Hilltown Families


Screening of A Place at the Table at the Amherst Cinema 50 million people in the U.S.—one in five children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from, despite our having the means to provide nutritious, affordable food for all Americans. And of the 50 million facing hunger, 135,000 live right here in Western Massachusetts. A Place at the Table, a new film exploring the issue of hunger in America and uncovering… Read More

Fresh Fest: Farm and Food Film Festival at Images Cinema in Williamstown March 9th-10th, 2013 The Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program at Williams College and Images Cinema present Fresh Fest, a food and farm-themed film festival, Saturday, March 9 through Sunday, March 10. The festival consists of four features: Growing Hope Against Hunger, Edible City, More than Honey, and A Home Movie. Each film will have a local guest speaker in attendance…. Read More

On Saturday, Sept 15th, Hilltown Families partnered with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for a field trip that combined both service-based and community-based learning. Our field trip involved a tour of The Food Bank in Hatfield, MA, led by The Food Bank’s Education Coordinator, Molly Coon. Families got to see the facility up-close and learn how The Food Bank operates, who it serves and individuals can support their mission. The group played… Read More

Berkshire County Digs in to Assist Local Food Pantries The first items that many individuals reach for when donating to a food drive or food pantry are canned or boxed non-perishable items. Now many community organizations in Berkshire County are reaching for shovels as a means to stretch donations and provide those in need with a source of nutritious, organic, locally-grown produce. Each Tuesday morning the parking lot at the Berkshire Community… Read More

Hilltown Families Field Trip The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Saturday, September 15th at 1:30pm At the beginning of the summer we wrote about the benefits of families, schools and organizations taking an organized field trip The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in our post, Visit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts: A Community-Based Educational Field Trip for Kids. We mentioned that Hilltown Families would be organizing a field trip in September… Read More

Western Massachusetts Libraries Work to Banish Hunger In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, residents of Panem, a future country based in the ruins of North America, struggle to survive while working to support the glamour and riches of the capital. Each year, residents of the poverty-stricken districts are forced to choose two children between the ages of 12 and 18, to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal contest where the… Read More

Hilltown Families collaborated with The Food Bank of Western MA in compiling a list of kids books on the topic of food security/scarcity for their Youth Action Hunger program. We asked our readers to share their favorite children’s book that touches on the topics of hunger, soup kitchens, food banks, homelessness, etc. See what titles our readers had to recommended, both for children and adults…

Visit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts: A Community-Based Educational Field Trip for Kids The summer or fall is a great time to bring your children to visit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, along with their friends, school groups or clubs to learn more about an organization that plays a BIG role in our communities. There are 350 local organizations, including pantries, kitchens, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, who rely… Read More

Community Service: Gleaning with Rachel’s Table When food is grown, often a significant amount is left behind in fields after the harvest.  Families can help to harvest food and contribute to local efforts to combat hunger by volunteering with Rachel’s Table Gleaning Project!  The project organizes community members to visit local farms and glean fields once farmers have finished their harvest. Over the past five years, Rachel’s Table has offered over $100,000… Read More

Food Bank of Western MA Offers Food Resources for Families During Summer Months Working with more than 350 member agencies that make up the emergency food network in our region, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts provides food to 15,000 people every week. Thirty-one percent of households who seek emergency food from those agencies have at least one working adult, but still do not earn enough to make ends meet. Nearly half… Read More

Support Local Food Drives The Amherst Survival Center distributes turkeys and Thanksgiving food boxes to over 350 local families every year!  However, this cannot happen without generous donations from the community. Currently, the center is seeking donations of 100 frozen turkeys, canned goods (especially holiday items such as pie fillings), boxed items (like macaroni and cheese), and/or gift certificates to local grocery stores so that families can purchase their own food. – For… Read More

Local premiere of Fresh to benefit the Northampton Community Farm! The film Fresh celebrates the innovative farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Grow Food Northampton hosts the area premiere of this inspiring film at the Academy of Music Theater in Northampton, MA on Friday, November 5th at 7pm.  All proceeds go to buy prime farmland in Florence, MA for the establishment of the Northampton Community… Read More

Vision for a Community Farm in the Pioneer Valley Grow Food Northampton envisions a community farm to include CSA’s, microdairy, farming microenterprises, farm store, community garden plots, apprentice trainings, workshops, community celebrations, school programs and camps right in Northampton, MA. You can help to make this happen! Grow Food Northampton plans to purchase 117 acres of prime farmland in Florence (walking distance from town center, near Meadow and Spring Sts.). Read more… Read More

Meg Taylor of Williamsburg, MA writes: Some of you may already know about the local nonprofit, Grow Food Northampton, and their plan to purchase 117 acres of prime farmland in Florence (walking distance from town center, near Meadow and Spring Sts.). If you read the Gazette, it is starting to get some press and you will see more in the upcoming months. The vision is to create the Northampton Community Farm on… Read More

HHuGE Wagon Hours Are Changing! By HHuGE Coordinator, Janet Henderson Hi! I am Janet Henderson, the new Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) Wagon coordinator, and I am writing to let you know that, because the produce in the wagon is not lasting in this heat (and other issues), the hours the wagon is open are changing. The new hours are: Fridays from 5pm-8pm Saturday from 9am-8pm If you have extra produce to… Read More

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield, MA writes: U.S. Senate leaders are currently considering legislation that would cut benefits available to struggling families through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This legislation has been proposed as part of the pending American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act (H.R. 4213) (“extenders bill”). The proposed cuts to SNAP could reduce the amount of support that hungry families receive to… Read More

