The Hampshire County Food Policy Council Startup Circle has been making key decisions and taking key actions that are bringing us closer to an official county-wide launch. We settled on an organizational structure that disperses power and decision-making while providing abundant opportunity for leadership development. We currently have a Launch Helping Circle meeting to plan a series of launch events that are likely to take place in early 2022. We are excited to be making this progress and very much looking forward to bringing new folks into this work.
In September, several members of the Startup Circle attended the first-ever national food policy council forum hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, a national leader in food policy council research and technical assistance. All members who attended came away from the forum inspired and energized to act. Since the forum, two members of our group who were chosen to participate in an esteemed national community of practice (COP) on advancing equity in food policy councils had their first meeting with the other members of the COP. We are delighted to be given these opportunities to network across the country with trailblazers in the field of food policy councils.
The Healthy Hampshire team has also been gearing up to apply for the open Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership reprocurement. Healthy Hampshire has been funded by the Mass in Motion program for the past decade, and the competitive reprocurement process could result in Healthy Hampshire receiving triple the funding we have received from this program to do our work over the next decade. We are working hard to pull together a highly competitive application, as the number of funded programs throughout the state will be reduced from 27 to 6 - 12. We have had two meetings inviting all communities in Hampshire County and the Southern Hilltowns to learn more about the benefits of partnering with us, and on Friday we officially extended the invitation to all of those communities to sign onto our application. Our goal is to sign on 24 municipalities and up to 11 organizational partners. The application is not due until mid-December, so we continue to plug away at this goal!
Working in partnership with Cooley Dickinson, the Hampshire County Food Policy Council Startup Circle awarded small grants to five organizations out of the Council's discretionary fund. The grant recipients include the Amherst Mobile Market, the Amherst Survival Center, Grow Food Northampton, the Hilltown Mobile Market, and the Northampton Survival Center. Both of the survival centers and Grow Food Northampton will be focusing their projects on deepening resident engagement and decision-making in their work, while the Amherst Mobile Market will be supporting residents to lead educational events and the Hilltown Mobile Market will re-implement a produce prescription program to refer patients from the Hilltown Community Health Center to the market. All five projects include plans to position residents experiencing food insecurity as leaders and compensate them for their efforts.
In early August, the Healthy Hampshire team submitted a proposal to the MA Department of Agricultural Resources for their Specialty Crop Block Grant. The proposed project would set up a mobile market management training program in partnership with Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). The grant would fund the development and implementation of a 12-module training program and financially support eight certificate trainees to participate in all 12 modules, identify and receive additional training in an area of specialization, and develop their own training in that specialization to deliver to their peers. The 12 training modules would also be open to members of the general public and may cover topics such as business planning, marketing, merchandising, event planning, fundraising, and more. The goal of the project is to increase the long-term sustainability of mobile market programs in Hampshire County by equipping market staff to manage all aspects of program planning and implementation, which we hope would free up the operational organizations to provide only backbone support, thereby reducing program costs.
The Hampshire County Food Policy Council Startup Circle has been hard at work passing policies and making decisions toward the long term goal of increasing community food security in Hampshire County while centering the power of people who are marginalized within the conventional food system. We developed a vision--a resilient community-owned regional food system where all people are empowered to live more joyful and gratifying lives through access to affordable, healthy, locally grown food of their choice--and a mission to cultivate shared governance and a county-wide network that builds the power of community voice to make food policies more equitable, honor diverse cultures, and help local food economies to flourish. One of the ways we honored this mission in the last month was by engaging in a group decision making process to award funding from the Food Policy Council's discretionary budget to five pilot food systems projects. The grant recipients included the Amherst Mobile Market, the Amherst Survival Center, Grow Food Northampton, the Hilltown Mobile Market, and the Northampton Survival Center. All five of these projects clearly demonstrated a plan to shift power away from professional stakeholders and toward residents who are traditionally underrepresented in decision-making in Hampshire County. Along with this significant milestone, we also passed a Partnership Policy for the council that outlines who the council network is comprised of, how people can become part of the network, and how they can get involved in decision-making. We are very close to launching the council! We have developed a suite of policies that outline the bulk of the basic council structure and one of the few decisions we have left to make is what leadership and staff roles will be needed to support the council.
