Help DECA Seed A Dream

UPDATE: STRETCH GOAL #1 INITIATED

WOW! I can't believe it!

So much has happened in such a short time!


It's been:

-10 months since the Assets Business Plan Incubator course and 
-4 months since The Great Social Enterprise Pitch where we came in 3rd place.

If you'd like to catch up on how our DECA City Farms is growing, check out this video featured in our first CSA Newsletter. 




-In just a few days, we will enact the next phase of this dream we have seeded together, as a community. The first ever Pop-Up Farmers Market at the West End Market Building. 



This will be the first of many "pay-what-you-can", pop-up markets organized by DECA which will feature hyper-locally grown, organic and chem-free produce grown by DECA City Farms and the Backyard Farming Cooperative. 


During market hours, we will take every opportunity to expound on the benefits of every community member having a seat at this dinner table, the benefits of garden-farms in each community, and the systemic issues that can be resolved when we prioritize city's health and wellness. 


A FULL LENGTH official poster will be available for viewing or download on our Facebook(fb.com/decacityfarms) and Instagram (@decacityfarms) pages as well as our website (www.Backyardfarmingcoop.com)

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After some thought, we've decided that the momentum that DECA has experienced over the past year is a clear sign of the support the Lancaster community has for this idea and we are prepared for a bigger ‘ask’ to help guide this vision towards completion.


The closest goal looks like at least one community garden-farm in each quadrant of the city and a corresponding farmers market or community retail partners selling accessible priced produce.


We've already pledged partnership with the Ameri-corps, Lancaster City PD Community Engagement Team, Lancaster City’s Health Department, The Emerald Center, Church World Services and other community groups to bring our shared vision of an abundant Lancaster to fruition through the end of this year and into 2022. 


But this cant happen without you. We need your help to see this vision through. Growing a sustainable Lancaster is a group effort. It takes input from state and local authorities, community groups and individual residents who would like to be and see the change occurring in their neighborhoods. 

Here are three action steps you can take today:

-Donate (again) to our ‘Stretch Goal’ fundraiser to help us build more locally managed garden farms in and around Lancaster City.

-Purchase products from DECA CIty Provisions. A portion of those profits will go back into DECA in order to fulfill our non-profit mission of building a sustainable Lancaster Community, creating agency for our most at-risk communities and creating inclusion in the fresh food industry.
-
Volunteer your time to help in our gardens. Weed, water, and watch it grow. 
Follow this link to act today! https://linktr.ee/decacityfarms


Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,


Hawa Lassanah
Founder and Managing Director
DECA






HELP DECA BUILD AN URBAN FARM AT LANCASTER COUNTY PARK

Urban farming is at the center of Discerning Eye Community Agriculture's (DECA) activities. 



As we move into the beginning of our second growing season, The Backyard Farming Cooperative now has the need and opportunity to relocate our farm from New Holland to Downtown Lancaster, further fulfilling our mission to advocate for hyper-local farming to increase agency for the urban dweller. 
 
Those living in closely packed neighborhoods often do not have access to "greenspace" for growing fresh food and it is our mission to dismantle these barriers disproportionately experienced by BIPOC and underserved rural communities. In its place, our organization builds opportunities by creating access to hyper-local urban farming regardless of land availability and to the food production industry. We create a new collective model for doing business, new participants in the hyper-local food economy, and in the process fortify the physical, mental and social health of a city’s residents. 




In many ways, this moment seems like the very beginning of a really big dream.
In reality, with the help of our wonderful volunteers, we have worked very hard over the past year to prove the concepts we are presenting.  

Proof of Concept 1: 
Can a low-cost CSA work?
2020 was a tough year for everyone so those who were able to purchase subscriptions did. With very little advertising, we provided 9 "no-commitment" CSA subscriptions and 1 Full Seasonal subscription to the Lancaster Community. We made a calculated decision not to over sell our capacity seeing as it was our first and an experimental year. 

