Ashley Brister on Community Farming: 'This Food Is Going to Families Who Really Need It'


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When Ashley Brister started Sharing the Harvest Community Farm in Dartmouth, Mass., a few years ago, she had "no real awareness" of where her food came from.

"I had no real awareness and didn't give much thought about where my food was coming from until college when I became a vegetarian after having conversations with friends about the sketchy cafeteria meat and questioning where that was coming from," she tells the New Bedford Light.

But "seeing how the connection and bringing people closer to the land and the sources of their food can be a source of healing," she says, "in terms of improving your access to healthy fresh vegetables but also just connecting with the earth and getting your hands in the soil."

Brister, who became the farm's director in 2018, says she hopes to change that with the farm's 40 varieties of crops, which average between 50,000 and 60,000 pounds of produce per year.

They're sold at mobile markets, delivered to food pantries, and picked the same day they reach families in need.

Brister, who studied English at the College of Wooster and worked for Outward Bound after graduation, says farming offers a unique opportunity to connect with the earth.

"To her, this work matters because it provides reliable access to healthy food for

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