Partners & Projects

Our clients are community groups, state and municipal partners, and investors. They share the goals of creating a more equitable food system in their communities. They seek more sustainable, affordable and nutritious food to increase health in their communities. Together we develop tools to track impact and stories from their community programs and ways to galvanize these results in systemic and policy change.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Healthy Food Fund

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is the philanthropic community investment side of the health care organization whose mission is to improve the quality and value of healthcare for the people and communities it serves.

Along with DAISA Enterprises, Fertile Ground has has provided critical design and evaluation services and expertise for the Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund, affording 3-year grants to 20+ organizations building access to fresh food in CT, MA, ME, and NH.

Springfield Public Schools Home Grown Springfield

Home Grown Springfield is a school food initiative of Springfield Public Schools and their food service partner Sodexo, providing nearly 60,000 meals daily at no cost to over 30,000 students in 59 schools. In February 2019, the SPS opened its new 62,000 square foot Culinary and Nutrition Center to serve as a hub to cook and prepare ingredients to be incorporated into school meals, generating more opportunities to source from local farms whenever possible.

Funded by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, Fertile Ground facilitates a multi-stakeholder advisory committee of people who have a stake in the Springfield and regional food system, including social service agencies, food retailers, local farmers, municipal representatives, content experts, and community members with understanding of food access barriers and opportunities in Springfield. Fertile Ground captured the program’s first two years of  learning and evaluation in our latest report, found here.

Moving Springfield Upstream: Setting the Table for Race, Place and Change

Moving Springfield Upstream is a place-based partnership in Springfield, MA which advocates and builds capacity for residents to access and enjoy healthy food. Five core agency partners are designing processes that engage a broad multi-sector steering committee in developing language for dismantling systemic racism while activating innovative fresh food access strategies. The work is grounded in a shared vision for community ownership and decision-making rooted in racial justice and health equity.

Fertile Ground convenes, facilitates, and evaluates this partnership and coalition.

Reos Partners: The Bridging Studio

Reos Partners is is an international social enterprise that designs, facilitates, and guides processes to make progress on the world’s toughest challenges in education, health, food, energy, environment, development, justice, security, and peace. With more than 20 years of experience and expertise in collaborative coalition building, Reos Partners helps teams work to open and create paths toward systemic transformation.

As a project consultant to Reos Partners Catherine Sands provided co-facilitation for The Bridging Studio exploring the intersection between social innovation and social justice, and the potential transformative social change the two sectors can achieve when they work together.

DAISA Enterprises, LLC

DAISA Enterprises, LLC works at the nexus of food, health, economy and community. DAISA provides strategic, operational and evaluation services to social enterprises and investors, and innovates new programs and technologies to develop a more equitable food system.

Fertile Ground and DAISA Enterprises have provided critical design and evaluation services and expertise to the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund, which afforded three year grants to over 24 organizations in MA, CT, NH, ME for greater access to fresh food. Fertile Ground designed a learning community approach for grantees to share strategy and build capacity for tracking and evaluation. Click here to view the final report. With the support of Fertile Ground, DAISA  developed GoodFoodTracker as a way to curate smart metrics, build compelling story formats, make reporting easy, and for grantees to access “info-sheet summaries.” Click here to learn more or request a demonstration.

Center for Whole Communities

The Center for Whole Communities provides fellowships, retreats, and trainings for transformational leaders. The Center for Whole Communities’ Whole Measures framework is a flexible tool for planning and evaluating that can be adapted to your community’s goals. The framework serves as a foundation for a highly integrated, whole systems approach that effectively embraces a wide variety of values including social equity, biodiversity, human rights, ecosystem health, civic engagement and economic vitality.

Fertile Ground was commissioned to co-lead Whole Measures workshops for the Food Project’s urban farm and youth program staff.

Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council

From 2007-2014, the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council (HFFPC), one of nine US sites funded for multiple years by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, developed a multi-stakeholder approach to designing and implementing strategies for access to healthy food and safe places to exercise in the city of Holyoke.

Fertile Ground, in collaboration with Partnership in Practice, facilitated a multi-stakeholder team responsible for measuring, communicating, and improving HFFPC’s system and policy change efforts to increase food resilience in low-resourced Holyoke, MA communities. As part of this process, Fertile Ground designed cutting edge community-based participatory methodologies and published findings in academic journals with a national thought leadership evaluation team.

Nuestras Raíces

Nuestras Raíces​ is a community development corporation with a nationally recognized model for “agri-cultural” development growing from its majority Puerto Rican community.

Fertile Ground has partnered with Nuestras Raices for over a decade, providing participatory evaluation and research design and implementation for its incubator farm, community gardens and youth program.

Gardening the Community

Gardening The Community is a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities.

Fertile Ground designed and facilitated an intergenerational evaluation committee with Gardening the Community, aligning organizational values, program goals, impact and work plans.

Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

The Mass Food System Collaborative was launched after the creation of the Massachusetts Local Action Food Plan in 2015. The Plan contains goals and recommendations for progress toward a sustainable and equitable food system.

Fertile Ground facilitated stakeholder input for traditionally underrepresented communities in MA to ensure that the MA Local Food Action Plan outcomes are socially just and equitable. Fertile Ground continues to advise and develop values-based evaluation strategies with urban farming groups throughout the state.

Pioneer Valley Grows

Pioneer Valley Grows is a collaborative network dedicated to enhancing the ecological and economic sustainability and vitality of the Pioneer Valley food system.

As co-director of the Racial Equity in the Food System subcommittee, Fertile Ground director Catherine Sands has co-designed and co-facilitated racial equity and white privilege trainings for the network.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture

Since 1993, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has been working to strengthen farms by engaging the community to build the local food economy. CISA operates the longest running buy local campaign in the country.

Fertile Ground designed and evaluated CISA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development grant funded initiative to provide technical assistance to the five buy local networks throughout Massachusetts.


Additional Partners and Allies: