Recent scenes from the GFN Community Garden.

Dear Friend, 

Those of you who know me personally know that I tend to skew towards apocalypse and despair. Perhaps it’s my cultural upbringing, because of trauma that I endured as a child, or because it’s my nature. But working at Grow Food Northampton (GFN) is the best medicine I’ve ever experienced for alleviating my characteristic despair about the state of the world. Yes, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization just released their report, The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World, that says that “nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year.” And, yes, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Climate Change 2021, that was released last week imparts that humans are unequivocally responsible for climate change and that this decade is our last chance to take the actions necessary to limit the rise in temperature that is systematically destroying the planet. 

But here at Grow Food Northampton, we are working joyfully and effectively in tangible ways every single day to address just these global issues of food insecurity and climate change right here in our community. We are working closely with the members of our community most affected by food insecurity to design food access programs that most reflect their needs and desires. Along with that, we continue to steward the land under our care on the Grow Food Northampton 121-acre Community Farm with great respect and deep care for the earth. Eight small farms now farm with us, including four farms or farmer cooperatives that are owned and led by immigrants, refugees, and BIPOC farmers. With the Grow Food Northampton Giving Garden and 400 community gardeners on the land, together we all tend to the earth using non-chemical and regenerative farming practices that sequester tons of carbon and mitigate climate change. Together, we grow food for ourselves, our families, and our community.

Next month, we’ll share with you the outcome of our recent strategic planning process for the next three years of Grow Food Northampton’s future. But before then, I’d like to share with you just a small “teaser” – our new tagline that encapsulates the love and commitment that are deeply embedded in all that we do: “Grow Food Northampton: Nourishing our community and the earth.”  We hope you’ll join us in doing just that.

With love and hope,


Executive Director

Current Volunteer Opportunities

We have several options right now for folks looking to help out Grow Food Northampton and our community. A few hours of volunteer work make a big difference in keeping things running smoothly! Please check out these varied opportunities:

  • The Community Food Distribution Project continues! We have refashioned our food distribution and delivery work back into our (no-cost) Neighborhood Mobile Market model to provide community members experiencing food insecurity with more choice around the produce and farm products they like to eat. We’re looking for volunteers to help on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Shifts are a little over two hours long and involve staffing market-style produce tables or delivering food directly to participants' doorsteps. Help us provide food access in the valley by joining us on our delivery routes! If you are interested in signing up, follow this link to select open slots.

  • Tuesday Market is looking for volunteers to help manage the Spinning Wheel at the market tent during busy hours. The Spinning Wheel is a carnival wheel that market customers can make a donation to spin and win a small prize. One hour shifts between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. are most needed. Those who are interested can email Helen, Grow Food Northampton’s Tuesday Market Manager, for more information at

  • Get your hands into the dirt to provide food access for community members experiencing food insecurity! The Giving Garden's volunteer hours have spaces open from now through the beginning of September. Help to harvest, weed, and ready garden beds for winter. Help this Grow Food Northampton food access program that grows 9,000 pounds of organic vegetables each year for donation to local food pantries and meal sites. Sign up here.   

We're Growing Our Team! 

We currently have openings for the following positions:
  • Food Access Manager - The Food Access Manager will provide leadership for our food access programming by directly managing individual programs, seeking ways to integrate and deepen them, and working closely with community members to shift decision-making and agency to those experiencing food insecurity. This is a full-time position.
  • Community Food Distribution Project Assistant - The Community Food Distribution Project Assistant will, along with other staff and volunteers, support our Community Food Distribution Project (CFDP) which distributes healthy food to community members experiencing food insecurity at subsidized housing communities throughout Northampton. This is a part-time, temporary position.
Find all current openings here on our website

Community Garden Photo Contest: Enter Now!

Celebrate the beauty of the Grow Food Northampton Community Garden by entering the 2021 Garden Photo Contest! Any active or past gardeners can enter and photos from previous years are welcome. All photos must have been taken at the GFN Community Garden.

Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories. Winning photos will be displayed at the garden, at Tuesday Market, on our website and social media. All ages welcome! We can’t wait to see and celebrate your photos!

The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2021. For additional details and the link to enter, look here

The Giving Garden's Busy Season

Despite the challenges that this summer's weather has brought, the Giving Garden continues to harvest crates and crates of beautiful local produce for local meal sites and food pantries each week. The star crop of the summer has to be the tomatoes which survived flooding earlier this summer and have produced a bountiful crop! Pictured above: our tomato field, a big harvest, interns Ariel and Lee loading the van, and a delicious ratatouille being prepared by Manna Community Kitchen with Giving Garden tomatoes. 

