By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
Our Senior FarmShare program provides access to sustainably-grown, local produce for low-income seniors in Northampton. For only ONE DOLLAR PER WEEK for ten weeks this summer, participants enjoyed fresh vegetables grown by Crimson & Clover Farm. They paid $10 for $125 worth of local produce!
This year, we had 70 seniors enrolled in the program–a 27% increase in participants over 2015!
We surveyed the participants and the vast majority were very pleased with their shares. Over 94% of the participants stated they were Very Satisfied or Satisfied with the program overall. About half said they tried new vegetables, over two-thirds reported that they ate more vegetables, and over three-quarters stated that they had a healthier diet during those ten weeks. Graphical results are displayed below. When asked for comments, participants had many positive things to say about the program:
Gives me a chance to chat with friends each week.
Big improvement in our eating and we love having the sample recipes.
It’s so important to my health to have fresh produce, and I liked the recipes you handed out.
It helped me to have really fresh vegetables. I don’t buy out-of-season produce from California or Peru; I love local food without pesticides!
Wonderful. Helped the budget and challenges me to cook more.
It’s meant the world. I am so cash-strapped that I rarely can afford fresh vegetables of such fabulous quality!
We were able to make this wonderful program happen in collaboration with the Northampton Senior Center, who provided logistical support and served as the pick up location for the FarmShare. All of this was made possible with support from the Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation and CISA. And of course we are so grateful to Riverside Industries and to our volunteers, who helped with delivery.
Senior FarmShares in other communities
CISA runs a regional Senior FarmShare program in many other communities. Please visit their website for enrollment information.