Flint & Genesee Education & Talent relies on working with local partners to help make programs stand out. One partner which touches multiple programs is Flint Fresh. The organization that aims to develop the local food system in Flint works with YouthQuest and Summer Youth Initiative (SYI).
“We are lucky to have a partner whose work spans our programs,” says Dr. Kimberly Leverette, executive director of Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “Flint Fresh has been a great partner and is always eager to work with Education & Talent.”
Through YouthQuest, Flint Fresh has provided support in several ways. The most recent is through the Chop It Like Its Hot clubs run at multiple YouthQuest sites.
“We provide meal boxes that students use to learn how to cook during club time,” says Brian Schorr, executive director of Flint Fresh. “There are two portions in the box, a classroom portion they all cook together and then each student goes home with a portion with which they can teach their family how to cook.”
This is just one way that Flint Fresh partners with YouthQuest to help support the program. Throughout the pandemic, Flint Fresh worked with the afterschool program to provide food boxes to families in need. The organization also participates in Family Nights hosted by YouthQuest sites and YouthQuest’s end-of-year celebrations.
For SYI, Flint Fresh served as an employer for the program in 2022. The program hired three TeenQuest graduates at the SYI Job Fair, but Schorr notes that he was impressed with all the students he interviewed that day. However, one student he hired stood out the most, so much so that Schorr said he wished he could have hired him full-time.
“I wish he was older so he could have stayed on,” says Schorr. “He came in ready to work and was quite honestly one of the most prepared new hires we have ever had.”
For the community, Flint Fresh is focused on developing the local food system including everything from seed to plate to compost. Through its Mobile Market, Flint Fresh provides neighborhoods without grocery stores access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The organization also aims to support local farmers to help grow the food system locally with a strong focus on Flint.
“If we need an item and it’s available in Flint (from a farmer), that is our first choice,” says Schorr. “Next is Genesee County then out from there. But almost everything comes from the areas touching Genesee County.”
Flint Fresh is working hard to provide the community with access to food in any way that they can and working with Education & Talent is just one of those ways.
For more information on Flint Fresh, visit www.FlintFresh.com.
YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.