LOCAL FARM TO TRAIN FARMERS
AND GROW HARVEST FOR FAMILIES IN NEED
Willow Brook Farm & Art Center Receives Grant to Launch New Program
to Connect Food Insecure Families with Locally Grown, Healthy Food
Barnstead, NH – Willow Brook Farm & Art Center (WBFAC) recently received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to bring sustainably grown organic food to underserved local communities. The grant will help support farmers in training to grow a range of fresh vegetables this summer that will be distributed to over 50 food insecure families.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) refers to a model that connects farms more directly to communities by enabling consumers to purchase shares of a farm’s harvest. During the growing season, a farm CSA will typically distribute harvested vegetables and other farm products each week to shareholders. “While the CSA model has been a powerful way to encourage communities to support their local farms, farm shares have traditionally have been priced beyond the means of low income and food insecure families,” said WBFAC Executive Director and farmer, Tim Gaudreau. “Through this program, we aim to bridge that gap while also training the next generation of young farmers.”
Price is not the only barrier to having low income families access shares of locally grown food. Knowing how to prepare new or unknown vegetables can also be an obstacle. “We will overcome these obstacles by offering shares to people in need and by inviting them to get more engaged with the farm,” said Gaudreau. “Through programs, events, and volunteer projects, we will provide uplifting opportunities for food share recipient families to connect with the farm and with each other, strengthening our community and fostering healthy eating habits that will last well beyond the harvest.”
Founded in 2014, WBFAC’s mission is to is to inspire environmental responsibility and sustainability through permaculture, small-scale organic farming and the arts. To date, WBFAC’s efforts have focused on supporting its signature Beginning Farmer Fellowship. During the two-year program, Fellows receive access to land, housing, equipment, mentoring and training and a goal to gain valuable hands on growing experience while they also incubate and launch a viable farm business. The fellowship is designed to give young farmers a leg up and help them prepare for successful careers in sustainable farming.
“What inspires me the most about this opportunity is that the Beginning Farm Fellows, who have been supported by the community, will now have an opportunity to return that goodwill by feeding people in need,” said Gaudreau. “This program will be the Fellows way to pay forward the experience they are receiving to benefit others.”
WBFAC will partner with local food pantries in Barnstead and its neighboring communities to identify families that can benefit from the farm shares. While the New England Grassroots Environment Fund Grant will fund the purchase seeds and supplies to grow this year’s crops, WBFAC needs an additional $13,000 to realize its vision to provide food to 50 families in need. To learn more about the program and to offer your support, click here.
About Willow Brook Farm & Art Center
Willow Brook Farm is a not-for-profit, organic farm and permaculture homestead that seeks to educate the community in sustainable living and engage people to learn and adopt alternative skills that lead to healthier lifestyles and communities. We strive to use the power of example, educational outreach and public arts to redefine the human relationship to nature. We support beginning farmers through farming residency fellowships and apprenticeships. We support environmentally based artists with residency fellowships and commissions. Our Mission is to inspire environmental responsibility and sustainability through permaculture, small-scale organic farming and the arts. For more information visit www.willowbrookfarmnh.org or call 603-957-1422.
About the New England Grassroots Environment Fund
The New England Grassroots Environment Fund energizes and nurtures long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and sustainable communities using stories, tools and dollars to fuel local activism and social change. Since 1996, the Grassroots Fund’s core grant making program continues to fund nearly 150 grants annually, giving more than $4 million in 20 years to more than 2,000 community groups and initiatives covering more than 60 percent of New England’s cities and towns. For more information, please visit www.grassrootsfund.org or call 603-905-9915.