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Nourishing Our Community and the Earth

Dear Friend,

Welcome, June! -- the fast-moving month with events, celebrations, and backyard BBQs filling up the calendar. The month of cooling off in the river, devouring spring greens, and catching up on mowing the lawn (for those who participated in No Mow May). June is finally here! 

Things are ramping up here at Grow Food Northampton. There are over 2,000 seedlings growing in our neighbors’ backyards and on their porches after we distributed them through the Community Food Distribution Project (CFDP)! The Community Farm is buzzing with pollinators, gardeners, and farmers. Tuesday Market vendor displays are growing increasingly abundant, and more members of our community are stopping by to take advantage of Grow Food Northampton’s SNAP Match program that doubles their SNAP spending power on the beautiful local produce and to enjoy the mini-festival each week! The list goes on and on!

Read on to find out more.

Happy June, 

Megan Saraceno 
Community Engagement Coordinator 

P.S. Here are a few of my recent simple spring green go-to recipes: 

Greens, Strawberries, Pecans, Vinaigrette

Greens, Asparagus, Radish, Lemon Olive Oil

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All Smiles at the CFDP Seedling Distribution!

At the end of May, the Community Food Distribution Project handed out over 2,000 free seedlings alongside our usual 1,000 pounds of produce at over 12 different subsidized housing sites across town! It's rewarding to know that more of our neighbors will get to participate in the magic that is growing food. Community members gathered to select plants and pot them with compost and donated pots on site. Grow Food Northampton purchased all of the plants from Sawmill Herb Farm and Windy Ridge Farm.
The CFDP is always looking for volunteers for weekly produce deliveries. Individuals, families or groups - all are welcome! Sign up here.

Welcome Corey and Linnea! 

Corey Kurtz came on board this week as GFN's first Development Director, after two decades working in nonprofits as a community organizer, policy advocate and development professional. She led development efforts at Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, Dakin Humane Society, and most recently, at Connecticut River Conservancy. Corey is excited to continue to expand the network of people who care passionately about food justice and sustainable farming and generously support GFN’s work.

Corey has an M.A. in Social Policy from Tufts University and a B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College. She spent her childhood exploring the woods and farms of the Connecticut River Valley and has loved being back in this beautiful place once again. She lives in Amherst with her partner, Uri, and their two kids, Danny and Lila.

Linnea Lagerstrom joined our team this spring in the role of Food Access Assistant. You can find her at Hampshire Heights helping people pick out produce or driving the van doing deliveries. Her main role is to help with the CFDP where her big heart and ability to connect with all types of people is an asset to our team. 

In Linnea's words, "Every year, I fall in love again and again. This year, hops, air potato, ANGELICA and hibiscus rosella. Of course I love you zinnia, calendula, TULSI, oh Solomon’s seal and birch thank you for all your wisdom. I’ve come out of retirement to work with GFN part-time. I’m a mom of two amazing adults. I’m tending many gardens (sheet mulch, low maintenance, highly recommend) around the Valley, and my newest venture is growing lion’s mane, pink and grey oyster, almond Agaricus, and the mysterious morel. Also found myself in the car with seven Brahma chickies three weeks ago who added me to their flock."

Thank you, Florence Bank!

Thank you to Florence Bank's 2021 Customers' Choice Community Grants for awarding Grow Food Northampton $1,430 at last month's event at the Look Park Garden House. Thank you to all the Florence Bank customers who voted for us in 2021!

Are you a Florence Bank customer? You can help us earn about $24 per vote by voting for GFN for this year's grant! Florence Bank is awarding a total of $125,000 in 2022 to nonprofits throughout the region, based on votes from their customers.

Simply follow this link to cast your vote today:

GFN is an Innovation Award Finalist

Grow Food Northampton is thrilled to be named as one of this year’s Massachusetts Nonprofit Excellence Award finalists! The Awards honor the most innovative and creative work being done by nonprofit organizations across the state. We are being recognized for how we pivoted in the pandemic to get fresh farm food to community members experiencing food insecurity through both the creation of the CFDP and the tripling of our SNAP Matching capacity. 

