Dear Friend,

Welcome to 2023, friends! While I want to celebrate the new year that is upon us, and the approach of the upcoming growing season, I can’t avoid talking about the current challenges of our national food system. Right now in the U.S., food prices are rising at a rate unprecedented since 1981. The cost of most food staples have soared by between 12 and 22 percent, significantly outpacing the inflation rate over the last year.

Yet this month, SNAP benefits (aka food stamps) for those grappling with food insecurity will decrease significantly due to cuts in the 2023 federal Omnibus spending bill. Emergency Allotments – an increase in food stamps approved by Congress in 2020 to ease pandemic-wrought food insecurity -- will end causing households to lose anywhere between $100 and $300 from their monthly SNAP benefits despite the ongoing rise in food prices. Grow Food Northampton is already seeing an uptick in our food access program participation from our weekly no-cost Mobile Farmers Market, to the SNAP Match program at the Winter Market, to early enrollment in our SNAP Share program for 2023.

We are so happy that Grow Food Northampton is able to provide these opportunities to meet the immediate needs of community members struggling with food insecurity. Yet our food system work is also designed to get at the roots of the problem of food insecurity. We operate on a public health continuum that does not just address immediate food needs, but seeks to create a local food system that prevents food insecurity before it manifests for members of our community.

Why are food prices rising at the national level? A major factor is the corporate consolidation of our national food system that relies upon massive industrial farming for the production of a vast proportion of what Americans eat. Not only does corporate consolidation of the food system lead to increased food prices, it threatens the environment and our long-term ability to grow food for future generations. During a time of urgent need to protect the world’s climate, expand biodiversity, care for our water resources, and nurture the workers that make our food system possible, we need to radically change how we grow and produce food. We need community farms like Grow Food Northampton’s, small and medium-sized regenerative farming endeavors in every community, organic community gardens where people can grow food for themselves and their neighbors, and venues like farmers markets for everyone to access local, nutrient-dense farm foods. More than ever before, the work of organizations like Grow Food Northampton to establish strong local food and farming systems is crucial.

We are grateful to all of you who partner with us to do this work of both getting healthy local food to those experiencing food insecurity and creating the foundations for a strong, just, and sustainable local food system that will see us through crises at the national level. Thank you to the business sponsors of our SNAP Match program, to the foundations that help us purchase and distribute an incredible array of free nutrient-dense local farm foods to those in need, and to so many of you who donate to our work. Never have your sponsorships and gifts meant as much as they do now in these critical times.

With thanks and love,

Alisa Klein
Executive Director

Even in February there is plenty of local food to enjoy! Our farmers markets and deliveries to housing sites are helping to spread the bounty far and wide. 

GFN Community Farm Receives $413,000 in Federal Funds

Thank you to Congressman Jim McGovern for giving the GFN Community Farm a major boost at the end of 2022!  Grow Food Northampton was awarded $413,000 in federal funding as part of the omnibus spending bill. This funding will benefit all of the farmers and gardeners at the Community Farm and support land stewardship projects.

 Read more about it in the Daily Hampshire Gazette

Save the Date! The 2023 Seed Share is on March 11.

Seeds for all and gardening workshops.

Saturday, March 11, 2023
11a.m. - 2p.m. 
Alongside the Winter Market at the Northampton Senior Center

Find all of the Seed Share details here including workshops and seed donation info. 

To donate seeds:
Drop them off at the Winter Market on February 11 or 25, 10a.m. - 2p.m.
Leave them in the Seed Deposit Box in the first floor lobby of the Arts and Industry building, located at 221 Pine Street in Florence

Next Winter Market is This Saturday!

Winter Market
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Northampton Senior Center
February 11 and 25, March 11 and 25

Make the Winter Market part of your weekend routine -- just four more markets to go before we transition to the Tuesday Market season. 

Stay up to date on all of the GFN Farmers Market happenings with our weekly market newsletter. If you aren't receiving it, adjust your preferences at the bottom of this email.

Help Needed: SNAP Match Sponsorship Opportunity for Local Businesses

Grow Food Northampton is currently seeking business sponsors for this year's SNAP Match at Tuesday Market and the Winter Market. The program has grown significantly and with SNAP benefit set to be cut in March, we expect a much larger need this year. This sponsorship is a unique opportunity for local businesses to put local food in people's hands and give a boost to the farms that produced it!

If you'd like to help, or want to learn more,
look here

Thank you!

Thanks to the generosity of the Grow Food Northampton community, we met the Fall Matching Challenge goal! 312 donors helped us to surpass our $40,000 matching goal to raise and amazing $55,000. Combined with the challenge amount provided by a team of GFN supporters, in all we raised $95,000 for a just and resilient local food system.

Celebrate Black History Month

Learn about Florence's history during the Underground Railroad on the Sojourner Truth Memorial website. Check out their walking tour options to learn more. 

For inspiring conversation with leaders from Soul Fire Farm, check out their Ask a Sista Farmer virtual show on 
Instagram Live --Experienced Black women farmers answer audience questions about gardening, livestock, agroforestry, plant medicine, and food preservation. Alternating Fridays at 4p.m. February 17; March 3, 17, 31; April 14, 28; and May 12. 

Lastly, we encourage you to check out Ghetto Gastro, a collective whose motto is: “Food for freedom. Fuel for thought.” They write on their website that they are a “global mainstay of food as culture using ancestral ingredients to bring a multitude of flavors and recipes to eaters everywhere. Our collective used food as a tool to tell stories about where we come from and the cultures that inspire us, generating excitement by merging the cooking traditions of Black, brown, and Asian folks in a high-quality, healthy fashion.” In addition to their website, you can also listen for free to a podcast, In the Cut with Ghetto Gastro, to learn more about them.

Thank You, Hope!

Hope Guardenier led Grow Food Northampton from our earliest days, helping to grow the organization and shape our mission as a member of the board for nine formative years. Hope's personal and professional passions for farm education made her a natural fit as a member of the board and Board President for 3 years. 

Hope stepped down from her role at the end of 2022, but her mark will remain. As former GFN board colleague Gaby Immerman remembers, "Hope led the board with unflagging empathy and heart." Current Board president Catlin Marquis adds, "What I always loved the most about working with Hope was her emotional authenticity and willingness to jump into complex, messy dynamics to help untangle them. I've always felt like I could trust her to hear people out and hold their perspectives with warmth and compassion."

Thank you, Hope, for your dedication to GFN! 

Petition: Return Lampson Brook to the Nipmuc People

The Nipmuc, who have sustainably managed the eastern woodlands for thousands of years, wish to preserve the Lampson Brook farmland and forestland in perpetuity. Learn more about the movement to return this piece of land in Belchertown, MA to the Nipmuc people and consider signing the petition here

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Description automatically generatedThe Lampson Brook Farm is a 400+ acre piece of farmland located in Belchertown. It is currently owned by the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and leased to the New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI). NESFI’s lease will be up in July 2023, with new owners being sought according to the terms laid out in Bill S.2972- “An Act Providing for the Permanent Protection and Stewardship of the Historic Lampson Brook Farm in Belchertown.”

Thank you to Our Funders and Sponsors!

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Grow Food Northampton, Inc. · 221 Pine St. · Suite 349 · Florence, Massachusetts 01062 · USA