Posted by Stephanie Johnson on Oct 14, 2019
The Peabody Rotary Club has partnered with Newhall Fields Community Farm in Peabody and the City of Peabody by writing a grant which will supply an irrigation system on 2 acres of land. This irrigation system will allow the farm to grow nutritious food and supply food for Peabody and surrounding communities that is accessible, affordable and nutritious.
Volunteers and recipients will have the opportunity to learn about farming, nutrition and food sustainability all within an urban area. The ability to make use of the 2 acres of land thru irrigation will greatly impact farm production and other offerings to the public.
This project encompasses all of Rotary’s 6 areas of Focus –
  • Maternal and child health by supplying nutritious food to local shelters like the Haven From Hunger.
  • Basic education and literacy by educating local elementary school children how to harvest and the value of playing a part in feeding those that are food insecure.  
  • Economic and community development as a community farm
  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution by evoking a feeling of peace and serenity to all that visit
  • Disease prevention and treatment by providing healthy vegetables without the use of pesticides or herbicides
  • Water and sanitation in the form of the irrigation system provided by this grant.
“I can’t tell you how happy the clients from Haven from Hunger are when they see a fresh load of eggplant coming in, or cherry tomatoes that were picked just moments before they arrived at the shelter”
    Jeanette McGinn – Director of Newhall Fields Community Farm
“We are growing community here…. I use the word ‘exponential’ all the time what happens here”
    Rebecca Ingalls – Herbalist Educator and owner of Palmer Pond Botanicals in Salem
“You know, we live in a really powerful, wealthy country yet so many people are food insecure, so we have to ask ourselves why that is, and we are starting to address that locally”
    Jacqui Richard – Newhall Fields Board Member
The farm produced 1,500 pounds in herbs and vegetables thanks to the help of 200 volunteers and 900 volunteer hours.    This year, the majority of what was harvested was donated to the Citizens Inn/Haven from Hunger food pantry.
Kate Benashski, Program Director for the Haven, plans to grown produce at its own plot at the farm that encourages those in shelter, adults and children alike to help farm and harvest.   She’s even included a free library and reading space in this plot!
As Newhall Fields Community Farm continues to “grow”  so does the opportunity for surrounding Rotary Clubs to be a part of that growth.