By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundations new Healthy Food Fund has made a 3-year commitment to our Food Access work, as described in this Gazette article. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our current programs and develop new ones, all with the goal of ensuring the everyone in our community can eat healthy local food.
Senior Farm Shares were a great success this year! 55 Seniors participated and MassLive did a very nice piece on the program. The overall satisfaction rate among survey respondents was 95%, and we got great comments from participants, such as:
“It was wonderful and saved a lot of money on veggies!”
“I got back into cooking and cuke-salads.”
“I look forward weekly to see my surprise vegetables”
Our Double SNAP Share Program provided nearly 30 families with the opportunity to receive a 20-week share at Crimson & Clover Farm, putting literally tons of fresh, local food on the tables of neighbors who would otherwise not have had access to it. A touching testimonial to the meaning of this work came to us unsolicited from a single mom whose child made a video that linked the farm experience with cooking healthy food at home:
Before we found the Grow Food Northampton farm share voucher program our diet consisted of mac and cheese canned beans and hot dogs. Now we eat fistfuls of kale and spinach and the kids are connecting with the growing and harvesting of different crops. We walk from Meadowbrook Apts to Crimson and Clover Farm. We pick out veggies and then spend time in the field and on their swing set. We pet the cat and the pigs and watch everything grow. It has made such an impression on my kids… Thank you for this beautiful change you have brought into our lives.
Our Giving Garden expanded vastly with the support of a smaller Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation grant in the spring, allowing volunteers to grow thousands of pounds of produce to donate to several soup kitchens and the Northampton Survival Center. In addition, an intrepid group of volunteers continued our tradition of picking up surplus produce weekly from Crimson & Clover Farm and delivering it to the Survival Center.