A thank you to Merck Family Foundation!
The Merck Family Fund is a long time supporter of REC and our YouthGROW program. The MFF supports programs in low-income urban areas that are harnessing the power of young people to create urban farms and local markets.
Ruth, Program Officer at MFF, told us that Merck funds many youth leadership and urban agriculture programs across Massachusetts and in New York City and Philadelphia. MFF also supports initiatives such as conferences and networks that bring groups together to learn from each other and build a movement to advocate and organize for structural changes in the food system. These changes enable people to grow and access fresh, local food such as the vegetables grown on the YouthGROW farms.
When asked about MFF's connection with REC, Ruth noted that "the Fund is committed to supporting young people to develop leadership and social justice skills through immersion in urban agriculture programs. These programs build their gardening and growing skills while engaging them in important change making work in their communities. YouthGROW embodies all the important values at Merck: a belief that young people have enormous leadership potential, that they are experts in what their communities want and need, and that they are capable of creating lasting transformation in the neighborhoods where they work, play and go to school." We couldn't agree more!
Continuing on about our upcoming generation of food justice leaders are, Ruth mentioned that Merck is constantly amazed at the resourcefulness and creativity of the young people. "This summer I was privileged to visit the YouthGROW farm and to see how well teens were working in the farms, growing huge amounts of food despite the challenges of COVID. The MFF was impressed to learn that the students were learning and connecting on Zoom and contributing to their community in other ways, such as doing census surveys and teaching other young people about farming."
Thanks Ruth for your insight, and thanks Merck Family Fund, for your continued support!