Partners Receiving More Produce Sooner
Thanks to improved farming practices and expanded infrastructure, for the first time ever Gaining Ground has donated produce each month this year and started full-season distribution earlier in June than previous years.
Through May 2017, Open Table (Concord/Maynard) and Mill City Grows (Lowell) received 2,500 pounds of hardy winter/early spring vegetables, three times more than 2016. On June 6, we began distribution to all of our recipient partners, almost two weeks earlier than in years past and without a gradual rollout.
We donate to a mix of organizations that provide food pantries and/or meal programs in a variety of locations. This year, our full-time recipient partner organizations include:
- Food Pantry and Meals: Open Table (Concord/Maynard)
- Food Pantry: Bedford Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes (Ayer), Rosie’s Place (Boston), Sudbury Food Pantry, Westford Housing Community
- Meal Programs: House of Hope (Lowell), Lowell Transitional Living Center, Pine Street Inn (Boston)
- Free Markets: Food for Families (Concord); Head Start (two locations in Lowell)
Several of our partners are transitioning to new, improved facilities and schedules.
House of Hope (HH) has expanded from two to three shelters in Lowell. Treated with dignity and respect, families receive housing, food, clothing, and staff support to help them resolve their homelessness. HH Chef and Director of Learn2Work, John Rork now picks up our produce and takes it to their new central kitchen. For maximum flavor, the vegetables are processed by HH culinary interns “the minute he gets in the door” and served as colorful, tasty dishes to 58 families living in the three locations. HH interns also accompany him for the pick up. For some of them, this is the first time they have been on a working farm and had the opportunity to prepare a farm-to-table meal. We are so happy that House of Hope provides this fresh food and education for its residents.
With the purchase of a permanent location in Maynard, Open Table will soon have an expanded market-like pantry and its own new kitchen for more community meals and educational programs. Even during the summer transition, many of our vegetables have been offered both in the pantry and during the dinner as a way for guests to try new tastes. We will continue to supply ample produce to Open Table during the move, while also partnering with Boston Area Gleaners to deliver any short-term extras to hunger-relief organizations in metro Boston.