Category Archives: Metro West

Eat Local this Winter with the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair

Nicewicz Farm StandFresh, local food doesn’t have to end with the first frost, even in New England. Explore a new season of New England food at the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair on October 16 in Watertown! You can meet farmers and representatives from several farm share/CSA programs, as well as some different kinds of local food programs for the late fall and winter.

If you’re new to eating locally year-round, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the variety of locally grown food available, even in the middle of winter. You can expect a variety of produce, including apples, beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, collard greens, garlic, lettuce, onions, parsnips, popcorn, radishes, spinach, squash, and turnips. Some programs offer local foods like chicken, cider, eggs, cheese, fish, maple syrup, pork, wheat, and yogurt. And one offers meal kits, with the ingredients and recipe for a locally-sourced feast.

Farm Share Fair 8x10

If you’re already a fan of local food, you’ll enjoy the variety of farm share programs attending the fair. The fair will have several traditional single and multi-farm programs for the winter months, as well as a grain and bean program. There will also be programs that offer pay-as-you-go, like a local or organic food delivery program – some will even deliver to your door. If you live or work between Worcester and Boston, Beverly and Buzzards Bay, there’s a pick-up site or delivery convenient to you.

Meet your winter food farmer at the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 16, at the Watertown Public Library, 123 Main Street, Watertown, MA. See you there!

– Becky Prior, Belmont Food Collaborative

Advertisements

Help Families in Need to Dine Out with Dignity

Phfeast founder Dan Napierski at Mass Foodie Night

Phfeast founder Dan Napierski at Mass Innovation Nights Foodie #7

by Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing

As someone who loves growing, cooking, eating, and sharing healthy local food, I’m always looking for ways to pass along my latest and greatest find. So I was excited to meet Dan Napierski at the recent Mass Innovation Nights Foodie #7 and learn about Phfeast, his innovative new food philanthropy program. (Get it? Philanthropy + food = Phfeast!)

Phfeast LogoPhfeast is a restaurant loyalty program where you can earn free meals for children and families in need, just by checking in when you’re dining at participating eateries. This start-up, based at the Venture Development Center at UMass Boston, provides a platform for loyal customers to earn meal rewards for families that rely on food pantries for assistance.

“I have three young children of my own at home,” Napierski told me. “I feel fortunate to be able to put food on our table and to take them out for a meal. I started Phfeast when I realized that thousands of families in Massachusetts don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” he said.

“According to Project Bread, 700,000 Massachusetts children and adults are experiencing food insecurity,” Napierski added. “Food pantries are facing increased demand, so we’re partnering with them to reach people who need help. Phfeast enables families in need to enjoy a meal with dignity.”

iPhone Phfeast appNapierski, a Framingham, Mass. resident whose background is in software development, has already created a web-based program for Phfeast and native Android and iOS apps are coming soon. Customers earn points each time they “check in” at participating locations. When each location reaches a specific number of points, it issues a dining certificate to a local food pantry, allowing an individual or family in need to dine at that restaurant for free.

Phfeast charges the eateries a subscription fee. Participating restaurants get promoted by Phfeast and gain all the benefits of a traditional loyalty program. By promoting their participation in the program, the restaurants can attract new customers and encourage current customers to eat there more frequently. And the eateries will be able to account for and promote their charitable giving.

Currently, there are 11 participating locations, including six Stone Hearth Pizza Co. restaurants, three Chicken & Rice Guys food trucks, the Amsterdam Falafelshop in Somerville, and the Foodie Café in Framingham. Napierski is adding locations rapidly and hopes to expand to other cities, starting with Washington, DC.

“It’s important that we all work together to fight hunger,” says the Foodie Café’s David Blais.  “Choosing to partner with Phfeast made perfect sense.”

Napierski is a strong supporter of the Food Day priorities. “In addition to helping to reduce hunger, we’re helping families eat safer, healthier meals at the participating eateries,” he said. “And many of the low-paid workers in the food industry rely on food stamps and food pantries to get by. It’s an honor to be able to give back to those workers by enabling them to enjoy a free meal, on the house,” he added.

