As Food Costs Rise, Gaining Ground Continues Winter Harvests for Hunger Relief

This winter has proved to be an especially harsh one for people experiencing food insecurity. 

Supply chain woes and labor shortages left the shelves at some grocery stores sparsely stocked. Food prices are the highest they’ve been in years, making it more difficult for folks to afford the food they need. As a result, more people are turning to food pantries and meal programs at a time when food banks themselves are also paying more for the goods they give away.

Because hunger is a four-season problem—and winter is an especially challenging time of year to access produce—Gaining Ground is continuing to grow, harvest, and give away fresh vegetables throughout the cold months. 

The busiest part of the growing season may be over, but thanks to the farm’s hoop houses—which extend the growing season by buffering cold hardy crops from the worst of the wind and cold—harvests and distributions take place every month of the year. 

In December, the farm gave away over 1,000 pounds of produce—including butternut squash, radishes, garlic, kale, parsnips, and arugula. And, with the help of a small, dedicated team of volunteers, in January Gaining Ground’s farmers harvested and distributed another 273 pounds of carrots and 23 pounds of spinach to our hunger-relief partners.

In February, the farm donated 455 pounds of food to Open Table in Maynard and Concord, East Boston Community Soup Kitchen, and Daniel’s Table in Framingham, which included 264 pounds of carrots, 22 pounds of spinach, and 96 pints—or more than 130 pounds—of maple syrup. 

Just last week, in the first days of March, we distributed another 370 pounds of carrots and spinach to Open Table.

Overburdened food pantries frequently only have access to canned fruits and vegetables, but a year-round diet high in fresh produce is critical to the health of individuals and communities. These foods are also the most in-demand yet hard-to-find for pantry clients. 

With 15.9 percent of households in Massachusetts experiencing food insecurity, Gaining Ground’s winter harvests are as important as ever.

Shared by the Concord Journal, updated with February and March harvest figures.

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