Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation Invests in Growing Healthy Food

The Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation is investing $45,000 over three years to support New Britain ROOTS’ goal of increasing the amount of healthy food grown and distributed in New Britain. The grant will fund the building and expansion of new fruit and vegetable gardens with our schools and community partners as well as increase volunteer and community engagement.

ROOTS was formed in 2013 to promote agricultural education and fight food insecurity with the New Britain community. The nonprofit's mission is met by building partnerships with community agencies and schools through gardens and after school programming. The school garden clubs run year-round and the ROOTS mobile farmers market runs July-November. ROOTS also runs City Growers, an intensive internship and employment program for teenagers to grow and sell produce across New Britain.

“We are pleased that Harvard Pilgrim recognizes the importance of growing healthy food in Connecticut’s urban communities,” says Joey Listro, Executive Director for ROOTS. “It’s critical that our healthcare industry connects with local agencies working to decrease diet related health disparities through healthier eating. I’m happy Harvard Pilgrim is setting the example through their Healthy Food Fund Initiative.”

The grant will assist ROOTS in engaging volunteers including parents, students, and businesses wishing to give back to the community through gardening. ROOTS relies on volunteers to ensure our garden spaces are thriving throughout the season.Over the next 3 years, ROOTS will double their volunteer base as they expand their growing area with the intent of donating more produce to local food pantries. Volunteers will help in all aspects of the operation including; gardening maintenance, produce delivery, gleaning services, youth development, and data collection.  

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to email Program Manager Elizabeth Stover at Elizabeth@newbritainroots.orgor call 860-259-4290. More information can be found at www.newbritainroots.org.