NEW YORK—The TreadRight Foundation, The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) not-for-profit, has added two new partnerships to the 55-plus projects it supports through its planet, people and wildlife pillars. Green Bronx Machine in New York and Flourish Forever in Los Angeles, California, are TreadRight’s first project partners in the United States and are both dedicated to addressing issues of food insecurity in some of the country’s most underserved communities.
On opposite coasts, both organizations are family-run and based on the belief that the foundation for community empowerment, equality, and resilience includes access to fresh, affordable and healthy food. TreadRight has partnered with Contiki, the award-winning travel company for 18 to 35-year-olds, to offer travelers the opportunity to visit both of these projects on their trips to the United States as Make Travel Matter Experiences. On Contiki’s Best of USA, guests will be able to learn more about Flourish Forever and on New York to Miami, New York Uncovered as well as Best of USA, they will have the chance to make their travels meaningful with a visit to Green Bronx Machine.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecurity, or a lack of consistent access to sufficient food, affected an estimated 10.5 percent (13.7 million) U.S. households at some point in 2019 (USDA), a number which has undoubtedly increased in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Green Bronx Machine was created to address the growing and urgent need for healthy food for students in low-income areas in America, which is staggeringly low. The indoor gardening and education program was founded by life-long educator, Stephen Ritz, and allows students in kindergarten to grade 12 to grow vegetables in the classroom as part of the core curriculum. Ritz explains this empowers students to improve their nutrition which results in increased engagement at school, thus providing a clear pathway to future careers. The program reaches more than 50,000 students daily across the United States and to-date, more than 115,000 pounds of vegetables have been harvested for students and their communities in the Bronx. TreadRight’s support will go towards the purchase of curriculum materials and two aeroponics systems for use in classrooms in the Bronx, NYC.
Working to Combat Food & Health Injustices
Flourish Forever, founded by former high school junior, Siena Mills, provides the tools and education to build community gardens and support those who have limited access to fresh produce. The organization was born out of Siena’s passion for the environment and for people, and through her experience growing up with fresh, wholesome food. Flourish Forever is working to combat food and health injustices and envisions a world where food insecurity is addressed through thriving community food gardens. TreadRight’s support of Flourish Forever will go towards a new community garden in Crenshaw, California, in partnership with the American Heart Association and Crenshaw United Methodist Church. Located at the front of the church, the garden will be available to the local Crenshaw community and will also engage a local high school for its maintenance and for educational purposes.
“Green Bronx Machine and Flourish Forever will clearly demonstrate the long-term impact that access to resources and education offers,” says Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight and Sustainability Officer. “Both of these projects address the issue of food insecurity and are proof of the lasting impact that community led projects share with our world.”
TreadRight and TTC recognize the critical role of sustainable food production in combatting climate change and in creating resilient communities. TTC’s five-year sustainability strategy How We Tread Right addresses travel’s impact and has committed to increasing the use of local and organic food products to its supply chain by 2025. For its part, TreadRight is actively choosing new projects that clearly support the 11 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) identified by TTC as a priority. These efforts are further supported by Make Travel Matter (MTM) Experiences, which are conscious travel experiences offered by TTC brands and chosen based on the positive impact they have on both travelers and destinations. Many of these support local agriculture and food security, while providing travelers with authentic and educational experiences.
Learn more about TreadRight’s projects and its mission to #MakeTravelMatter at TreadRight.org.