- Nov. 17, 2020
-- Just north of Brandywine Creek, on 23rd
Street off Market, a farm is improving community livability, and the food environment, while mentoring and engaging youth in land stewardship. The farm is a metaphor for hope. Amidst the pandemic, on a balmy afternoon, work on Conscious Connection's North East Urban Farm,
albeit socially distanced, continues as teens weed, prepare beds and enjoy the afternoon under the direction of Executive Director Matthew Williams, and Farm Manager Renee Rose who grew up and lives in the community. Because of its growing nutritional security role, last summer the farm was awarded Future Harvest's inaugural Feed the Need
mini-grant to expand fresh food access using a specially-designed electric bike for deliveries otherwise made on foot. As the growing season winds down, Williams and Rose are planning to launch something new for next year.
"The times we live in require innovation; this product will tell our story…it will validate the farm's objectives and role as an aspirational community development organization that can access a regional retail market," said Williams. Envisioning a Wilmington "fresh food complex", Williams' dream may become more concrete with the launch of laterally "a secret sauce" which has met stringent Good Manufacturing Practices, CFR Title 21, Parts 117, subparts B and F
. "During times of trial, you have to dream bigger; it is about moving the needle… you can't do that without extending yourself" he added. Tight-
lipped about the new offering, Williams and Rose confirmed that important ingredients will be grown on the farm. "Matthew is building into his business model another element of what we refer to as being Resilient, Crisis-Ready,
" said Steven Jones, Vice President of Future Harvest an organization dedicated to strengthening the food security role local small to midsize farms play which was on full display this year. "His plan to access the retail market with a locally produced product goes beyond relying on neighborhood sales or grants. The City of Wilmington has been very supportive in the past and he is giving them more reasons to continue this in the future especially now" he added.
Matthew and Renee are wrapping up 2020 which they survived. "Like most everyone, we want to put this year behind us and move on; 2021 looks promising. If this season has a saving grace it's that it inspired us to learn new things, while stretching us do them well and reasonably quickly" exclaimed Rose.