Editorial: Harvest Supper Wants You

Editorial from The Recorder

The Free Harvest Supper, for a little more than a decade, has been embraced by Greenfield and the community as a food-filled fun event in the open air by Greenfield’s Town Common.

Now, the committee that has been the backbone of the event is calling out for others to get involved to ensure it continues. Particularly, people are being sought now to help in the months leading up to the meal, which is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23. Organizers also need to get area restaurants involved to lessen the load carried by Hope & Olive.

“This year, we want to get more of the community involved in creating this popular event, and especially want to further Juanita Nelson’s vision of connecting the community to local farms and locally grown food,” said Hope & Olive’s Maggie Zaccara, who has been the head chef for this meal all along the way.

Community connection was indeed what Nelson — who died earlier this year and whose passing is being marked with a memorial service today — was trying to foster with this meal. Bringing together people from all walks of life to break bread and share in food that started with many local ingredients and was produced in the area was just part of the recipe. Community, of course, is also about cooperation and tackling tasks together, to lighten the work load. If Nelson was still with us, no doubt she’d be front and center in drumming up new recruits to get involved.

We’ll take up the drumbeat in her stead.

If the Free Harvest Supper is something you’ve enjoyed going to, then lend a hand in its planning and success. Clearly it’s a popular event for downtown Greenfield, given that those lining up to get a plate of fabulous fresh food have grown from around 200 diners during those first couple of years to more than 1,000. Certainly some of those attendees who have made the supper an annual event would be willing to give back, providing new sources of energy that will allow the event to keep a focus on local food, from its production to getting it to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity. It shouldn’t be forgotten that donations here provide the Center for Self-Reliance food pantry the ability to pass out Farmers Market coupons to families that need this kind of assistance.

Here’s an opportunity not only to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor but also to secure the Free Harvest Supper’s place as an example of the best that Franklin County has to offer. Step in and answer the call. For more information or to volunteer, contact Dino Schnelle, coordinator of the Center for Self-Reliance food pantry, at 413-773-5029 or email him at: