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 125,000 pounds in 2019, all of which is donated to over a dozen 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.