Part urban garden, part restaurant, part oasis for youth, Billings Forge Community Works nourishes an entire community:
- we grow and cook food together, sharing our problems, our hopes and our dreams
- we create mouth-watering food in our sustainable cafes and catering businesses
- we run a yearlong farmers market where everyone comes to put food on their family table
When you support our businesses, you support this mission.
Food is the tool we use to empower. Food is the investment that produces healthy children learning and playing, parents converting opportunity and training into personal success and stable families, and residents transforming their neighborhood into vitality and shared experience.
Our objective: joining with our neighbors to make progress, not trying to do it for them.
And that is what we are achieving, in Frog Hollow and in Hartford.
Since 2007, we at BFCW have focused not on what our neighborhood is missing, but we build on what is already here. We have grown the skills and vitality of talented residents to construct an infrastructure of promise, such as campaigning to get an evening stop for the Hartford Mobile Food Market.
We partner with wise and experienced community leaders to serve children and families, offering a range of kid-friendly activities. And we have used the delicious benefits of fresh food to spur investment, support, good health and future employment for the entire community.
We use food to change lives, build community, and create opportunities. We develop leaders within the community and build bridges to resources and friends outside of it. We have learned lessons and perfected methods in Frog Hollow that we are now employing across the city:
- The Kitchen at Billings Forge has a sister, The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library, where we also host culinary trainees from across the city! Job training that began on a shoestring — and served just those living at Billings Forge — now enjoys support from Community Partners in Action, Open Hearth, Journey Home, Easter Seals, Goodwill, the Governor’s Second Chance Initiative.
- The year-round Farmers Market brings fresh food to our Frog Hollow neighbors. We now double food stamps and feed families citywide.
- We gather neighbors together to break bread, share resources, and advocate around issues of food access, food justice and food security, and neighborhood challenges, resulting in real change.
The heart of our effort — using the wonders of food to nourish our neighbors and provide them with opportunity — still beats powerfully in Frog Hollow. The impact of BFCW’s strength and vitality is widening, reaching out to new neighbors and communities across the city, bringing opportunities for growth, good health, personal success and family stability to hundreds of households each year.