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Nourishing Our Community and the Earth

Dear Friend,

I’m writing this opening letter to you while sitting in the center of Tuesday Market as the plaza is starting to fill up for the afternoon. My views include fresh cut sunflowers, the first berries and cherries of the season, some friends reuniting at the other end of the table, and my own snack of a box of cherry tomatoes. A true utopia if there ever was one in this Happy Valley.

It’s from a place of gratitude that I write to you. At a time where the news just gets heavier and harder to bear each day, our soul-filling work at Grow Food Northampton is a gift to be part of and be witness to. Nourishing our community and the Earth is not just part of our mission statement, it’s what’s happening in our programs on a daily basis. Hundreds of community gardeners nourishing their families by growing their own food, hundreds of community members congregating and shopping at Tuesday Market - nourishing their own spirits and the local economy of farmers and food producers, hundreds of our neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity being nourished by weekly deliveries of fresh local produce… I could go on! In one week’s time, especially during the heart of the growing season, there’s lots of nourishment happening in our community.

Read on for a taste of the latest at GFN, a hearty mix of ways to get involved, links to learn more and announcements. Happy Summer!

Stay cool, 

Niki Lankowski
Communications Manager

Quick Links


Living History Workshop: Silk - July 31

Volunteer Signup

Tuesday Market

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The Giving Garden at the GFN Community Farm is living up to its name these days! Harvests of strawberries, kale, greens, garlic scapes, cucumbers, squash, shiitake mushrooms, rhubarb and asparagus have all found their way into healthy meals at Star Light Center in Florence and Manna Community Kitchen in Northampton. Learn more about joining the volunteer crew below. 

Volunteer With Us This Summer!

Our programs thrive with the support of our volunteers! We welcome families, individuals, and groups to join our scheduled volunteer shifts one time or on an ongoing basis. Summer is the time when we need the most hands on deck to get beautiful local produce to our neighbors throughout Northampton who are experiencing food insecurity. 

The Community Food Distribution Project is always looking for volunteers for weekly produce deliveries on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. Volunteers meet at the Northampton Survival Center to package and load the produce and then deliver it to neighborhoods around the city.
For more details and to sign up, look here.

The Giving Garden at the GFN Community Farm in Florence currently has volunteer shifts on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings. Volunteers tend and harvest as needed with leaders from our staff. 
For more details and to sign up, look here. 

So Long, Megan ❤️

This week, we said farewell to one of our dear staff members, Megan Saraceno. Megan started with GFN in 2019 and saw us through shifting roles, a major leadership transition, and of course, the pandemic! Megan's solid gold personality, creativity, and work ethic made her an extraordinarily valuable part of our team.

Megan's title as Community Engagement Coordinator saw her planning events, managing donor relations, and assisting with all of our communications. In her time with GFN, Megan honed her graphic design skills and created many beautiful pieces for GFN, including our 2021 Impact Report. With those mad design skills, Megan is headed off to the field of graphic design, where we know she'll excel. We're sad but proud. Thank you, Megan, for three years of dedication, talent, and heart. 

Save the Dates: Upcoming Events

Living History: Stories of Silk


Sun, July 31, 2022

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Join us for a hands-on workshop at the GFN Community Farm about silk, the insects and mulberry trees that make it possible, and the rich history of silk production here in Florence during the 19th century.

Entomologist and educator, Faith Deering, will demonstrate silkworm development and the process of reeling silk from cocoons. We will have a chance to examine live silkworms at different stages of growth, mulberry leaves, silk cocoons, and silk textiles as we learn how people have been making silk textiles for centuries. Tom Goldscheider of the David Ruggles Center will speak about the silk production right here in Florence during the 19th century, and the Northampton Association for Education and Industry that ran a worker cooperative to produce silk as an alternative to slave-produced cotton fabric. 

Farm Free or Die
An Outdoor Film Screening and Panel Discussion  

August 5, 2022

7:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

Florence Civic Center

Save the date for an outdoor screening of Florence filmmaker Roger Sorkin's latest film, Farm Free or Die, on the lawn of the Florence Civic Center. (In case of rain, we’ll move the screening inside.) Farm Free or Die examines the role that regenerative agriculture can play in not just building an equitable food system, but in creating climate resilience in the face of the climate crisis. The evening will begin with brief remarks from special guests Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra, State Senator Jo Comerford, and Congressman Jim McGovern. After the screening of the 30-minute film, we’ll learn more from a panel discussion with Senator Comerford, Roger Sorkin, and former Grow Food Northampton board member, Gaby Immerman.

GFN in the News

Resistance is sweet: A historical Grow Food Northampton plot is raising crops — sugar beets and flax seedlings — produced by Florence abolitionists in the 1840s- GFN writer-in-residence, Francie Lin, shares the rich history of agriculture as a tool of resistance to slavery. 

Last month, GFN staff members Niki and Erin appeared on WWLP's Mass Appeal to talk about the mission and programming of Grow Food Northampton, including some of the ways in which we are supporting all members of our community to access local food. 

Tuesday Market

Tuesday Market is busier than ever! Nowhere more so than at the market tent where we double folks' SNAP dollars up to $10 each week. Every week, approximately 150 members of our community who are experiencing food insecurity come up to the tent to "match" with their EBT card.

We're so grateful to our generous list of sponsors who have funded the GFN Farmers Market SNAP Match program for the season. We are proud to say that we've met our fundraising goal for this purpose for the year! Our final sponsors who put us over the top are River Valley Coop, Cedar Chest, and Tufts Health Plan/Point 32 Health. They join our full list of funders: Valley Home Improvement, Greenfield Savings Bank, Whalen Insurance, Delap Real Estate, Paradise Copies, Coopers Corner, State Street Market, Modestow Dentistry, Black Birch Vineyard and Cooley Dickinson/Mass General. Thank you to all of these generous businesses!

Tuesday Market
Every Tuesday April – November

1:30 - 6:30 pm

What We're Reading This Month

“Right now, we are living through escalating crises, both within living ecologies and socially constructed systems. A dominant worldview shaped by settler colonialism and white supremacy has proliferated practices of extraction and exploitation that benefit few at the expense of many. Our commercial food system is an expression of this. Industrialized supply chains abuse people and the planet, feeding exploitation and injustice."

This excerpt is from the powerful article, “RethinkingFood Culture Might Save Us,” by Jovida Ross, Shizue Roche Adachi, and Julie Quiroz, that tells about the growing food cultural reclamation movement led by Black, Indigenous, and diasporic People of Color that is challenging current thinking about how food systems in this country need to change, and how many current food movements need to change, as well. They write, “Indeed, what is often described as the organic, sustainable, slow, good, or regenerative food movement has celebrated mostly white farmers and chefs who championed fresh, ‘wholesome’ food, often without acknowledging the legacies of institutionalized racism and land theft that facilitated these white farmers’ and food leaders’ access to resources. Nor has the movement adequately acknowledged the Black, Indigenous, and diasporic communities of color whose work and leadership it drew from.”

The authors share their desire for a food systems future, “where the ways we grow, cook, and gather around food affirms our relationships to the places we live, to the people who came before us, and to future generations… a future… [in which] we joyfully nourish each other, that we all know we belong, and that we recognize land as kin.” From seedkeeping to the preparation of food as a liberatory practice, the authors see food as “intersectional—inexorably tied to practices of healing, identity formation, belonging, and placemaking.” This article is a must-read for those of us who think about the food system and want to hold ourselves accountable to the very roots of how food is grown, eaten, and shared. 


Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors and Funders!

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