4Roots January Newsletter

January 2024

Congressman Soto Visits Farm Campus

Cong. Darren Soto (FL-9th) visited the 4Roots Farm Campus this month to learn about the work being done to build a strong local food system. Featuring a diverse range of growing systems, the Farm Campus will offer a unique hands-on learning experience that highlights innovative and sustainable practices and technologies from around the world. Cong. Soto joined President/CEO, John Rivers, and Executive Director, Tommy Ward, on a tour of the first phase, including the Education Center and Greenhouse, which is scheduled to be completed in March.

Nemours Ginsburg Scholars Begin Their Semester at 4Roots

4Roots is pleased to welcome five Nemours Ginsburg Scholars to our Farm Campus for a semester-long program focused on culinary health, education, research in the field of “food as medicine” and community engagement and impact. These young scholars are a group of college graduates taking a gap year before pursuing further education in the medical and social work fields. We look forward to working with this impressive group of young people!

4Roots Attends Junior Achievement Event

On January 23rd, 4Roots and 4Rivers teamed up to attend Junior Achievement’s “Inspire” event. This event took place at Osceola Heritage Park and welcomed over 4,000 8th-grade students from Osceola Public Schools to engage them in learning about different career opportunities before planning their high school focus work. At the event, we were able to showcase the seed-to-table aspect of agriculture and hospitality by displaying the ingredients of 4Rivers coleslaw, starting as a seed, becoming a starter plant then the harvested produce that is chopped and mixed to create a delicious side dish.

Thank you!

Gordon Food Service (GFS) Team Provides a Helping Hand at 4Roots

Earlier this month, 35 GFS employees volunteered their time to assist 4Roots. The team began their day on the Farm Campus cleaning the greenhouse and preparing it for sanitization. Sanitizing the greenhouse before planting is critical in preventing the spread of plant diseases, pests, and other safety hazards.

Afterward, the group met at the 4Roots facility to organize and tidy the warehouse. To wrap up the day, GFS and 4Roots team members enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by GFS’s Mobile Kitchen – a portable test kitchen designed to showcase products to clients. This mobile unit has also been used to serve the local community. Meet the Need by 4Roots is excited to collaborate with GFS and use this mobile kitchen to assist food-insecure communities.

Grants Support 4Roots Programs

The Elinor and T.W. Miller, Jr. Foundation awarded 4Roots a $62,500 grant to increase access to affordable healthy food for underserved communities. The need for such access in Central Florida is significant as one in five Orange County Public School students is food insecure. This will amplify our efforts to market directly to low-income/low-access areas within Orange County to recruit and retain customers for our Fresh by 4Roots Farmer’s Market.  Thanks to the Miller Foundation for helping us increase the capacity of this program!

Our partner, O-Town Compost, is embarking on a major milestone!

Since their inception, O-Town Compost has diverted 2.9 million pounds of food waste from our local landfill. That’s a rate of over 56,000 pounds per week, which means they will cross the 3 million mark very soon!

Did you know food waste is the largest component of landfills? Some estimate food waste makes up almost one-quarter of all public landfills. Furthermore, food waste and other organic matter end up buried deep in the landfills without enough access to oxygen, which causes it to take longer to break down properly and creates methane gas which can be harmful to our environment.

You Can Join In to Make a Difference!

Mark Your Calendar

The Annual Green Schools Expo is Coming Up!

The annual OCPS Green Schools Expo returns to The Packing District Farmers Market on Saturday, February 10, 2024, from 9 am-1 pm. The Expo is a free community event where you can learn from Eco-conscious community partners and bring green ideas back to the classroom. Join us for an exciting day of conversation and lessons in sustainability. 

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