Reflections of a Donor

Reflections of a donor of The Food Bank’s no-till community engagement farm Tom Willits, Trustee, Lydia Stokes Foundation

Man with beard smiling directly at camera

Tom Willits

A few years ago, I started a conversation with Andrew Morehouse, executive director at The Food Bank, about the possibility of bringing the no-till farming process/technique to The Food Bank.  This led to a visit from Andrew to the Gaining Ground Farm in Concord, MA where they have perfected this way of growing vegetables.  That day led to a project the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation has been very excited to help make happen.  The launching of just such a farm on the second Food Bank Farm in Hadley, MA!

I have had the great good fortune of visiting the farm last year when the first plantings were put in the ground and then again this spring to witness the great expansion of this space.  Surely, we all can look forward to what grows ahead and the great work of everyone involved!

In my role as a trustee of the Foundation, I have had the opportunity to fund and be engaged in many fabulous projects…none more so than this!  I was very hopeful The Food Bank would provide the catalyst for growing this healthful and wonderfully engaging way of farming and want to thank all involved for making this no-till community engagement farm happen on the greater Food Bank Farm. All of us at the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation look forward to the further outreach this partnership provides to other food banks and farmers across the country as well as schools and community members in our region. We can feed our communities and strengthen the soil vegetables are grown in at the very same time!

In 2020, The Lydia Stokes Foundation awarded The Food Bank a $25,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study of a model no-till community engagement farm, which led to its birth in 2021.  In late 2021, the Foundation made a three-year $90,000 commitment to support the development of this farm on the larger Food Bank Farm.