Creating employment through access to healthy food


Creating employment through access to healthy food

November 12th, 2014

Orange, MA

The doors are open at Quabbin Harvest, a cooperatively owned market located in 

downtown Orange.  Formerly called the North Quabbin Community Cooperative, 

Quabbin Harvest offers grocery items, produce, bulk goods and more at their 

location at 12 N. Main St.

While creating access to local products, fruits and vegetables, Quabbin Harvest is 

also creating local employment.  

The store was previously run on an all-volunteer basis, but since it’s expansion into 

downtown, it has employed six people, five of whom live in Orange.  

“Building community is a part of our mission, and this means going beyond just 

buying and selling food.  The more jobs we can provide, the more money stays in our 

local economy,” says Board member Michael Skillicorn.  

Quabbin Harvest has also partnered with Community Action, a local non-profit 

dedicated to promoting economic justice and improving the quality of life for people 

with lower incomes, to provide job training and experience to local youth.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program is just one of Community Action 

Youth Programs.  Here in the North Quabbin, young people between the ages of 17 -

21 who are curious about their future and have the desire to pursue their goals 

around employment and education voluntarily agree to intensive case management 

where the youth work one-on-one with a case manager, participate in occupational 

training, work-based learning experiences and leadership development 

opportunities.  Participants also receive supportive services, advocacy, and 


Community Action provides an hourly wage for the youth, Job Readiness Training 

workshops, weekly site visits and ongoing support to the youth and their 

supervisor.  Not only do youth gain valuable work experience, they make healthy 

connections with caring adults in their community.

This year 6 local businesses agreed to partner with Community Action Youth 

Programs to provide meaningful internships: Athol YMCA, Athol Bird and Nature 

Club, Quabbin Valley Health Care, AOTV, the Bohemian Kitchen, Clear View 

Composting and Quabbin Harvest.

Monica LeMay, an Orange native, found the Community Action Youth Program 

through a friend and has been working with Quabbin Harvest since June of this year.  

“I’ve been working at Quabbin Harvest since it was at the old location, so I’ve been 

helping to build the new store.  I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to build a 

business,” says LeMay.  

The WIA program is now accepting applications for new enrollments.  Contact 

Maylea Spence, WIA Program Coordinator at 413-774-7028 ext 796.  There are 

some eligibility requirements.

For more information, contact:

Michael Skillicorn, Board member of Quabbin Harvest.



Helen Franchi, North Quabbin WIA Case Manager for Community Action


978-544-8109 ext 772

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