Food hub partnership delivers $30K in regional products to Franklin County schools

  • Greenfield School Department’s Food Service Director Greta Shwachman, pictured with Teresa Poirier and Starr Hurd in the Greenfield High School kitchen. Shwachman said the district has enjoyed working with Food Connects to bring more regional products into the city’s public school cafeterias. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/18/2022 3:17:24 PM
Modified: 7/18/2022 3:17:00 PM

The partnership between a nonprofit food hub and five Franklin County schools has proven fruitful, school staff members say, with more than $30,000 in regional products being delivered to local cafeterias during the 2021 to 2022 school year.

Food Connects, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, delivered more than $30,000 in regional products to the Greenfield School Department, the Pioneer Valley Regional School District, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Deerfield Academy and Eaglebrook School during the past school year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food hub as “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.”

Greta Shwachman, food service director with the Greenfield School Department, said the district has enjoyed working with Food Connects to bring more regional products into the city’s public school cafeterias.

“It’s great to connect with local producers from nearby states, and we’re grateful for the role Food Connects has played in expanding our farm-to-school menu offerings,” she wrote in an email.

Food Connects has supplied Greenfield’s public schools, which include six institutions, with ground beef from Big Picture Beef in Hardwick. bulk yogurt from Narragansett Creamery in Providence, Rhode Island; and granola from True North Granola Co. in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Tom Brewton, a Food Connects institutional sales associate, met with Michael Onorato, food service director of the Pioneer Valley Regional School District, earlier this year. According to a Food Connects press release, Onorato was already familiar with the nonprofit, having previously worked as food service director for Conval Regional School District — another district that Food Connects serves — in New Hampshire. Food Connects now supplies the Pioneer district with various products, including apples, potatoes, carrots and eggs.

Deerfield Academy has a Farm Team (a group of students who help with harvesting and garlic preparation projects at two local farms) that worked with Food Connects to receive various products, including strip loins from Big Picture Beef in Hardwick and burger patties from Piermont, New Hampshire.

Just in the 2021 to 2022 school year, Eaglebrook School in Deerfield purchased 3,672 pounds of ground beef from Boyden Beef in Cambridge, Vermont, and Big Picture Beef in Hardwick, the release states. At Northfield Mount Hermon School, students got to learn about the regional products featured on their menus as part of a Food Systems Teach-In.

Food Connects’ customer routes go from Brattleboro, Vermont, to as far south as Northampton. For more information about the nonprofit food hub, visit

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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