Healthy Hampshire worked with several partners to plan "Mobilizing Community Driven Approaches to Food Security," a late April Zoom event that built awareness around food security challenges in Amherst, showcased ways to get involved in addressing those challenges, debuted the video "Amherst Mobile Market: Cultivating Change," and kicked off an individual giving campaign for the mobile market. We are thrilled to report that the event, alone, brought in $6,865, and that outreach by program supporters after the event brought in an additional $7,700. With these strides, we are currently less than $3,000 away from our fundraising goal for the season! State Representative Mindy Domb was a featured guest at this event and shared the following kind words about Healthy Hampshire and the Amherst Mobile Market: "I want to thank you not only for giving me the opportunity to be inspired by the speakers and your work, but also to support your work. We go back a little ways to when I was at the Amherst Survival Center and I'm just so impressed with what has happened with the mobile market and your commitment to being accessible in every way." The Amherst Mobile Market will begin its 2021 season on June 8th and you can learn more about the market, including how to shop there, by visiting www.amherstmobilemarket.com.
We also had a fantastic time on Mother's Day Eve meeting up with a diverse group of folks to tour and assess the Meadows Conservation area in Belchertown. The town was looking to engage underrepresented users, including people with disabilities and black, indigenous, and people of color to help identify some priority improvements to make this site, located in an Environmental Justice neighborhood, feel more accessible. Thirteen residents participated representing a wide range of identities in terms of race, ethnicity, language, ability, gender identity, age, and sexual orientation. While the identities were diverse, some of the suggested changes were nearly unanimous, including adding multilingual signage, expanding the parking area, and creating a level path from the parking area to the fields.
The Startup Circle of the Hampshire County Food Policy Council has been hard at work putting the pieces in place to be able to invite more people to the table. Within the last month, the group has determined how to allocate the first round of the council's discretionary budget and codified a vision ("We envision a resilient community-owned regional food system where all people are empowered to live more joyful and gratifying lives through access to affordable, healthy, locally grown food of their choice") and a mission ("We cultivate shared governance and a county-wide network that builds the power of community voice to make food policies more equitable, honor diverse cultures, and help local food economies to flourish"). Startup Circle members were thrilled at our last meeting when the only monolingual Spanish speaker in the group tried her hand at facilitation and it felt like she had been doing it for years! We are incredibly grateful to our interpretation partner, ProGlotto, for making this possible, and we are looking forward to having Founder Nick Magnolia as the featured speaker at our May Learning Circle, which will be on the topic of Language Justice and Language Access. All are invited to attend and learn about these important topics!
In March and April, Healthy Hampshire has been planning some great events with key partners. We worked with the Amherst Mobile Market Planning Committee, Representative Mindy Domb, the Common Share Food Co-op, and Western MA Regenerative Food System to plan "Mobilizing Community Driven Approaches to Food Security" for the end of April. This virtual event, hosted on Zoom and live streamed to Facebook, will be an opportunity for attendees to learn about the challenges around food security in Amherst and find out how they can act to address those challenges. The event will kick off an individual giving campaign for the Amherst Mobile Market via our operational partner, the nonprofit Many Hands Farm Corps.
We have also been working with the Belchertown departments of Planning and Conservation and Recreation on an assessment tour of Belchertown conservation and recreation lands. We are recruiting community members who have disabilities, mobility limitations, or are black, indigenous, or people of color to tour 1 - 2 sites with us and share their feedback about how those sites could be made more accessible to them. We are looking forward to this as an opportunity to get outside, do some community engagement, and develop plans for infrastructure improvements that can be funded by the Community Health Inclusion Index grant that Belchertown was awarded in late 2020.
