Quabbin Harvest, a cooperative food store located in downtown Orange, has been awarded funding from the Massachusetts Food Trust Program. The funding will help support their continued effort to develop their food access program and more effectively integrate it into the organization’s three-year business plan.
The store prides itself on its ability to provide healthy food at an affordable price, while building community, supporting local agriculture, and respecting the environment. In addition to promoting these values, Quabbin Harvest understands how transportation affects the Orange community and is intentional about keeping the store accessible for all.
As the only retail location within a 1.3 mile radius able to provide fresh food, Quabbin Harvest is the only place to buy fresh, and often local, produce that is within walking distance of downtown Orange. This accessibility has been a huge benefit for the low-income residents who live in public housing as well as those who live in a trailer community downtown and is a major reason why the store has seen success for the past decade.
Since it began as a volunteer-run produce share program in 2009, Quabbin Harvest has been able to forge partnerships with local non-profit organizations, expand to a large space, begin to pay staff, recruit 700 member-owners, and maintain the community’s support all along the way. An especially notable success in the history of it’s operation came during the first year of the Healthy Incentives Program when Quabbin Harvest was named as the top enroller of HIP customers in the state, serving nearly 140 families at peak enrollment.
The MFTP is proud to be part of promoting this key community resource. We are so glad we can support them in their work to keep fresh and local food accessible and are grateful that the local Orange community will continue to benefit from this source for affordable produce and healthy food.
Images provided by Matt Burkhartt (The Recorder)