Thanks to the amazing support of our community, we have far exceeded our original fundraising goal, raising a total of $63,606!!!
We are excited to be able to start harvest season strong, meet the increased needs of our community during this challenging year, and build the capacity of GTC's organization and leadership. We have been able to continue operating our youth leadership program and our summer GTC EATS! farm share, as well as new food distribution programs to meet the increased need of our community.
Thank you for your generosity and belief in the power of food justice and systems change here in Springfield. We are proud to be supported by such an amazing and generous group of people and organizations, and cannot thank you enough!
*amount includes the matching gifts from generous friends of GTC
Your generosity will help us:
Your gift today supports the work of GTC to build a more equitable food system and grow youth leadership. Thank you.
Walnut St. Farm Store
We are excited to announce we have increased store hours to 3 days/week to better meet community demand. We will be open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.
We have also launched an on-line ordering system so you can choose exactly what you want on-line and then choose your pick up time. We can bring your items out to your car, or you can walk up to the back of the store to pick up. Click HERE to order online and see what we have! We are no longer allowing customers into the store, for all our safety. We are happy to take your order at the store -- we will have paper order forms available or we will help you access the online store and process your order immediately..
If you will be using your SNAP benefits to pay, simply use the coupon code "SNAP" at check-out so that you can pay when you pick up your order. All purchases of fruit and vegetables at the GTC store qualify for the HIP benefit. This means that when you use your SNAP dollars to purchase fruits and vegetables with us, $40-$80 of your purchase each month (amount depends on your family size) is FREE. Our store is the only HIP-qualified vendor in Springfield right now, so please help us spread the word so families can access this important benefit.
Walnut Grab and Go Produce Bags now available!
We are now offering 2 produce bags that we have assembled for you, for $10 and $20 each. These bags of delicious vegetables and fruit give you a great deal on pesticide-free produce and make pick up simple. It's also an easy way to get produce for a neighbor in need. Both bags qualify for the HIP benefit!
Plant Sale and Gardeners Gathering
We will still be holding our Plant Sale though it will be spread out over a week's time this year. We are asking our customers and supporters to please help us by ORDERING YOUR PLANTS IN ADVANCE so we can assemble your order for you and bring it to your car. Click HERE to browse our catalogue and place your order. We have an amazing selection of plants available this year and can't wait to get them to you so that you can grow food and beautiful flowers at home. We will be scheduling pick up times for all customers between May 8 and 16. We will also have appointments for shoppers who do not want to pre-order.
Workshops and tips on how to work with your plants and make sure your soil is safe will be shared with our community through online videos and other interactive resources. Stay tuned for more information soon!
Volunteering on the Farm
We understand that some of you may want to join us to help out with getting ready for planting. If you are interested in volunteering in some way with farm work, please email Nydia Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ibrahim Ali at 413-693-5340x1 or email him at email@example.com We can’t take groups, but we are ok with individuals who would like to do some work outside (non greenhouse work) as long as you understand we need to keep our distance from each other in the process. VOLUNTEERS MUST BRING YOUR OWN GLOVES.
Despite the crisis, we are very committed to our mission and understand the importance of having access to fresh fruits and vegetables in moments like these. We know that fresh, pesticide free produce is about the best thing you can feed yourself, as they contain many minerals and nutrients important for our bodies and our immune system’s health. We are working hard to come up with solutions so that we can keep fresh fruits and vegetables available for Springfield families, while also making sure everyone is as safe as possible.
Below we have outlined the ways we will be working at the present time. Things are changing rapidly these days, so please keep an eye on our website and social media for updates.
Walnut St. Community Farm Store
We will be keeping the farm store open, but will reduce our hours of operation. We will only be open from 10 am to 5 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays until further notice. The farm store will be closed on Saturdays. Please, come with a bit more time than the usual. We will change how you shop -- we will take your order at the door (you can tell us what you want using an order form) and we will then complete your order for you. This will help us distribute the food as safely as possible. We ask any customer who feels sick in any way to stay home please!
To ensure that our staff and customers are safe, a deep cleaning of the store will be happening on Wednesday, March 18th before opening at 10 am. Also, our staff will be following best practices as recommended by health authorities, and will be using gloves while packing your bag. We accept cash, debit/credit, and SNAP. Remember, HIP is back so please spread the word to anyone with SNAP so that they can get their HIP benefit by shopping with us.
For future weeks we are exploring online and phone in orders for the farm store, so stay tuned!
GTC EATS! Farm Share
GTC EATS! members can come and get their share as usual. However, we will not have the usual market-style shopping. All shares will be pre-packed and members can pick them up at the door and pay there. Sign ups for the summer share are open now! We are still planning to start the season on June 17. If we cannot do market style pick up we will package shares for you so pickup will be fast and easy.
Youth Development Program
GTC’s Youth Development Program will be on pause for a few weeks while we continue to assess the situation.
Our Farm and Volunteers
We are working hard growing plants in the greenhouse, getting ready for planting season! Staff will be outside working, getting beds ready for planting, and keeping safe distances from each other in the process. We have a lot to do as our youth are not around to help.
We understand that some of you may want to join us. If you are interested in volunteering in some way with farm work, please call Ibrahim at 413-693-5340x1 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org We can’t take groups, but we are ok with individuals who would like to do some work outside (non greenhouse work) as long as you understand we need to keep our distance from each other in the process.
We have cancelled the Cellf Juices Demo by Jazlinda Osorio which was scheduled for this Saturday, March 21, at the Farm Store. We are working on some other way to share her demo so stay tuned!
We hope all of this crisis has passed by May. However, we are trying to think ahead in regards to the Plant Sale & Gardeners Gathering on May 9th. We always recommend that you pre-order but this year we recommend it more than ever. This way if we cannot do the larger event we can still have your plant order ready for you. The online store to pre-order your plants is opening today (March 17) and you can order your plants HERE! We know that growing plants and especially learning how to grow our own food is so important to our mental and physical health during these stressful times, so we hope you will take part!
If you would like to learn more about COVID-19 and what is happening locally and in our state, here are some good resources:
Updates on the coronavirus in Massachusetts and general COVID19 information: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
Keeping Places Safe during COVID-19 (CDC)
Updates and guidance from Baystate Health
Springfield Food Policy Council and Free Food sites in Springfield
Springfield Public Schools food distribution and closure updates
Let’s work together to promote a habit of safety and caution. Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and especially those that are at most risk. We will see each other soon!
-The GTC family
HIP IS HERE!
Buy your fruits and veggies at GTC with SNAP and get FREE FOOD with your HIP* benefit
*The HIP program gives families using their SNAP card $40 - $80 MORE SNAP dollars each month (depending on family size) when they buy fresh fruits and veggies from GTC and other qualified farms!