We continue to build and deepen partnerships through the Hampshire County Food Policy Council, which recently passed a policy on what trainings new members will need to join the council, and will soon decide on vision, mission, aims, domains, and how to award the discretionary budget allotted to the council through the MA Health Policy Commission's MassUP grant. We are looking forward to a monthly Learning Circle training at the end of April in partnership with the Women of Color Health Equity Collective on the topic of Cultural Humility. During one of our recent meeting check-outs for the Hampshire County Food Policy Council Startup Circle, one of the members said "I love everything that is happening! I have so much gratitude and love for everyone’s thinking and ideas [on this committee], and how people have so much respect for people they don’t even know and, as a result, respect for the whole community at large because the work is ultimately serving people."
Finally, the Amherst Mobile Market Planning Committee recently made the final decision that the Amherst Mobile Market will serve the same four sites for the 2021 season that it did in 2020: the affordable housing communities at Butternut Farms and Olympia Oaks, East Hadley Road, as well as the Fort River Elementary School neighborhood. All of these sites are in USDA designated food deserts and are also designated as Environmental Justice communities. The Amherst Mobile Market will continue to offer fresh, locally sourced produce at wholesale prices that can be purchased with SNAP (Food Stamps), the Healthy Incentives Program, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons.
BLANDFORD AND CHESTERFIELD RELEASE WALKING MAPS
Sept. 30, 2020
The Towns of Blandford and Chesterfield have created walking maps that highlight the best routes and loops in their towns for walking, with levels ranging from easy to challenging and terrain that includes sidewalks, roadside shoulders, dirt paths and dirt roads. With funding from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Healthy Hampshire, the maps were created as part of an effort to support people of all ages and abilities to take advantage of one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise: walking. The maps are unique to each town and feature historical, cultural and ecological points of interest in addition to the walking routes. Past maps for Worthington, Chester, Goshen, Huntington and Cummington already exist and are accessible on town websites.
Blandford will be hosting an event in conjunction with the Hilltown Mobile Market on Oct. 9 to showcase the maps to town residents.
BLANDFORD WALKS WITH TOWN ADMINISTRATOR JOSHUA GARCIA
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 9 from 2:00-3:30pm
WHERE: Blandford Town Hall, 1 Russell Stage Rd, Blandford, MA
WHAT: The Blandford Town Administrator, Joshua Garcia, will host a walk around the center of town. Join him for informal conversation, snacks and apple cider donuts. While you’re there, pick up a copy of the Blandford Walking Map, as well as some fresh, Hilltown-grown produce at the last day of the Hilltown Mobile Market! We ask that all participants follow Covid-19 safety protocols by wearing a mask and maintaining 6 feet of social distance.
Mobile Farmers Market Two-Day Retreat
Wed, Nov 6, 2019, 8:30 AM –3:00PM and Thu, Nov 7, 2019, 8:30am - 3:00 PM
Northampton Friends Meetinghouse
43 Center Street, #202
Northampton, MA 01060
About this Event
The Hampshire County Mobile Market Retreat aims to bring together all past, present, and future mobile market partners in Hampshire County and the Hilltowns to:
- Grow and strengthen relationships across the county,
- Determine objectives for a county-wide mobile market implementation plan,
- Prepare for future funding opportunities,
- Understand how our work relates to social justice and equity; and
- Identify opportunities for regional collaboration.
Announcing our Co-Conveners: Grow Food Northampton and Hilltown Community Development
As mobile market operators, Grow Food Northampton and Hilltown Community Development have worked hard over the past two years to bring the mobile farmers market vision into fruition in Northampton and the Hilltowns. As members of the Mobile Market Retreat Planning Committee, they have been invaluable partners in bringing this event together. They will play a key role in advancing the outcomes of the Mobile Market Retreat, and Healthy Hampshire is incredibly grateful to have them on-board as co-conveners.
The Hampshire County Mobile Market Retreat will be packed with opportunities to learn, share ideas, and plan for the future, including:
A Featured Speaker: Jessica del Rosario, Director of Community Initiatives, Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, MA Department of Public Health
- Updates on the successes and learnings of past mobile market seasons from operators and customers
- Breakout sessions facilitated by key partners in Hampshire County mobile market work
- Opportunities to give input on our mobile market values and vision going forward
- To see the full schedule for the event, go here: http://www.healthyhampshire.org/content/mobile-market-retreat-schedule/mm-retreat-schedule.pdf. A printed program with further details will be available at the registration table on the morning of each day.
