The Groton Neighborhood Food Project began at a community “Soup Night” organized to brainstorm ideas about providing a stable, steady source of food for families in need. In March of 2014, Bobbie Spiegelman gathered a group of folks including Groton Local members, community leaders and volunteers familiar with food collection to learn about the Ashland (Oregon) Food Project and to decide if Groton could launch a similar program. Four volunteers expressed interest in organizing their neighborhoods for food collection and the Groton Neighborhood Food Project was off and running.

The Food Project staged its kick-off at the summer Groton Farmers Market in 2014 where a group of volunteers hosted a Groton Local food table. Produce from home gardens and food purchased from local farmers at the Market were delivered to Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, Inc, Groton’s local food pantry. The colorful posters, bright green bags and discussions with the volunteers attracted many to the table. The enthusiasm for the project was terrific and a wonderful springboard for the Project’s subsequent pilot program.

In October, 2014, under the tutelage of John Javna of the Ashland Food Project, the four-neighborhood pilot was launched. A Steering Committee was organized and ground work laid for partnering with Loaves & Fishes. The success of the pilot prompted the addition of ten new neighborhoods for the April 11, 2015 pickup.

As of April, 2018 we have close to 40 neighborhoods and, since our inception in October, 2014, have donated about 50,000 lbs. of food that would be valued at $85,000. Our first delivery in 2014 was 747 lbs. The Pantry served 822 families last year from the towns of Groton, Ayer, Shirley, Harvard, Littleton, and Devens.

Many more in our area are food insecure. Each one of us doing a little really adds up to impressive numbers. Groton Neighborhood Food Projects looks forward to the continued growth of the Food Project with the goal of ensuring an adequate supply of healthy food for our local neighbors in need.

-Sally Hensley

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