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Everett Community Growers receives grant

Award supports healthy food equity research in Everett

Mayor Carlo DeMaria is proud to announce that Everett Community Growers (ECG), a program of the Everett Community Health Partnership (ECHP), has received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) to help Everett residents and organizations to lay the groundwork for a Community Food Assessment (CFA) this year. The aim of the CFA will be to improve the community’s food system and increase access to healthy food. ECG, with support of the City of Everett and other partners, will gather information about residents’ perceptions of the Everett food environment and seek to better understand their current shopping behaviors.

Since 2010, ECG has been working to improve health outcomes and increase civic engagement through community gardening and urban farming initiatives. In its seven years of operation, ECG has significantly expanded its efforts and leadership in its food justice initiatives, and it now operates two community gardens with more than 30 plots, and as of 2016 it also operates a quarter-acre community farm, at which it empowers youths in growing food for a local food bank.

The funds awarded by NEGEF will help ECG in developing multilingual outreach and survey materials, and in securing interpretation services, as part of ECG’s efforts to engage Everett residents from a diversity of backgrounds in conversations about improving healthy food options in Everett. The award will enable ECG to build on and expand the organization’s history of community engagement as the organization begins CFA research. With so much racial and cultural diversity in Everett, being able to do outreach and research in multiple languages is imperative to ECG’s inclusive approach toward assessing the Everett food environment.

“I am so proud that the city of Everett was recently named the most diverse municipality in Massachusetts,” said DeMaria. “These funds are critical to ensuring that all our residents are made aware of the availability of healthy, fresh, locally grown produce, and also to educate the public about how they can join or participate in our urban farm or our community gardens.”

The inclusive outreach made possible by the NEGEF award will contribute to the eventual development of a community food action plan, for which ECG is currently seeking additional funding. Once funded, this plan will provide program and policy recommendations for addressing pressing and persistent food access and equity issues through a long-term, systems-focused approach.

Please contact Emily Nink with questions or volunteer inquiries: emilynink@gmail.com.

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