August 10, 2017

Contact: Catherine Welker:, (413)-584-1300 x122

Purchasing Co-op links school cafeterias to local farms and food processors

HCG Purchasing Co-op is excited to announce a collaborative effort with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation (CDC) to introduce the Pioneer Valley Vegetable Venture (PVVV) to area school cafeterias. This collaboration provides an opportunity for schools and other community groups to offer healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables while supporting local farms.

“HCG Purchasing Co-op is happy to link schools and other bulk food buyers to local farms and processors. With this bid, we are empowering and enabling these participants to educate students and others about the importance of sustainability and healthy local food,” says Ellen Batchelder, director, HCG Purchasing Co-op. “By supporting homegrown businesses and farms, money is invested back into local communities.”

Effort keeps money in our community, preserves family farmers and open space, and adds to a thriving regional economy

Later this fall, western Massachusetts schools and community groups will be able to purchase produce that is harvested and flash frozen at peak freshness from local farms. The CDC’s Food Processing Center uses cutting edge Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) technology to ensure produce is harvested and processed within hours, while containing the most nutrients.

“The addition of new IQF technology allows us to offer fruit and vegetables to schools and local community groups through HCG Purchasing Co-op’s bid, which keeps money in our community, preserves family farmers and open space, and adds to a thriving regional economy,” John Waite, executive director, Franklin County Community Development Corporation.

Who We Are:

HCG Purchasing Co-op makes it easy for towns, cities, schools and nonprofits to save money, time and effort on major and everyday purchases. By administering formal bidding processes the Co-op is able to ensure quality goods and services at competitive prices to local schools, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations while reinvesting these expenses in the local economy.

HCG supports communities by empowering local, sustainable and efficient economies. HCG helps cities and towns, schools, nonprofits and businesses get the most value by pooling their buying power. In addition to the Co-op, HCG provides electricity services, including green and locally produced electricity, and supports communities with its own, uniquely effective service organizations: RSVP and Tobacco Free Community Partnership. Every cent HCG earns goes back to supporting the communities of western Massachusetts. HCG is funded by its own revenue.

The Franklin County Community Development Corporation (CDC) is an economic development nonprofit dedicated to investing in small businesses, and expanding opportunities for low and moderate-income residents in the Pioneer Valley, and is home of the Western MA Food Processing Center.