Backyard Growers awarded Community First Grant to increase healthy food access in Gloucester

 Whole Cities Foundation announces 44 local community partners through innovative grant program.

Whole Cities Foundation, an independent nonprofit foundation established by Whole Foods Market, awarded Gloucester-based Backyard Growers a $5,000 Community First Grant, to fund healthy eating initiatives in the city.

Backyard Growers, in partnership with Gloucester Housing Authority, will be using grant funds to improve fresh food access in Gloucester by establishing new community gardens and expanding existing gardens at housing communities throughout the city. Backyard Growers has 64 gardening beds in low-income housing communities as well as 9 community gardens throughout Gloucester. Their school garden programs are in every school in the Gloucester Public School District, serving over 2,000 students, and their school garden program model is now being used in Manchester, Rockport, Marblehead, Lynn, and Chicopee School Districts as well.


With the support of the Whole Cities Foundation, Backyard Growers built the Willowood Community Garden in the fall of 2017.

Now in its second year, the Community First Grant Program aims to support partnerships between Whole Foods Market Team Members and community-led organizations working to increase access to healthy food and nutrition information in their communities. The grant awarded to Backyard Growers in Gloucester is part of a $220,000 investment in 44 organizations in 40 cities across 26 states. Projects funded this year include urban farming projects, mobile produce markets, and educational programs for healthy eating, gardening and agricultural skills.

“At Whole Cities, we have a vision for an America where fresh, healthy food is affordable and accessible to everyone, regardless of income or zip code,” says Walter Robb, Chairman, Whole Cities Foundation Board. “This national grant program allows us to find and support a network of grassroots organizations that have developed unique solutions to increase the availability of fresh, healthy food in their own communities.”

The Community First Grant Program is one example of Whole Foods Market’s “Community First” principles, where community-led organizations and local residents build their local food system. Through the program, the foundation seeks to amplify the outcomes of the solutions set in place by community leaders.

“What’s unique about this program is that it’s our own Team Members who shine the light on these worthwhile grant recipients,” adds Robb. “In some cases, it’s the Team Members themselves who are the grantees, bringing Whole Foods Market’s passion for a healthier world to their own community and with their own heart. We could not be prouder of them.”

The next opportunity for Whole Foods Market Team Members to apply in support of a community organization will be spring 2018.


Whole Foods and Backyard Growers team members at Willowood Community Garden after a hard day’s work filling gardens with fresh soil.

About Whole Cities Foundation

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Founded in 2014, Whole Cities Foundation is an independent nonprofit established by Whole Foods Market that is dedicated to improving neighborhood health through collaborative community partnerships, nutrition education, and broader access to fresh, healthy food. Since the launch of the Community First Grant Program, the foundation has grown from serving five cities with its initial work to supporting over 60 cities that includes partnerships with over 100 community organizations. For more information on Whole Cities Foundation, visit:

About Backyard Growers

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Backyard Growers (BYG) creates life-long gardeners inspired by the power of growing and eating one’s own food. We provide resources and support to establish backyard, community, and school vegetable gardens, and offer gardening, nutrition and cooking workshops to the community. BYG serves low- to moderate-income residents and public school children in Gloucester, and we share our program models regionally to increase our impact. We believe that by growing some of our own food, we are empowered, connected, and strengthened. For more information, visit:

Stop by Backyard Growers’ Holiday Pop-up Shop!

Visit our holiday pop-up shop at our Main Street office and find all your gardening, gift-giving needs like kids watering cans, kitchen tools, Backyard Growers T-shirts, gardening books, and veggie socks! All proceeds benefit Backyard Growers programs. See below for a sneak peak at some of the items and our special events!

Open Monday-Friday

9 am – 5 pm

271 Main Street


Also join us for…

Ladies Night! Dec 7, 5-10 pm 

Men’s Night! Dec 21, 5-10 pm

Give the Gift of Cape Ann this Holiday Season!

This holiday season support local businesses and show your love for the Cape Ann Community! Cape Ann Gift Certificates are a great way give a gift with options – perfect for anyone on your list.  They can be used at over 150 businesses on Cape Ann and can be purchased at the Chamber Office, both Shaws locations and at Tuck’s Candy & Gifts.  CLICK HERE for the full list of participating businesses.

Another unique gift (and fun stocking stuffer!) is a Cape Ann License Plate.  These plates can be ordered online and mailed right to the home of someone you love.  See below for details.  And remember… proceeds from the plates come back to the community – a great way to give back this holiday season!ShopCapeAnn-GiftCertificate-CALP.jpg


Middle Street Walk Saturday December 9, 2017


2017 Middle Street Walk Program

8:30 AM-5 PM – Sawyer Free Library  …. Bling Fling Friends of the Library Holiday Sale in the Friend Room. Gently used jewelry & accessories with gift wrapping

10 AM-Noon – City Hall Steps ……. Kops n’ Kids Hayride with Gloucester Police & the Mass Mudders.

9-11 AM – UU Church Hall ….. Breakfast Snack Bar [muffins, donuts, bagels, coffee, tea, juice]

9-11 AM – UU Church Hall  …..Visit with Santa

9 AM-2 PM – UU Church Hall  ….. Cookie Walk, Bake Table, Books, Brad’s Unique Boutique [costume jewelry, Knick-knacks, & good stuff], Equal Exchange Coffee & Chocolate, Grace Center cards & photos, and Artisan Tables

9 AM-3 PM – Trinity Church  ……. Sale of Seasonal Goods

10 AM-Noon – UU Church Lawn   …. Free S’mores

10 AM-2:30 PM – City Hall Aud.  ……. Committee for the Arts, Gingerbread House Contest, Phyllis A Marine Association, Backyard Growers, GHS Drama Club and Craft vendors

10 AM-5 PM – Cape Ann Museum  ….Free museum admission

10 AM-5 PM – Cape Ann Museum …. Create a 2018 lunar calendar & block print your own family wrapping paper. Sponsored by David & Lisa Rich

10:30 AM – UU Church Sanctuary  … Concert by Gloucester High School Chorus, Dan Fleury Director

10:30-11 AM – Cape Ann Museum  …. Story Time: Katy & The Big Snow (kids 5 & under w/ adult)

11 AM-Noon – Sawyer Free Library … Awesome Robb Holiday Magic Show-For all ages

11 AM-Noon – Cape Ann Museum ….Guided “Highlights of the Museum” tour; view 1804 Captain Elias Davis House decorated for the season.

