So when the Workers’ Credit Union closed its doors, the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust saw an opportunity to convert the 5,000-sq. ft. building on Main Street to a market and co-op to supply the community with locally grown food. The vision: to source the new market, called Quabbin Harvest, with food from local farms, many of which have been protected through conservation easements brokered by the local land trust.

Our Role

When the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust needed funding to buy the credit union building, which had been vacant since 2009, the group turned to The Conservation Fund. We helped them buy the building with assistance from our Land Conservation Loans program. Our versatile, low-interest loans help organizations of all sizes protect key properties in their communities, from the park down the street to the nearby family farm. Unlike traditional lending organizations, we understand how conservation financing works and can provide immediate assistance and terms tailored to a local land trust’s needs.

Why This Project Matters

For small family farms to be sustainable, farmers need to have markets for the food they grow. Outlets like Quabbin Harvest community market benefit farmers, consumers in search of fresh food and local economies in need of a boost. Beyond providing healthy food to the community, a recent study shows that of every $10 spent at a farmers market, $7 stays in the local economy. 

The large, centrally located Quabbin Harvest community market will serve as headquarters for the North Quabbin Community Co-op, and will include a farmers market, a food storage area and a communal space for healthy food workshops, classes and more. State Representative Denise Andrews calls the project a "real game changer" for her district. "I am absolutely thrilled that the Co-op and Mount Grace can come together to advance affordable good quality food produced locally."

“[The Mount Grace] partnership with the Co-op is a strategic farmland conservation tool to address the gaps in our local food system and keep our region’s farmers on the land. Increasingly, land trusts are becoming aware that land conservation alone is only part of the solution to keep our farms in production. Increasing access to affordable farmland, processing and storage infrastructure, local markets, and distribution networks is just as important.”

—Leigh Youngblood, Executive Director, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust

Learn More

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust