Hunger Relief & Food Access Programs
WFCF has a goal of distributing $70,000 of our farm fresh produce through food access efforts in 2013. We do this through donations to emergency food programs, operating our Waltham Fields Outreach Market, a farm-to-school program with the Waltham Public Schools, and a subsidized CSA share program. See below for more information on each of these programs.
Donations to Emergency Food Programs
Charitable harvests are integral to the founding vision of Waltham Fields Community Farm. Since its germination in the fertile minds of an idealistic crew of gleaners in 1995, Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) has distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds of organically grown produce to over 25 agencies within local communities. Our hunger relief efforts provide bushels of fresh produce to soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and nutrition education programs supplying healthy nourishment to people in need.
Often, WFCF vegetables are the only source of fresh produce supporting the nutritional needs of these programs. WFCF continually works with the programs we serve to tailor our crop plans to better serve the specific needs of participant populations.
Waltham Fields Outreach Market
The Waltham Fields Outreach Market is a once-a-week, subsidized market in Waltham, operating on Tuesday afternoons from mid-July through mid-October. The Market is targeted to low-income community members, including the clientele of several social service agencies, to whom we provide vouchers enabling free participation.
2013 Outreach Market Dates, Hours, and Location:
Tuesdays, July 16 - October 8
In the Parking Lot of the Former Fitch School
At the Intersection of Cherry St. and Crescent St.
This program started as a pilot project in 2008 with the intention of making our organically grown produce more widely available to community members in need. Partnering with several local organizations that we have run educational programs with, we brainstormed ways in which we could overcome the barriers of geography, cost and logistics that currently prevent low-income families from accessing our food through our main distribution channels. The result is the Waltham Fields Outreach Market. At the Market, customers can fill a reusable grocery bag with vegetables for just $5 per bag (using cash, check or SNAP benefits), or in exchange for a voucher they acquired through our partner agencies. We initiated the voucher program with a core group of agencies that are still participating today, including the Joseph Smith Community Health Center, Waltham Family School, and WATCH CDC, and we continue to add new agency partners and increase the number of voucher booklets distributed each year. Popularity of the market has grown steadily through the creation of the voucher program and publicity through local media channels; each week returning customers share their enthusiasm for, knowledge about and recipes for the fresh and flavorful produce we make available to them.
Farm-to-School Produce Distributions
In 2008, we formed a partnership with the Waltham Public Schools to distribute our farm fresh produce for use in the school meals program during the months of September, October, and November. Each month, we feature a different vegetable in conjunction with the Vegetable of the Month program created by the Food Service Department and Healthy Waltham. We work with the Food Service Director to pick appropriate types and quantities of vegetables to grow and are refine our plans each year. We make a programmatic connection to our farm-to-school efforts by coordinating a community wide event at the farm, called Waltham Farm Day. This free event is timed to promote Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week each year, and we work closely with Healthy Waltham, the Waltham Public Schools, and the City of Waltham to bring Waltham families out to the farm and offer a variety of activities and experiences.
Subsidized CSA Shares
In 2009, we piloted our first subsidized CSA shares and are excited to be continuing and expanding the program. Even with our policy of letting CSA shareholders spread the payment of a share cost over 6 months, we recognize that the price is still too high for some households to afford and are pleased to now be able to offer half-price shares. These shares are largely funded by other CSA shareholders who select to purchase a Food For All Share, paying above the price of their own share cost in order to donate additional money toward half-price shares for others. To qualify for one of our subsidized CSA shares, participants must meet the federal income guidelines established for participation in the free/reduced school meals program - meaning they must be at 185% or less of the poverty line, which varies based on household size.
For more information about our subsidized CSA share program or any of our other food access programs, please contact our Farm Manager: