Local Food Festival

The Rose Kennedy Greenway was lined with white-tented booths last Sunday for the Local Food Festival put on by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts.  Touting “healthy local food for all”, this free event was bustling despite the drizzle.  Local farmers, restaurants, specialty food makers and other organizations convened to offer samples and demos as well as to spread the message of sustainability.  This was also a zero-waste event with separate bins available for compostable and recyclable trash and plenty of volunteers to help you figure out what to do with that plate in your hand!  The website also says that they offset the energy for the event but it doesn’t detail how.

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Among the companies that caught my eye was Valley Green Feast which is a co-op that partner with Boston Collective Delivery to bring organic and sustainably grown produce (among other foods) to your door on bikes.  Currently they deliver to some towns in western MA but are soon expanding to Boston.  What appealed most to me was the option to customize your produce box.  Customers provide a list of items that they don’t want.  There are also options to supplement the regular produce with extra fruit and greens.  Signing up for a standing order reduces the delivery fee to $4 per delivery.  I am very excited to try this as I always wanted to purchase a CSA share but am too picky about the contents (my “no” list is quite long!).

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Another interesting find was Enterprise Farm located in South Deerfield.  They offer year-round organic CSA shares which as far as I can tell is quite rare in New England.  A yearly small share, enough for 1-2 people, is $952 which comes to less than $18/week!  They have pick up locations around Boston and Cambridge but also offer the option to have your box delivered to homes and offices through Metro Pedal Power.  Additionally, memberships help to support their Mobile Market, a converted school bus bringing fresh produce to underserved communities in Springfield and Somerville.

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Also at the festival were investment companies promoting their socially and environmentally responsible mutual funds.  Among them was Green Century Funds which has two funds – Green Century Equity (GCEQX) and Green Century Balanced (GCBLX) – which are 100% fossil fuel free.  This is defined by the company as no investments in oil, coal or gas companies.  Both funds have relatively low turnover (not surprising since they are constrained by their objectives to avoid fossil-fuel based energy companies and to invest in companies with respectable environmental records) but higher than average expense ratios.  The flyer they handed out advertised a 4-star Morningstar rating but as of today they are both 2-star rated.

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