Today’s focus in 31 Days of Giving is the Regional Environmental Council, one of the local organizations that are most involved at the intersection of food justice, youth and environmental accountability.
REC Worcester is the organization responsible for the various Worcester community farmers markets, including the Main South Farmers Market, the Beaver Brook Farmers Market and the REC Mobile Farmers Markets, which make healthy, affordable food more accessible to people throughout the city.
Since 2003, REC has also run YouthGROW (Youth Growing Organics in Worcester), an urban agriculture program that teaches professional leadership, urban agriculture and social justice to low-income Worcester teens. The program operates two urban farms where the kids put their learning to work, not just in farming, but in the decision-making process.
In addition, REC’s program UGROW coordinates more than 500 community gardeners in more than 60 community gardens, including many at Worcester Public Schools. The UGROW EAT program works with several partners to provide urban agriculture opportunities to community members, including recent immigrants, by acquiring city tax levy properties and developing them into working urban farms and orchards.
You can donate to REC through their JustGive page, where you can designate a specific program you want to support, or make a donation to their general funds. If you prefer to give time and labor, there are volunteer opportunities in many of the programs, and some of the programs, notably UGROW, can always use donations of gardening tools, vegetable seeds and seedlings.