In direct response to the COVID-19 health pandemic, RTB launched a new project called Manifest Love — a collaborative endeavor that put healthy, local foods on the tables of families in New Bedford. At the heart of Manifest Love is a partnership between RTB’s Executive Director, Desa Van Laarhoven, and three New Bedford organizations led by women of color: YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) and NorthStar Learning Centers.  The Executive Directors of these four organizations, Desa Van Laarhoven, Gail Fortes, Bernadette Souza, and Maria Rosario decided that RTB would provide free weekly food shares (similar to CSA shares) from early March into the fall (and possibly early winter) to approximately 125 local families directly connected to the organizations. Together we grew, gleaned, sourced, and distributed nutritious, organic, local food. We also created new and relevant educational resources, including videos, blogs and weekly letters. These were distributed with each share, along with photo identification of produce, nutritional information and recipes. Our partners at the YWCA meticulously translated each letter and video into Spanish and Portuguese for accessibility. NorthStar Learning Centers picked up the 125 shares every week at RTB and carefully dropped them at all of the partner sites, where each individual organization distributed the food, with love, directly to families. Manifest Love allowed us to provide healthy food and nutrition education to local families with limited access and financial means.

Our Partners

YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

NorthStar Learning Centers mission is to help young people overcome poverty, discrimination, educational disadvantage, violence, and other adversity through learning essential competencies and hopefulness with which they can transform their lives and communities.

Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s mission is to foster youth development in the Greater New Bedford Community.

From early March through mid-December 2020, families have received a variety of locally-grown and produced items as part of Manifest Love.

RTB has donated & distributed the following:

  • 1,124 lbs. of Paradox Acres 100% grass-fed beef and pasture-rasied, non-GMO pork
  • 25,573 lbs. of produce
  • 3,148 herb bundles
  • 827 lbs. of Shy Brothers cheese
  • 226 dozen Flying Carrot eggs
  • 30 lbs. of Dragonfire Turmeric Tincture and tea from Nilsa’s Herbal Teas & Botanicals
  • 59 lbs. of Hana’s Honey
  • 127 lbs. of RTB-made granola
  • 59 quarts of RTB-made laundry detergent
  • 1077 loaves of Renegades Rising breads
  • 268 pints of RTB-made jam
  • 200 lbs. of Equal Exchange fair-trade coffee and chocolate
  • 75 lbs. of RTB-made peanut butter

Our partners at the YWCA meticulously translated each letter and video into Spanish and Portuguese for accessibility. NorthStar Learning Centers picked up the 125 shares every week at RTB and carefully dropped them at all of the partner sites, where each individual organization distributed the food, with love, directly to families.

Check out some of the letters from throughout the year.

Letters in English                            Letters in Portuguese                             Letters in Spanish

The Manifest Love partners collectively decided to reduce our carbon footprint by packaging the weekly food shares in something other than single-use plastic. We decided to purchase reusable, washable ChicoBags because we could collect them weekly, launder them on the farm, refill them with the shares, and send them back out to participants. This also provided an educational opportunity for the participants, with the hope that these reusable bags will turn into shopping bags and be used well into the future.

“ I am so grateful that Round the Bend Farm is providing fresh produce, meat and herbs, and cheese. It has truly expanded our food list, while introducing us to creating more healthy meals and trying items we wouldn’t think of purchasing.”

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