TerraCorps partners all have one thing in common…LAND
Whether our missions are focused on land conservation, urban agriculture, food justice, land access, or revitalization – and a few of us do them all – LAND is the common thread that ties us together in our work.
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (Mount Grace) conserves significant farms, woodlands, and wild areas in North Central and Western Massachusetts. Having protected over 31,000 acres of land in the past 30 years, Mount Grace is recognized nationally for innovative projects and programs that conserve entire landscapes and watersheds, protect whole farms, support local food systems, and engage whole communities in making decisions about local land conservation priorities.
Mount Grace founded MassLIFT as a local pilot program with four Commonwealth Corps members in 2008 and scaled it to support 20 service site partners with 36 AmeriCorps members across Massachusetts in 2016. Mount Grace is now spinning off MassLIFT and founding TerraCorps, Inc. as an independent non-profit.
Buzzards Bay Coalition (BBC) is dedicated to the restoration, protection, and sustainable use and enjoyment of Buzzards Bay and its watershed. The Coalition works to improve the health of the Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy. The Watershed Protection Department within BBC advances land conservation, land stewardship and habitat restoration activities throughout the watershed of Buzzards Bay. BBC holds a total of 38 conservation easements (2,000 acres) and owns and operates a series of 5 publicly accessible river and bay reserves totaling about 400 acres.
Backyard Growers is working to reshape Gloucester’s relationship with food. We provide resources and training to help people re-imagine how land in backyards, housing communities, schools, and throughout the community can be used to establish vegetable gardens and grow food. Since 2010 Backyard Growers has built over 150 raised bed gardens, serving hundreds of Gloucester residents. We serve 100% of public school students from preschool to 6th grade, providing true seed-to-fork experiences for Gloucester kids. In the end, we create life-long gardeners inspired by the power of growing one’s own food.
Gardening the Community (GTC) is a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture, and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities. GTC plays an important role in Springfield’s food justice movement, working to create more access to healthy food and building toward an equitable local food system. Youth development and urban agriculture are at the center of this work, with youth leadership development built into all levels of the organization. GTC works with youth to grow food on vacant lots and organizes to expand healthy, affordable food access in the Mason Square neighborhoods of Springfield. GTC’s vision includes building a vibrant, healthy food system with just and equal access to it – one that recognizes and addresses inequity, so racism no longer determines the health or well-being of a neighborhood or community. GTC just purchased land that it is developing into the first permanent, community-controlled urban farm in Springfield.
GreenRoots, Inc. works to achieve environmental justice and greater quality of life through collective action, unity, education and youth leadership across neighborhoods and communities in Chelsea Massachusetts. We are dedicated to improving and enhancing the urban environment and public health in Chelsea and surrounding communities through deep community engagement in environmental justice, waterfront access, urban agriculture, open space revitalization, and climate resiliency projects and programs.
Grow Food Northampton promotes food security by advancing sustainable agriculture in the Northampton, Massachusetts area. Founded in 2010 in response to a development threat to the largest buildable prime farmland parcels in Northampton, Grow Food Northampton moved from a small group of advocates to a vibrant, community-driven non-profit organization. We now own the largest community farm in Massachusetts, which is largely leased out to private farmers, helping to address land access and tenure challenges. We also manage a 270-plot community garden and a Giving Garden project where volunteers grow many thousands of pounds of vegetables for donation to soup kitchens and food pantries. We operate educational programs on the farm and in classrooms, fund and manage several food access programs that ensure that everyone in our community can afford to eat local produce, and manage a vibrant local farmers’ market. All of our programs celebrate food grown on local land as a way to build a stronger, more sustainable, and more inclusive community.
Groundwork Lawrence (GWL) has been making change happen in Greater Lawrence, Massachusetts since it’s early beginnings in 1999. Through community engagement, environmental and open space improvements, fresh food access, youth education, and employment initiatives, GWL creates the building blocks of a healthy community, and empowers residents to improve their quality of life. GWL achieves results by engaging the whole community – residents, youth, nonprofits, government and businesses – in the planning and realization of projects. With this collaborative approach, GWL ensures that all stakeholders are mutually invested in the outcomes, the key to stable neighborhoods and sustainable change.
Groundwork Somerville strives to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment through the development of community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being. Groundwork has been working to ensure Somerville residents have opportunities to make positive change in our community since 2000.
Groundwork Southcoast was launched in 2017 and is working in two specific communities: The Flint neighborhood in Fall River and the Acushnet Ave neighborhood in New Bedford. This is an exciting time to determine how to apply the mission of Groundwork to these two communities: to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.
Growing Places works with communities in North Central Massachusetts to ensure individuals and families of all income levels have the opportunity to grow, eat, sell and buy healthy and safe food. We believe all people have the right to enjoy sustainable, thriving and resilient communities.
Healthy Chelsea is a community coalition, supported by Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Community Healthy Improvement (CCHI), with a mission to improve the health outcomes of Chelsea residents. The coalition formed in 2010 as an initiative of the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center and initially focused only on healthy eating and active living in the schools and community. Its focus has since widened to include substance use disorders and trauma-sensitive initiatives.
Hilltown Land Trust serves thirteen rural towns in western Massachusetts (Ashfield, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Windsor, and Worthington). Hilltown Land Trust’s mission is to protect land and promote ecological diversity and health, respectful land stewardship, historic character and natural beauty in the hilltowns of western Massachusetts.
