May 19th – A Vital Day for Giving in Western Massachusetts: Valley Grows Day!
Learn more and Give: www.valleygrows.org
Food access and farm organizations across western Massachusetts have worked rapidly and tirelessly responding to the rising rates of food insecurity which have been exacerbated due to the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are disproportionately impacted, including low income individuals and people of color. Show your support for farming and food justice in western Massachusetts by donating to local food access, farming and food justice organizations working to ensure that the food we grow here, reaches those most in need now!
Valley Grows Day is a collective effort among small, community-based nonprofits throughout western Massachusetts that are working to grow just and sustainable food systems for our communities. Wednesday, May 19th marks Valley Grows 2021, a day of giving and unity. Participating organizations this year are: Just Roots in Greenfield; Grow Food Northampton, Abundance Farm, and Pioneer Valley Workers Center in Northampton; Gardening the Community and All Farmers in Springfield, and Seeds of Solidarity in Orange. Across the diverse communities in our region, these groups expand access to healthy local food for everyone, and create opportunities for the next generation of urban and rural farmers. Valley Grows Day offers the community an opportunity to support the participating organizations as they move from pivoting to persisting in their critical food access work.
Valley Grows Background:
Two local community farm non-profits, Just Roots and Grow Food Northampton, teamed up in 2018 to create Valley Grows Day, a new day of giving in the Pioneer Valley. Due to the impact of Covid-19, Jessica O’Neill of Just Roots and Alisa Klein of Grow Food Northampton decided that now, more than ever, our local farm and food access organizations need to raise funds for the innovation and expansion of services needed to address growing food insecurity in our Valley.
“What really excites me about this day of giving is the collaborative spirit Valley Grows Day delivers,” said Jessica O’Neill, Executive Director of Just Roots and co-founder of Valley Grows Day. “On a normal day there is already so much innovative and critical work happening around food, land, and access in western Massachusetts, but in the wake of a persisting pandemic and rising food insecurity, we are all even more pressed to ensure food and resources get to where it is needed most. This year we are focused on leveraging the dollars raised through Valley Grows Day to help the partnering organizations persist in their efforts to address the needs of their communities as we continue through the pandemic. When we work together, we deepen our organizational relationships, share resources, broaden our reach and amplify our impact.”
Why this group of partners? This third annual collaborative giving day unites and supports local organizations in Western MA that have a deep commitment to growing food, addressing food access and insecurity, fostering a strong connection to the land, and building a more inclusive
and sustainable food system. The participating organizations (see below) operate in both rural and urban communities to manifest their missions in diverse ways, but have much in common. We all create fair and sustainable local food systems from farm to fork. Most of us grow food and all of us work to ensure this food is made accessible through distribution, education and resources.
What are the goals? Each organization has its own goal for Valley Grows Day that will be promoted on each partner’s page on the valleygrows.org website. Combined, these total a collective goal for the day of $97,900.
What about matching money? Some organizations have match commitments from their own donors and business supporters. You can find that information on the participant’s giving page. Double your impact when you give!
Should I give to the organizations I already support or to new ones? BOTH! All of us are counting on support from our regular donors, but we encourage them to learn about and support the work of other participants. Even a small gift as a token of appreciation for the work will be meaningful!
Can I give early? YES! While 2020 was a year of pivoting, 2021 is about persisting. Valley Grows Day participating organizations are working diligently to address food access in the face of rising and alarming rates of food insecurity within our communities. We want to build as much excitement as possible and encourage you to give on May 19th. However, if it’s more convenient for you to give in advance, please simply indicate that your gift/s is/are intended to contribute to the Valley Grows Day initiative so that we can keep track of our overall progress. This can be done through each organization’s giving platform.
About the Participating Organizations
Visit ValleyGrows.org for details on each organization, and the ways in which your Valley Gives donations will have impact..
Just Roots is a women-led, tenacious, and equity focused organization with a goal to change the food system. Working closely with cross-sector food is medicine, health & wellness, housing and agricultural partners; local and national organizations; and legislators, Just Roots leverages our progressive programming to create impact and inspire systems change. Perhaps best known as the organization that developed and operates the largest SNAP-enrolled, low-income Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share program in Massachusetts, Just Roots has become a leader in the effort to include and engage all people in the local food economy and to develop integration between healthcare and local food access as a mechanism for driving equitable access to local food and better health outcomes, saving healthcare and societal dollars. Just Roots empowers vibrant, inclusive and sustainable farm and food economies in Massachusetts cultivating a culture of everyone’s farm to everyone’s table! www.justroots.org
Gardening the Community
Gardening The Community is a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities. Healthy, locally grown food has been even harder to access in Springfield as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact our food systems. GTC strives to grow the nutritious food our community needs and provide a safe outdoor space for young people to learn and grow, while continuing to operate our Farm Store and subsidized farm share program as crucial components to increasing food security in our community. www.gtcspringfield.org
Grow Food Northampton (GFN) Grow Food Northampton is building a just and sustainable local food system that nourishes our community and protects and enriches the earth. We do this by: providing access to land and nutritious local food; stewarding productive and sustainably-managed farmland on our Community Farm; building community and fostering meaningful involvement of community members around gardening, farming, and the creation of a just and sustainable local food system; and dismantling oppressive systems and structural inequities that act as barriers for any member of our community to participate in a culturally appropriate, healthy, and ecologically sustainable food system. www.growfoodnorthampton.org
Seeds of Solidarity Education Center Seeds of Solidarity innovates programs that awaken the power among people of all ages–from toddlers to teens to people who are incarcerated– to Grow Food Everywhere to transform hunger to health, and create resilient lives and communities. The organization is based in Orange, MA, on a solar-powered farm that uses ecological methods to regenerate soil, restore climate, and build community food resilience. Seeds of Solidarity is co-founder of the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival that they organize with their neighbors, an event that ignites regional art, agriculture and economy. www.seedsofsolidarity.org
Pioneer Valley Workers Center
The Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center builds power with low-wage and immigrant workers throughout Western Massachusetts. Together, we organize to build community and win real change in the lives of working people. https://pvworkerscenter.org/
Abundance Farm works to build a more generous, just and sustainable world. We do this by offering earth-based, community building experiences that integrate Jewish tradition, regenerative agriculture and food justice. The Farm is a beautiful oasis where people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds are drawn for physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment. www.abundancefarm.org/
All Farmers All Farmers is an organization working with refugee and immigrant farmers to build a food system organized and run by and for the community. Originally from Central & Eastern Africa and Central Asia, the farmers already feed over 500 low-income families annually with produce that are part of their cultural diet, as well as sustaining their families. www.allfarmers.world
Visit www.valleygrows.org for more details.