11 AM-2 PM – City Hall Aud.  ……. Free Tours of City Hall Tower Special opportunity to ring the tower bell ($100 donation)

11 AM-2 PM – UU Church Hall ….. Lunch Snack Bar [Clam Chowder, Veg. Chili, Sandwiches, Soda, Water]

11 AM-4 PM – Sargent House Museum … View the decorated first floor.  Afternoon performances by Rockport High School Orchestra and Madrigal Choir. Decorated wreaths & holly on sale all day. Free hot mulled cider & treats. Free admission to museum.

11:30AM – UU Church Sanctuary ..… Tour of the meeting house

11:30-Noon – City Hall Aud.  ……. Concert by O’Maley Band and Chorus

Noon-1 PM – City Hall Aud.  …….Concert by Cape Ann Big Band

Noon-1 PM – Trinity Church  ……. Bell Ringer Concert (weather permitting)

Noon-2 PM – Temple Ahavat Achim  …Tours and reading of The Hanukah Story

Noon-2 PM – City Hall Steps ……. Middle Street Historic Trolley Talk Rides courtesy of CATA & Cape Ann Museum Docents

Noon-2 PM – YMCA  …….. Free Hot Chocolate

Noon-3 PM – YMCA  ………….Children’s Activities

12:30 PM – UU Church Hall …..Seasonal Caroling

12:30 PM – UU Church Sanctuary  … Concert by Grace Center Jug Band

12:30-1:30 PM –  Cape Ann Museum  ….Guided “Highlights of the Museum” tour; view 1804 Captain Elias Davis House decorated for the season.

1-2 PM – St. John’ Church  …… Concert by Choristers from the First Congregational Church Choir, Rockport & Cape Ann Choir School, St. John’s Church directed by Kristina Martin & Mark Nelson

1-2 PM – Sawyer Free Library…Concert: “What Time is it Mr. Fox”

1 PM – City Hall Aud.  ……. Gingerbread House Contest Winner Announced

1:30-2:30 PM – Trinity Church  ……. Classical Concert by Louis Stella, piano, Jeanne Lynch, flute & violin and Mary Jane Febonio, cello.

1:30-2:30 PM –  City Hall Aud.  ……. Dance Performance by students from Miss Tina’s Dance Studio

2-3 PM – Cape Ann Museum ….Guided “Highlights of the Museum” tour; view 1804 Captain Elias Davis House decorated for the season.

2:30 PM – Trinity Church ……. Hot cider & sweets at concert intermission

3-4 PM – Trinity Church ……. Concert by Custom Blend, Acapella Chorus

3-4 PM – Cape Ann Museum …. Concert by The Docksiders, Gloucester High School’s Jazz Band

 3-4:30 PM – Main & Pleasant Streets …. Gallery Walk

4-6 PM – Cape Ann Art Haven … Open House with hot cocoa, sweet treats, kid’s craft activities, family photo ops, face painting and live music

4:30 PM – Police Station Plaza  …Lobster Pot Tree Lighting

*4-8 PM – City Hall Aud. …..Harbor Voices Public Art Laser Light Show

Magnolia Cribbage League

Magnolia Cribbage League starts its second session on Wednesday, November 29 at 6:30pm at J.D. Meyers Pub, 24 Lexington Ave, Magnolia. New players are welcome to join in this friendly game of cribbage. $40 covers 10 weeks of play plus a dinner and cash prizes.  If you cannot commit to a 10-week session then consider substituting for a regular player. Arrive at 6:30pm to sign up and learn more about the league. Call Andy Heinze at 508-596-3857 for more information.

Cape Ann Farmers Market’s Thanksgiving Harvest Market TODAY {Saturday} 10-1

Thanksgiving Harvest Market
Saturday, November 18th
10am to 1pm
Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church
10 Church Street
(On the corner of Middle and Church)

Come visit your favorite vendors for veggies, fish, baked goods, cheeses, kraut, pickles, locally made gifts, crafts, soap, and more! Share your locally grown and locally made favorites with friends and family this Thanksgiving!

This market accepts SNAP/EBT, HIP, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Coupons.

For more information on vendors, farmers, and our special turkey raffle and Pathways toy drive, click here!

CAFM Harvest Market this Saturday!

CAFM logo vectorCAFM Thanksgiving Harvest Market
Saturday, November 18th
10am to 1pm
Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church
10 Church Street
(On the corner of Middle and Church)


Missing your favorite summer vendors? Come celebrate the local harvest at the Cape Ann Farmers Market Harvest Market!  Connect with this vibrant community and bring home all your favorites to share with family and friends!

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Don’t miss this opportunity to fill your Thanksgiving table with fresh, local, delicious food AND bring a toy to donate to Pathways’ annual toy drive!

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Check out our newsletter for the full list of vendors and farmers, info about our turkey raffle, and great CAFM gifts to jump start your holiday shopping! 

Remember: The Cape Ann Farmers Market accepts SNAP/EBT, WIC Coupons, Senior Farmers Market Coupons, and cash!