NOTE: Simple Gifts Farmstand in North Amherst accepts the Common Good card. By joining the Common Good Fund project, you will help us invest in local projects in Amherst like the one described below! Please join here:
CUMMINGTON — Nutwood Farm will soon have a solar powered pump to run its well, thanks to a $1,000 grant from Greenfield Common Good, a nonprofit non-bank financial institution that supports social change and community empowerment.
“We applied last summer and we were very excited when we heard we got it,” farm owner Seva Tower said.
In December, Common Good selected 14 projects to receive $19,000 in grants, loans, and equity investments. The projects that received funding focused on topics such as food systems, sustainability and renewable energy, small business development, social justice and the arts.
“We have been thinking a lot about water, and while we are blessed with water in the Northeast, it is still a precious resource,” Tower said. “Climate chaos also makes things a lot more challenging, and a solar water pump on the well will ensure that we can still pump water if the electricity goes out.”
Tower owns the farm with partner Kalyan Uprichard. Utilizing a swale and berm system, the couple has planted 350 nut trees to produce hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, hickory nuts and butternuts.
By growing these trees sustainably and supplying nuts locally, Tower and Uprichard hope to help shift the local food system toward “regenerative agriculture and develop long-term food sovereignty and bold economic sufficiency.”
Tower says that they have received a great deal of support from the community and people in the region. She noted that it has been difficult to secure loans from traditional banks and praised Common Good for helping their farm.
“It’s a small amount but really useful, and it is so refreshing because we have struggled to get financing from traditional institutions,” she said.
Common Good is a system where members use credits instead of dollars at participating retailers. Those dollars then sit in a pool that builds as more people use the Common Good card. The pool eventually grows to the point where the funds can be dispersed for projects that benefit the local community.
“The Common Good is a pretty incredible organization and it is amazing to have them in this area,” Tower said.