Soulful Seeds is a social and environmental, grassroots non-profit dedicated to reducing food insecurity by developing and managing urban gardens. Our gardens provide fresh produce, inclusive outdoor spaces, improve the biodiversity of the landscape, and promote health and wellbeing.
According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, are food insecure in the United States. Locally, one in eight Nevadans were food insecure from 2016- 2018. The pandemic increased food insecurity, especially among families with children and communities of color. Populations disparately impacted by hunger include racial and ethnic minorities, lower income communities, rural communities, single parents, children, and seniors.
According to Nevada Tomorrow, Washoe county’s food insecurity rate was 11% in 2019 and was projected to increase. Today, it is estimated that nearly 15% of residents are food insecure, meaning that they do not always have access to adequate nutrition. Related to the issue of food insecurity is homelessness. Individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness is rising and nearly 50% of renters spend 30% or more of their monthly income on rent. And, from 2016-2020, 6.5% of families and 8.5% of seniors lived below the poverty line. This is important because households experiencing poverty and/or food insecurity often face difficult financial choices that may force them to go without meals or buy cheaper processed foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients.
Mission & Operational Pillars
Our mission is to reduce food insecurity by providing healthy, sustainable food to the most vulnerable people in our community. Soulful Seeds has four core pillars in which we operate by: Community Gardens, to grow and donate food; Neighborhood Gardens, to grow food as close to populations in need as possible; Education, to teach people how to grow, harvest, and prepare food sustainably and affordably; and Workforce Development, to invest in future employment opportunities that help move people out of poverty.
We know food distribution programs alone cannot solve food insecurity in our community. Our model focuses on multiple facets of the food insecurity issue to reduce a household’s chances of experiencing food insecurity again. Our model empowers people through the garden by teaching them to grow their own food, providing tools to prepare and preserve the food they harvest, and developing skills that will make them more employable.
Who we Serve
We serve neighbors experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. All of our programs are and produce are provided to neighbors free of charge. We prioritize services for campus neighbors and distribute overflow through two food pantries serving high-need zip codes.