2022 Lowell Community Food Assessment

2nd annual Guest panel series

2022 Lowell Community Food Assessment


Virtual Roundtable Discussion
Thursday, April 21  @  4pm EDT

presented by Mill City Grows  •  moderated by Francey Slater
Free & open to the public

The 2022 Lowell Community Food Assessment (CFA) was a collaborative project implemented by Mill City Grows with funding, support, and participation of the REACH LoWELL initiative and the Greater Lowell Health Alliance (GLHA). This assessment evaluated the food system in Lowell, MA, determined the food security of Lowell residents, and proposed solutions to barriers and challenges to accessing food.

Join our guest panelists and moderator Francey Slater to review and discuss the results of the Lowell Community Food Assessment, and how this information will impact and guide citywide efforts to increase healthy food access. 

Guest Panelists & Moderator


Francey Slater
Co-Founder of Mill City Grows
Food Systems Consultant

Francey is a seasoned educator and gardener who focused on garden education program development; designing, building, and coordinating physical gardens; cultivating volunteer participation; and establishing partnerships to leverage resources to support community health and wellness.  

Francey worked as one of the primary researchers for the Community Food Assessment and co-led the planning, process, and execution of the project.


Solimar Berrios
Head of Office Operations at Mill City Grows

Solimar touches all aspects of programming and administration at MCG headquarters. 

Though she grew up in Lowell, Solimar spent much of her adult life living, studying, and working in Puerto Rico, where she acquired a wealth of human resource, administration, and office management experience. She is active in her church community and in educating the local Latinx community on food access resources. 

As a CFA committee member, Solimar conducted focus groups and outreach in the Latinx community.


Jeanmerli Gonzalez
Program Manager for REACH LoWELL
Lowell Community Health Center

Jeanmerli’s role as REACH LoWELL Program Manager focuses on outreach to the greater community of Lowell and increasing resource connectivity within the community. Her experience in the healthcare field includes outreach, patient education, patient advocacy as well as first hand patient care. 

Jeanmerli coordinated the CFA project with REACH LoWELL and facilitated outreach opportunities with community members, especially community health workers working in Lowell.


Tara Hong
Project Manager at Lowell Public Schools
Candidate for 18th Middlesex District

In 2013, with the help of his stepfather, Tara came to Lowell from Cambodia with his mother and his sister. 

Tara recently graduated from UMass Lowell with a degree in Political Science and is now working in the Lowell Public Schools as a Project Manager. His experience includes working at the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association as the Civic Engagement Coordinator, volunteering in various capacities around Lowell, and is a member of the board of directors of Mill City Grows.

Tara conducted interviews for the CFA in the Lowell Cambodian community.


Ali Jacobs
Director of Programs at Mill City Grows
Lowell CFA Project Leader

Originally from Springfield, MA, Ali has been an operation and project manager for over a decade. 

She started her career in agriculture in New York City where she lived for many years and helped found and develop community gardens, urban farms, and other food justice projects. She comes to Mill City Grows after managing a large organic farm in Western Mass.

At Mill City Grows, Ali has expanded programs in the community and spearheaded the Community Food Assessment project coordination.


Edith Parekh
Lowell resident, Businesswoman, and Volunteer

With Edith’s master’s in public health, nursing experience and longtime volunteerism, she has served the Greater Lowell community for decades. As a former restaurateur and her work cooking at the Lowell Folk Festival for more than 30 years she has a wealth of experience understanding the importance of food to members of our community. 

Edith offered her vast experience and advice as a member of the CFA Steering Committee.

Thank you to our 10th Anniversary Event Sponsors:

Jim Waldo &
Susan Mitchell

Plenus Group
Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA
Microdesk, Inc.
Mass Cultural Council
Golden Girl Granola

Market Basket

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