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Plainsong Farm and GRCC partner to provide students fresh produce

Ashley Fox, Student Resources Coordinator for GRCC, readies Plainsong Farm produce for curbside distribution.

More than one in three U.S. college students faces food insecurity every day. This problem is projected to worsen as the pandemic lingers into the school year and continues to particularly affect low-income and ethnic minority-households. According to a recent report from the American Psychological Association, students who are food insecure experience “significantly higher rates of depression, loneliness and anxiety.” They also have “lower self-esteem and lower grade-point averages and were more likely to withdraw from the university before earning their degrees.”  

To help address this critical community need, Plainsong Farm in Rockford has entered into a unique partnership with Grand Rapids Community College to provide students with farm-fresh produce at their campus food pantry. Ashley Fox, GRCC’s Student Resources Coordinator, says, “When we were linked with Plainsong, we were able to source food more consistently. It’s local, it’s fresh…it’s been hard to have enough for everybody!”  

Over the 2020 growing season, the farm was able to supply GRCC with 400 pounds of fresh produce, enabling the college to give it out to 20 students a week. But responding to student requests, both partners hope to do much more. During month of August, the Plainsong Farm GROW HOPE Campaign is raising $7,800 to purchase and install two additional hoophouses to expand their capacity and extend the short Michigan growing season. After these are at full production, Plainsong Farm will be able to triple their current contribution, providing the GRCC pantry enough produce to serve every student.

According to Nurya Love Parish, the farm’s Executive Director, “We need to get the hoophouses ordered by early September to install them this fall, extend the current growing season and start contributing earlier next spring.” Individuals who would like to donate to the Hoophouse Fund can send a check to GROW HOPE, Plainsong Farm, 6677 12 Mile Rd., Rockford, MI 49341. All donations are fully tax deductible. 

For more information about Plainsong-GRCC partnership and the GROW HOPE campaign, please contact Nurya Love Parish, Executive Director of Plainsong Farm, at nurya@plainsongfarm.com.

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