If you would like to participate, but can't attend the full two-day event, you can contact Caitlin Marquis at (413) 588-5562 or email@example.com for guidance on which parts of the retreat to prioritize.
HILLTOWNS PLAN EVENTS TO CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF WALKING MAPS Oct 10, 2019
Cummington, Huntington and Goshen will host events where residents can pick up a map and learn more about walking in their town
The Towns of Cummington, Huntington and Goshen have created walking maps that highlight the best routes and loops in their towns for walking, with levels ranging from easy to challenging and terrain that includes sidewalks, roadside shoulders, dirt paths and dirt roads. With funding from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Healthy Hampshire, the maps were created as part of an effort to support people of all ages and abilities to take advantage of one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise: walking. The maps are unique to each town and feature historical, cultural and ecological points of interest in addition to the walking routes. Three upcoming events will offer opportunities for Hilltowners to pick up their own map and talk to members of the town committees that helped to put the maps together. See below for event details on each:
Go4Life Family Fun Walk
Saturday, Oct. 19, 10:30am-1:00pm
Stanton Hall, Huntington
For more information:
Huntington COA office
Participants will collect raffle tickets for each route or each time a route is completed. The drawing for raffle prizes will be held at the end of the walk. Those who complete a 1 mile walk will have their name submitted to MCOA for a statewide raffle. All walkers with varying speeds and abilities are welcome to participate in the walk. Check in and pick up of walking maps and bottled water will be at 10:30 a.m. Entertainment will be at 11:00 a.m. featuring Country, Crossover, & Originals by David Housman & Ed Bentley. Free food (Chicken and Salad with Pita Bread or Hot Chili if a cold day) will be served at 12:30 p.m. The raffle prize drawing will be held at 1:00 p.m. and participants must be present to win. Participants are asked to park in the municipal parking lot behind the liquor store on Route 20.
Sunday, October 20, 2:00-4:00pm
38 Main St, Cummington
Enjoy cider, donuts and tours of the Old Parsonage and Historical Museum. Take a walk around the village loop (1.8 miles).
Goshen Town Hall
Sunday, October 27th, 2019
For more information:
Healthy Hampshire Celebration October 3, 2018
On October 3, 2018, Healthy Hampshire brought together over 40 partners working in many sectors and communities throughout Hampshire County and the Hilltowns to share stories of success and envision the future. CES Newsroom did a great write-up of the event here. We also produced a colorful report summarizing the roundtable discussions, which includes ideas for future collaboration.
Posted Oct. 29, 2018
Healthy Hampshire Funds Third Round of Walk Friendly Community Projects, January, 2018
Request for Proposals is Open
Healthy Hampshire releases Request for Proposals for enhancing physical activity and town center design. Proposals are due by Sept. 22, 2017. Please contact us for more information.
Posted August 3, 2017
Article: Complete Streets Guidance from Urban to Rural
Wayne Feiden, director of the Office of Planning and Sustainability for the City of Northampton, authored an article for the Mass Municipal Association about how the concept and application of complete streets has evolved over time in the more rural parts of the state such as Northampton, and the path the City has taken to prioritize safe and accessible infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. He also details the role that Healthy Hampshire and the Mass in Motion program have had in encouraging and supporting that evolution, including the creation of the Walk/Bike Northampton Plan and the Urban, Rural and Suburban Complete Streets Design Manual.
Posted July 17, 2017
Huntington Town Center Walk Audit [Rescheduled from April 25 due to rain]
Tuesday, May 2 from 4-6PM
Meet at Stanton Hall at 4pm
For more information, see the flyer
Posted April 25, 2017
Healthy Hampshire Funds Walk Friendly Community Projects, March 2017
Posted March 3, 2017
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter Archive
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter: Fall 2016
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter: Spring 2016
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter: Winter 2015
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter: Summer 2015
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter: Fall 2014
Healthy Hampshire Newsletter: Spring 2017
Community Health Events in the Region: Spring 2017