HCO works to increase access to healthy, affordable food for all Providence children. This work includes providing free suppers for all youth at Providence’s 10 Recreation Centers through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), supporting Providence Parks Department in providing nearly 180,000 free lunches every summer in City parks, and creating and implementing policies that support healthy eating in and around the Recreation Centers.
HCO’s support led to a nearly 40% increase in summer meals served to hungry Providence children between 2013 and 2015. As mentor to Newport and Central Falls, HCO helped those cities develop programs to serve more than 52,000 meals in 2016- a 251% increase in Central Falls and a 91% increase in Newport from the previous year.
HCO and Providence Schools are connecting Providence children with local food, food education and school gardens by creating a Providence Farm to School Action Plan.
HCO improves access to locally-grown produce, expands green space and contributes to improved air quality, public health, local economy and property values by supporting and promoting agricultural activities throughout the City’s culturally rich neighborhoods. HCO facilitated $176,000 in 2015 City of Providence CDBG Food Access Grants, resulting in the creation of three new West Elmwood Housing, Southside Community Land Trust and African Alliance of RI gardens on formerly-blighted land, and the renovation of the Genesis Center Culinary Opportunities Center, a high-quality training facility and public-access commercial kitchen. In 2016, HCO’s support and promotion of farmers’ markets led to a 34% more SNAP/EBT (“food stamps”) redeemed at city farmers’ markets. Other work includes:
• Partnering with the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism on Sowing Place, an artist-facilitated process to use food, culture and community as vehicles for neighborhood revitalization in Upper South Providence, Elmwood and the West End
• Producing and promoting the Providence Farmstand Guide to help Providence growers sell their produce on site and directly to their neighbors
• Transforming unused, City-owned property into productive urban farms through Lots of Hope
- Bringing free adult fitness classes to City Parks, Recreation Centers and Senior Centers
- Promoting Run with the Mayor every Sunday in Roger Williams Park
- Activating Providence parks with free play, art and creative exploration though Providence PlayCorps
- Increasing equitable access to nature and stewardship of Providence’s natural spaces through Cities Connecting Children to Nature
- Creating a district-wide Green Schoolyards Plan