Student Learning Workshop on Food Insecurity – Suffolk News-Herald

The Neighborhood Harvest (TNH), a Suffolk-based food delivery and hydroponic farm, hosted a group of students from Norfolk Academy last week, to teach them the how and benefits of hydroponics as well as how the organization addresses food insecurity.

The foundation of TNH’s strategy is to partner with local agencies such as Greater Works and the Access College Foundation. Greater Works operates a food pantry called The House of Bread, which is located next to the TNH offices. The leadership started working together with a simple need: storage space and freezer.

With Greater Works’ help, TNH learned about the neighborhood’s nutrition gap, such as the lack of affordable grocery stores nearby, transportation to get to those stores and needs that agencies like the food bank can’t always fill. TNH has begun stocking The House of Bread with its additional produce each week, some coming from Virginia farm partners and some coming straight from the greenhouse.

The day of the workshop began in the greenhouse, where students helped grow rows of new crops and learned how the hydroponics process works, constantly moving water through plants’ root systems.

THN’s Heather Thompson, who helped plan and direct the event, said the students “absolutely loved the farming.”

The students then toured the packing house, learning how products are carefully sorted and packaged before going to customers’ homes, and The House of Bread and families that are part of THN’s free delivery program with the Access College Foundation.

Finally, the students toured The House of Bread, and learned how client selection makes a real difference to families in need. The market-style pantry allows people to choose and enjoy the foods they need based on how many family members they feed regularly, all for free.

“What customer choice does is it gives people their dignity back,” said Valerie Becker, whose family, church and volunteers have been running the pantry since January.

“There is no reason for anyone in our area to go hungry,” she said.

THN supports this sentiment, continues its community partnerships and invites its customer base to join the effort by donating fresh produce online.

For information, visit or on Facebook and Instagram @theneicturesharvest.

For more information on Greater Works, call Baker at 757-719-9836 or

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