Manchester Growing Together Farm: SuROI Planning and Education Sessions

Small, urban farms bring immense value and benefit to neighborhoods. However, these community spaces are often underfunded, under-resourced, and at risk of discontinuing without sustainable funding sources. Recognizing the correlation between land and people and having ample anecdotal evidence of their success, the Manchester Growing Together Farm sought Grounded’s support in order to better position itself to receive the donations and grants it needs to survive. Manchester Growing Together Farm wanted to be able to place a value on outcomes that are difficult to measure. Examples include 1) marginalized families now feeling an active and engaged part of the community, 2) referral to employment with candidates being gainfully employed, 3) disabled residents participating in outdoor activity and connecting to nature, 4) illegal firearms being confiscated. 

Grounded worked with the Manchester Growing Together Farm to apply a framework known as Sustainable Return on Investment (SuROI) in order to understand the quantitative and qualitative impact of the farm. An SuROI communicates the strength, impact, and limitations of a program or intervention. The SuROI approach combines several valuation methods to focus on the long-term sustainable impact. SuROI follows a similar methodology to Social Return on Investment (SROI). The SuROI approach places a monetary value, identified through financial proxies, on the social and environmental changes directly experienced by the people who are affected by policies, investments and development decisions. SuROI can be utilized to advance responsible policies and programs that create value for those directly affected. 

Grounded worked with the Farm to provide education sessions to identify and develop the process for applying SuROI evaluation. Over the course of several months, Grounded and the Farm held five planning sessions that helped to provide the tools and resources necessary to administer the SuROI evaluation.

Manchester Growing Together Farm is located at 1436 Columbus Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233, in the Manchester neighborhood in the North Shore. Check out the Farm’s website here!