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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Agricultural Programs, Food, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Food Programs, Nutrition

Mission: Hartford Food System's mission is to fight hunger and improve nutrition in our community. The goal is for our community to have a healthy, culturally-responsive, resilient and sustainable food system that meets the needs of all community members. To help make this happen, we implement programs that improve access to nutritious and affordable food, we help consumers make informed food choices, we advocate for a robust and economically sound food system, and we promote responsible food policies at all levels of government.

Results: Since 1978, Hartford Food System has touched 100,000+ lives. At HFS we grow 24,000 pounds of produce in our urban gardens, distributed to households and organizations in need. We provide $2,000 in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) buying power at our North End Farmers' Market. Hundreds of Hartford Youth interns learn to grow their own food, eat healthy and build a sustainable food system.

Target demographics: The primary constituents for our program efforts are low-to-moderate income Hartford residents. Our system-based perspective leads us to pursue different types of activities that touch on a broad range of food system elements to achieve our primary goals of reducing hunger, improving health and nutrition, and encouraging a sustainable and equitable food supply.

Geographic areas served: We work in Hartford, CT, which experiences chronic socio-economic and health challenges, including inconsistent access to affordable healthy food. Among cities with more than 100K people, the city of Hartford has one of the lowest median household income levels in the nation which, at less than $30,000 is not even half that of Hartford County. More than 40% of Hartford's children live in poverty.

Programs: Grow Hartford, in its 13th year of urban farming in 2016, harvested more than 20,000 pounds of produce from urban lots in 2015. More than 40 Hartford youth, ages 14-19, participated in the Grow Hartford, Youth Leadership Program and received nutritional and food system education as well as community leadership development. With our Healthy Hartford Food Stores program we collaborate with food retailers to promote healthier grocery selections available on store shelves. Our North End Farmers Market is in its 9th season in 2016 with thousands of visitors. Little City Sprouts provided cooking and nutritional skills-building for more than 150 youth community residents in 2015 and continues with garden builds and nutrition classes in 2016. We work with the City of Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy to develop policy recommendations for city leadership to consider. The Hartford Mobile Market launched its year round mobile produce operation in late 2014, ramped up to full operations throughout 2015 and is a consistent and welcome presence in several Hartford neighborhoods.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

What attracted me to Hartford Food System was its focus on solving the underlying problems in our food system, rather than solely on short-term food issues (as important as those are). I have the honor of working closely with the fundraising staff, who are dedicated to using HFS's resources smartly and efficiently to fund the organization's vital programs. I am still new to the board, but I look forward to many years of working with HFS to achieve long-term solutions to the challenges facing low-income residents' ability to access healthy food. I am especially excited to be part of an organization that is educating children to grow and prepare healthy food, which will only make Hartford an even stronger community in the future.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Half of the donations paid the staff and management of HFS; 20% paid non-employees for services. Not much left for the hungry.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 4

There are a lot of organizations out there that are feeding the hungry. While that's important, Hartford Food System is tackling the bigger issue - the root causes of food insecurity. Hartford Food System is working to create a more sustainable future. The staff at this organization is a small group of passionate individuals who are making a difference every day. I'm proud to support their work. and feel it’s one of the most important investments I can make.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This non-profit does a very good job dealing with complex and very important issues regarding access to healthy food for residents of our community.

Review from Guidestar

1 Sheryl25

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hartford Food Systems has always been ahead of the curve. They have advocated for systems thinking way before this was understood as essential to solving multi-faceted complex problems. This is a lean organization that uses its resources wisely and is always imagining innovative ways to tackle the problem of universal equitable access to healthy foods.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 4

The great thing about this organization is the way they take a system approach to dealing with food insecurity in the area. Because of this they are engaged in a number of multifaceted programs such as urban agriculture, youth leadership, farmers markets, mobile market, community kitchen, school gardens, child care nutrition, improving the quality and quantity of fresh food at local retailers as well as helping to create policy recommendations for the city's advisory commission on food and policy. This organization is a valuable asset to the community that I am happy to support and I encourage others to do the same.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great non-profit doing work that is of the utmost importance in Hartford. The programs truly match the vision of taking an entire food system approach to helping Hartford's residents. I applaud their work.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

An awesome organization that truly puts the concept of "teach a man to fish" into practice. Hartford Food System does that, and goes well beyond that, bringing a multi-faceted, "systems-thinking" approach to address the issues of food insecurity in Hartford and throughout the region.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

HFS is a wonderful asset to the city of Hartford. They do an excellent job in increasing the affordability, accessibility and availability of healthy foods to the community. Their programs truly make a difference!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hartford Food System provides a service that would otherwise not be available to many of Hartford's residents. The organization is meeting a critical need - making healthy, affordable, fresh, local food accessible for all - and doing it in a creative, impactful way.

Review from Guidestar