Cultivating Community's work is focused by critical questions in three areas:
Community food security: How can we ensure that everyone has access to the best diet—local, sustainably produced food—regardless of location or income?
Community empowerment: How can we ensure that all community members—especially historically marginalized community members such as immigrants and youth—have the tools to improve their own lives and the greater community?
Community sustainability: How can we model and foster ways of living that will sustain us while allowing future generations to flourish?
Sustainable agriculture is the engine that drives how we address these three questions. Put another way, through sustainable agriculture we take these disparate community challenges to forge an integrated community solution. Our community food work includes growing produce and making it available to low-income consumers through free and reduced price CSA shares and through the emergency food system. We also convene farm stands and support farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods where customers can leverage their Federal nutrition benefits including SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), WIC, and SFMVP (Senior Farm Share in Maine). Our community empowerment work encompasses a refugee farmer training program that helps immigrant families move closer to self-sufficiency through training and farm enterprise development. Our growing season youth programs—Youth Growers, GROW Interns, Culinary Crew, and more—apply a food system lens to helping youth develop their skills as workers, citizens, leaders, and stewards. And our many school partnerships support teachers and students who see food and farm work as a way to develop skills in leadership and stewardship. Our community sustainability work is embodied by our agriculture which happens right where people live and eat, using only sustainable—and, wherever possible, certified organic—practices.