ABHC’s Food Access team assesses and addresses gaps in healthy food access through direct programming, network coordination, and resource connection. We streamline information from neighborhood, city, and statewide partners to create accessible tools and increase access.
Brighton Farmers Market
Since 2016, the Brighton Farmers Market has offered locally grown produce, fresh fish, sustainable meats, and specialty foods.
Through our 2015 community food access needs assessment process, community members identified a farmers market as a top priority to improve food access, and ABHC responded. ABHC established the Brighton Farmers Market in 2016 in partnership with ABCD Neighborhood Opportunity Center, Brighton Main Streets, and Presentation School Foundation. Since 2019, ABHC has solely managed the market on Brighton Common, and has grown the market’s product variety and access to SNAP/HIP program and coupon programs. The market prioritizes up-and-coming vendors and businesses; the majority of our market vendors are owned by women and people of color. . The market hosts a Concerts in the Common series in partnership with the Harvard Ed Portal. The Brighton Farmers Market has become an essential part of the community, and the only community gathering space in the neighborhood that was open and accessible during the Covid-19 pandemic. We celebrate the joyful diversity of our community where folks can gather, engage, smile, shop locally, and enjoy music. This success would not be possible without the years of support we have received from supporters including Brighton Main Streets, Charlesview Inc., Hamilton Company, the Harvard Ed Portal, and Harvard University.
From June to November each year, ABHC offers an affordable farm share program with discounted rates for those who use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The State of MA offers an additional benefit to SNAP members, called HIP (Healthy Incentive Program) which puts money directly back on your EBT card when you purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables from a HIP retailer.
A Farm Share, also known as CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a box of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from a Massachusetts farmer. The produce is pre-selected by the farm and based on what’s growing and available the week of a farm share pick up. The size of a share varies throughout the season, starting out lighter at the beginning with more leafy greens and becoming more robust and varied as the season progresses.
ABHC partners with the Brighton Allston Congregational Church as the host site and Farmer Dave’s in Dracut, MA to offer this affordable local food option for SNAP beneficiaries to use their HIP benefits.
To learn more or join the farm share program, please email ABHC’s Food Access Coordinator, Jessi at email@example.com.
Food Delivery Network Program
The Allston Brighton Volunteer Food Delivery Network was launched in March 2020 in partnership with neighborhood community based organizations and in a direct response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This was in an effort to support those households without access to food who were the most vulnerable and homebound. We activated our network of volunteers and local food pantries and created a simple referral system in which organizations requested deliveries to households in need, and volunteers assigned themselves to a household. Over 120 volunteers and 19 organizations completed over 2,500 deliveries to 189 different households since the start of this program.
In January 2023 ABHC transitioned our 14 remaining delivery households to the ABCD Food Delivery Program in partnership with Stop & Shop (this program is currently not accepting any more households). This transition guarantees residents will have reliable access to healthy fresh food each and every month.
ABHC is a leader in connecting community based organizations with one another to increase expanded food access in the Allston Brighton area. This helps reduce program overlaps in the neighborhood and focus on filling food gaps as a collaborative network. We host several food access neighborhood check in calls throughout the year to engage with our network and residents on ways we collectively can improve food equity in the neighborhood.
If you are interested in getting involved in our Food Access efforts email ABHC’s Food Access Coordinator, Jessi, at firstname.lastname@example.org.