Expanding our Reach
Partnerships are a vital component of Gaining Ground’s success. It is through our long-standing relationships with local hunger relief organizations that the nutritious bounty of the farm reaches thousands of our underserved neighbors each season.
In response to skyrocketing food insecurity associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we entered into several new partnerships this spring.
GreenRoots has been an engaged ally, bringing our organic produce to vulnerable communities in Chelsea and East Boston. We began giving produce to GreenRoots in mid-July on Tuesdays, with help from generous volunteers who drove to Chelsea. The initial arrangement worked so well that we added a second distribution in East Boston on Thursdays. To date, we have supplied 8,500 pounds of fresh produce to food-insecure households through our partnership with GreenRoots.
In Chelsea, Gaining Ground’s produce is distributed at the Salvation Army each week. In East Boston, our produce is handed out at Eastie Farm, a grassroots urban agriculture site devoted to improving food access.
The food insecure families in our community are usually happy to receive whatever we give them. We hear a Thanks here and a Blessing there. With Gaining Ground produce, however, we are hearing enthusiastic responses. People really, really appreciate the quality of the produce. They make it a point to tell us when they return, and they are apparently telling others as well. So the demand is increasing by the week!
– Kannan Thiruvengadam, Director of Eastie Farm in East Boston.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, food insecurity has surged closer to home as well. We’ve seen a significant increase in visitors to our free Food for Families distribution each week in Concord. While we previously served thirty-five households per week, this year the number of households has increased to eighty. Our dedicated board members and staff assemble pre-bagged shares of produce on the Gaining Ground pavilion each Saturday morning, and hand out the bags in downtown Concord.
A recent Food for Families guest expressed his appreciation for the farm’s produce: “The potatoes are so smooth and creamy. They taste like butterscotch.” Another guest remarked on the fresh flowers we provide in each share: “The inclusion of beautiful flowers in my Food for Families allotment sure cheers up my spirits while I steam up the fresh veggies.”
Now more than ever, our Food for Families program is growing to meet increasing demand and making a positive difference in many lives.