They work to provide refugees with resettlement assistance and support, employment and integration programming, and a strong sense of community. Currently, they are looking for interns in the following areas: Volunteer Management, Refugee Employment, Health Promotion, and Refugee Child Education.

To find the full description and point of contact for each internship opportunity, visit their website at canopynwa.org/about and scroll down to the very bottom of the page or click on the position you are interested in above.

To qualify for this internship you must be enrolled in college courses.


Northwest Arkansas Land Trust Interns for Fall 2019

Lastly, we are sharing opportunities with Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. Did you know that the Land Trust permanently protects more than 3,500 acres of natural lands in Northwest Arkansas?! Check out all of the protected properties HERE. In addition, they actively manage 700 acres for wildlife habitat and program the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center.

This semester, the Land Trust is seeking three interns to join their team. The posted positions are for an Environmental Education Intern, a Land Stewardship Intern, and a Communications and Development Intern. You can learn more about each internship opportunity at nwalandtrust.org/internships.

Applications close on August 12th, 2019

Education

Tyson Makes $1 Million in Funding Available for Teacher Projects in Local School Districts

Tyson Foods has partnered with DonorsChoose.org to support teachers with $1 million investment.

As part of Tyson Foods' commitment to support its plant communities, the company announced today it will fund $1 million in DonorsChoose.org projects for 46 school districts in 37 Tyson communities. The investment will bring much-needed resources to schools in Tyson communities and introduce teachers to a source of potential support for future projects.

Between August 1, 2019 and January 29, 2020, Tyson will fully fund projects posted by teachers in qualifying Tyson school districts who request up to $1,000 in classroom resources. Funding will be applied towards projects the first Monday of every month, up to $26,388 for each plant community. $50,000 has been allocated for the Springdale, Arkansas, school district, where the company's headquarters is located.

"We have a responsibility to support our communities in a variety of ways, including equipping our teachers with the resources they need as an effective way to support education," said Debra Vernon, senior director, corporate social responsibility, Tyson Foods. "Through the DonorsChoose.org model teachers can focus on the individual needs of their classrooms and students can experience new or better ways to learn."

To qualify for full funding, projects will need to be $1,000 or less, for Pre-K-12 and in Tyson districts*.

"We're so grateful for the generosity of Tyson Foods," said DonorsChoose.org founder Charles Best. "As teachers across Tyson communities gear up for the school year ahead and use DonorsChoose.org to request resources for their classroom, this support will help bring those classroom dreams to life."

School districts in the following Tyson foods communities are eligible to request funding for projects through DonorsChoose.org beginning August 1:

For more information contact: Derek Burleson, Tyson Foods, derek.burleson@tyson.com



Food Insecurity

This Innovative Organization Eliminates Food Waste and Addresses Food Insecurity

Seeds that Feed's goal is to "bridge the gap between food waste, food insecurity and barriers to healthier eating ─ creating communities where anyone can access the foods that inspire them to lead healthier lives.

Guest post and photography by Mallory Lane

I consider myself pretty lucky to know Margaret and Alyssa since they're such awesome people, but seeing them grow Seeds that Feed (STF) over the last couple of years has been truly amazing.

The Story of Seeds That Feed

According to Feeding America, more than 6 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables go unharvested or unsold each year, and an estimated 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the US will never be consumed. Each week, one in four Northwest Arkansas residents are unsure of where their next meal will come from, with 65,900 of the food insecure residing in Benton (31,160) and Washington (34,740) Counties.

Since beginning their quest to address disparities between food waste and food insecurity in March 2012, STF has collected over 130,000 lbs of locally grown produce from 71 Northwest Arkansas farms, as well as over 30,000 lbs of recovered foods from area retailers ─ redistributing it to 44 sites and programs serving food insecure individuals in the region. Each year, more than 30,000 low-income families, seniors, and differently-abled residents receive access to healthier foods through the pantries, community meals, and housing establishments currently served by the STF network.

In 2015, STF began piloting the Mobile Food Network in Washington County, with expansion into Benton County in 2016 with generous support from the Walmart Foundation. Offering direct mobile services, STF met individuals where they were - providing access to healthier foods and nutrition education in low-income housing complexes, senior residential centers, and other centralized food insecure populations via a retrofitted box truck turned walk-in pantry. By coming to recipients, STF is able to meet target populations who may have never sought out assistance; subsequently breaking down barriers, opening dialogue, and presenting opportunities for systematic change.

Current plans to be implemented due to findings by the Community and Family Institute's program evaluation (2017-2018):

  • In order to create easier access to the produce we deliver, STF will use funds from the Walmart Foundation's NWA Giving program to set up food stations in lower-income communities throughout Northwest Arkansas. Food stations will be permanent, roofed wooden farm stands that will allow for ease of delivery in places like Morgan Manor and Willow Heights apartment complexes that will receive deliveries weekly to bi-weekly during the growing season. "It is our hope that more residents will have access to fresh fruits and veggies by increasing the hours of availability in targeted communities," said Margaret Thomas, Chief Feeder for Seeds That Feed. "Because of the limited hours most pantries are open, many community members experiencing food insecurity are not able to get food for themselves and their families while working an 8-5 job."
  • STF has also incorporated an online application to delve deeper into the data that is collected from recipients and recipient sites served. It allows STF to have all data in a highly usable format that reflects what regions the food is going to and houses data collected from which farm produce was donated from, type of produce and amount donated each day, who volunteered and where the produce was delivered. An SMS text-in system was added in order to inform recipients of where and when mobile pantries occur throughout the growing season. The text-in option enables STF to obtain data directly from recipients about how those served are using it, what fruits and veggies each site is more likely to eat, and/or whether they were able to eat what they took. " It is our mission to make sure that no produce is going to waste but also to better understand those we are serving," said Margaret Thomas.
  • STF is also increasing fundraising objectives in the current year in hopes of increasing their small staff. They are currently piloting a fundraising program that launched last November titled, Seeds That Feed — The Home. As a small nonprofit, they've found that more intimate 'house-party' type fundraisers give them the opportunity to really meet and engage people while serving up tasty morsels paired with local brews and great wine. Contact margaret@seedsfeed.org and them know if you are interested in hosting one.
A few weeks ago I followed Margaret and a couple of volunteers to the Fayetteville Farmer's Market to collect surplus produce from the local farmers and deliver it to those in need around the city.

Volunteer with Seeds That Feed at a Local Farmers' Market!

At the end of the farmers' market in both Fayetteville and Bentonville, local farmers donate their extra veggies to Seeds That Feed to be distributed to those in need throughout Northwest Arkansas. The team weighs, logs, and categorizes all of the donations on the square. Several organizations then meet them on the square to pick up veggies for their pantries and community meals and the rest of the produce is then delivered out to lower income communities and other pantries around Benton County and Washington County.

As part of the WalmartGivesNWA campaign, if you choose to do some "carecropping" (volunteering) with Seeds That Feed at either farmers' market the organization will earn $10 for each hour of service. To get involved in Bentonville visit HERE. To get involved in Fayetteville visit HERE.

Connect with Seeds That Feed

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