Culture and healthy food celebrated at Holyoke harvest festival

Received a grant from the USDA for $800,000 to train 100 new farmers, over 3-years on how to farm responsible.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – On Saturday people from all walks of life came together for the annual harvest festival in Holyoke.

The event was organized by Nuestras Raices, the oldest and largest urban organization in New England. People enjoyed live Latin music, food and dance performances, and one even received a lesson in cultural heritage.

Ruth Roman told 22News, “It’s really important for me and my daughter to have a chance to experience that, since she didn’t have a chance to live in Puerto Rico. Coming here, she gets to have some type of understanding of her culture and the music and food.”

Nuestra Raices, which means “Our Roots” in Spanish, prides itself on providing fresh produce to the community. The organization started with a small farm and now has 13 community gardens and a 30 acre farm in Holyoke, and that number may rise. Nuestra Raices just received an $800,000 grant from the USDA to train 100 new farmers over 3 years on how to farm responsibly. The organization is self-sufficient and grows everything it needs.

22News caught up with a UMass Amherst student who was there collecting information on how to better serve this community. “Are they most influenced by cost or quantity or do they like things locally, or is that not really an issue for them,” is what Erik Cullen told 22News he was interested in.

Nuestra Raices celebrated their 23rd anniversary Saturday. She wants people to know “how valuable the community gardens are. How great it is to grow your own food. How great it is to have your own sense of belonging.”

Roque told 22News everyone is encouraged to get involved. For just $25 a season, a person can come and go as many times as they like.

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