The SOW Foundation’s mission is to create a perpetual movement that addresses, educates, coordinates, and provides sustainable aid to eradicate food deserts, chronic malnutrition, food insecurity and hunger.
We are convinced that Urban Farming is the answer to these problems. Unfortunately the disadvantaged do not have the means to create the type of environment that is needed for this solution. This is where The SOW Foundation and partners like you come in. As a group, our efforts, knowledge and resources can be combined to overcome the obstacles before us. It is our belief that the success of this program lies in the approach that is taken when attacking such a challenging issue.
Our nonprofit status is comprised of three segments; educational, scientific and charitable purposes (within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code). Our structure is much like a "three-legged-stool." Separately, the components are vulnerable and can be toppled quite easily. Together, these three legs support one another to form an extremely strong foundation which is now able to stand strong. This allows us to combine all of the goals of our operation while resisting the forces that are typically obstructions to success.
The demands of growing food in inner-cities can be overcome with research and experimentation. These growing methods can constantly be improved by trying different techniques and exploring structures like Green Roofs, Vertical Gardening, Raised Beds, Container Growing, Hydroponics etc. Our Research Farm is being developed to incorporate all of these ideas and more.
Urban Farms almost always need a new growing medium or at least require soil enhancements. Our Research Farm is committed to fulfilling this most important need by incorporating an extensive compost operation. Our management team and interns will consistently monitor the microbial activity, temperature, input ratios and analyze any additional mineral augmentation that may need added to create the finest compost and soils according to the National Organic Program's specifications.
Feedback from Our Research Farm and Urban Farms will constantly be monitored, charted and documented for internal and external review. It is our policy to share this information with other farms, schools, the scientific community and any other public forum for the betterment of society.
We raise awareness about this cause by giving free presentations in schools, prisons, libraries, and other public venues as well as utilizing social media and our website to provide facts, statistics, and other related data on causes, current efforts and solutions to eradicating food deserts, chronic malnutrition, and hunger.
Each of our Urban Farms contain a section of community gardens for local residents to provide for themselves or to join an optional apprenticeship program. Arrangements can be made for participants to trade time with the resident farmer. The farmer can mentor the student and in return labor will be provided to the farm. Upon completion of the program the assistant can graduate to a paid management position within our organization.
Several outreach programs are in the works too. We feel that farming can be therapeutic for those in need. It has been found that a connection with nature can improve conditions for those suffering from emotional, physical, mental and developmental disabilities. We hope to help rehabilitate and serve all of these groups with planned activities, open-houses and jobs programs.
Many opportunities exist for college interns, AmeriCorp volunteers and greenhorn apprentices (beginning farmers). We have a multi-tiered approach that allows for participation at different levels based on experience and the availability of open positions. If you are interested in any of these programs please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our programs include the creation of urban farms and soup kitchens in order to provide immediate relief and assistance to those suffering from the effects of food deserts, chronic malnutrition and hunger regardless of their race, ethnicity, or religion. We plan on supporting these efforts with several fundraising events each year, merchandising, crowdfunding, sustaining partnerships and individual donations.
Whether they are homeless, a struggling single parent, someone affected by a natural disaster, a family trying to make ends meet or even a person whom has recently been released from incarceration that is trying to adjust and find purpose, we want to help.
Our first goal is to establish an urban farm program that is intended to spread with its' internship strategy. We will provide the tools that are needed for target neighborhoods to clear a path for independence and ultimately help those who want to provide nourishment for themselves on a sustainable basis.
We realized our first phase should be to analyze the growing methods that are required for urban environments and assess the soil needs for a successful program. Since inner-cities do not have a way to rejuvenate their "dirt" we need to provide excellent organic matter to do so. Also, the proposed farmland can have atypical limitations like contaminated soils, lack of horizontal space, encroaching shadows, absence of clean water etc.
Because of these two concerns we have established a research farm to test different cultivation techniques, devise rainwater harvesting methods and develop the most nutrient rich, compost-based amendments to provide the appropriate foundation for urban farmland.
Our second phase is to actually implement what we have learned and apply our expertise to create Urban Farms. We are currently comparing different land acquisition options in Columbus, Ohio. Under consideration are vacant lots,
EPA Brownfields, roof tops, parks and even temporary leases of properties that are for sale. The areas will likely be in what is considered a food desert. These are considered the regions that are in need the most they are void of fresh fruits and vegetables. The only available sustenance is extremely processed foods.
The third phase is certainly the most challenging. After our Urban Farm program spreads throughout a city and spreads around the country we aim to take
The SOW Foundation international. The concept is that each city forms a cooperative that sponsors a "Sister" Farm in an area of an impoverished country. It has been decided that Haiti will serve as our first global outreach. The same strategy will be used to spread the movement by utilizing our sustainable and perpetual model that incorporates education, scientific and charitable purpose.
What We've Achieved
- We were incorporated as a nonprofit organization on Thanksgiving Day November 24th, 2016
- Met with SCORE to develop a sound business plan
- Acquired land and a barn for our research farm
- Received our first donation of a stake-body truck from John Klauder Landscape & Design
- Applied for grant money from the USDA for our research farm development
- Joined OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association) to adopt Organic certification and create an internship program
- Met with soil expert and compost specialist Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost for guidance
- Developed a relationship with Kroger's Supermarket to use all of their unneeded produce for organic matter
- Started our compost operation to develop rich soils for our urban farms