Berkshire bakers combine forces to combat racism

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Living life on a farm and through the lens of food, Sean Stanton and his partner, Tess Diamond-Stanton, wanted to support the fight against systemic racism.

As the owners of North Plain Farm in Great Barrington, Sean and Tess are taking part in "Bakers against Racism," a worldwide virtual bake sale in order to combat structural racism.

The sale started Monday afternoon and runs through this week, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Berkshire Resources of Integration of Diverse Groups through Education, also known as Bridge.

"Sean and I have been searching for more to do," Diamond-Stanton said. "We have a lot of customers in the community and a great network of incredible culinary talent. This seemed like a good fit for us to highlight the work of an organization that has done a lot of good work in the Berkshires for years."

Bridge, a Lee-based grassroots organization, is dedicated to advancing equality and justice by promoting cultural competence, positive psychology and mutual acceptance in the Berkshires and across the state.

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"Our vision is to advocate for communities that were invisible or marginalized," said Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO and Founding Director of Bridge. "We went into overdrive and worked to be approved as an essential business as soon as the quarantine hit in order to provide food and services."

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Bridge has made six deliveries of food, masks cleaning and hygiene-related supplies, along with pharmacy items to 78 families who were all vulnerable. They have also partnered with Woven Roots Farm to help launch "Sustainability and Solidarity Share," a program that provides food support to 30 Bridge families with raised garden beds and farm-fresh vegetables and supplies.

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"Things like the bake sale are helping us go," VanSant said. "I am seeing beautiful relationships and Bridge is literally a bridge for people who are working and for people who are living with unsustainability.

"Even though people aren't directly touching the families, the community is helping to keep us going."

Items from over a dozen bakers are available on North Plain Farm's website at northplainfarm.com, with pickup scheduled for after 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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"Sean and I brainstormed a list of really incredible professional, and at-home bakers," Diamond-Stanton said. "All of them were ready to help because we want to see change and this is one small way people can contribute and raise awareness. We really believe in the power of food to bring people together. This is one of those examples."

Not only are items available on North Plain Farm's website, but each day they'll feature a special item on their Instagram (north-plain-farm) that will be auctioned off, including cakes, pies, ginger cookies, strawberry rhubarb scones and maple granola.

For more information about Bridge, or more ways to donate, visit multiculturalbridge.org.

"Berkshire communities and beyond are really helping the people in need," VanSant said. "We can't go backward to before the pandemic, but we can build an inclusive future where all these relationships hold."

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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