Grow Food Northampton works toward healthy local food for everyone in our community.
An estimated 1,600 households in Northampton experience food insecurity. Hunger would be a far more pervasive problem without a robust food safety net made up of market-based programs such as SNAP and WIC, as well as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens providing free groceries and meals. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for these partners to prioritize fresh and local produce.
Our Food Access Northampton program helps bring local food into the food safety net, improving the lives of hundreds of local residents who would otherwise not have access to food this local, this fresh, and this healthy.
We are grateful to the Healthy Food Fund of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for providing lead funding for Food Access Northampton!
Red Bag Program
Families with SNAP benefits or with kids using the Free/Reduced Lunch program in the Northampton public schools can sign up for a 10-week farm share worth $125 and pay just $20! Shares are delivered to Jackson Street School on Thursdays, beginning the first week of school. This means parents can pick up share when they pick up their kids, or older children can walk them home!
SNAP & Save
Anyone with SNAP benefits can swipe their EBT card at the manager’s table at our Tuesday Market and double the first $10: a $10 swipe means $20 to spend at market! CISA and Healthy Hampshire coordinate the SNAP & Save program, which supplements our longstanding match commitment and provides the match at many farmers’ markets in the region.
Emergency Food Initiatives
Volunteers will help us to grow over 4,000 pounds of veggies and deliver them to local soup kitchens and food pantries!
The farmers who lease land from us sometimes have surplus produce, and we arrange for volunteers to pick it up and transport it to the Northampton Survival Center.
We will be collaborating with the Survival Center and Crimson & Clover Farm in 2016 to innovate a “Local Premium” payment system, where we pay the difference between what the Center would pay on the non-local wholesale market and the farm’s wholesale price for common produce items. This allows a local farm to compete with California wholesale prices, stretches the Center’s budget, and makes local food available to those in need.
Discounted Garden Plots
An empowering way to combat food insecurity is to grow some of your own food! However, many people lack the resources to do so. Grow Food Northampton provides an 80 percent discount on plot fees to low-income community gardeners, and a 20 percent discount to senior citizens. We also provide a limited amount of free compost to help these gardeners establish fertility, and obtain donated seed that gardeners can use. With our support, it is possible to grow $500 worth of food in a plot for less than $50 spent