Food alliance to highlight local food initiatives Friday

The Recorder, June 3, 2018

The Greater Quabbin Food Alliance has invited the public to gather, network and participate in local food initiatives on Friday, June 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Orange Innovation Center, 131 West Main St.

This event is free and open to the public.

Founded in 2013, the Food Alliance is a network of people from Franklin and Worcester Counties working to increase human and ecological health, food access, and economic vitality; and sustain local farmers and food businesses.

This gathering will start with “Lightning Talks:” five-minute presentations by local farmers, businesses and organizations describing their work and how to get involved. Speakers include The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Franklin County Community Development Corporation, the Garden Program at the Franklin County Jail, Quabbin Harvest, City Compost, Walker Farm at Whortleberry Hill, Mass in Motion, and the Cooperative Fund of New England.

Following the Lightning Talks, attendees can discuss topics in small groups and work together on projects. Attendees are encouraged to bring information and resources to share about their organization or upcoming events. The Petersham Country Store will provide refreshments and a locally sourced free lunch, with a suggested donation of $10.

Laura Sylvester, from The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, will present on Massachusetts’ Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which has been in the headlines recently because of threats to the program that make it easier for food aid recipients to buy fresh local produce to food. “HIP is one of the most successful pieces of food access legislation in Massachusetts and it really shows that people on food assistance want to eat healthy food,” says Sylvester. “This program has provided $3 million of fresh, locally grown produce to the community and has bolstered the local economy by supporting local farms.”

The Food Alliance will also pilot its “Local Makers Market” at this event. Attendees can bring their local, non-perishable, handmade food and farm products such as honey, dried herbs, soap, maple syrup products, wool products, and candles to sell at the gathering. Contact AmeriCorps member Kat Kowalski ( with any questions about the market.

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is the fiscal sponsor and coordinator of the Greater Quabbin Food Alliance. Visit to learn more about the trust’s work to support local farms and businesses across the region.

For more information or to RSVP, visit, email, or call 978-248-2055, Ext. 29.