Amy Levine: The full story of the NEF plant sale

Published: 5/19/2022 12:31:57 PM
Modified: 5/19/2022 12:30:12 PM
The full story of the NEF plant sale

While we are grateful for the Gazette’s help to spread the word about our recent plant and garden market to benefit the Northampton Education Foundation Book Fund, we feel that the photo published from the sale in the May 9 edition missed the full story of the sale.

The photo is a charming picture of one of our vendors with a customer, but the caption does not mention NEF nor that the event is a fundraiser. Vendors pay a fee to NEF’s Book Fund to be part of our sale, but it is the sale of donated plants under NEF’s main tent, the raffle of donated prizes, and the generous donations from community members that make up the bulk of our fundraising.

For months, many volunteers come together to make the sale happen, from those who dig, divide, pot, and label perennials and shrubs to those who help organize and run the sale.

We are particularly grateful to Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School whose forestry students filled hundreds of bags of compost before the sale and whose carpentry students built the beautiful trellis bench for one of our raffles.

A group of parents in the 1990s under the name Save Our Schools began the plant sale tradition, and NEF has helped to run it for the past 17 years. NEF’s Book Fund is available to Northampton’s public schools throughout the academic year on a per capita basis. Schools use their allotted money to diversify their curriculum offerings, add high interest stories to libraries, strengthen the nonfiction resources in libraries, provide additional books when enrollment increases, and add supplemental texts to enrich students’ learning experiences or to assist those with special needs.

Whenever possible, money is spent at local bookstores. Of course, the sale would not be a successful community event without the wonderful people who braved the wind and cold to come out to buy raffle tickets and shop for plants.

Amy Levine

Florence, on behalf of the NEF plant sale committee


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