Farming For Our Neighbors

There is a public health crisis in the City of Lawrence. The incidence of obesity, diabetes, and premature cardiovascular disease are twice the state average. And the incidence of childhood obesity is the highest in Massachusetts--an astounding 47%. These significant health disparities are rooted in long-standing and worsening economic conditions in the city. Also contributing to health disparities is the status of Lawrence as a "Food Desert". There is a single supermarket in Lawrence, a city of 76,000 people! And for many residents without cars, that market and nearby stores in Methuen and North Andover are a difficult bus or cab ride away. Therefore, residents without a car frequently settle for over-priced produce and inexpensive, filling foods that are high in sugar and fat which are available in abundance at the bodegas, small corner stores and fast food restaurants that are confidently located in every part of the city. Food choices in these venues are limited, expensive, and include too much junk food. Produce is often three times the cost of supermarket prices. So the poorest in Lawrence are likely to pay much more for low quality, over processed food. Access to good, healthy, affordable food is a serious problem in Lawrence. Neighbors in Need (NIN) is addressing that challenge on a number of levels--providing healthier food, offering access to healthy food in the neighborhoods, and offering education to recipients, donors, and local youth. Our Farming for our Neighbors program provided 70,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown produce at our pantries last summer. Our partnerships with Johnson's Highland View Farm, The Giving Garden, Pleasant Valley Gardens, Farmer Dave's CSA, World Peas CSA, Groundwork Lawrence, Project Bread, and the Forest Foundation have played a significant role in our ability to bring better food to the families of Lawrence. We also receive Massachusetts grown produce through the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistant Program (MEFAP) and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. NIN has focused on bringing youth to volunteer at the farm to raise awareness of healthy food sources and the importance of continuing to support local farms, ensuring continued access to fresh, sustainably grown healthy fruits and vegetables.

Our Fresh Food Partners

  • Johnson's Highland View Farm Windham, NH
  • The Giving Garden
  • Pleasant Valley Farm in Methuen
  • Farmer Dave's CSA members
  • Smolak Farm
  • World Peas CSA members
  • Groundwork Lawrence Green Team
  • Boston Hill Farm
  • Local gardeners who share apples, beans, tomatoes and other fresh vegetables.

Please contact us if you have a team that would like to donate from your garden or work on the farm.

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