For nearly 25 years, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) has had a commitment to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, which often tend to be more expensive, to individuals and families in need. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, GBFB purchases millions of dollars worth of nutritious produce for our partners to share out through local food pantries, mobile markets, etc. Thanks in part to a statewide program called the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) which supports MassGrown farmers, GBFB has grown its produce distribution to nearly 30% this year!
One of GBFB’s largest MassGrown farm partners is the Pioneer Valley Growers Association (PVGA), a cooperative of over two dozen local farmers located in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Each year local farmers sell, at the lowest cost to GBFB, nearly 1 million pounds of fresh vegetables. The fall season brings hardy options like radishes, tomatoes, radishes, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, swiss chard, and peppers, which are then distributed to our clients in need.
“Every off-season, we sit down with the team at GBFB to determine what they want us to plant and grow, what works best and what doesn’t,” says Bill Barrington, general manager for the PVGA.
“I like supporting the mission of GBFB and knowing that we’re part of a community-based program that’s helping people all around Eastern Massachusetts,” Bill says. “Working with GBFB has also positively businesses, and we get the satisfaction that we’re providing nutrient-rich food for people in need.”