By Anna Gilbert-Muhammad, NOFA/Mass Food Access Coordinator

Early spring gives rise to planning for gardens: community gardens, backyard gardens, and school gardens are prepping their sites for planting.  In this time of the coronavirus, food insecurity issues have increased in communities across the country.  Community gardens are becoming not just a novelty, but a key source of produce and nutrition.  For communities of color that already have health disparities and few areas to access healthy food, the garden may now be the best place to provide for their households.

NOFA/Mass has an ongoing program with the youth and families of Home City Housing in Springfield, MA to assist with the self determination to grow healthy, nutritious food. Through programming that has been funded by grants and individual donors, Home City Housing and NOFA/Mass have been able to work with 15 youths to develop organic growing practices at their Tapley Street Apartment Complex.  As partners, NOFA/Mass and Home City Housing have worked together to create an interactive learning program for these youth leaders that covers carbon sequestration, no-till gardening, soil fertility and food nutrition/cooking information.

Donations of goods or funds are always accepted, and this year we’ve developed a tool and supply drive to increase growing capacity at the garden.

Here is a wish list of needed items:

  • Cover crop seeds
  • Lawn mower
  • Season extension items (row cover, hoops)
  • Small, portable greenhouse
  • Compost delivery (4 yards)
  • Raspberry bushes (3)
  • Blackberry bushes (3)

If you are able to donate and/or deliver any of the above items (or others) to Springfield, MA, please contact Anna Gilbert-Muhammad, Equity Director and Food Access Coordinator at