As we get closer to Food Day on October 24, signing up to participate in Phfeast as an eater, business or donor is an easy way for us to help reduce hunger, one meal at a time. For more info, visit http://www.Phfeast.com.

 

National Farmer’s Market Week in Massachusetts

Image courtesy of http://www.menupix.com

The 15th Annual National Farmers Market week is in full swing! This week celebrates local farmers and the markets where they supply fresh food for the community.  Farmers markets are crucial to supporting local, small and mid-sized farmers. It’s important to recognize that they also provide a number of benefits for our health, our community, and our economy.

According to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick,

“Farmers markets are essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms and are part of the cultural tradition of the Commonwealth; [they] create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering, [and] help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space” (www.mass.gov).

Here’s 10 great reasons to shop at your local farmers market this week, and throughout the year:

  1. Fresh food for you and your family: The produce at farmers markets is as fresh as it gets and that means you’re getting food that tastes better and is more nutrient-rich than food that has traveled hundreds of miles to a grocery store.
  2. Engage with your community: Farmers markets are perfect for meeting others in the neighborhood as well as your local farmers. Shopping at farmers markets is a communal experience, where you create a connection to your neighbors and your environment.
  3. Support local farmers directly: When you buy from farmers, the middleman disappears and they get full retail price for their products.
  4. Help conserve energy: When you buy local food, the environment benefits too. On average, our produce travels 1,500 miles (by air or vehicle) to the grocery store. When you buy local produce, the amount of petroleum used is significantly less.
  5. Create less waste: Buying produce directly from a farmers market, you don’t have to deal with any packaging. You won’t pay for the package, or have to dispose of any.
  6. Ensure a future for local food: In buying food at farmers markets, you keep those farms in your community and ensure that future generations will have access to fresh, nourishing, local food.

There’s no better way to celebrate Farmer’s Market week than to head to one of Massachusetts’ 306 farmers markets! Over 110 farmers markets in Massachusetts participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (accepting food stamps/EBT). To find a farmers market near you, visit MassFarmersMarkets.org.

This blog grew thanks to many.

Neponset_Health_Centers_Apple-Crunch

Neponset Health Centers Apple Crunch with apples donated by Boston Area Gleaners, Inc.

Our blog started in 2012 to create a virtual town common where individuals and groups supporting Food Day can showcase their efforts.  The variety of content, creativity in expression, and colorful images show commitment across the Commonwealth that inspires.

The most popular blog posts of 2013.

How did they find us?

The top referring sites in 2013 were:

  1. facebook.com
  2. twitter.com
  3. boston.com
  4. learningcirclepreschool.org
  5. mass.gov

Special thanks to Sarah Cadorette, the Food Day Organizer who managed our Social Media efforts in 2013.

Opportunities for Food Advocates in Health Care Initiatives

By Jean Terranova and David Waters

One week from tomorrow, the SNAP/Food Stamp benefit stimulus created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will end. This means that all SNAP recipients will see a reduction in their already meager benefits beginning November 1. With the proposed drastic cuts to SNAP looming in the erratic Farm Bill negotiations, anti-hunger advocates must explore alternative sources of funding to supplement the food resources of people in need.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

As the Affordable Care Act survived the showdown that brought the Government to its knees and states like Massachusetts are pioneering new models to improve health outcomes while decreasing health care spending, we believe the time is right for anti-hunger advocates to press for the inclusion of sustainable, healthy, affordable foods in the health care system. Studies show that food can be a low-cost means to keep people in their homes and communities, avoiding the need for exorbitant spending on emergency room visits, hospital stays, and nursing home admissions. A recent study estimated that if all states had increased by a mere one percent the number of adults age sixty-five or older who received home-delivered meals in 2009 under Title III of the Older Americans Act, annual savings to states’ Medicaid programs could have exceeded $109 million due to decreased spending on nursing home care. We believe this number would increase exponentially and have a major impact on our food system if these meals were to include high quality locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients.

