History, Mission, Vision, and Values
Gaining Ground has been growing food for hunger relief on Concord land for over 25 years. In total, we manage approximately 20 acres, with about three acres actively cultivated to grow over 50 organic vegetables and herbs in fields interspersed with perennial hedgerows. A responsible steward to the land, Gaining Ground uses regenerative no-till farming practices and annually documents its management and land improvements for the Natural Resources Commission.
We began operating in 1994 as a small garden on private land. In 1997, we managed the reproduction kitchen garden at The Old Manse, a Trustees of Reservations property. In 1999, we established our main farm adjacent to the Thoreau birthplace house on Virginia Road. In 2009, we expanded operations to an adjacent field under license from Massport.
Over the years, Gaining Ground has made significant improvements to its farm operations. In 2005, we constructed a greenhouse. In 2009, we added a sugaring operation and erected a sugar shack for boiling maple syrup. In 2012, we purchased a tractor for field preparation and added a hoop house shortly thereafter. As part our long-term strategy to increase the fertility and yield of the land, we added irrigation and deer fencing in 2014, a post and beam barn in 2015 and three additional hoop houses by 2019. Production has risen from 2,500 pounds at the start to 127,000 pounds in 2020, all of which is donated to over fifteen hunger relief organizations.
To celebrate our 25th season in 2019, we published a book on our history, Gaining Ground—The Story of a Community Growing Food and Giving It All Away, written by Patricia Brady. Interested in purchasing a copy? Please send us an email with your request.
Our mission is to provide free, sustainably grown, fresh organic produce to people experiencing food insecurity. We do this with the helping hands of a diverse community of volunteers who work and learn with us on our farm.
We envision a future where everyone has equitable access to healthy, sustainably grown produce.
Integrity—we remain true to our mission.
We grow high-quality, fresh produce in a sustainable manner, respect and honor all individuals, provide meaningful experiences for volunteers, and maximize the generous support of our donors.
- Equity—we donate everything we grow.
We believe that healthy food is a human right. We provide our produce for free to eliminate barriers to access and maximize our impact on food insecurity.
- Inclusion—we welcome everyone.
We welcome staff, board members, volunteers, partners, and donors with diverse perspectives and lived experiences.
- Inspiration—we nurture joy and wonder in our fields.
We cultivate an environment of discovery, belonging, and meaning.
Continuous Learning—we learn from others and share our knowledge.
We embrace learning, acknowledge the contributions of other cultures and individuals to our farming practices, and always look for ways to improve our operations. We readily share what we’ve learned and strive to lead by example.
Sustainability—we are good stewards of the land.
We are committed to modeling sustainable agricultural practices that prioritize thoughtful use of water resources; the health of our soil, crops, and species that pollinate our crops; and the well-being of people who eat our food and all who work in our fields.