Promote and leverage U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants and services, and provide technical assistance for grant applications and meeting program requirements.
MFSC regularly updates Action items with information about related projects, organizations, legislation, news, and other activities. If you have a suggestion for an update, please email Director Winton Pitcoff.
Image courtesy of Jane Janovsky
Jane Janovsky makes and markets artisanal jams, made primarily from fruit she harvests from local farms in the Pioneer Valley. She's certified by the state as a safe food handler, pays her town a fee each year in order to be permitted to cook her jams in her commercially certified home kitchen, and then has to pay fees and fill out forms for each town where she wants to participate in an event or market. With no uniform certification process from town-to-town, and no reciprocity or blanket approval available for small scale processors, the paperwork and fees are very burdensome for businesspeople like Jane.
Related Actions: Farming 2.1.2, Farming 2.1.3, Farming 2.3.1, Processing 3.2.1, Processing 3.2.2, Processing 3.2.3, Processing 3.2.4, Processing 3.2.5, Processing 3.2.6, Processing 3.2.7, Processing 3.2.8, Processing 3.2.9, Processing 3.2.10, Distribution 6.2.1, Distribution 6.2.2, Distribution 6.2.3, Distribution 6.2.4
Image courtesy of Lucas Mulder
Entering the kitchen, your senses might first be filled with the spiced aroma of Fresh Food Generation’s jerk chicken sauce. But at CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK) it’s not just about the food – it’s also about the people. As foods are chopped, cooked, baked, and canned, CWK is hatching and growing culinary businesses and jobs, working to strengthen the local economy and build our local food system, particularly for people who experience racial, economic and social inequality.
Over 50 food businesses are currently using the kitchen, employing over 125 people, and are being connected to business development training and tools through CWK and its partner organizations. CWK also offers full-time, permanent employment to residents in its surrounding neighborhoods where long-term disinvestment has led to limited economic opportunities and to poverty. Since opening in 2009, CWK has launched 85 businesses and spurred creation of over 400 local jobs. CommonWealth Kitchen is causing a ripple effect, supporting viable culinary jobs and businesses in its kitchen and in the greater food system, and spurring reinvestment in communities.
Related Actions: Processing 3.1.1, Processing 3.1.2, Processing 3.1.3, Processing 3.1.4, Processing 3.1.5, Processing 3.2.1, Processing 3.2.2, Processing 3.2.3, Processing 3.2.4, Processing 3.2.5, Processing 3.2.6, Processing 3.2.7, Processing 3.2.8, Processing 3.2.9, Processing 3.2.10, Processing 3.3.1, Processing 3.3.2, Processing 3.3.3, Processing 3.3.4, Processing 3.3.5, Processing 3.3.6, Processing 3.3.7, Workforce 1.6.2
Image courtesy of Nathan L’Etoille
Craft brewing businesses are springing up across the state – at recent count there were over 60 craft brewers in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Grown and Fresher website. Savvy farmers, such as Nate L’Etoille at Four Star Farm in the Connecticut River Valley, are growing hops to tap into (pun intended) this growing industry. In 2014 Four Star Farm’s harvest yielded about 2,500 pounds of dried hops, and sold out quickly to breweries across New England. Demand for more hops pushed Four Star Farm to add ten new acres of hops to their existing six-acre hop crops.
With craft brewers seeking specific varieties of hops to achieve just the right nuance to their beers, Four Star Farm grows several different varietals whose flavor profiles are influenced by the soil and growing conditions of the region. In addition to hops, this fourteenth-generation, sustainable farm also grows grains, freshly milled flour, and turf.