Co-op and Land Trust Join to Create a Market for Local Farms and Consumers

Co-op and Land Trust Join to Create a Market for Local Farms and Consumers

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and the North Quabbin Community Co-op have announced a partnership to create a new local market for the consumers and farmers of the North Quabbin region.

The partners are actively seeking a site in downtown Orange to serve as the new storefront and headquarters of the food co-op. The new store will provide greater visibility, extra floor space to expand inventory and product offerings, and a street-level entrance and parking.

“We are building a community-owned retail food market open to everyone that will allow customers to purchase more food from local farms and producers. This collaboration with Mount Grace strengthens our ability to provide that vital link from farmer to consumer, ensuring more local control over the food we eat,” said Amy Borezo, President of the Board of Directors of the North Quabbin Community Co-op.

The Trust and the Co-op announced their new initiative to a full house at the North Quabbin premier of Steve Alves’s film Food for Change this weekend in Orange. The film looks at the current resurgence of food co-operatives in America, and their unique historic place in the economic and political landscape—profiling several American food co-ops, including Green Fields Market in Franklin County.

“Mount Grace sees this partnership with the Co-op as a strategic farmland conservation tool to address the gaps in our local food system and keep our region’s farmers on the land,” said Mount Grace Executive Director Leigh Youngblood. “Increasingly, land trusts are becoming aware that land conservation alone is only part of the solution to keep our farms in production. Increasing access to affordable farmland, processing and storage infrastructure, local markets, and distribution networks, is just as important.”

Under the proposed partnership Mount Grace will purchase a downtown commercial building and lease space to the Co-op for its retail operation. Both groups will collaborate to make the building a center for the community and a site for activities that demonstrate and strengthen the connections between local farms, local food, and the local economy. The market will provide healthy, local food for co-op members and shoppers, including distributing co-op shares to seniors and low-income residents of the North Quabbin region.

“Helping to create a new retail market for local farmers and food producers is a natural progression of Mount Grace’s mission to benefit the rural character of our local economy,” added Youngblood. “This collaboration offers the whole community easier access to healthy, local food while helping to keep our local farms viable and in active production. Establishing a downtown retail outlet for produce from farms we protect helps strengthen the connections between our farmers and their neighbors.”

Fundraising for the new project has already begun, with the Co-op raising $50,000 since July, including more than $8,000 raised recently during their Kickstarter campaign. At the same time, Mount Grace has begun to raise $25,000 to match a $25,000 donation already received for start-up costs towards the purchase and maintenance of a commercial building in downtown Orange.

The North Quabbin Community Co-op ( was founded in 2009 to provide healthy food at an affordable price while building community, supporting local agriculture, and respecting the natural environment. Since 2009, the Co-op has purchased over $100,000 worth of produce from local farms and producers.

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust ( is a regional land trust that serves 23 towns in Franklin and Worcester counties and is supported by more than 1,000 members and by private, state and federal grants. It protects significant natural, agricultural and scenic areas and encourages land stewardship in Massachusetts for the benefit of the environment, the economy and future generations. Since 1986, Mount Grace has helped protect more than 27,000 acres.


Support our work by volunteering or making a donation.