ABHC’s Food Access team assesses and addresses gaps in healthy food access through direct programming, network coordination, and resource connection. We operate the Brighton Farmers Market, a CSA/Farm Share Program, the Allston-Brighton Food Delivery Network Program. We streamline information from neighborhood, city, and statewide partners to create accessible tools and increase access.
Since 2016, the Brighton Farmers Market has offered locally grown produce, fresh fish, sustainable meats, and specialty foods.
ABHC established the Brighton Farmers in 2016 with community partners in response to a neighborhood needs assessment suggesting that the community of Allston-Brighton needed access to more fresh local food. By 2022, the market has grown its vendor capacity hosting a variety of diverse food vendors. Our vendors accept SNAP/HIP, WIC, senior coupons, and the City of Boston’s coupon program, and we provide interpretation on-site to ensure greater access. We prioritize up-and-coming vendors and businesses; the majority of our vendors are women and BIPOC owned. We host a Concerts in the Common series in partnership with Brighton Main Streets and the Harvard Ed Portal.
Each week dozens of fresh food vendors and community-based organizations attract hundreds of shoppers. 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 Brighton Main Streets, Charlesview Inc., Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Hamilton Company, the Harvard Ed Portal, and Harvard University.
ABHC proudly offers an equitable farm share program with discounted rates for those who are on SNAP using HIP benefits, which is a SNAP rebate for locally grown fruits and vegetables.
A farm share or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), is a membership program for residents who pick up a box of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from a Massachusetts farmer twice each month at a neighborhood location. The farm delivers the boxes of produce, which are pre-selected and based on what’s growing and available that week. The size of a share varies throughout the season, becoming more robust and varied as the season progresses.
ABHC partners with Farmer Dave’s in Dracut, MA to offer this affordable option to access healthy food from June through October at the Brighton Allston Congregational Church. The program is specifically for SNAP/HIP recipients to increase their use of and access to a new healthy food resource in a less resourced section of the neighborhood.
To join the farm share program, please email ABHC’s Food Access Coordinator, Jessi, at email@example.com.
Food Delivery Network Program
In March 2020, ABHC strategized with the neighborhood bicycle collective, CommonWheels, to create a food delivery system by activating their network of cyclists to pick up food from neighborhood pantries and deliver to residents who were isolating. CommonWheels recruited and onboarded volunteers and ABHC coordinated with the ABCD and the Brighton Allston Congregational Church food pantries to establish contactless pick-up and ensure Covid-safe protocols. (Later in spring 2020, the Oak Square YMCA opened as an emergency food distribution site and ABHC began weekly deliveries from that site.) ABHC operated a simple referral system through which its network of organizations contacted ABHC staff with a request for delivery to a household. ABHC has continued to coordinate the program and volunteers and has completed over 2,000 deliveries.
Volunteer with the Food Delivery Network Program
ABHC has been a leader in connecting community-based organizations with one another to increase expanded food access in the Allston Brighton area. We do this to help 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 Allston-Brighton area.
If you are interested in getting involved in our Food Access meetings, email ABHC’s Food Access Coordinator, Jessi, at firstname.lastname@example.org.