Sustainable Berea Inc

Educational Market Garden: developing a resilient local food system.

aka Berea Urban Farm   |   BEREA, KY   |  https://sustainableberea.org

Mission

Sustainable Berea uses urban agriculture to enhance Brea's food security, health, local economy, and sense of community. We grow food and support our neighbors in growing in a way that restores the land, creates jobs, and empowers households and neighborhoods.

Ruling year info

2008

Executive Director

Cheyenne Olson

Main address

107 Grant Street

BEREA, KY 40403 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

02-0769242

NTEE code info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Sustainable Berea is a group of citizens of Berea KY whose goal is to support and participate in the development of a resilient local food system and to respond to the needs of the community in areas of alternative energy, local economy, neighborhood solidarity and assistance to those with drug and alcohol problems. Founded in 2005, Sustainable Berea is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides education – workshops, demonstrations, presentations, videos, literature – and material support such as seeds, starts, raised beds, rain barrels, and fruit trees to households wishing to grow some of their own food. The centerpiece of our work is the Berea Urban Farm, a 1.4-acre educational market garden. Our outreach programs include the annual Victory Garden Blitz, Backyard Beekeepers, Neighborhood Perennials Project, Berea Urban Agriculture District, Harvesting Hope, and two new programs: El Jardin Latinoamericano, and a family/children's program.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Berea Urban Agriculture District

The Berea Urban Agriculture District, encompassing 82 acres of residential and commercial land use in the center of Berea Kentucky, encourages and supports the development of an integrated neighborhood food system. Food is grown on both private and public spaces; harvested and gleaned; sold, exchanged and donated; processed and stored; and shared at tables in restaurants and homes. Yard wastes are composted and used to build soil, and rainwater is collected for irrigation. Jobs are created, tourists and students come to see and learn, and a community is built around food.​

Population(s) Served
Families
Adults

The Berea Urban Farm is a 1.4-acre educational market garden that grows food for the community, teaches others how to grow food, farms in a way that restores the land, creates jobs, and builds community.

Population(s) Served
Families

Sustainable Berea created a job training program for women in recovery from drugs and alcohol living in a recovery center in Richmond KY. A USDA grant supported the program for two years and 26 women graduated. Central to the program was working on the farm where women learned to work in teams and connected spiritually with the earth. The Covid-19 virus did not allow women out of the treatment center this summer and we are visiting curriculum changes that can be taught on-line.

Population(s) Served
Substance abusers
Women and girls

The Neighborhood Perennials Project (NPP) supplies free (1) fruit trees (2) nut trees, (3) berry bushes, (4) perennial vegetable plants, and (5) pollinator-friendly perennial flowers for planting throughout Berea on private, public and institutional properties. We provide training and ongoing support to project participants to create a "tree literate" citizenry that provides on-going care to trees, makes use of the fruits and nuts, and supports additional plantings of edible trees. Abundant fruit trees and other perennial food-bearing plants will make Berea more food-secure, healthier, and beautiful. The budget for this program is $50,000 over five years.

