With Support from Beth Israel Lahey Health, the Boys & Girls Club of Metro South Opens Their Freight Farms Greenery in Brockton
The City of Brockton is now just a little bit greener thanks to Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South (BGCMS) and Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH). With support from BILH, BGCMS has embarked on an amazing urban farming initiative that combines food service, STEM education, and service opportunities to improve the lives of children and families in the community.
The initiative involves operating two Freight Farms Greeneries — one at the BGCMS Brockton Clubhouse and one in Taunton at the organization's Camp Riverside property. The Greeneries are hydroponic farms housed inside specially outfitted shipping containers ' to provide fresh, nutritious produce for Club members served through Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South's Kids Café Healthy Meals Program and individuals and families coping with food insecurity. The Freight Farms produce over 100 pounds of leafy green vegetables each week. As a result, eight local hunger relief organizations receive weekly deliveries, and BGCMS serves over 100,000 healthy meals to its members annually through its Kids Café.
"Creativity and collaboration lay at the heart of our Freight Farming initiative," said Derek Heim, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South. "We're applying technology and social innovation to address some of the core challenges faced by our Club members and by families in Greater Brockton. Food insecurity is a reality for too many of the youth and families in our community. We are tremendously grateful for Beth Israel Lahey Health's generous investment in bringing a Freight Farm to our Brockton Clubhouse to not only provide nutritional assistance for our boys and girls but also to create rich educational opportunities for them in the process."
"Advancing public health requires thoughtful and engaged collaboration among the health care community, non-profit organizations and state and local governments, and Beth Israel Lahey Health is deeply proud to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro South, Mayor Sullivan and the City of Brockton," said Kevin Tabb, President and CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health. 'We approached our support for this initiative as we do all our work with the community" from a standpoint of collaboration. We know that no one organization or group, working alone, can tackle systemic issues of inequity. It was important to us that the priorities and solutions we work toward come from those working and/or living in this community, and we sought out opportunities for the people of Brockton to tell us what would be most helpful and valuable."
In addition to contributing to food security, the Freight Farm project provides both students and volunteers with opportunities to learn and give back to their community. For students, this is a year-round opportunity to foster curiosity and gain firsthand experience with cutting-edge technology within the field of environmental sciences. Volunteers can get involved in a variety of ways whether it's through maintaining the freight farms, delivering produce, or expanding community partnerships.
About Beth Israel Lahey Health
Beth Israel Lahey Health is a new health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 36,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through ground breaking research and education.