We Did It!

Food Justice at GRuB

A HUGE THANK-YOU is in order for all of you that have supported our efforts these past 6 months or so to advocate for funding for GRuB-School-like programs at the State level. As of the end of June, the Washington State budget finally passed and…drumroll…a budget proviso passed that includes $109,000 in FY 2014 and $99,000 in FY 2015 for youth dropout prevention programs that incorporate partnerships between community-based organizations, schools, food banks, and farms or gardens. While the language here obviously doesn’t say “For GRuB!”, this does mean we are one step closer to a funding partnership with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and unprecedented state support for our GRuB in the Schools Initiative!

These funds will be dispersed to OSPI and we will likely have to apply for them (see below), which is why we aren’t counting our chickens just yet. However, we are celebrating this news and we thank each of you for taking the time to contact legislators to make this possible. If you have a moment to follow-up with our local legislators and send your thanks to them for advocating for GRuB and the possibility of more GRuB-like programs in your communities, we would absolutely encourage you to do so. In particular, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Rep. Chris Reykdal and his staff for their unwavering support!

The details of the budget proviso stipulate that “The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall select one school district that must partner with an organization that is operating an existing similar program and that also has the ability to serve at least 40 students.” Through our ongoing partnership with the Olympia and North Thurston School Districts, there are currently 47 students enrolled in our youth program – check! This is almost double the number of students served last year as Blue has successfully launched the 2nd site at Muirhead Farm. Our aim is to work with OSPI to access this new funding stream, kick some serious booty over the next two years, and prove to our state legislators that this program is worth expanding far and wide, with increased funding for other organizations/districts looking to start or enhance their own programs.

With that in mind, we are actively working with partners in neighboring Grays Harbor and Mason Counties as they take the first steps in developing their own GRuB-like youth programs. In addition, we are being contacted on an almost weekly basis by other interested communities throughout the state. We are steadily building our capacity to share our curriculum, best-practices, and learnings from our GRuB School pilot program in order to make it possible for new programs to launch successfully and eventually access state funding should it continue and expand beyond 2015.

IF YOU REPRESENT A NON-PROFIT, YOUTH ORGANIZATION, OR SCHOOL DISTRICT looking to bring GRuB’s youth program to your community, please contact us at grub@goodgrub.org. Kim Gaffi, our former Executive Director, will be returning from sabbatical in October with the key priority of consulting with other organizations on this work and we’d love to have a nice, juicy list of interested folks ready and waiting for her! In the meantime, we ask you to hold tight a bit as we dig deeper into the details of this new and exciting opportunity!

Go GRuB Grow!