FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jodi Falk firstname.lastname@example.org 413-733-0084
ARBELLA INSURANCE FOUNDATION DONATES $75,000 FOR RACHEL’S TABLE TO EXPAND GROWING GARDENS INITIATIVE IN THE PIONEER VALLEY
First Growing Gardens Training on March 28th, 2022 in Springfield, MA
SPRINGFIELD, MA March 24, 2021 — Rachel’s Table, a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts that helps alleviate hunger and reduce food waste in the region, has received a $75,000 commitment from Arbella Insurance Foundation over the next three years to support its Growing Gardens initiative. Rachel’s Table’s Growing Gardens will support any of the program’s 54 partner agencies to grow their own food in partnership with the people they serve. Rachel’s Table will be officially launching the first Growing Gardens training on Monday, March 28th from 2:30-5:00 pm at Robinson Gardens.
“The funding we received from Arbella Insurance Foundation will allow us to grow our commitment to ensuring direct access to healthy food,” said Jodi Falk, director of Rachel’s Table. “Through Growing Gardens, we also hope to help our partner agency’s constituent communities define what nourishment means to them, while building, and maintaining gardens that cultivate their sense of agency, empowerment, and physical and spiritual nourishment.”
The Growing Gardens’ trainings will be done in partnership with the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), who will help train and mentor participating agencies. Sister Anna Gilbert- Muhammad of NOFA will be the lead trainer and provide expert leadership throughout the growing season for Rachel’s Table staff and liaisons who will also teach, support and mentor partner agencies in each cohort. The first training will take place at Robinson Gardens, located at 34 Robert Dyer Circle in Springfield, Mass. The first cohort includes Christina’s House, a home for women and children in transition; Robinson Gardens, a low-income housing community; CSO’s Friends of the Homeless, an on-site mental health and recovery service; and the Church of St. Andrew’s, a church community that will donate 100 percent of its harvest to those in need. This first Growing Gardens cohort will receive training and support for a two-year period. After year two, each agency will be responsible for finding their own funding with the continued support of the network of agency-gardeners. Each year, Rachel’s Table will add a new Growing Gardens cohort of three to four agencies.
Growing Gardens is an extension of the 14-year-old Bea’s Harvest: A Gleaning Program of Rachel’s Table, which was started by former Rachel’s Table Board member, Bea Loevy, of blessed memory. To make a financial contribution for Growing Gardens, visit www.rachelstablepv.org.
About Rachel’s Table
Rachel’s Table is a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1992, Rachel’s Table has worked tirelessly to alleviate hunger and reduce the waste of food resources in the Pioneer Valley. Six days a week more than 200 volunteers collect food from over 60 donors such as local supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, farms, and bakeries, and deliver it to more than 50 agencies, including soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in the Pioneer Valley. Rachel’s Table is also a catalyst for community activism through programs that raise awareness about food justice. Over the years, it has created special projects focusing on healthy nutrition and education such as the Gleaning Project among others, which works with youth and school groups to engage them in the service of collecting the excess produce and donating it to agencies that serve the hungry and homeless in the Pioneer Valley. For more information on how to volunteer or donate visit www.rachelstablepv.org.