Farm Shares

NOTE: CISA and the Mary Lyon Foundation will be promoting the school-based Farm Share program next Spring. Please contact the Mary Lyon Foundation if you would like to help spread the word about this program to local families!

Lyonsville Farm offers fall farm shares free to SNAP recipients at Mohawk/Hawlemont Schools

Lyonsville Farm in Colrain is partnering with the Mary Lyon Foundation and the Mohawk Trail/Hawlemont Regional School Districts to offer eight weeks of fresh produce distributed at the Mohawk Trail Regional School and Hawlemont Elementary School, beginning in mid-September and running through mid-November. These $100 farmshares offer a great opportunity for families in western Franklin County to bring home delicious local produce and support a small local farm.

Families that choose to pay for their share with SNAP benefits will have the cost automatically reimbursed to them through the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which gives an automatic dollar-for-dollar rebate for SNAP money spent on local fruits and vegetables bought at a farmers’ market, farm stand, mobile market, or through a farm share. This farm share is priced specifically so that it will be effectively free to all families paying with SNAP. Interested families who do not receive SNAP benefits are also encouraged to participate.

Lyonsville Farm grows all-natural vegetables and plants using sustainable farming techniques. “I am very excited about this opportunity to bring delicious and healthy food to other hilltown families, and for the increased access to local food that HIP creates,” says owner Maria Topitzer. “We welcome all families to participate.”

For the past 25 years, the Mary Lyon Foundation has been recognized for its widely acclaimed, innovative programs supporting education in the hilltowns. “The farm share concept is an important milestone in our journey to help all children in the community come to school healthy, happy and ready to learn,” said Co-Director Sheila Damkoehler. “Lyonsville Farm shares our enthusiasm for this exciting new agricultural endeavor.”

The Mohawk/Hawlemont Regional School Districts serve students in Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe and Shelburne. “Mohawk and Hawlemont are proud to partner with the Mary Lyon Foundation and Lyonsville Farm to help our families access farm fresh produce through the Healthy Incentives Program,” said Superintendent Michael Buoniconti. “A healthy diet, including an abundance of fruits and vegetables, is essential to our students’ education.”

For more information about the Healthy Incentives Program, call the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333 or visit http://www.mass.gov/hip.