Hilltown Voices: Mobile market considers additional sites for summer

  • In this 2015 photo, Bob Labrie stands on the ice of Hammond Pond after setting up the 2015 “Goshen Meltdown” flag. Tickets are now on sale for this year’s 16th annual meltdown, which gives people a chance to bet on when the 69-pound cement block will sink through the melting ice. The winner keeps half of the proceeds, with the other half going to charity. file photo

For the Gazette
Published: 2/14/2020 3:21:43 PM
Modified: 2/14/2020 3:21:30 PM

In the summer of 2019, the Hilltown Mobile Market distributed close to $9,000 of Hilltown-grown produce, increasing the amount of fresh food consumption in the area by 31%.

Now, after a successful pilot season with locations in Worthington and Huntington, the market is looking to expand into additional towns.

Spearheaded by the Hilltown Community Development Corporation, the Hilltown Health Centers and Healthy Hampshire, the goal of the program is to increase the availability of fresh, local and affordable produce to Hilltown residents.

From July to September last year, the market had 440 on-site transactions and 34 farm shares.

“We are excited to explore ways to reach more people this year,” Kate Bavelock said.

The Worthington and Huntington sites were the only Hilltown locations between Plainfield and Russell where WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons could be spent. In addition, the market accepts produce prescription coupons from the Hilltown Community Health Center, which helps patients manage chronic disease risks with healthy foods.

Surveys of marketgoers showed that, on average, respondents felt significantly healthier, more confident in their ability to meet their daily food needs, and more capable of getting fresh produce due to the presence of the mobile market.

Encouraged by the results of the pilot program, the Hilltown Food Council, a coalition of Hilltown residents and stakeholders that provides guidance and oversight for the market, is now considering adding two new sites in the communities of Blandford, Plainfield or Cummington

The council will hold community forums in each prospective town to share information about the mobile market and to hear from residents on what they think about having the market in their town.

The forums will take place on the following dates:

■In Cummington on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 3:30 p.m., at the Village Church on 32 Main St.

■In Plainfield on Wednesday, March 11, at 1 p.m., at the Plainfield Town Hall, 304 Main St.

■In Blandford on Wednesday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m., at Blandford Town Hall, 1 Russell Stage Road.

For more information on the Hilltown Mobile Market, contact Caitlin Marquis at 588-5562, email at cmarquis@collaborative.org or visit Hilltownmobilemarket.info

Annual Goshen Meltdown

GOSHEN — The 2020 meltdown flag is flying on Hammond Pond and bets are starting to roll in for the 16th Annual Goshen Meltdown.

With a 69-pound cement block in the center of the water, participants buy tickets to place wagers on when the block will sink through the melting ice. The person who comes the closest to guessing the correct date and time without going over will win and split the prize money with a charity chosen by Meltdown organizer Bob Labrie.

This year, the chosen charity is the “Take and Eat” program which provides hot meals for seniors on weekends.

“I heard about the program last year at Our Lady of the Hills and I thought this is something that I could support,” Labrie said.

Sponsored by the Williamsburg Congregational Church and Our Lady of the Hills, the program currently serves 24 seniors, filling the gap left by other programs that deliver food during the week. Recipients do not have to be affiliated with either church.

“I am trying to bring recognition to the program and make people aware that there is a need,” Labrie said. “This is something that I hope people will get behind and support.”

Tickets for the Meltdown can be purchased for $1 each at the Goshen Fire Department website, Goshenmafire.com, or on the department’s Facebook page. Participants can make as many guesses as they like by purchasing multiple tickets.

Village wants volunteers

CUMMINGTON — It takes a Village is looking for volunteers to help transport inventory from its current storage space in Cummington to a new storage unit in Northampton.

The Village Closet is a donation center offering free maternity, baby and kids clothing, diapers, and supplies regardless of ones income or town.

The center had to move from the former Berkshire Trail Elementary School building in Cummington when the town decided to update and repurpose the building.

Clothing and other items were stored in a barn until an alternative space was found. The group has rented space in Northampton, where it will store off-season items.

Anyone with a vehicle that wants to help out should meet at 11 Porter Hill Road in Cummington on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m.

Now in its new location, the Village Closet recently celebrated its grand opening on Thursday at its new space in Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington.

“It’s really accessible and we are really excited about it,” Co-Executive Director and Development Manager Mollie Hartford said.

For more information on the inventory transport contact Mollie Hartford at mollie@hilltownvillage.org.

Ideas for this column on life in the Hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.


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