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Meeting: 12/12 for the Food System Job Creation Working Group at the FCCDC

IMG_1559Friday, December 12, 2014
11:15am – 1:45pm

Franklin County CDC
Western MA Food Processing Center
324 Wells Street, Greenfield, MA

This is a bring your own brown bag lunch gathering.



  • Tour the Franklin County CDC facilities and get to see the the shiny new IQF: Individually Quick Frozen Nitrogen Tunnel in operation. Watch a video of the machine in action here.
  • Share updates on other food system job creation activities going on.
  • Discuss food processing job creation needs that are relevant to the development of the MA food system planning process and consider future opportunities and activities for this group.

Please RSVP by clicking HERE.

Working Group Updates:

If you have an update you want to share with the group, cannot attend but want to add your thoughts to future activities, or would like to provide an update on a job creation activity that you are involved in or know about, please email Please email Alex Risley Schroeder by Wed, 12/10 using the email subject “Food System Job Creation.”

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Racial Equity in the Food System Gathering

The PVGrows Racial Equity in the Food System Working Group’s

most recent gathering happened on:

Wednesday, November 5th

 4:00 – 6:00 PM at  the Holyoke Health Center

230 Maple Street, Holyoke, MA 1st Floor Conference Room

The PVGrows Racial Equity in the Food System Working Group gatherings provide a space for us to deepen our shared understanding of racism, how it shows up in the food system; and why food justice & racial equity are at the core of creating a healthy food system.

Events are open to anyone dedicated to creating a just and healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley.

Background Reading: 
How well are you representing a vibrant a food movement for the 21st century? by Kamilah Weeks
Reflections on Diversity and Inclusion in Western Mass by Andrew Morehouse
Why is PVGrows inviting our members to an Undoing Racism Training? by Liz O’Gilvie

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2014 Spring Forum Videos & Clips : The Hands that Feed Us

Good Food and Good Jobs in the Pioneer Valley

Participants at the 2014 PVGrows Spring Forum discussed how to ensure that the development of our local food system provides farm and food workers with fair pay, quality working conditions and a voice in the workplace. Check out our YouTube video segments below, or click here for the full forum video.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


The Spring Forum took place Thursday, April 10th from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm at Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

The food system accounts for 18 % of our Pioneer Valley jobs, employing nearly 38,000 people, and generating over $1 billion in local revenue. And it’s growing–  but the people who do the work of producing, manufacturing, processing, distributing, and selling our food see disproportionately less of the benefits of this growth.

At the PVGrows Spring Forum, participants used both a local and a national lenses to increase understanding of the opportunities that scaling up our local food system could provide for increased justice and equity for food system workers.


  • Learned who are “the hands that feed us.” How many people work in what kinds of food jobs and what are their wages and future career prospects, which focused especially on farm workers and restaurant workers.

  • Gained an understanding of working conditions that workers experience in growing, processing, cooking, and serving the food we eat.

  • Heard how employers navigate the challenge of providing workers fair pay while still running profitable businesses, and looked at successful strategies that employers are using in the region.

  • Posed questions about the future: what kinds of jobs and careers lay ahead for our increasingly localized food system?

The PVGrows Spring Forum is an annual event that allows for networking and experience sharing among local people taking varied approaches to building food system careers, including those who are taking action to ensure that Pioneer Valley food jobs are indeed good jobs.

The Forum included interactive sessions, structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally grown lunch.

View the complete list of Forum Presenters
Read more here about the PVGrows Forum.

This event was open to anyone working for a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley, but due to spacial constraints, was limited to 120.
PVGrows Fall Forum 2012 - Springfield

The following reports informed and inspired the title and content of the 2014 Forum including:

  1. The Hands that Feed Us by the Food Chain Workers Alliance
  2. Good Food and Good Jobs for All by Yvonne Yen Liu, Applied Research Center
  3. The 25% Shift by Michael Shuman
  4. Backbone of Sustainable Food by the Vermont Fair Food Campaign

Video from the Forum is available on the PVGrows YouTube Channel.

Thank you to our Sponsors:



A special thanks to our caterers

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Over 40 Food System Advocates attended an “Undoing Racism” training in May

On May 4th, 5th and 6th, participants dedicated to creating a just and healthy food system attended a training by the People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond, a national multiracial network of anti-racist organizers and educators dedicated to building a movement for justice by ending racism and other forms of institutional oppression.  The training was an intensive 2 ½ day workshop designed to educate, challenge, and empower people to “undo” the racist structures that hinder effective social change. Their analysis moves beyond a focus on the symptoms of racism to an understanding of what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone.  Read more.

The event was hosted byUndoing Racism Organizing Collective, who has been hosting Undoing Racism Workshops in the Pioneer Valley for over a decade.

Partners:  Holyoke Food & Fitness Policy Council, Live Well Springfield, & PVGrows

Want to get involved or hear more about the work being done in the Pioneer Valley on race & the food system? Please consider becoming a PVGrows Member and click on the Racial Equity and the Food System Working Group box.

If you have questions about the Undoing Racism workshop, please contact:

Background:  The reality of racial inequity in this country is especially apparent in the food system.  People of color are most disproportionately negatively impacted by: food insecurity, “food deserts,” obesity, wage and hour violations, lack of benefits, and more.  PVGrows was one of four organizations who partnered on the Undoing Racism, two-and-a-half-day workshop. Over the past 30 years, more than 500,000 people (including 40+ PVGrows members) have participated in the Undoing Racism workshop. The goal of the workshop was to strengthen the anti-racist analysis and practice of sustainable food system and food justice work in the Pioneer Valley.  This was the first time Undoing Racism was offered specifically for people working on food system issues.


Liz O’Gilvie, Urban Green Pantry, PVGrows Steering Committee member:

I can tell you personally that going through Undoing Racism helped me to identify my own internalized oppression & biases. I believe that I am now able to show up more authentically in my personal and professional relationships. Racism is tough. Even in the midst of progress, I sometimes wonder if it will ever be gone.  Going through the undoing racism training, and the deeper connections that I have made because of it, gave me hope.  Read the rest of Liz’s post on why PVGrows is hosting this event…

Andrew Morehouse, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, former PVGrows Steering Committee member:

Recently, I had the good fortune of participating in a two-day intensive “Undoing Racism” workshop hosted by a local group of the same name – the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective (UROC).  I’d like to share with you some of my reflection on the workshop, and why this topic is important to The Food Bank and should be to everyone in Western Massachusetts.  Read the rest of Andrew’s post about his reflection on the Undoing Racism training…

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