people served per year in our trainings and community and youth programming
people per year patronize our social enterprises, The Kitchen Cafe and Farmers Market
of trainees since 2009 have gotten jobs with starting wages above the minimum wage
Billings Forge Community Works (BFCW) and the Frog Hollow neighborhood use food as their vehicle for community and individual empowerment, but food feeds more than just the body. Food feeds the soul, hope for the future and our social and economic enterprises.
Food is the centerpiece that radiates energy on one side through job-training, community and youth programs and on the other side through its cafes, catering and year-round Farmers’ Market. BFCW’s food businesses provide hands-on culinary training and generate about half of our organizational budget.
Billings Forge Community Works offers the following programs:
A social enterprise is a business created to further a social purpose in a financially sustainable way. Our social enterprises include our two cafes and a catering business. The businesses host our culinary job training, high school culinary interns, and classes. Forty five percent of the cafes’ employees are from the neighborhood, where jobs are particularly scarce.
Culinary Training prepares low-income Hartford residents with barriers to employment for jobs. Within three months of completing the program, 75% if our trainees land jobs with starting wages averaging 119% of minimum wage.
The year-round Farmers’ Market had more than 12,000 visits in 2015, up about 40 percent from 2014. Shoppers who redeemed nearly $11,000 in SNAP benefits – formerly food stamps — took home $21,000 in fresh local produce thanks to double-value coupons funded by individuals, foundations, and corporations.
The Garden at Billings Forge
The Garden at Billings Forge provides fresh vegetables for Billings Forge residents and for our cooking classes.
Youth Programming incorporates activities and strategies to help young people grow up to be healthy, caring and responsible grown-ups. We serve hundreds of youth in multi-session cooking classes and food-focused programming.