Partners Choose New Building for North Quabbin Food Co-op

For Immediate Release Thursday, March 20, 2014

For information please contact:

David Kotker, Development Manager, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust

(978) 248-2055 x 19, or kotker@mountgrace.org

Amy Borezo, Chair, North Quabbin Community Coop

aborezo@gmail.com

 

PARTNERS CHOOSE NEW BUILDING FOR NORTH QUABBIN FOOD CO-OP

 

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and the North Quabbin Community Co-op announced the signing of a purchase and sale agreement for the former Workers’ Credit Union Building at 12 North Main Street in Orange.   The building, which Mount Grace will purchase, will serve as the retail store and headquarters of the food co-op.  
 

“This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen our land conservation work in an innovative way,” said Mount Grace Executive Director Leigh Youngblood.  “This partnership is a natural next step to supporting our local farms by providing them with a robust local market for their produce.  The second floor will be used in part for activities and education about food systems, conservation, and healthy communities.”  
 

Helping to keep farms economically vibrant is important for conserved and non-conserved farmland alike. Land trusts across the Commonwealth and the country are beginning to integrate farm conservation with regional food systems planning. Access to land, food processing and storage infrastructure, transportation, cooking & fresh food preparation, and composting are all essential to getting local food from the farm to the market to your table.
 

The new store will provide greater visibility for the Co-op, which has been operating since 2009 at the Orange Innovation Center, and will also provide extra floor space to expand inventory and product offerings, café seating for coffee and snacks, and a street-level entrance.  The Co-op plans a community-owned retail food market open to everyone that 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.
 

"We want to increase access to healthy, local food for everyone in the North Quabbin,” explained Co-op Board President Amy Borezo.  “This site is an ideal space for the Co-op to grow, while revitalizing an unused building on Main Street."
 

The 5,000 square foot building has been vacant since 2009.  Planned renovations include refinishing the floors and repainting, as well as cleaning and landscaping the adjoining parking area.  Volunteers have already signed on to help, and the Co-op has secured the services of local licensed contractors to take on the jobs needed to bring the building up to code and ready for retail.  
 

“This is a real game changer for our district,” said State Representative Denise Andrews.  “I am absolutely thrilled that the Co-op and Mount Grace can come together to advance affordable good quality food produced locally.  I invite everyone to visit and support the Co-op, which will provide healthy food choices for all of us and great benefits to downtown Orange.”
 

Under the new partnership Mount Grace will lease the first floor 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 Co-op will be a wonderful asset to the center of Orange,” added Paul Anderson, co-owner of Trailhead Outdoor Gear and Gifts, at 1 South Main Street in Orange.  “We have partnered with both the Co-op and Mount Grace on several occasions and look forward to more direct collaboration. There is exciting retail potential in town and we are eager to share it with the Co-op.”
 

Contributions are needed to support the new project, and may be made to Mount Grace or to the Co-op.  More information is available at www.mountgrace.org and at www.nqeats.org.  
 

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 serving 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.

 

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