Workshop series focuses on access to local food and food justice

By SCOTT MERZBACH – Staff Writer- Thursday, July 24, 2014

AMHERST — Ensuring all residents have access to locally grown organic food will be the subject of a series of workshops that begins with a kickoff celebration at the “Food for All” garden at the University of Massachusetts Sunday afternoon.

This garden, which is in its first season, is designed to fill gaps in food donations for places like the Amherst Survival Center and the Not Bread Alone soup kitchen.

The produce grown and harvested aims to meets the needs of the community based on projections from both meal sites, said Sarah Berquist, who co-manages the garden with Cate Elliott.

“Our hope is to serve as a space for people from the Not Bread Alone and Amherst Survival Center communities, as well as the general public who like to garden but don’t have space, and/or people who are looking to learn more about growing organic food through hands-on experience,” Berquist said in an email.

The event takes place at 1 p.m. at the garden, located at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center, 911 North Pleasant St.

Anyone who wants to assist at the garden, and learn more about organic food production, can drop by during the summer Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The workshops continue July 30 at 5:30 p.m. at Hitchcock Center for the Environment, 525 South Pleasant St., when a panel of educators, farmers and community organizers will discuss how to bring more local food to residents. The panel is followed by a potluck dinner starting at 7 p.m.

Aug. 18, at 5 p.m., people can practice skills for preserving food, such as fermentation, canning and making pesto. This will take place at the Not Bread Alone meal site in the First Congregational Church, 165 Main St.

For more information, visit or send email Berquist at


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