About Mission of Mary Cooperative
Mission of Mary Cooperative is a non-profit organization addressing food deserts and social justice issues in east Dayton, Ohio by providing access to healthy, affordable food. A food desert is an area lacking accessible, affordable, and healthy food. In many cases, with options limited to fast food, this also leads to increased rates of obesity. This has become a primary concern for Dayton whose metropolitan area ranks as the worst in Ohio and one of the worst in the country for food insecurity.
Founded by a small faith community of University of Dayton alumni who wished to continue living out the Marianist values in Dayton, Mission of Mary is the only lay Marianist founded, operated, and funded nonprofit organization in the country. Mission of Mary aims to revitalize vacant and forgotten neighborhood land, by growing and distributing nutritious food and educating the community about healthy and sustainable lifestyles. In addition, through their Urban Sustainability Learning Center, Mission of Mary provides K-12 students with hands-on learning opportunities on their urban farms.
Mission of Mary has turned uncultivated green spaces in east Dayton into six urban farm plots and grows over 65 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Their two-tiered pricing model for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) food shares ensures households at every income level can benefit from fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Sustainability at their Core
With the help of their 12 kW solar system, Mission of Mary was the first net-zero organization in Dayton, where over the course of a year they produce as much, or more, energy than they consume. By going solar, the Mission of Mary is able to save $21,550 over the course of the solar array’s lifetime, which is money that they can put back into their mission of providing fresh, affordable food to their community. Mission of Mary will also use the solar panels to help educate the surrounding community, and the various groups who visit the farm to volunteer, about the importance of renewable energy.
Solar Project Led by RE-volv’s Solar Ambassadors
The RE-volv Solar Ambassador Team at the University of Dayton (UD) helped lead this project to bring solar to the Mission of Mary. The 15 student team worked together on a crowdfunding campaign to raise the up-front capital for the Mission of Mary’s solar system. Through the Solar Ambassador Fellowship, the UD team identified the nonprofit, ran the crowdfunding campaign, hosted numerous events to educate the campus and community about the importance of solar energy, hosted a solar ribbon cutting event, and were able to gain valuable project management skills and experience in the solar industry as well. Check out the Mission of Mary’s crowdfunding video below.
Community Supported Solar Energy for the Mission of Mary
Thank you to the 146 generous donors throughout the country who donated to this crowdfunding campaign to help bring solar energy to the Mission of Mary. The donations that these donors made helped pay for the up-front cost of the solar system, allowing the Mission of Mary to go solar with RE-volv for $0 down, while saving 15% or more on their electricity bills each month. Thank you to our amazing partners at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, RENEW Wisconsin, and Werner Electric for supporting Mission of Mary's solar array!
Mission of Mary Solar Ribbon Cutting Event