Join us on June 22 at the virtual ceremony where the winners will be announced. Learn more and register for free here.

Groundbreaking News at Crimson & Clover Farm

Anchor farm on the GFN Community Farm, Crimson & Clover Farm, recently announced pivotal funding they've received with the help of the Commonwealth’s Food Security Infrastructure Grant. Crimson and Clover will be renovating their CSA barn and building an addition to serve as a brand new wash facility. This will allow them to store, clean, and distribute vegetables all year long.

This is big news for the farm, but also for Florence, Northampton, and the surrounding communities. The next chapter for Crimson & Clover will provide year-round food that is accessible to all!

Responsible Wild Food Foraging Tips from GFN’s Food Access Coordinator, Jules White

This past weekend, the Asparagus Festival in Hadley kicked off the grand finale of the tender shoots’ short-lived season. If you grow asparagus in your garden, you might find that the plants are still producing new, tasty-looking stalks through June, but the perennial care and cultivation of asparagus requires self-control. Towards the end of this month, it is wise to stop harvesting and let the plants grow to their full spindly height, allowing them to photosynthesize and store nutrients in their elaborate network of snakelike roots. 

The same practice—of mindful, sustainable harvest—can be applied to wild food foraging, now that the season is in full swing. Perhaps the relationship between a grower and their asparagus is clearly intimate and intentional, but if you pulled ramps in the early spring, or plan to pick from a tangle of wild black raspberries this summer, I challenge you to think of your relationship with wild food in a similar light. That is to say, care for your wild food sources, and they will care for you in return; like asparagus, many wild edible plants may provide a seemingly abundant supply of food, but that does not mean it is all for the taking. 

Read on for more information on responsible foraging as well as a great list of resources.

What We're Reading This Month

We know you’re out there in your gardens right now, swimming in the river, and celebrating the arrival of summer, but what better a time then now to also curl up in your hammock or sit with your back against a tree to read a good food- or food justice-related book?! Here are some recommendations from your friends at Grow Food Northampton. 

Urban Foraging: Find, Gather and Cook 50 Wild Plants by Lisa M. Rose – This beautiful guide to foraging in the streets and yards of where you live includes helpful, vibrant photographs to help you identify wild plants, information about how to forage ethically and responsibly, and recipes to enjoy what you gather. Even if you don’t hit the streets to forage, it’s a fascinating read. 

Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement by Monica M. White – This book tells the story of the role that Black farmers played in the Civil Rights movement and centers them as key advocates, activists, and intellectuals in the fight for Black emancipation and justice. The book articulates brilliantly how Black farming serves as a strategic approach to Black liberation.  

Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States, Edited by Justine M, Williams and Eric Holt-Giménez – Through the voices of people from the communities that have been harmed the most by the conventional food system and that have been consistently dispossessed from their land, this book makes a powerful case for land justice as the foundation for food equity and economic and racial justice. 

Black Food: Stories, Art & Recipes From Across the African Diaspora, Edited and Curated by Bryant Terry – This exquisitely designed volume is a cookbook, a feat of historical analysis, a cultural artifact of Black food justice, and a joyful celebration of Black culture all in one. With chapters on “Land, Liberation, and Power,” “Black, Queer Food,” “Motherland,” and “Migrations,” sumptuous recipes,  and so much more, this book is not just a pleasure to read and cook from, it “tells a global story of creativity, endurance, and imagination that was sustained in the face of [Black] dispersal, displacement, and oppression” (Imani Perry, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University). 

Thank you to all who donated during Valley Grows Day last month!

Every gift moves our community closer to an equitable food system in which ALL of our neighbors have access to healthy local food and the opportunity, resources, and land to grow their own food, as well. Together with our match from the Local Roots Care funding circle and other donors, we raised $27,948 from 105 donors! Thank you for this amazing outpouring of love for Grow Food Northampton. We simply could not do this work without you!

Valley Grows Day is a day of giving bigger than just Grow Food Northampton. 284 donors participated by donating over $49,699 to support all eight of the farm and food justice organizations participating in Valley Grows Day. 

Thank You to Our Generous Supporters!

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