Quabbin Food Connector was created in June 2020 to serve as a facilitator and fiscal umbrella for projects in the North Quabbin region that nurture working farms, robust small businesses, and a thriving community.
- We aim to widen local discussions about the root causes of food system problems, pushing against the “siloing” of concerns about health, farm viability, economic development, racial equity, climate resilience, and more.
- We work to help rebuild the kinds of local and regional food supply chains that existed here and elsewhere before long-distance food shipping and large-scale supermarkets became the norm.
- We seek ways to do this in a way that is fair to everyone–small farmers, local retailers and distributors, and eaters at all income levels. That’s what we mean by “bridging the gaps for fair food.”
Projects and partnerships
- Spring 2021 partnership with the MA Opioid Task Force, North Quabbin Community Coalition, North Quabbin Recovery Center, Valuing Our Children, Seeds of Solidarity, and Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op. These partners provided 100 Wellness Shares consisting of a variety of fresh, wholesome foods and gardening items. The goal was to promote health and happiness among families facing isolation and stress, heightened through the pandemic.
- Spring 2021 partnership with the Town of Orange Office of Community Development and the Orange Council on Aging. This program helped senior citizens struggling on a limited income to access virtual cooking workshops and meal kits, promoting healthy, economical eating while reducing isolation and gaining new skills for connecting with others online.
- 2022-23 “Protein Bundles for Healthy Eating” program with funding through the CDBG Cares Act Program, administered through the United Way of North Central Massachusetts and the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. Biweekly distributions of food to low-wealth North Quabbin residents include substantial amounts of healthy protein, including meat, dairy, and eggs from local farms. Read more here.
- Summer 2022 participant in the annual summer senior farmshare program at Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op, with funding partially provided through Quabbin Food Connector by Heywood Healthcare.
- Spring 2023 program partner with the Smithsonian Institution’s “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” exhibit at Athol Public Library, including organizing a multi-town farm and food tour highlighting issues of business sustainability and succession in our small rural region.