The Packet Post Nourishing the Northshore: Connecting Through Food

Nourishing the Northshore: Connecting Through Food

by: Jessica Harrington

Newburyport, MA

When was the last time you didn’t know where your next healthy meal might come from? It is likely that more people in your area than you think have a limited access to healthy and affordable food. Nonprofit organization Nourishing the Northshore, has distributed more than 20,000 lbs of produce to local food pantries in an effort to create food equity. Have you heard of this nonprofit yet? If not, you will soon. Nourishing the Northshore was started in 2015, inspired by a small decision to bring fresh donations to a local food pantry. And they’ve been doing grassroots work every since, literally. Nourishing the Northshore has developed twenty neighborhood gardens where they grow their own fresh produce, and are partnered with six local farms and gardens in the area. They’re on a mission to create food equity, and uplift the entire community in the process. And after three years, the organization seems to be intertwined in the fabric of the greater Newburyport community already.

During each growing season, Nourishing the Northshore distributes produce throughout the greater Newburyport area with their VEGOUT Mobile Markets, and serves over two hundred families weekly. Their volunteer network consists of over 45 individuals, who have donated more than three hundred hours of free labor to farms in the area. The organization has raised both awareness and initiative for the value of a community food system, and has implemented both systematic and short term solutions toward strengthening a relationship with locally sourced food. A strong community food system is meant not only to support members of low income brackets and minorities through food equity, but also supports the community as a whole through the education and local resources needed for longevity. Their latest and also their largest project, the Northshore Organic Community Garden, aims to accomplish these goals.

But can a Community Garden really do all that much for the community? The gals behind Nourishing the Northshore believe so. Beyond their healthy cooking classes, gardening workshops, community events, and oh yeah, the food- their goals for the Northshore Organic Community Garden further include implementing many more public gardening plots, a community greenhouse, community wells, and also providing electricity. And still, their mission doesn’t end there. Rather, this organization promotes an even more intrinsic value that manifests itself through the fulfillment of uplifting one another. Nourishing the Northshore promotes a deeper connection between members of the community, but also a deeper connection for individuals themselves. Pam Palombo, Co-Founder of NNS, says it truly is all about “nourishing” the community, and she emphasizes that getting fresh air and connecting with nature improves individuals’ mental health. This may even likely explain the community’s excitement for this project and the support that the organization has been given. After attending a small meeting at Newburyport City Hall with other community members and listening to this group of driven, ambitious women, it was evident that they themselves, seem to be excited and fulfilled with the work they do. Throughout their mission to improve the community’s health through food, and to support the local farmers and economy, they made it clear that their motives behind providing a community garden are even greater than helping people feed themselves and their families.

Nourishing the Northshore’s strong ties to the community and their committed work seems to suggest that NNS will not be going anywhere, but rather continuing to grow exponentially. But they have their work cut out for them. With a deadline coming up on June 27th, they continue to work toward their goal of raising $50,000 for the building of the Northshore Organic Community Garden. Currently at almost $12,600, they hope to reach their goal in time for Mass Development to match their funds, bringing this $50,000 to $100,000. Do you think that Nourishing the Northshore can reignite a lost connection between us and the food on our plates? Will they create a significantly healthier community and economy? With big agriculture and GMO farming taking supermarkets by storm, it seems like food has become a bit far out from the communities consuming it. That being said, and with food being the center of our dinner tables, it might make sense that our food could be the center to a number of other valuable elements within a prosperous community. If you are interested in helping NNS reach their goal to fund the Northshore Organic Community Garden, you can go to Patronicity.com/NNS to donate and learn more.

Site Drawing of NNS Organic Community Garden

      Created by Allison Soupcoff

Jessica Harrington

Jessica Harrington

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