Among all client households served by The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, 71% are food insecure, according to the U.S. government’s official food security scale.
The Food Bank Farm is a 60-acre parcel of land on the Connecticut River in Hadley. Since 1992, the land has been farmed without chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides, with the primary purpose of providing fresh, healthy produce to households in Western Massachusetts that face hunger or food insecurity. Additionally, the farm’s 60 acres are protected from any development, preserving an important riverside ecosystem.
The Food Bank Farm operates as a production farm in partnership with Mountain View Farm CSA, based in Easthampton. Mountain View Farm leases use of the land from The Food Bank, and in exchange, provides 100,000 pounds of fresh, local, chemical-free produce to The Food Bank for distribution to front-line food assistance providers and people in need throughout our region. Mountain View Farm also operates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program out of its Easthampton farm, with CSA shares available to residents.
The Food Bank Farm was started by the staff and board of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in 1992. We were one of the first food banks in the country to start a farm, and the Food Bank Farm spearheaded a movement to create and support CSAs in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The farm’s 60 acres of land in Hadley is owned by The Food Bank and portions of it are cultivated with the primary goal of bringing fresh, chemical-free produce to people in need of food assistance.
Between 1992 and 2009, Michael Docter was first employed and later contracted through his company, Cultivating Solutions Inc., to operate the farm as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program through which hundreds of general public shareholders received delicious produce each year. At the time it was founded, the Food Bank Farm was one of the first CSAs in the Pioneer Valley, and was unique in combining a CSA model with a food assistance mission. Over the course of 18 growing seasons, the Food Bank Farm provided about half its annual harvest to The Food Bank’s warehouse for distribution to people in need of food assistance.
In 2009, The Food Bank Farm ended its CSA program and shifted to a production model in partnership with Mountain View Farm, in order to focus the use of the land on providing food for people in need. The partnership allows the land to continue to be stewarded and farmed without chemicals, while providing 100,000 pounds of fresh produce to the emergency food network each season.