With summer finally here, so are Summer Meals!

Free meals are available all summer and all across Connecticut! Summer Meals are nutritious meals and snacks that are provided to kids and teens 18 years of age and younger. Summer Meals meet federal nutrition guidelines and are comprised of milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat or another protein.

This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children at approved Summer Food Service Program sites. The SFSP ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it serves as the summer extension of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, which provides meals for students during the school year. The Connecticut State Department of Education coordinates local SFSP activities. 

New Britain ROOTS collaborates with the New Britain Hunger Action Team and Foodshare on Summer Meals outreach, promotion and marketing. By hosting an Americorp Vista Summer Associate, we are able to provide more information regarding Summer Meals, enrich the program with fun activities, and increase the number of participants. 

To find a Summer Meals site near you, text CTmeals to 877-877, call 211, or visit www.CTSummerMeals.org

Check out the flyer below for Summer Meals sites in New Britain!


ROOTS Fall Harvest Market At Gaffney Elementary

(New Britain, Conn.) Gaffney Elementary School Garden Club, in partnership with New Britain ROOTS, will be hosting a Fall Harvest Farmers Market at the school on Monday November 21,  2016 from 3:30-5:00 pm. The market will have an array of produce for parents, educators, and the community to buy to prepare for the upcoming Holiday. Garden Club students will be on hand assisting market patrons and giving their parents a tour of the garden and greenhouse that they work with. Students will also be selling bird feeders they made in garden club, with all proceeds going back to support the club.

A before school program, the Gaffney Garden Club, is hosted by ROOTS where FoodCorps staff provide hands-on nutrition and garden education throughout the year. Now it it’s second year, students have planted radishes, harvested over 50 pounds of scallions and onions, performed seed saving activities, and hatched baby chicks. ROOTS also operates a garden club at Jefferson Elementary School with the generous support of the American Savings Foundation.

Visit the Fall Harvest Farmers Market for all your Thanksgiving needs this Monday November 21, 2016 from 3:30-5:00 pm at Gaffney Elementary 322 Slater Rd New Britain, Ct Cash, Credit, and EBT/SNAP accepted.

Mobile Farmers Market Making Its Way Around New Britain

(New Britain, Conn.) New Britain ROOTS, a youth engaged nonprofit, aims to fight food insecurity by making healthy food accessible and affordable. ROOTS works collaboratively with New Britain schools to provide educational programs on sustainable agriculture, food justice, and healthy eating practices. ROOTS also works with Urth Farms, a local urban farm to connect youth to organic food production.

The ROOTS Mobile Farmers Market makes stops in neighborhoods that have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. New Britain often ranks high in the state for food insecure communities; a problem that may contribute to chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This farmers market season ROOTS has partnered up with five different organizations to make the Mobile Market accessible to city residents. The Mobile Market runs five days a week, Monday through Friday at the following locations:

The market pairs with organizations that seek to improve their client’s health and wellness. Those going for an appointment at the Community Health Center can also stop at the market, or a parent picking up their child from school can buy fresh produce for dinner.

The market runs a SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) incentive that allows participants to Double their SNAP dollars. This allows participants not only the ability to stretch their benefits throughout the month, but the ability to buy more healthy food. Executive Director of ROOTS Joey Listro stated, “We want to reach those residents with few mobility options who have difficulty purchasing locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables. We also want to increase the amount of food being produced and consumed closer to home, keeping more money and work in our local economy.” The market supports local farmers by having Connecticut Grown produce on the truck, and one of its major partners is Urth Farms of New Britain. Selection of produce varies week to week, but customers can find tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, kale, peaches, apples in addition to herbs and local honey.

ROOTS partnered up with Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) and Human Resources Agency (HRA) to connect local High School students to real life work experience in community farming. For five weeks, students rotated working on Urth Farms and community and school gardens. Other students were able to work on the market gaining skills in customer service and marketing. ROOTS will continue to work with high school students through an after school program that will include use of the NBHS greenhouse and a farm entrepreneurship training.

The market was made possible through funding from the Community Chest of New Britain and Berlin.  Customers will be able to shop through the Fall harvest season. In addition to SNAP, the Mobile Market also accepts WIC Farmer Markets Vouchers, Senior Farmer Markers Vouchers, Cash, Debit, and Credit.  For more information visit www.newbritainroots.org

Written by: Jocelyn N Perez, VISTA Program Manager & Development Assistant at New Britain ROOTS