At the end of March, Gaining Ground hosted an interdisciplinary panel focused on the issue of hunger relief. In a community like ours, hunger might not be obvious, but here are the numbers:
41 million Americans are hungry, and yet 40% of food in the US is thrown away during the growing, distribution, and eating process.
Children struggle with hunger with 1 in 8 children in Eastern MA being food insecure and 1 in 6, nationally.
800,000 Massachusetts residents do not know where their next meal will come from, an increase of 71% in the last decade.
Our panel included:
Danielle Nierenberg, activist, author, and journalist who co-founded Food Tank, a non-profit organization that researches food systems, hunger, and poverty.
Dr. Kathryn Brodowski, preventive medicine physician who specializes in food insecurity and nutrition. She oversees both program and research at The GBFB.
Doug Wolcik, farm manager at Gaining Ground. Doug has focused on soil health and introduced no-till agricultural practices to Gaining Ground, a switch that has vastly increased the amount of food the organization is able to donate to hunger relief efforts.
We had a full crowd join us for an evening of discussion about food security, human health and one of the most surprising levers for positive change: the soil beneath our feet.
Read on for the full story by Patricia Brady.
The holidays have come and gone and, after a very successful 2017, where we saw production increase to over 80,000 pounds, we now reflect and set a course for our next season. Winter is the season for planning. How do we achieve these results again or, better yet, how do we continue to grow more food, engage with volunteers, and better steward our land?
As 2017 came to a close, both Francine Royce and Joe Rigali—the vice president and president of the board—approved their final meeting minutes, all-in-favored their last motion, and retired from the board of directors. While these two have been the faces of Gaining Ground to countless volunteers over the years, they have also been the heart and soul of the organization, given the depth of their dedication to the farm and its mission.
Say the words “food pantry,” and most people think of canned vegetables and boxes of pasta. But more and more, a large portion of the food that pantries give out is fresh and local.
So when Open Table’s community dinner and food pantry looked to expand their fresh food offerings, naturally they looked to Gaining Ground, which also serves the Concord-Maynard area.
Gaining Ground presents:
Hunger Relief: From the Ground Up
Thursday, March 29, 2018 • 7 p.m.
The Fenn School—Ward Hall • 516 Monument Street • Concord, MA 01742
Please join us for an evening of discussion about food security, human health and one of the most surprising levers for positive change: the soil beneath our feet. Our panelists for the evening will include: Danielle Nierenberg, co-founder and president of Food Tank; Dr. Kathryn Brodowski, senior director of health and research at the Greater Boston Food Bank; and Doug Wolcik, farm manager at Gaining Ground.
For anyone curious about the true impact of our Read for Seeds program, consider this: Last year, the farm crew planted about two grams of tomato seeds. Those yielded about 850 tomato plants. With sunshine and water in the right combination, plus the necessary TLC from our farm crew and volunteers, those plants produced about 10,000 pounds of tomatoes. This summer crop contributes a significant percentage of our weekly harvest, particularly in the hot summer months—a fact all the more evident when you consider that we harvested 80,000 pounds of produce over the entire season. And it all goes back to the humble seed.
After the completion of our five year strategic plan, “Dig Deeper,” the Gaining Ground board tackled the question: “What’s Next?” The 2017 Plan, “Expanding Our Reach and Impact,” presents fitting and exciting challenges for Gaining Ground.
For more than 20 years, students from local schools have helped fight hunger by participating in our Read for Seeds program. This is an annual read-a-thon that links fundraising, education, and community action. Since its inception, Read for Seeds has raised more than $120,000 and helped buy the seeds to grow almost a half million pounds of organic produce for hunger relief.
For over twenty years, students from many local schools have helped fight hunger by participating in our Read for Seeds program. This unique program links fundraising, education, and community action. Led by Pam Goar, long-time board member, Read for Seeds pays for almost 70% of the seeds needed to grow 60 different vegetables annually.
Spring at Gaining Ground reminds me of the beginning of Richard Wilbur’s poem “Seed Leaves:”
Here something stubborn comes
Dislodging the earth crumbs
And making crusty rubble
It comes up bending double
And looks like a green staple.
It could be seedling maple,
Or artichoke, or bean
That remains to be seen.
I wander around the farm as dusk settles in on this silent spring night, and I pause knowing this is the calm before the storm. This spring marks the beginning of my fourth season of growing at Gaining Ground. Which means I have walked all around and over this piece of land. Back and forth from the orchards to the greenhouse, up and down every row and through each field. I am blessed by the opportunity to walk the fields determined, yet again, to plough, sow and reap its soil, seed, and bounty.
Please contact us if you would like to help with these or other donations!
- Vermont garden cart
- Supply of wax boxes and banana boxes
- DeWalt cordless drill
- Stihl chainsaw
- Stanley FatMax tape measure
- Klein 4-piece screwdriver set
- Felco hand pruners
- Small baskets
The Board and Staff would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those supporters who have given generously and shared their time and talents with Gaining Ground.