February 8, 2022 |
Partners make VYCC projects possible. Here are just a few highlights of what’s headed our way in 2022!
Project: Health Care Share
Like a CSA, this weekly delivery of local, organic veggies is provided free of charge to patients of partnering medical centers who are food insecure and/or live with a diet-related illness. VYCC crews grow and distribute produce and chicken for 415 families every season.
Partner Highlight: The Barber Farm
The Barber Farm is a nonprofit organic farm (like us!) Located in nearby Jericho, The Barber Farm grows tens of thousands of pounds of organic produce that is entirely donated to Vermonters. VYCC is proud to contribute to their work.
Again this summer, Corps Members will spend time there weeding and harvesting. Harvested food will get added to our Health Care Share.
Our partnership enhances learning for Corps Members, and adds variety to the Health Care Share. We love working in solidarity with our neighbors who are also addressing food security and improving the health of our land and soil.
Partner Highlight: Veteran’s Affairs
This highlight is authored by VYCC’s Community Health Program Manager, Lily Bradburn.
The VA is an engaging and dynamic partner. With growing interest at their Newport clinic, the VA has expanded our collaborative work in both number of shares and participating clinics.
In 2021 they began offering shares to patients of their Littleton, NH clinic and are expanding overall share
numbers this year from 60 to 70 member families. Coupled with their weekly share and newsletter, members receive a sizable educational cook book curated by Robin LaCroix, a dietician and nutritionist with the VA.
Robin also offers a weekly virtual cooking class featuring the share of vegetables from that week. Given that 77% of VA Health Care Share members reported having one or more diet-related illness, it is clear how the project pairs well with the VA’s efforts to specifically support populations of rural Veterans who they find have higher rates of chronic diseases and food insecurity; often in the middle of food deserts.
We are proud to report that our partnership with the VA results in members reporting an 89% change in their food security upon completion of the program.
Project: Forest Management
Partner Highlight: VT Fish & Wildlife
Which 2022 Crew Members will speak for the trees? In 2022, we plan to field two Forest Projects crews in partnership with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, whose mission is “the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.”
We’re building on the 2021 season, where a Forest Projects crew felled over 450 trees and removed invasive species on over 20 acres of land. Forest projects have a direct and positive impact on wildlife habitat. In addition to collaborating on high-priority work, our new partnership with VT Fish andWildlife creates more learning opportunities for Members.
Project: Cultivating Disease-Resistant Elm
Partner Highlight: The Nature Conservancy
Who will be on the 2022 crew that partners up with The Nature Conservancy? We’re looking forward to sending a crew to research plots whose purpose is cultivating disease-resistant elm.
Elms play a huge role in floodplain health. But Dutch Elm disease has taken many of them from our landscape. Our friends at The Nature Conservancy have been hard at work to reverse this trend, planting thousands of elms in the Connecticut and Champlain Valley basins “to improve water quality, increase flood resiliency, and provide critical habitat for our wildlife.”
A VYCC crew will learn what it takes to care for and monitor young saplings in preparation to work their magic along our rivers!