sunrise project

The Sunshine Project, a nonprofit in Lawrence which focuses on the intersection in food, the environment, and social awareness, are fighting to change the environment. The group will host a charity event at Liberty Hall on Sunday.

A common argument for disregarding discussions on environmental changes is that they may take longer than our lifetimes to pan out. However, some people are actively fighting to change the environment and how we access our food. That’s where Sunrise Project comes in.

Sunrise Project is a new nonprofit in Lawrence that focuses on the intersection of food, the environment and social justice. Melissa Freiburger of Sunrise Project called the organization a grassroots group that is looking to bring more programming to the community.

Sunrise Project will host a charity event at Liberty Hall on Sunday. The organization has partnered with tofu manufacturer Central Soyfoods in hopes of gaining funding to purchase the former Sunrise Garden Center, which is located at 15th and Learnard Avenue. Sunrise Project wants to turn the building into a community sourvce.

The event will feature a screening of Growing Cities, a documentary about urban farming. A lasagna dinner will also be provided by 23rd Street Brewery.

Freiburger, 39, is an alumna who attended the University from 2002-2010 and earned a Ph.D. in sociology.

“The programming we will provide will be something with everyone,” she said. “Everyone eats, everyone needs food. We see these issues overlapping with social justice, and we would like to include as many people as possible.”

Sunrise Project is relevant to students who may have a hard time making ends meet and those who want to help the community.

A panel will be held after dinner and the screening of the film. The panel will include Dina Newman, the health initiatives manager of Grown in Ivanhoe, a similar nonprofit based in Kansas City, Mo. Newman sees Sunrise Project becoming a beacon of change for the Lawrence community.

“I love their vision, and I love the fact that they are empowering the people with the tools, literally and figuratively, to change the landscape of the community and their lives,” Newman said. “Informed empowerment is the essence of what I have coined as ‘Sustainable Healthy Urban Living,’ or ‘SHUL,’ and the Sunrise Project seems to understand this concept.”