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Here are three ways that you can join us and learn more about our campaign to advocate for the inclusion of food as prevention, treatment, and “medicine” for individuals with chronic disease and critical illnesses in health care reform initiatives:

Join the symposium we are co-hosting with Harvard’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, the Food Law Policy Clinic, and the Food Law Society on October 30;

Attend our session on “Food is medicine and prevention” at the American Public Health Association on November 5;

Contact us if you are interested in joining our Advocacy Committee.

David B. Waters, CEO, Community Servings

Jean Terranova, Director of Food and Health Policy, Community Servings

CSLogowithcontactinfo

Encouraging Kids to Play with their Food!

Hannaford Supermarkets are celebrating Food Day 2013 in over 20 stores across Massachusetts, and they’re inviting you and your kids to play with your food!

HFPPressRelease2013bLowell

FOODPLAY, a national award-winning nutrition theater show, is bringing its cast of colorful characters, amazing feats of juggling, hip-hop music, and audience participation to turn kids on to healthy eating and active lifestyles to the Lowell and Hudson Hannaford locations. 

FOODPLAY makes good eating great fun, but its messages are serious. In the last 25 years, childhood obesity rates have doubled among elementary school children and tripled among teenagers. One in three children is overweight, and less than two percent of the nation’s youth are meeting their daily nutritional requirements. Kids on average are drinking more than 600 cans of soda and consuming more than 150 pounds of sugars a year, missing out on recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains needed for optimal health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of the nation’s youth will develop diabetes if current eating and exercise habits don’t improve.

Locations in Leominster, North Brookfield, Lunenberg, Orange and Townsend will be holding an Apple Crunch, in which associates will visit local schools with apples for students to sample and discuss the benefits of a well-balanced diet. In-store displays will invite shoppers to taste test and compare apple varieties.

Food Day is a reminder to eat well all year-round, and we hope you join Hannaford Supermarkets in doing so!

Gleaning and Our Local Food System

By Erin Feeney

According to farmfresh.org, Eastern Massachusetts has over 1,200 fruit and vegetable farms. This profusion of locally available produce is enjoyed by great numbers of Bay Staters. While the local food movement is increasing in popularity in Massachusetts and around the nation, much of the food being produced is lost to waste. On average, up to 40 percent of agricultural production is wasted from ‘farm to fork to landfill’ due to modern farming practices as well as losses, particularly of perishable product, all along the supply chain.

blog pic 2

Boston Area Gleaners’ (BAG) mission is to remedy part of this waste by harvesting and delivering gleaned produce to food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Gleaning is a biblical term referring to the law of those times that required farmers to let peasants onto their farms after the harvest to “glean” whatever produce was left in the fields. Produce is left in the fields for various reasons. Sometimes crops are planted as a bumper in case others fail. If these crops are not needed, the farmer will usually plow it under. Other factors include the imperfection of harvest machinery, impending weather, highly successful seed propagation, closing markets, or slight damage caused by frost or pests, making it therefore difficult to sell.

blog pic 4

All produce gleaned by BAG volunteers is donated to food agencies. Farmers receive no financial benefit; most decide to call in the Gleaners because of their own moral compass. However, because of the cost of labor, even if farmers wish to donate their surplus, they cannot afford to harvest it if it will not be sold. This is the gap that BAG’s volunteers fill with their labor. Volunteers experience the beauty of local farms and learn about the realities of farming, an excellent opportunity for the reintroduction of lost farming and food knowledge. By providing gleaning services to local farmers, BAG aids farmers in improving food in the Boston area. BAG has gleaned over 250K pounds since the project began in 2004 and we can do so much more with your help!

If you want to get out to some area farms to glean with BAG, please e-mail: volunteer@bostonareagleaners.org.  You can also see some great pictures from recent gleaning trips on our Facebook page.

And don’t forget to visit our website at http://www.bostonareagleaners.org!