GTC Eats! Offers Fresh, Local, Organic Produce in Springfield’s Mason Square Area
MassLive, June 15th, 2016, by Elizabeth Roman. From beets to collard greens, cilantro and kale, the Gardening the Community Eats! farm share program provides a variety of vegetables to a community fighting for a full-scale grocery store.
Based in the city’s Mason Square area, the farm share is part of Gardening the Community’s efforts to make healthy, quality food accessible to residents throughout the city and involve youth in the process by teaching them how to grow and eat healthy food.
“We are here every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. for people to pick up fresh vegetables,” said Anne Richmond, co-director of GTC along with Ibrahim Ali.
The farm share, launched in 2011, runs now through the end of October.
Members pick up their fresh fruits and vegetables at GTC’s garden at 256 Hancock St. Participants register in advance, and pay a sliding scale of $10 to $30 per week for a share of abundant vegetables and fruit.
Produce comes from GTC’s garden sites in Springfield and Next Barn Over Farm in Hadley. Members can sign up for the entire 20-week season or call in their orders week to week, as well as pay on a weekly or monthly basis.
“SNAP benefits are accepted, making it affordable for everyone,” Richmond said.
Additional benefits of membership include regular outdoor cooking demonstrations and bike delivery for residents living or working within a half-mile radius of the Hancock Street pick-up site.
“Finding an affordable, local and community-based farm share was a godsend,” said Emily Collins, of Springfield, adding that it is an opportunity to purchase fresh local vegetables and try some new vegetables as well.
Last year, 70 families were enrolled in the program. GTC is hoping for more this year, organizers said.
GTC youth also run a farm stand on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. beginning tomorrow.
“For people who are not participating in the farm share, it gives them an opportunity to still be able to purchase local vegetables,” Richmond said.
For more information on the farm share, visit www.gardeningthecommunity.org.