Community Endowment of Lexington Awards Funds to Strengthen Lexington Community Farm Coalition
LexFarm Will Use $10,000 for Organizational Development and Business Planning
June 15, 2016 (Lexington, MA). Lexington Community Farm Coalition (LexFarm) is poised to move out of the start-up phase with a generous grant from the Community Endowment of Lexington (CEL), an endowed fund of the Foundation for MetroWest. The $10,000 grant to LexFarm for organizational development and business planning will help ensure the sustainability of the farm as a community resource where residents of all ages and abilities can access locally grown produce and education about farms and conservation.
According to Allison Guerette, President of LexFarm’s board, this award could not come at a better time: “There is no other non-profit, community farm in Lexington addressing the unique set of recreational, educational, food access, and community engagement needs. This grant affords us the opportunity to grow the organization intelligently so we can best serve the community.”
LexFarm’s first two highly successful farming seasons each saw over 200 families receiving top-quality fresh farm fare through its community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, with at least ten percent of the harvest donated to food access programs. More than 500 students participated in programs such as Dirt Play for toddlers, Dirt Scouts, and composting and seed starting workshops. It may come as a surprise to program participants that Lexington Community Farm is run by volunteers. In fact, although the farming operation is managed by a professional farmer, Tim Hines, the community programs, including those for education and property stewardship, are primarily managed by volunteer board members.
Non-profit management professionals recognize this as typical of a start-up phase, during which passionate, skilled volunteers can achieve a great deal to establish an organization and set its course. Lasting success generally requires a more sustainable structure in which paid staff members have assigned roles and responsibilities. To help establish such a structure and move into the growth phase, LexFarm will use the grant from CEL to hire a management consultant with experience advising for-profit and non-profit organizations, including other community farms.
The LexFarm board is grateful to the Community Endowment of Lexington for recognizing the importance of board training and organizational development in fulfilling its mission: to protect the 7-acre historically and environmentally important Busa Farm land as a farm, to produce food by using organic growing practices, and to provide education about growing food sustainably. “These funds will help Lexington emerge as a champion for sustainable, healthy, and local food systems accessible to the whole community. We thank all those involved with the Community Endowment of Lexington for this wonderful support,” said Guerette.
Community Endowment of Lexington, an endowed fund of the Foundation for MetroWest, promotes a spirit of philanthropic giving to help enhance the quality of life for all Lexington citizens now, and for the future. CEL provides a permanent source of grant funding to support Lexington’s community needs and opportunities. For more information, visit www.lexingtonendowment.org.
Lexington Community Farm is a working farm connecting community members with sustainably grown food while preserving an historic farmland. LexFarm leases the former Busa farmland from the Town of Lexington, which purchased the land in 2009. For more information, visit www.lexfarm.org.