The Free Harvest Supper is an annual community event celebrating local food, farms, and community. Additionally, donations collected support the Farmers’ Market Coupon Program established by the Center for Self-Reliance in Amherst.

The supper features a bountiful free meal of locally grown food prepared by locally based chefs, as well as live music, children’s activities, educational displays, and the hugely successful “Really, Really Free Market” where all are welcome to bring home produce from the season’s overflow donated by farmers and gardeners. Diners can enjoy passed fresh appetizers and learn from informational displays while they wait for their meal.

This wonderful community event is open and free to all, and the 2015 Free Harvest Supper will take place on Sunday, August 23th from 4:30-6:30pm on the Greenfield Town Common/Court Square. To conserve resources and help the Free Harvest Supper reach its goal of being a trash-free event, all are encouraged to bring their own reusable place settings and napkins. 

The Goals Behind the Free Harvest Supper

The goals which drive the Free Harvest Supper are threefold: first, to encourage eating of locally grown food; second, to support local agriculture; and third, to raise money for the Farmers’ Market Coupons distributed by the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry. 

While the Supper is free to all, donations are accepted and are used to support the Farmers’ Market Coupon Program run by the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry. Each year, Food Pantry Director Dino Schnelle distributes thousands of dollars worth of Farmers’ Market Coupons to low-income Franklin County Families, so that they may also share in the community’s bountiful produce. These families use the coupons at participating farmers’ markets in Franklin County, which the farmers may then redeem at the food pantry from the donations collected. It’s a win-win system. Last year, the Free Harvest Supper collected over $3,000 in donations which has continued to strengthen the ongoing relationship between the families and farms of Franklin County.

The Really, Really Free Market is another way in which community members can share with one another. Again this year, gardeners and farmers are welcome to bring the overflow of extra produce they have, and, in accordance with its name, all of the produce is free to take home. All are welcome to take home some of the donated produce, which in past years has included peaches, apples, eggs, tomatoes, squash, greens, flowers, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and more. To donate produce to the Really, Really Free Market, no sign up is needed. Just bring your produce to the supper from 4-5:30pm.

Volunteers Needed!

It takes a whole community to make a great community event. A core group of volunteer organizers is already at work planning the Free Harvest Supper and they want your help! 100 volunteers, over 50 farms, a dozen organizations, and countless home gardeners (along with over 1,000 hungry diners) helped make last year’s Supper a success. Planning, donating food, volunteering the day of the Supper, and providing information for the display area, are just a few of the many ways to be involved in this great event. 

This year, the organizers are currently looking for folks to help with food and entertainment coordination, as well as people who can help set up, serve, staff the recycling/composting area, and clean up at the Supper. 

To volunteer: Contact Adelle Ferreira at acferreira1@verizon.net

To donate food or provide display materials: Contact info@freeharvestsupper.org

To make financial donations: Send checks made out to “Center for Self-Reliance” to Dino Schnelle, Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry, 3 1/2 Osgood St., Greenfield, MA 01301. Please note “Free Harvest Supper” on the check. For more information about the Center for Self-Reliance and the Greenfield Farmers’ Market Coupon Project, call (413)773-5029