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  • New England Biolabs and The Food Project Partner In Opening New Farm

    Ipswich, MA, May 21, 2009 – New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB) and The Food Project-North Shore are pleased to announce a new agricultural partnership between the two organizations at the NEB property on Fellows Road in Ipswich.

    The Food Project has recently plowed and is outfitting the NEB field for production of six acres of mixed vegetables and fruit, which will supply area farmers’ markets and food pantries. This project will also supply a new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with pick-up sites in several North Shore communities.

    Established in 1991, The Food Project is a private, nonprofit organization that focuses on cultivating a new generation of leaders by placing teens from our region into responsible roles, with meaningful work in the field of sustainable agriculture. The Food Project also distributes healthy food for residents throughout the region while restoring local agricultural land. The North Shore site opened in 2004.

    A four-year search for the right property and partnership resulted in the collaboration with NEB, which has generously donated use of the field for The Food Project farm for a minimum of three years.

    New England Biolabs has a long history of commitment to local communities and environmental sustainability. The company’s Green Committee constantly strives to reduce Biolabs’ carbon footprint through energy-reduction practices and staff incentives. The NEB facility is LEED certified and houses a state-of-the-art Solar Aquatics System® to treat the campus’ wastewater (see www.greenbuildessexcounty.org for more on this building). Many community arts and environmental efforts are funded through the New England Biolabs Foundation, a private foundation established in 1982 (www.nebf.org). Chief Executive Officer Jim Ellard says of the new partnership, “Our collaboration with The Food Project is another great opportunity for us to be actively involved in this community that is deeply committed to environmental and economic sustainability.”

    According to North Shore Food Project Director, Melissa Dimond, “We could not be happier about this opportunity. New England Biolabs’ generosity will make it possible for healthy, local food to reach thousands of North Shore residents, and for The Food Project to employ a greater number of area teenagers in our comprehensive youth programs.”

    The new Food Project Farm will employ 45 North Shore youth this summer. Through hands-on experience, these young adults will learn how to grow food while caring for the land. Additionally, they will learn critical leadership and management skills. The result will be a crop of strong, young leaders and a large volume of organic, locally-grown food for people of the North Shore.

    As the demand for locally-grown, fresh food continues to rise, certain areas of the North Shore, such as Cape Ann, Beverly, Lynn, and Swampscott remain underserved. To reach these areas, the Food Project will have its pickup sites in those communities. North Shore farmers’ markets and food pantries will also be part of the distribution plan.

    The farm is located in an area of NEB property that is preserved through a Conservation Restriction (CR), which is held by the Essex County Greenbelt Association. According to Greenbelt’s Executive Director, Ed Becker, “We are pleased to support this collaborative project between New England Biolabs and The Food Project. Farming this land is consistent with the purposes of the CR, and this use helps to increase the base of land for local agriculture. We hope to see more projects like this in the future.”

    For more information about purchasing shares in the Community Supported Agriculture program (in which members subscribe for 20 weeks of a full bushel of fresh produce each week), please call The Food Project at 781-346-6726 or email northshoreCSA@thefoodproject.org.

    About The Food Project

    Founded in Boston and Lincoln in 1991, The Food Project creates personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. The organization’s hallmark is their focus on cultivating a new generation of leaders by placing teens in unusually responsible roles, with deeply meaningful work. The Food Project-North Shore was established in 2004 to create meaningful opportunities for youth throughout the North Shore region. Together, youth and adults at The Food Project distribute healthy food for residents throughout the region while restoring agricultural land in an area where many of the nation’s oldest farms were founded, yet are now threatened to disappear. For more information about the Food Project visit www.thefoodproject.org.

    About NEB

    Established in the mid 1970’s, New England Biolabs, Inc. leads the industry in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genome research. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, cloning, expression and purification, and is focusing on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors. New England Biolabs is a privately held company headquartered in Ipswich, MA and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and five subsidiaries located in Canada, China, Germany, Japan and the UK. For more information about New England Biolabs visit www.neb.com.

    About Essex County Greenbelt Association

    The Essex County Greenbelt Association is a nonprofit land trust that has conserved more than 13,000 acres of land in Essex County, Massachusetts. A membership organization, Greenbelt acquires and manages land, assists communities and state agencies in property acquisitions, promotes land conservation through events, publications and programs, and offers locations for outdoor recreation and environmental education. For more information about the Essex County Greenbelt Association visit www.ecga.org.