Make 2010 a HHuGE Success for Food Security in the Hilltowns! By HHuGE Coordinator, Kathy McMahon The Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) ‘wagon’ is open once again! Thanks to Steve Yoshen (built the wagon), Leni Fried (artistic fruit and veggies) and the Goodtime Stove Company (wagon wheel provided), our ‘wagon’ is all ready to open up once again! Thanks to the Old Creamery for hosting it again this year! We’re hoping an… Read More

Northampton Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year Round Photo credit: (ccl) thebittenword.com In recent years, more and more consumers have become convinced of the benefits, to themselves and to their communities, of eating local food. Farmers’ markets and farmstands bustle all summer long, CSAs have long waiting lists for the summer season, and local retailers and restaurants proudly advertise the local products they offer. Even when the prime growing season comes to an… Read More

New Website for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts After months of development, The Food Bank is proud to announce the launch of the organization’s new website. Check it out at http://www.foodbankwma.org. In addition to providing the same in depth information on the history and mission of The Food Bank that was previously available online, the new site is easy to use for anyone who would like to: volunteer donate sign up… Read More

Peggy O’Neal of Worthington, MA writes: The newly formed Perennial Food Growing Group will be meeting at 6:30p.m. at Warner Farm in Cummington, MA on the following dates: November 10th, 2009 November 24th, 2009 December 8th, 2009 December 29th, 2009 January 12th, 2010 Our goal for now is to learn more about permaculture, by teaching each other and reading selected books on the subject. For the next month or two the text… Read More

Amy Pulley of Cummington, MA writes: There will be a Perennial Food-Growing Group Potluck on Thursday, October 15th, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at Warner Farm (4 Porter Hill Road) in Cummington, MA. This group is just forming and all are welcome. Our aim is to educate and support each other by sharing resources, knowledge, and companionship in our quest to enhance local food resiliency. Read more info about the group below or… Read More

Update on Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) By HHuGE Coordinator, Kathy McMahon WHAT IS HHuGE? In a nutshell Bringing family gardeners together to donate their excess bounty – in trade or just to help local families in need. Nature is abundant, just not evenly distributed. Sharing fresh, wholesome produce is the neighborly thing to do! UPDATES: A few quick updates about the happenings with HHuGE Our Grand Opening is Monday, July 20,… Read More

If You Give a Kid a Shovel by Joe Gillespie Have you ever watched kids dig potatoes for the first time? It is like a treasure hunt. Or experienced the joy of pulling a beautiful, long orange carrot, washing it, and eating it right then and there? There is no substitute for these experiences. I have been gardening with students for a long time. More recently, I have written a couple of… Read More

Share the Abundance of the Hilltowns! Introducing Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) Wagon opens July 20th, 2009 at the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA. BRING YE! BRING YE! Your carrots and tomatoes, your bountiful harvest, yearning to circulate with other plump produce! TAKE YE! TAKE YE! That which ye will eat, and rejoice with us as we GIVE and TAKE without charge, with the open neighborly spirit our Hilltowns are known for…. Read More

Food, Inc.: Discover What “Big Agriculture” Doesn’t Want Farmers to Tell You Tomorrow, Monday June 29, at 7:00pm at the Amherst Cinema there will be a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), followed by a discussion panel. In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with… Read More

Kathy McMahon of Cummington, MA writes: We are going to be in the CHESTERFIELD 4TH OF JULY PARADE! We invite all the little vegetables and fruits in our Hilltowns to show up to announce (and not to squash!) the opening of HHuGE! (Hilltown Home (united) Garden Exchange! Don’t ‘veg out!’ Don’t find yourself in a pickle, dress like one! March and wave with us as we parade along handing out baby carrots,… Read More

2009 Guide for Families to Discover Locally Grown Farm Products in Western Massachusetts By CISA Summer’s here and so is the 2009 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide, a free publication distributed by CISA during the week of June 22nd, 2009. Valley farms provide everything from asparagus and alpaca wool to zucchini and zinnias, so there’s never been a better time to buy locally grown products. The Guide features information on 181 farms,… Read More

Lilly Lombard of Northampton, MA writes: I attended Northampton’s Zoning Revisions Committee tonight (recently formed to recommend zoning changes more inline with “sustainability”) and spoke for about 5 minutes encouraging the Committee to revise our current zoning ordinance that restricts most urban residences to 3 female fowl (and prohibits keeping goats, sheep, etc). I described how these laws were adopted during the era of cheap oil when people became separated from food… Read More

Do you grow fruits or veggies at home? Take the lead… Plant more seed! The Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) invites you to encourage home gardening by planting extra and sharing your surplus with neighbors throughout the Hilltowns. Nature is abundant, but not always evenly distributed! Leave Some! Take Some! Please consider offering or growing: Homegrown fruits, veggies, herbs & flowers Seedlings, propagated cuttings & seeds Recipes, advice or services related to… Read More

The Hilltown Home Garden Exchange  (HHuGE) Organized by the Eating’s Not Optional Committee (ENOC) Do you grow fruit or veggies at home?  HHuGE will bring together
 Hilltown residents who want to share, learn, and encourage growing food at home and want to distribute their excess bounty throughout the Hilltowns via their HHuGE Garden Wagon. What’s a HHuGE Garden Wagon? It’s a big beautiful portable shed/produce stand that will hold all of the… Read More

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