Strengthening the food system requires access to resources, including capital, a trained workforce, marketing, and infrastructure. We are working to build those resources and connect them with those who need them.
The Grow Athol-Orange Food Markets (GOALFM) initiative works to support the economic well-being of our local farms and food businesses. The group has focused on supporting the organizers and vendors at the Athol and Orange Farmers Markets and the Quabbin Harvest food co-op located in downtown Orange. Through this initiative, members have:
- co-created a marketing campaign that included newspaper articles about “featured farmers
- developed newspaper advertisements and coupons
- increased signage for the markets
- produced a local food brochure
- made the markets more family-friendly by incorporating a “Kids’ Corner” tent offering kids activities run by different community groups
- organized to hire a new market manager for the Athol Farmers Market.
Members are working to generate more local support for the markets and have developed a GOALFM strategic plan that is in its second year of implementation.
- Promote agritourism and local food culture.
- Develop niche market opportunities for food products.
- Promote workforce development for farm/food related jobs.
- Form a network of local food businesses to share resources and support the local food economy.