This year the Nantucket Fund™ grant dollars supported the Fresh Produce Program through the Nantucket Food Pantry. The program offers free access to fresh produce from local Nantucket farms to our neighbors who use the assistance of the Food Pantry. Through partnerships with existing local farms and backyard gardeners, the Nantucket Food Pantry is able to offer more nutritious food choices, contributing to the overall health and wellness of our community.
“We believe that everyone should be able to choose to put healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables on their table and provide fresh produce choices to their families,” says Anne-Marie Bellavance, Executive Director of the Nantucket Food Pantry. “By offering fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at no cost, we invite underserved community members to access healthier food choices. Our Fresh Produce program improves health outcomes among our lower income neighbors and generates additional revenue for local farms.”
Three years ago, when Anne-Marie joined the Food Pantry, she decided to make providing fresh produce for “neighbors” a priority. Moors End Farm was one of her first farm partners, they donated excess produce or unclaimed CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). Today, through Nantucket Fund™ grant dollars, the Food Pantry is committed to purchasing CSA shares from both Moors End Farm and Bartlett’s Farm. Anne Marie is confident that by purchasing CSA’s the Food Pantry is not only providing fresh produce to the Island’s underserved but also supporting the local economy and farmers who have given so much to this community.
Another element of the Fresh Produce Program is partnerships with local backyard gardeners, like Melissa (pictured below). These partnerships are intended to ensure that Food Pantry neighbors have access to local fruits and vegetables while reducing community-wide fresh food waste and spoilage. At peak season, the Food Pantry receives produce from 12 backyard gardeners. After visiting Melissa’s backyard garden and witnessing the volume of produce donated by Moors End Farm, it is clear that the Fresh Produce Program is just one of the many ways the Nantucket Fund™ brings to life the Island’s interconnected, vibrant, and engaged community, helping to improve the quality of life for everyone.
Interested to learn how the Community Foundation is Nantucket’s social impact partner, helping ALL of Nantucket through the Nantucket Fund™? From community wellness initiatives like the Fresh Produce program to affordable housing solutions and after-school care, visit our Nantucket Fund™ page here or MAKE A GIFT today!