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Mass Local Food Brings Farm Fresh Food to You

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

 

Mass Local Food is a cooperative dedicated to bringing farm fresh food to you.

With the warm summer weather comes a desire to eat healthy and get in touch with the outdoors, something Mass Local Food cooperative has been dedicated to since 2009. While the area organization is small, President Kelley O’Conner says it’s growing in leaps and bounds.

“We’re providing a way for people to purchase from local farmers,” O’Conner said. Mass Local Food purchases from over 40 local farms for everything from veggies to coffee to meat. “We all come to it for different reasons. Our vision and our goal is to support local farmers so they don’t go out of business and for buyers so they don’t have to drive to so many famers’ markets. It allows buyers to have more selection and farmer only has to go to one spot.”

The organization is located in Westminster and is entirely volunteer-based. They currently have two pick-up points in Worcester – Briarwood Retirement Community and UMass Memorial. They distribute fresh produce to 350 customers year round on the first Friday of every month.

No Pink Slime Here

“Certainly the biggest benefit now right now is a safety factor,” O’Conner said. These are small businesses. You know your farmer. You know your prices. You’re not going to get pink slime. It’s not big factory farming.”

Besides the health and safety benefits, O’Conner said that the taste is an added bonus… and her dog appreciates the local food, too.

“I didn’t know it would taste that good when I got local meat. I buy my dog’s treats there, and she loves them,” she said with a laugh. “It’s not just the taste. It’s also the feeling of security of buying from people you know and knowing you’re supporting them. Some of the farmers have told me how much Mass Local has done to keep them in business and make it a viable business.”

Vendors

Mass Local Food does business with many local farms including Maple Heights Farm, Open Meadow Farm for their meats.

“We do sell a lot of meat. It’s one of the only ways that people can get locally raised meat in the area,” O’Conner said. “Those two farms have been with us the longest.”

The co-op also offers produce from Glimpses of New England Past, Honeybee Bakery, Good 4 You Tea, Westfield Farms, Smith Country Cheese, and Robinson's Farm, just to name a few.

Building One Step at a Time

O’Conner has been happy to see Mass Local Food grow as much as it has and hope to continue to see it thrive, but for now they are still a small organization trying to spread the word.

“Education and community outreach is something we would like to do, but we’re all volunteer based. If we do anything, it’s because someone decides to get out and to it on their time,” she said. “We have done booths at events we care about. We also participated at the UMass Local Sustainability Fair recently and have been invited to the Green Day Fair in Framingham.

“In the long term I’d love to see a local, store-front building in every town including Worcester, but that’s probably 20 years out,” she said. “Short term, it would be great if Worcester could have a food co-op that promoted local food.”
 

 

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