Proof of Concept 2:
Can we center our environmental stewardship initiatives?
Yes! We were able to deliver all of our CSA packages via bicycle or on foot and plan to expand and improve our bicycle fleet over the next 2 years. We also plan to upgrade the packaging of our CSA's to align more closely with our goals. 

Proof of Concept 3:
Can we provide abundance to those in need?
With the limited space afforded to us on our own farm, we provided over 20 free CSA packages to individuals and families in need over the 10-week 2020 season. We also were given the opportunity to manage the community garden outside of The Boy & Girls Club (The Jack Walker Clubhouse) providing the young members the fresh and often sweet treats harvested from that space. [Pictured Above]



Now that the 'proof of concept' is complete, it's time to begin the real work but we have to make sure our foundation is stable.
 
Ensuring a strong start to any project means having the right tools for the job, and if you don't have them, create them anew. 
 
The Ask
 
In order to ensure a strong start to the 2021 growing season, we need to establish our new garden plots with
  • Wildlife-resistant Fencing
  • Mulched, fertile Garden beds with netted protection
  • Irrigation tools such as water cans and barrels, soaker hoses, and a water-carrying wheeled barrel. 
  • Several garden tools such as hand tillers and shovels to facilitate the stewardship of our farms and community farms we manage. 
  • Signage to facilitate our educational initiatives including garden tours and multi-lingual recipe inserts. 
Proceeds from the sales of our CSA subscriptions are the main driver of the Backyard Farming Cooperatives business model. With these funds, we are able to 
  • buy seeds for upcoming seasons, 
  • purchase tools to help create gardens for our neighbors, 
  • organize volunteers for community events and 
  • save for our expansion: the purchase of a mobile community kitchen allowing us to process and sell fresh produce and culturally relevant food products on-site, facilitating access to fresh, nutritious food, exactly where people need it most.
 

Above is our proposed budget for the 2021 Farm Build at Lancaster County Park. All prices are sourced from Home Depot or similar supply companies. We currently have (1) 40'x40' plot and will acquire an additional (2) 20'x20' plots by April 2021. 
 
I think it is imperative to state that we could create the farm with less equipment for less money however we feel it necessary to take the extra steps now to ensure the longevity of our concept and the quality of our product and this is why we are asking for your support. We have a deadline of March 31, 2021 to raise these funds in order to build in the first week of April. 
 
 
When we create abundance through Backyard Farming Cooperative, it spills over into the other brands associated with Discerning Eye Comunity Agriculture. 
 


Excess produce is used to create value-added food products for DECA City Provisions and a portion of all the proceeds go to the non-profit branch, DECA, providing resources for future community revitalization projects. 

At Discerning Eye Community Agriculture (DECA), our mission is to create wellness and abundance in underserved communities through the collective acts of farming and gardening, creating communal agency in the industry of fresh food. 

DECA achieves these goals through a market-driven approach as a Social Enterprise.
A conglomerate of 3 sister companies, Backyard Farming Cooperative, DECA City Provisions, and DECA City Farms, focuses our goals on 3 aspects of the fresh food industry: access to arable land, urban micro-farming and sales, and hyper-local value-added food production. The non-profit organization, Discerning Eye Community Agriculture, centers our environmental stewardship through community activism. 

We are currently in the Top 10 Cohort for "The Great Social Enterprise Pitch", a business plan contest held by Assets in Lancaster for Central Pa entrepreneurs who employ the triple bottom line concept to add value to their businesses:  People, Profits, and Planet. 
 
If you'd like to find out more about who we are and how we plan to impact the local and global community, please click this link: 
The Great Social Enterprise Pitch

If you would like to participate in future volunteer events such as our 2021 Farm Build, building gardens for neighbors and local organizations, or have land or other resources to donate, please click this link:
 
If you have any other comments, access to resources or information, or want to keep up with our journey, follow us on Social Media:
Discerning Eye Community Agriculture on Facebook, and




  • Jennifer Seigle 
    • $10 
    • 6 d
  • Alyssa Cleve 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $24 
    • 10 mos
  • Emily Givler 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
See all

Organizer

Hawa Lassanah 
Organizer
Lancaster, PA