From the Ground, Moving Up

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From the Ground Up students who traveled to Washington, D.C. are, from l.: Bennett Rodriguez, Isabella Vargas-Blanchard, Eberly Tirillo, Caroline Burnett, Jaira Paine, Kenya Mouning and Claire Madsen. Submitted photo

From the Ground Up is a chapter of the nonprofit Nourish My Soul, an organization whose mission is focused on creating food justice and ending food waste. This youth-led group gives Granby and East Granby high school students the opportunity to be directly connected to food justice activism happening in Connecticut.

In October, student representatives of From the Ground Up went to Washington D.C. and spoke to the staffers of Connecticut Representatives Christopher Murphy, Johanna Hayes and John Larson to create awareness and stimulate conversations around food policy initiatives. The group also visited DC Kitchen, a nonprofit that is dedicated to using job training, job creation and delivering nutritious, affordable food options as a way to combat poverty and hunger found in communities within the D.C. area. As a part of those communities, DC Kitchen, on a daily basis serves over 4,000 school children breakfast, lunch and snack. DC Kitchen strongly believes that hunger is not something that can be fed out of existence but rather solved through looking at the larger reasons causing hunger.. By supplying work experience and jobs, and by providing healthy foods to growing minds, they believe the number of food insecure individuals will greatly decrease.

From the Ground Up was interested in the aspect of school lunches in particular due to its current work trying to establish a lunch system at East Granby High School. East Granby is the only district without a school lunch program in the entire state of Connecticut and since 14 percent of East Granby’s citizens are food insecure, it is a school system in desperate need of healthy food options. The group is also working on creating food quality change in Hartford County by starting a pay-what-you-can model cafe. This cafe will offer all residents a place to get a hot meal and beverage without worrying about paying a certain price for it. The cafe will run based on donations.

From the Ground Up recognizes that establishing values about proper food management, contacting government officials and making sustainable food choices are some of the strongest ways to lessen the food inequality issues Americans face. Both From the Ground Up and Nourish My Soul are very determined to help share those values in Granby and East Granby, and even the United States as a whole.

If you have any questions or wish to learn more about From the Ground Up and Nourish My Soul, please visit