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Food Security Among Sebastian Seniors

IDEAS For Us is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an accredited NGO of the United Nations.  The IDEAS mission is to develop ideas, fund action, and scale solutions that solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, one of them certainly being food security. One of our flagship programs is Fleet Farming, an innovative urban agriculture program transforming lawns into farms and empowering all generations to grow their own food. 

Fleet Farming began in 2014, created by the community during our sustainability think / do event called The IDEAS Hive. Since then, Fleet Farming has had international press including a National Geographic Documentary focusing on Fleet Farming as a solution to the local food crisis. Now, the Orlando-based urban agriculture nonprofit is expanding to Sebastian to advance the lawns-to-farms agricultural movement throughout our great state of Florida!

We are taking on this endeavor alongside a wonderful partner, ChoZen Retreat. ChoZen’s mission is to inspire action to protect mother nature and all of its inhabitants, becoming a catalyzer of awareness for the fragility of our planet. ChoZen spaces and experiences are an invitation for thought leaders and change makers across all disciplines and backgrounds to honor themselves and nature as a path to restore the balance between the planet and humanity.

urban farming

Fleet Farming Swarm Ride volunteers tend to some greens on our main microfarm at Audubon Park Covenant Church in Orlando, FL.

Food Security & Stability

Fleet Farming is an urban-agriculture program with the mission to empower all generations to grow food to increase local food accessibility. The proposed program aims to increase or create a senior-focused agricultural training program. This population warrants attention because they are vulnerable in the face of food insecurity, poor diet, decreased physical activity and social isolation, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The main need addressed in this proposed program is the food insecurity issue among seniors. Hunger and the lack of accessibility to nutritious food are among the largest threats to senior citizens. In 2016, nearly 8.6 million older Americans faced the threat of hunger, representing 13.6% of adults aged 60+ in the U.S. Seniors facing hunger have an increased risk of chronic health conditions. 

According to Feeding America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, data shows they are 60% more likely to experience depression, 53% more likely to report a heart attack, and 40% more likely to report congestive heart failure than seniors of the same age who do not struggle with hunger. Nutritious food can often help manage or prevent these conditions and promote better health in the long-term. According to the Florida Department of Health, Indian River County experienced a 15.3% food insecurity rate while the state of Florida experienced a 12% food insecurity rate in 2019.  With 33.8% of the population in Indian River County being 65 years or older, this senior community has a high risk of food insecurity. 

Check out the video preview of our new program!

Project Vision

Our goal is to implement a senior-focused urban-agriculture education program in Sebastian, Florida. IDEAS For Us Inc., will partner with ChoZen Retreat to offer senior citizens from the target region an accessible urban agriculture education program. The ChoZen Retreat will be the community gardening training center for our participants in this program. IDEAS for Us will hire a local community member to facilitate the farm and resources as well as coordinate with local senior populations. 

 

The end goal of the program is to develop and implement a curriculum that can become a more inclusive education opportunity for senior citizens and those with physical disabilities. Through this program, senior citizens will: 1) gain knowledge on urban agriculture practices and gain efficiency in producing fresh vegetables and fruits in their community; 2) learn insights about healthy food preparation and cooking; 3) have the opportunities for increased physical activity and intergenerational interactions with other community members, which are highly beneficial for their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

Key Activities

1) IDEAS For Us will build several new Fleet Farming farm plots and greenhouse structures.  Additionally IDEAS will build new fruit orchards  including Fig, Loquat, Barbados Cherry, Banana, Guava, & Florida Peach.  

 

2) IDEAS for Us will hold bimonthly community educational events known as Swarm Rides. The Swarm Rides promote community involvement and education in agriculture, to learn about all activities in the growing cycle, including land preparation, planting, weeding, fertilizing (using organic practices), harvest, and post-harvest activities. These will promote community involvement for seniors to improve mental and physical health. 

fleet farming food security

Fleet Farming volunteer Swarm Ride in Audubon Park, FL. These rides are a great way to educate the community on growing, and encourage time outdoors with friends!

We're Hiring!

We are looking for a Farm Manager to kickstart this amazing new program in Sebastian? Could this green workforce job be for you? Apply today!

green workforce

Fleet Farming Program Director, Caroline, surveying the ChoZen farms by bike. Zero emissions farming!

Stay Tuned & Get Involved!

Stay tuned for updates as we begin this Fleet Farming expansion journey. We’d love to see you out at some farming events!

Looking to get involved in eco-action in a meaningful way? Become an IDEAS For Us member! All proceeds benefit our nonprofit educational programming and environmental restoration work in Florida and around the world! Join The Solution. 

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