How Southeast Fort Wayne nonprofits and supporters are serving their neighbors with food for all

In the month of March alone, the Human Agricultural Cooperative will have distributed more than 20,000 pounds of food and more than 900 meals to feed anyone in need in the Fort Wayne community.

“It’s not only about food; it’s about connecting with our neighbors,” says Ty Simmons, the Executive Director who started coordinating community BBQs with Big Momma’s Kitchen and various organizations at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To get the BBQs going, many involved donated their own time and money. Now, a year later, the Human Agricultural Co-Op has teamed up with local partners like the United Way of Allen County, Family & Friends Fund, Big Momma's Kitchen, Junk Ditch Brewing Company, Affine Hospitality, GK Baked Goods, Indiana Unlimited and IU Royalty to keep the community BBQs happening every other Tuesday for six months. Their most recent BBQ was at Junk Ditch on March 30th from 3-5 p.m.

“Think about it: Going out to a restaurant, a family of four is going to spend $40, if they averaged $10 a plate,” Simmons says. “That’s saving $80 a month by coming in and getting food from us. That $80 could go toward a bill, could go toward rent, could go toward gas. We want to provide a little relief.”

The Human Agricultural Co-Op is a 501c3 nonprofit that sources and distributes food primarily in Southeast Fort Wayne. The city’s Southeast quadrant is a formerly redlined district, which has faced barriers to thriving, including a lack of investment and access to necessities like food.

The Human Agriculture Co-Op’s bi-weekly giveaways are just one of their many initiatives to support Southeast Fort Wayne. They’re also partners on the Family & Friends Fund for Southeast. One of their biggest goals is to build a greenhouse in the Southeast quadrant to grow and provide fresh produce more sustainably within the neighborhood, preventing hunger before it happens.

“The total goal of our organization is the cure to help with hunger relief,” Simmons says. “And what that is, is to grow our own food, and grow hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, so we can put that into people’s hands before they’re hungry.”

The Human Agricultural Co-Op is currently fundraising through www.gofundme.com/f/the-cure-to-food-deserts. Find out more on their Facebook page, @humanagriculturalcoop.
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