Daily News

Gardening the Community Slates Fundraising Breakfast

SPRINGFIELD — Gardening the Community (GTC), a youth-led urban farming program, is celebrating 15 years of change on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Springfield with a pancake breakfast, launching the group’s annual fund drive.

The event will take place at Trinity Church, located at 361 Sumner Ave. in Springfield, on Saturday Nov. 4 from 10 – 12 and will feature GTC’s own Harvest Pancakes as well as locally grown and homemade items, all cooked up by GTC youth, Board members and volunteers.  There will also be raffles featuring local businesses.  Guests will be invited to make a contribution in support of GTC’s youth leadership development and food justice work.

The group’s goal is to raise $60,000 to support its youth leadership development program and the opening of a permanent Farm Stand at their new Walnut Street Farm in Springfield. The event’s  theme — Generation Germination — highlights the impact of the group’s youth development work on Springfield and beyond.

“We’re at an exciting point in our organization’s growth,” said Ibrahim Ali, GTC’s co-director.  “Our Walnut Street Farm will be GTC’s permanent base in the community for years to come. Imagine a permanent farm stand providing affordable, locally grown food to city families and run by youth leaders, and a greenhouse growing food year round for the community. All this and more is possible with the community’s support.”

The Nov. 4 Pancake Breakfast and campaign launch will spotlight GTC’s growth on Walnut Street, the leadership of local youth, and the importance of the movement for food justice in Springfield and beyond.

“Food justice is about ensuring that all families, no matter where they live or how much money they have, have access to healthy, affordable food,” said Liz O’Gilvie, GTC’s Board chair.  “At GTC we work to create that through developing our community’s largest untapped resource — our young people.”


Advance tickets are $5 per person, $3 per child under 13, and can be ordered at gtcspringfield.org. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. Event sponsors include River Valley Market,  the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation, Whole Foods, Equal Exchange, Mi Tierra, Home Inspections by Marco, Cold Spring Orchard, Our Journey Fitness/Garden of Eat’n, Wheelhouse Farm Truck, EPICenter and Deans Beans.

Gardening the Community began in 2002 as a small garden on Springfield’s Central Street working with just 5 youth. The organization is now a year-round food justice and urban farming program operating on three sites, including the farm the program is developing on Walnut Street in the heart of the Old Hill and Six Corners neighborhoods. The group distributes 23,000 pounds of locally grown produce each year to Springfield families, grown by its youth and by neighboring farms. Families can buy GTC’s affordable, pesticide-free produce at a pop-up farm stand on Thursdays on Hancock Street, as well as at the City Soul Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. Youth leadership development is integrated into all of the organization’s work.