Published: 1/3/2023 8:22:25 PM
Updated: 1/3/2023 8:21:36 PM
NORTHAMPTON – Federal funding for $413,000 will help Food Grow Northampton, a nonprofit organization focused on sustainable agriculture and food justice, to build a barn, add new farms and provide additional community gardens on a 121-acre parcel in Florence.
“(The barn) serves all the farmers on the community farm,” said executive director Alyssa Klein. “It will also have educational units for community food system education, and it will be a place for farmers to store products and other activities related to their farms.”
The barn will be built on the southern parcel of the organization’s community farm near Spring and Meadow streets in Florence. The federal money was allocated as part of Congress’ latest $1.7 trillion omnibus bill by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern.
The Growing Food Community Farm consists of 10 small farms and a 320-plot community garden. Klein said the organization is looking to expand in these areas with some federal funding.
The funding for Food for Growth is one of 15 projects earmarked by McGovern for federal dollars in his congressional district, totaling more than $18 million. Funding for Grow Food shouldn’t come as a surprise to followers of McGovern’s political career, as the congressman has been a staunch supporter of food security issues throughout his time in office.
“These projects were the result of community discussions with stakeholders in this district,” McGovern said in a statement. “As chairman of the House Rules Committee, I have worked hard to ensure that funding for these critical issues is included in our year-end spending bill.”
Klein thanked McGovern for his support on food security issues and said the issue of sustainable food supply in a post-pandemic world is more important than ever.
“Grow Food Northampton’s profile is getting higher in the community and attracting more funding, because people are realizing that the national food system is fundamentally broken,” she said. I think that because we were able to grow during the pandemic and make sure that everyone in the community had access to fresh, locally farmed food, it made people realize the importance of this concept of creating a fair and strong local food system. He said.
In addition to the federal grant, Grow Foods received two grants totaling more than $80,000 from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
The first, a $50,600 Community Development Block Grant to fund the Grow Foods Mobile Market program, provides free produce to low-income neighborhoods in Northampton.
The second, a $30,000 variable grant, will help the organization continue its racial equity work.
The project is one of three bills from the federal omnibus bill circulating in Hampshire County. The other two are the $1.1 million Jones Library renovation project in Amherst, also allocated by McGovern, and $2 million allocated to the Worthington Senior Center by Richard Neal.
Alexander Macdougall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.