Just Roots is a nonprofit community organization located in Greenfield, Massachusetts. We began in 2008 as a grassroots group of concerned citizens looking to promote vegetable gardening and grow food on municipal land. Our goal is to increase knowledge about and demand for local food in Franklin County. The Greenfield Community Farm is the centerpiece of our work. Our mission is to “increasing access to healthy, local food by connecting people, land, resources and know-how”, and we work to uphold the three pillars designated by our community: food, education and community.
Since 1970, Kestrel Land Trust has conserved and cared for forests, farms, and riverways in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, while nurturing an enduring love of the land. Kestrel has conserved more than 25,000 acres throughout Amherst, Northampton, and their surrounding communities, and we are responsible for stewarding 3,000 acres of protected lands. Throughout our history, we have partnered with landowners, governmental agencies, citizen groups, and other organizations to protect farmland, woodlands, wildlife habitat, water resources, historic landscapes, and scenic vistas throughout the Valley.
Mill City Grows is growing a healthier community by creating new opportunities for residents to access healthy, fresh, affordable foods. Our mission is to foster food justice in Lowell, MA by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability through increased access to land, locally grown food and education. We are a 6-year-old organization with a holistic approach to Food Justice that includes community gardens, urban farms, mobile farmers markets, school gardens, and lots of educational programs that help residents of all ages become more empowered and active members of our food system.
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) is a local, regional, and national leader in the growing food systems movement built around the concepts of sustainable farming, land conservation, access to locally grown food, and environmental stewardship. Our mission is to improve local and regional food systems by training the next generation of farmers to produce food that is sustainable and nutritious. New Entry envisions vibrant, healthy communities where all residents have access to quality, healthy, fresh and locally grown food and where farmland is actively stewarded to build soil health and provide ecological benefits.
North County Land Trust is a regional Land Trust founded in 1992 to serve the conservation needs of 14 communities in north central Massachusetts. Our mission is to conserve the farms, forests and landscapes that define the character of our region. We assist private landowners with land preservation strategies; we partner with cities, towns and other non-profit organizations to preserve valuable land in a way that benefits the long-term health of our communities, which can include the need to preserve farmland for local agriculture as well as a call for city parks where local families can gather. We consider it part of our charge to educate and respond to the needs of all the children and adults who make up the socio-economically diverse communities we serve.
Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance (SEMPBA) incorporated in 2013 to save the globally rare habitats of the Southeastern Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens Eco-region. Believing that it will take everyone working together to preserve the biodiversity of the eco–region, SEMPBA spearheaded and serves as the coordinator of the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Partnership, part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Network covering much of New England. SEMPBA’s community engagement programs include nature education programs at SEMPBA’s Hauthaway Nature Center in Plymouth, the development of citizen science projects, public school collaborations, habitat restoration initiatives, and a media campaign to raise awareness about the special nature of the region with the goal of making “Pine Barrens” a household term.
Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) is a regional land trust that conserves land and protects wildlife habitat in the Concord, Assabet, and Sudbury river basin for the benefit of present and future generations. We care for some of this region’s most important forests, wetlands, and grasslands—natural areas that support wildlife habitat, working farms, and recreational trails. As of 2016, SVT cares for more than 4300 acres on 84 reservations and 70 Conservation Restrictions and maintains a 55-mile trail network. We collaborate with numerous partner organizations, and our work is supported by 2900 members and 200 volunteers.
Urban Farming Institute (UFI) was created in 2012 out of a global vision for a better food system and the local experience of neighborhood residents in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. The mission of the Urban Farming Institute is to develop and promote urban farming as a commercial sector that creates green collar jobs for residents, and to engage urban communities in building a healthier and more locally based food system. Broadly, UFI trains urban farmers, operates an urban farming enterprise, acquires and develops urban farm sites, co-sponsors the annual MA Urban Farming Conference with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), conducts workshops on food and farming, and participates in city and state food access, food policy and food system councils. Since its formation five years ago, UFI has doubled and tripled its budget, as well as its numbers of trainees and has become a leading participant in the food and farming environment of Boston.
The Walden Woods Project preserves the land, literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. The Project achieves this mission through the integration of conservation, education, research and advocacy. Our education programs are built on the philosophy of Thoreau and grounded in the land and historic resources of Walden Woods and Thoreau Country, engaging students, educators and lifelong learners in the United States and around the world. Our programs foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility, both cornerstones of Thoreau’s philosophy.
The Wareham Land Trust’s mission is to conserve Wareham’s open space and natural resources, to unite citizens in a common goal of conservation and responsible land use, and to educate the public about the environmental and economic benefits of protecting open space and promoting sustainable development. The Wareham Land Trust is guided by a group of hard-working volunteer board members and supported by individuals and organizations throughout Wareham and the neighboring communities.
The Wildlands Trust works throughout southeastern Massachusetts to conserve and permanently protect native habitats, farmland, and lands of high scenic and ecological value in order to keep our communities healthy and our residents connected to the natural world. The Wildlands Trust will work to sustain the rural character and quality of life enjoyed by the residents of southeastern Massachusetts by protecting high quality conservation and agricultural lands. We envision a future where open land is abundant, our water is clean, and forests, farms, wetlands, fields, ponds, and coastal areas are commonplace sightings on our landscape.