Growing a Community Food Network

Unity College recently received a $75,000 grant from the Boston-based Jane’s Trust to support our efforts to grow a community food network in Unity. The funds will be used to increase campus and community food production by investing in infrastructure upgrades and personnel.

Tim plows a new campus plot with a borrowed tractor.

Last year, students in Professor Mick Womersley’s Environmental Citizen course built a barn near the main campus garden providing some temporary storage and processing capacity for food produced on campus. And students in Jim Merkel’s section of Environmental Citizen built a campus root cellar this past fall to increase cool storage for our own crops and others. These projects have increased our capacity to produce and distribute food on campus and in the community, but nothing has bolstered our food program more than the “adoption” of Veggies For All last growing season.

The integration of Unity’s campus garden program with Veggies For All is a natural fit. Veggies For All provides more opportunities to engage our students in sustainable agriculture and connects our campus to the broader community in meaningful ways. Unity College offers Veggies For All administrative support and access to infrastructure, volunteers, and resources that allow the project to serve more people.

The Jane’s Trust gift recognizes the success of several seasons of hard work and this flourishing new partnership. Funds will be used in the coming years to purchase a tractor, construct a more permanent washing and processing facility, and increase storage capacity on campus. Additional funding will support staffing and administration of the project at Unity College, Unity Barn Raisers, and the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry.

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