Population(s) Served
Families
Economically disadvantaged people

The Berea Victory Garden Blitz, an annual event initiated in 20123, involves more than 120 volunteers who construct 3' X 5' raised garden beds and install them in private and public spaces across the community. The Blitz raises money to pay for deeply discounted garden beds so all people, regardless of income, can get a bed filled with soil delivered to their home. Educational booths are included on the days of the Blitz and a community meal is held for the volunteers and new bed owners. To say "these are people who normally would not mix"  is an understatement.  And it works! College students from Berea, Richmond and Danville always participate in the Blitz activities, along side families and high school students.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Young adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The differences we make to our community and especially to those in need.
Sustainable Berea has worked in many areas of resiliency and sustainability over the 15 years we have been in service to our community. We have embraced alternative energy, created programs that focus on our local businesses, taught people about insulating their homes, and learning to live more frugally.  In 2013, we leased a brown lot in the middle of town and began restoring the land and creating an urban farm where we could grow food and teach others to grow. Our farm has been wildly successful as we have seen the numbers of people growing food and developing native pollinator gardens increase four-fold.  Five years ago we could not get a single person to accept a fruit tree for free. This year, we have 47 people subscribed to the Native Perennial Project where free fruit and nut trees, bushes, and vines are given away to people willing to take classes in “tree guardianship.” We also have worked with 35 families to create beekeepers (5 families per year) and we have a Community Supported Agriculture program that provides food weekly to 20 families. This year we grew more than 70 varieties of vegetables and herbs.  We have classes and workshops that educate about nutrition and health and growing your own food. In the past 6 years, we have installed more than 700 raised beds -- mostly in the homes of low-income households -- through the Berea Victory Garden Program.
In 2018/2019 we completed the Harvesting Hope job training program for opioid-addicted women in recovery and 26 women graduated. This program has been put on hold due to the covid-19 virus an we are developing a curriculum that can be delivered oniine for this population.
We are proud that we continue to be flexible enough to respond to new problems faced by our community as they arise.  Building neighborhoods that are safe and friendly adds to the strength of the community and we have been told by many that we are leaders in that effort as well.  
Goals for the coming months with the Covid019 virus. People are not allowed on the farm in groups, so the farm has taken its educational programs to the pubic on zoom. We continue to make raised beds, one bed at a time with two volunteers working together with social distancing and masks. We distributed nearly 200 containers with 45 pounds of soil for people who do not have space for raised beds but wanted to grow food and teach children about gardening. The distribution occurred with masks, gloves, and social distancing for pick up. . We are developing a program for volunteers who can work one at a time during the pandemic.

Our strategies are based on securing and maintaining high quality programs we have already established and remaining open to new programs around local food systems and local businesses that are needed in the community.  We know from experiences that something does not catch with the community until they see if happen for five years in a row.  The programs we mention are in place and we have determined to keep all of them AND add only one more -- the volunteer program. All the five areas are tested -- we know they are important to our community.  To continue offering important programs strengthens our strategic approach and keeps us from engaging in activities that are not in our focused areas.  Our strategies during the pandemic include communication by social media and publication of our newspaper (bi-annually) and our instructional materials posted on our website and distributed in local businesses. We have stopped our face-to-face presentations to churches, civic organizations, groups and clubs until the pandemic is cleared.

We have many partnerships for our projects and we are always welcoming more support as people become interested in our work.  We have positive media coverage to thank for much of our success. We have a crew of volunteers who love the Blitz and work each year with it. We have support from many organizations in town devoted to sustainable practices and we work with them to enlarge our capacity to organize events for the community.  We have a creative and dedicated staff who work hard and believe in Sustainable Berea and for them, we are very grateful.  We have always believed that if we believe in our work and love our work, the money we need will follow. And, amazingly enough, that philosophy has worked. We all believe we are serving our community well and that is our primary goal. What we do not know, we figure out or ask someone for help. We are dedicated and energized by how our community has changed in the last 15 years and we are happy to say, we have played a part in putting nutritious and healthy food on the agenda with improving neighborhoods and the community.

Total number of donors and funds have increased $197,975 in 2018 from $108,005 (about 83%). More people visited the Berea Urban Farm in 2018 than in the previous year. We installed 116 raised garden beds in our community- more families will grow food. We are also reaching a different population: women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. By the end of 2018, 12 women had graduated from the Harvesting Hope program.

We have accomplished a lot, but we still think there is so much more that needs to be done in our community. We will continue installing raised beds, helping women in recovery from opioid and alcohol addiction, educating people in urban agriculture, and so much more.

Financials

Sustainable Berea Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Sustainable Berea Inc

Board of directors
as of 07/27/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Richard Olson

Retired Professor, Berea College

Term: 2006 -

Maria Wright

Migo Marketing

George Schloemer

Berea Clinic of Internal Medicine

Troy Price

Advocay for Children

Richard Olson

Retired professor

Ethan Connelly

Kentucky State Labor Cabinet

Lou DeLuca

Attorney, retired

Terry Fields

Gallery Owner

Randy Stone

Retired City Administrator

Kara Crispin

Nurse

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/27/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data