Community building and generosity have remained core values of the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival since its inception in 1999. Each year the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival provides $5,000 in grants to support projects that propagate the values of the festival. We have awarded over $54,000 in grants to support community building and projects in the arts, agriculture/food, renewable energy, wellness and economic and racial justice since 2009. Even with affordable admission, this is made possible due to a fully volunteer organizing committee, and over 150 volunteers the festival weekend!
Although the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is on hiatus for 2020 and 2021 during the COVID pandemic and for continued collective well being, the committee felt it more important than ever to maintain our grant-making to local organizations that propagate the arts, food and social justice, and community building. In 2020/21 we made small grants totaling over $9,000 in to these local and worthy organizations and projects: Nolumbeka Project, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, People’s Medicine Project, Valuing our Children, Launchspace, Franklin County Community Meals Program, Quabbin Harvest, North Quabbin Food A Thon, Shea Theater, The Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse, 1794 Meetinghouse, People’s Fund of Franklin County. Compost Cooperative, Foundation for Community Justice, Holyoke Food and Equity Collective, and Arise for Social Justice. In addition, the festival made a no-interest loan to the Cooperative Fund of New England for their emergency COVID relief fund to ensure the sustainability of food and worker cooperatives throughout the Northeast.
The grants from the 2019 festival, awarded in 2020, included a loan to the Cooperative Fund of New England’s COVID-19 emergency fund and grants to the North Quabbin Foodathon, Great Falls Books Through Bars, The Nolumbeka Project, Pioneer Valley Workers Center cooperative farm, People’s Medicine Project, the Shea Theater, and a pottery kiln and supplies for the LaunchSpace maker-space in Orange.
Our 2018 grant was made to the Cooperative Fund of New England, an organization that makes loans to local organizations. And, as always, a $500 grant was made to support local food distribution. The 2018 grant was shared equally between the North Quabbin Food-A-Thon and the Senior Shares Program at Quabbin Harvest Food Coop.
In 2017, The Festival provided $5,000 in grants and donations to the following North Quabbin organizations and projects:
- North Quabbin Recovery Center
- Printing of a local food guide by North Quabbin Energy
- North Quabbin Food-A-Thon for support of local pantries
- Vets and Veggies
- Scholarship fund at the Orange Dance Studio
- The accessible platform for entry to the Millers River in Athol
- Solstice Riverfest celebration
- The work of North Quabbin Energy in local public schools
- Purchase of compostable take-home dinnerware for a community Thanksgiving Meal.
Additionally, several local groups assist with parking and receive a donation from the festival towards their good causes.
Festival history and philosophy of grant making: The festival has been a model for igniting local culture and economy since its inception. It is a celebration for all ages where attendees purchase directly from local artists, farmers, and food producers, thus keeping money in our region.
The Garlic and Arts Festival success and sustainability is made possible through a fully volunteer organizing committee who collectively contribute thousands of hours year round to bring the festival to fruition, plus 150 additional volunteers the weekend of the event. Each exhibitor also contributes 3-4 hours of time to help with an aspect of the festival, from press to set up, to feeding work crews, to sorting compost after the event.
A non-profit event under the fiscal umbrella of Seeds of Solidarity Education Center Inc, proceeds from the festival ensure that it continues from year to year. Thanks to the commitment of those who attend, vend, perform, and volunteer year after year, the festival can now also spread values of community building year round, and support other projects in the North Quabbin region.