GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A nonprofit organization was awarded more than $750,000 to provide a farm-share model food access work and community farm revitalization.
Just Roots in Greenfield was awarded two grants from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). It will be used to expand their inclusive and accessible Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model in Franklin County and beyond, and to invest in infrastructure and capacity for engaging the local community at the Greenfield Community Farm.
The Greenfield Community Farm that Just Roots manages will provide up to 100 households with free farm shares, partner with additional organizations to enroll those in need of local produce and protein and, provide free monthly DIY cook kits containing curated fresh, local ingredients, kitchen staples, and which are accompanied by a live, online cooking class taught by staff at Just Roots. The grant amount of $492,786 was awarded through MDAR’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA).
To enroll in the LFPA-subsidized farm share program visit JustRoots.org.
“Through this funding, MDAR has provided Just Roots a unique opportunity to ensure a reliable market for a network of local farmers. It simultaneously ensures that this locally grown food ends up on the plates of more of our neighbors– those who might otherwise face barriers to participating in our local food economy.” said Laura A. Fisher, Executive Director of Just Roots.
In addition, over $233,000 through the Community Food Project Competitive Grants Program within the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will fund the work within the historic barn to maximize storage, capacity, safety, and systems. Just Roots is expanding its program beyond Franklin County.
Meryl LaTronica, Director of Farm Operations at Just Roots, noted that “this infusion of funds
over 2023 and 2024 gives us the opportunity to build and strengthen the structures and systems
that make us an impactful community organization. Physical improvements to our barn, land
and distribution area will allow people to engage more easily and fully in our programs here at
the Community farm. Systems improvements to our wash, pack, storage and food safety plans
will go a long way to ensure a top quality product reaches our customers, here at the farm and
our members further afield.”