by Tracey Beck, Volunteer Writer
Movement Ground Farm is a nonprofit located in Tiverton, RI, that incorporates social movement with farming. As part of its social justice mission, Movement Ground Farm strives to grow and increase equity in the regional food system, to raise awareness about land and food access, and to provide a space for people of color to reflect and connect with the healing properties of the earth.
A wide variety of annual vegetables are grown on the farm in addition to offering eggs, chicken, and lamb. When deciding what to produce, the team at Movement Ground Farm doesn’t just consider the climate of their unique seaside location or what products their CSA members might enjoy. They are also deliberately mindful of the needs in the communities they hope to serve. Farm team member and Organizational Development Strategist, Patch Tseng Putterman, explains that Movement Ground Farm accomplishes this by placing “a little more emphasis on crops that bear particular meaning to nearby immigrant and refugee communities, such as Asian vegetables that aren’t always easy to source organically.”
Patch describes Movement Ground Farm’s collaboration with Farm Fresh RI as a natural fit in many ways. Farm Fresh marketplaces improve accessibility to their farm products and extend their reach into the broader community they’re trying to impact. And they partner with Hope’s Harvest, a local food recovery program of Farm Fresh RI that collects produce from local farms and distributes it to RI hunger relief organizations. As Patch explains, “I see Farm Fresh RI’s goal of serving as a real food hub play out in a meaningful way when we can take our market leftovers on Saturday morning and simply cart them down the hall to Hope’s Harvest.”
Making nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables available to underserved Rhode Island residents while reducing crop waste clearly aligns with Movement Ground Farm’s purpose. Patch notes, “Growing exactly the right crops and quantities to supply our customers while minimizing food waste is an excruciating puzzle, and Hope’s Harvest is an amazing outlet to absorb a lot of the crops we otherwise couldn’t sell.”
In addition to attending various farmers markets, Movement Ground Farm also offers a CSA program that runs from June through December and has about 130 members. Shares are picked up from the farm’s location in Tiverton or from partner organizations, such as DARE and the Asian American Resource Workshop. Movement Ground Farm thoughtfully and strategically distributes its CSA shares to locations in Providence and the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester and Jamaica Plain. By doing so, they aim to provide easier access to nourishing food as well as to purposefully foster connections and engagement with affiliate resources. Current CSA pick up locations can be found on Movement Ground Farm’s website.
Sharing the farm and “hosting gatherings for activists and people affected by social injustice to hopefully provide a second to breathe, dream, and scheme” is one of Movement Ground Farm’s primary goals according to Patch. The team integrates the interests of their on-site farmers with the wider community through a reciprocal process of informing, nurturing, and sharing with one another while intentionally creating a personal connection to the farm space.
Fulfilling Movement Ground Farm’s mission isn’t easy. Patch shares that “Trying to sell our food at accessible prices is an incredible challenge in the face of price increases across the board for our inputs, whether we’re talking about animal feed, building materials, gas, or the cost of living for our staff.” Meeting those challenges requires straightforward solutions such as the difficult decision to raise CSA prices by approximately 20 percent. It also calls for a little creativity. Currently, the livestock team is actively pursuing a side project of raising pork on an unused part of the farm, “on their own time and dime” as Movement Ground Farm continues to search for ways to keep costs at a manageable level and sustainably serve its close-knit community.
Products grown at Movement Ground Farm can be picked up directly from the farm at 592 Puncatest Neck Road in Tiverton or you can find them at a Farm Fresh RI and other farmers markets throughout the year. Details can be found Facebook and Instagram.