Big and Little: An Organizational Merger of Sorts Between Different Types of Food Programs

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August 26, 2013; Boston Herald


NPQ is very interested in the variety of structures that organizations use to work with one another. They can be tracked on a continuum of greater to lesser autonomy and can take any one of a number of forms. This one is interesting on the surface.

Project Bread, a large Massachusetts-based organization that raises money to combat hunger, has announced that it will incorporate the far smaller Massachusetts Farm to School under its corporate umbrella as a project. Massachusetts Farm to School is an effort to bring locally grown food to school cafeterias.

Kelly Erwin, executive director of what will now be called the Mass. Farm to School Project LLC, says that the move is meant to give the organization “more oomph and more stability,” also saying that it allows the organization to progress and concentrate on its work while depending upon Project Bread to attend to administrative tasks.

Project Bread executive director Ellen Parker said it expects to respect the independence of the smaller group, which is now working with 200 school districts, because they see the missions as complementary. “We bring that economic development, business-based perspective; they bring that food-justice, anti-hunger perspective,” Erwin said.

But Parker sees the effort as adding to its understanding of food issues more generally. “What will change is for us to be more sensitive to the needs that they see,” Parker said. “They’re very in touch with the Western Massachusetts agricultural economy.”—Ruth McCambridge