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UCOM's Two New Program Goals for 2011-2016 (Part 1)

January 27th, 2011

Helping 300 of our neighbors to establish their own sustainable box gardens over the next five years is just one of the far-reaching and lasting goals United Church Outreach Ministry (UCOM) in Wyoming MI established for itself this week. In 2011 UCOM will determine the feasibility of raised box gardens on UCOM property for developing horticultural skills for ten families who will then create their own plots with UCOM’s assistance. These ten will pledge to teach one of their neighbors each year to grow food for their own families and more.

More local food accessibility
UCOM will expand fresh-grown produce options by hosting or collaborating by 2012 with a farmers’ market that accepts Bridge cards. By summer of 2011 we will provide transportation for our neighbors to nearby farmers’ markets where their Bridge cards are accepted and where there are some special benefits for low-income people.

We will create linkages with local farmers for UCOM’s food pantry, and will have at least five repeat multi-year farmer connections by 2014.

But wait…that’s not all!
More far-reaching plans include investigating and, if feasible, implementing rooftop gardening, hoop gardens to extend the growing season, and possibly including in our programming by 2015 an aqua-farming installation that will provide food and jobs in our community.

History
For 25 years UCOM has had as its mission providing basic material needs and educational support for people coping with difficult times in their lives, but that has only been one part of the mission. The rest of the story…is to encourage dignity and self-esteem and to empower people with options for making their futures brighter.

Looking to the future from the perspective of our quarter-century old mission, UCOM’s board of directors, staff and other stake-holders decided this week on five strategic goals to be implemented over the next five years. Building infrastructure, strengthening staff, and continuing to build on our firm financial foundations are the internal over-arching goals, each with workable time-bound objectives that will guide the staff and board in maintaining and growing a sustainable agency.

Next blog posting
How UCOM will make post-incarceration re-entry into the community easier over the next five years

Please share below your comments about our plans for making fresh local food more accessible to everyone.

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