What We Do

Policy Priorities

Our Local Priority Areas


As a next step in creating a vibrant urban agriculture environment, we are advocating for the city to develop and enact a Backyard Chickens Ordinance, which will allow residents to raise and keep chickens on private property.

We continue to advocate for more affordable housing in the city by monitoring the implementation of the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, and working with aligned organizations to incentivize the development of policies that encourage affordable rents and more inclusionary zoning.

Taking lessons learned from the rollout of the 2023 Summer Meals program, we will work with Worcester Public Schools and other site providers to ensure a smoother rollout, improved communication, and better outreach for the 2024 Summer Meals program.

Good Food Procurement policies help ensure that city agencies and local organizations source food in ways that are sustainable, healthy, and resilient.

Past Policy Priorities

man-hand-garden-growthGrowing food in the City benefits everyone. Whether you’re a full-time farmer, or you garden as a hobby, an Urban Agriculture Zoning Ordinance can benefit you and your community. We are working with City of Worcester Departments, City Councilors, Farmers, and Non-Profits to craft an ordinance that promotes health, food safety, good neighbors, and access to land so that those who would like to farm in the city and sell their produce, can do so. Contact us to learn more

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, assists nearly 46 million people nationwide with providing food for themselves and their families. Roughly 1 in 10 Massachusetts residents relies on the SNAP program, and 75% of those that benefit from SNAP are seniors, children, and people living with disabilities. We work with advocates to make sure the program is functioning with the best interests of those that need it in mind. We do this work with partners around the state through the Central MA SNAP Coalition and our sister coalitions in Boston and Western MA.

For the last 30 years, wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of living, and as a result people making minimum wage or slightly higher, are not able to afford the basic costs of living without relying heavily on government programs or community services like food pantries. We believe that all work deserves a living wage, and that is why we have joined this national campaign and work locally with Raise Up MA and the Worcester Community Labor Coalition to fight for higher wages.

To us, healthy food access means that everyone can access healthy, culturally appropriate foods where they live, work, learn, or play. We support policies that make this possible, like the federal Child Nutrition bill that supports healthy foods in our schools and in Summer Feeding programs, or the Health Incentives Program here in Massachusetts which will give incentives to SNAP users at Farmers Markets (coming 2017).

We support the work of our partners, like the REC and Division of Public Health, in making more healthy food available through mobile farmers markets, farm stands, CSA’s, and corner stores. We also work with partners like the Massachusetts Public Health Association to pass legislation like the Food Trust so that we can build on these efforts, as well as promote new ones, such as the Worcester Regional Food Hub.

We're excited to announce the upcoming launch of Main South Grown, a new Healthy Food Retail initiative.

1. Healthy Food for All

We want everyone in every neighborhood of Worcester to have fresh, culturally appropriate, and affordable fruits, vegetables, and healthy meals.

2. Growing Urban Agriculture

We want to bring agriculture back to the City, and make sure anyone can farm land and sell their products in the City.

3. Building a Food Movement for All

From farmers to nutritionists, activists, researchers, and beyond, we want to bring everyone together to build this movement together! Get Involved.

Local Research and Data