Upcoming workshop in the Giving Garden:
Join Grow Food Northampton’s Community and Land Education Manager, Ellena Baum, and Song Sparrow Farm’s Diego Irizarry-Gerould to learn how to use cover crops to put your garden to bed for the season. Learn about the benefits of this regenerative farming and gardening technique and how to do it in your own garden. 

Cover Crops & Putting the Garden to Bed for the Season
Monday, August 30th , 5:30pm- 6:30pm

Space is limited, sign up here.

For six weeks this summer, the Abundance Farm teen program, Shefa on the Road, a hands-on, paid summer internship for young people entering tenth through twelfth grade, has been volunteering at the Giving Garden and the Grow Food Northampton Community Farm. This is the second year we have hosted them as volunteers on our farm. 

The Shefa team helped us mulch pathways, tend Giving Garden beds, chop down knotweed, repair the farm road, and much more. We’re grateful for our continued collaboration with Abundance Farm over the years, from preparing taste tests and community lunches with Giving Garden produce, to sharing extra cover crop seed, to hosting volunteer work-parties with Shefa on the Road. Thank you Shefa!

Thank you, Jules!

At the end of July, Jules White wrapped up their TerraCorps service term with Grow Food Northampton. Jules joined our team in August of last year when the world felt quite uncertain. Jules bravely made a new home in Florence and quickly became an essential part of our team. Jules contributed to every aspect of our work from farming in the Giving Garden to Community Food Distribution Project distributions, and from staffing the market tent at Tuesday Market to designing and running youth education programs. Most outstanding were the Grow Food Kids remote cooking classes that Jules developed and presented to dozens of young chefs. We're happy to say that, despite the end of their TerraCorps service, Jules isn’t going anywhere for now! They will be staying on our team as our Food Access Coordinator staffing Tuesday Market and serving as the Neighborhood Market volunteer coordinator. 

Jules reflecting on their service: "It's been such a joy to witness students' enthusiasm and culinary creativity in our youth program, and to make so many new connections, especially during this strange and distant year. I'm so grateful for all of your smiles and excitement and kind words. I hope to see many of you in the garden, at Tuesday Market, or at one of our Neighborhood Market sites!"

It's Peak Season at Tuesday Market!

Late summer means that Tuesday Market is overflowing with local food! Stop by each week from 1:30-6:30pm to shop the bounty. Recent additions include chicken from Underline Farm, prepared foods from Masa Mexicano, drop in craft vendors, pierogies made by Irida Kakhtiranova and produce from Riquezas Del Campo. 

Thank you to Baystate Health for their recent contribution to our SNAP Match funding. These funds help double the spending power of our neighbors who use SNAP/EBT. On average at each market, we provide $800 of matched funds to SNAP participants. Stop by the purple market tent to learn more about maximizing SNAP benefits at the market. 

Grateful for a Generous Grant!

In late July, we received word that Grow Food Northampton received a generous Hampshire County Food Policy Council Project Implementation Grant. Funds for the grant come to us via Cooley Dickinson Health Care’s MassUp project with the Collaborative for Educational Services, the Hilltown Community Health Center, and Hilltown Community Development, funded by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

Our successful grant proposal was written as a collaborative effort between GFN staff and members of our Food Access Advisory Council to address the need to shift power in food access programming directly to community members who are affected by food insecurity. To achieve this goal, the funding will be used to grow, nurture, and remunerate Grow Food Northampton’s Food Access Advisory Council (FAAC),  comprised of community members affected by food insecurity, to guide and shape our organization’s food access programming. With these funds, we will also hire “Participant-Staffers,” participants in GFN’s and Northampton Survival Center’s Community Food Distribution Project (CFDP), to work with us to deliver fresh local farm foods to their neighbors and gather input and feedback on the project. We are so grateful for these funds that will actualize community power in transforming our local food system to one that is more just and equitable.

A special shout-out goes to FAAC member Kia Aoki who took the lead in brainstorming and writing the grant proposal. To (mis)quote the classic film Casablanca: “This is the [continuation] of a beautiful friendship!”

What We Are Watching and Reading This Month

How Radical Gardeners Took Back New York City  

This article and accompanying video published by Vox are fascinating! While in the 1960s and '70s, New York City faced sharp economic decline, white flight, abandoned and burnt out buildings, and mass disinvestment, guerrilla gardening efforts and community garden initiatives helped to turn things around. Racism and urban decay were addressed with community gardens, "seed bombs," and through the grassroots efforts of primarily BIPOC individuals and community groups. Don't forget to watch the video and let us know what you think! And for more about the history and benefits of community gardens across the U.S., take a look at this newly-developing project, "Changing the World With Community Gardens."

Please DONATE to support our work!
The Giving Garden and our Food Access programs are funded by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare.

Thanks to Our Featured Business Sponsors!

Curran & Keegan Financial

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