Gaining Ground is a volunteer-driven, Massachusetts-based organization striving to relieve hunger by growing organic produce. Managing approximately 20 acres of land, Gaining Ground advocates and focuses on meaningful volunteerism and meeting the needs of food insecure people. Volunteers account for 70 percent of the work at Gaining Ground, they help produce food for numerous food pantries, meal programs, and shelters.
Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Fan Watkinson, program manager, at Gaining Ground.
Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?
Fan Watkinson (FW): Gaining Ground donates every pound of its sustainably grown produce to hunger relief organizations within 20 miles of the farm. Our freshly harvested food is reaching families who most need nutritious, healthy calories but who have limited access within the current food system. We mobilize over 2,000 volunteers to grow the vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers and introduce them to the multi-level benefits of local sustainable farming.
FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?
FW: In the past two years, we have doubled our produce donations, up to 57,000 pounds, largely because of strategic decisions to improve soil quality and infrastructure (tractor, well, deer fence, hoop house) and to develop a stronger farm team.
FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?
FW: We are fundraising to build a barn to protect our equipment and materials (now stored outside) and to create a more efficient space for staff and volunteers to work with the produce.
FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?
FW: Become informed about the many benefits of a local sustainable food system and then lead by example.
FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?
Download the 2015 Good Food Org Guide HERE.