growing community

This week we would love to share with you about two local food relief/food justice-oriented programs we have been working with this summer.  As was mentioned in our last post we started off the season by spending some weekends volunteering at Not Bread Alone(NBA), a CHD program-soup kitchen in Amherst which is run by Bob Stover. NBA serves meals to the community on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons with canned goods and bulk veggies available on Saturdays. As the season moves along, we have been able to donate food to NBA from our harvests supplying mostly zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers. We are so grateful to know and have the opportunity to work with Bob and the many volunteers that come to NBA as well as have the opportunity to help those in need.

gtc stu

A few weeks ago, the UMass Student Farm took a trip to Gardening the Community, a food justice, youth oriented, urban agriculture non-profit located in Springfield Massachusetts.  Ruth Hazzard, long-time supporter and former co-founder of the UMass Student Farm helped initiate the connection and workday. We met with Ibrahim Ali, the co-director of programs and marketing, to spend a day working on the sites GTC has and listen to what programs are offered. GTC grows vegetables and fruits with youths of middle and high school age to sell for their CSA called “GRTC Eats!”, their Walnut St. community farm store, and to deliver to farmers markets and individuals via bike! We were able to take a look at their new youth-run farm stand and their sites for growing on Walnut St. and Hancock St. Much of the program’s success comes from how well it has been received by the youth in the area, and much of the day to day work is done by youth in the community including running the farm stand and managing the crops. Youth even participate on the board and some receive a stipend for their work and education about the food system and sustainable urban agriculture and living. GTC aims to address some of the lack of access to healthy foods in Springfield through educating and empowering youth within their community to grow and distribute their food. We had a great time spending the day weeding beds and talking with some of the employees and local community members that were on site.  Volunteer days are on Saturdays from ~9am to 1pm, meeting at 200 Walnut St. in Springfield..learn more here!

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