MJ Shannon at Greylock WORKS!

This past semester I interned with Greylock WORKS!, a budding community asset in an old mill building specializing in food entrepreneurship, a venue for weddings and concerts, and eventually a boiler room bar area, apartments, and artist lofts. Since Greylock WORKS! Is still in the works itself, a majority of my work was brainstorming, grant writing, and feasibility studies.

My supervisor, Jennifer, and I, brainstormed what events held at Greylock WORKS! could look like; from specialized food based festivals, to community conversation dinners centered around food. It was determined early on that food is a strong community builder, and that Greylock WORKS! Wants to utilize local food and local food production as one of their main focuses. North Adams is seen as a little bit of a food desert, so the goal of Greylock WORKS! is to really highlight local food, and the area of North Adams.

I have actually followed the story of this building since Sal and Karla, the owners, purchased it a few years back. It was so inspiring to me that they came from New York City, and saw so much potential for North Adams right off the bat.

Since food is the main focus of the development right now (the whole building is a 10 year plan), I worked with them on a LLFP grant. The grant focuses on local food production and agricultural expansion initiatives. Greylock WORKS! will have a full commercial kitchen, seasonal extension fridges/freezers, and value-added production apparatuses that will add a new dimension of agricultural production materials, such as cider press and fermentation station.

I also worked on a feasibility study which compared specialized festivals and indoor markets such as Farm+Flea, Smorgasburg, and Rib Fest. I helped compare the revenue streams, sponsors, attendance, growth, marketing, and demographic draw. These were all laid out in a spreadsheet so that we could better envision what a festival at  Greylock WORKS! would look like, and how it may have opportunities to expand. It has also been determined that one of the greatest disadvantages that North Adams has is transportation.

Greylock WORKS! is such a wonderful community asset, and everyone on the team cares about community engagement, and North Adams as a whole. This old mill building is going to be the bridge from Williamstown to North Adams, and better integrate the two towns and combine all they have to offer. In the past several months of my life, I have been very focused on local food, and how to utilize and promote local food in the economy, so my own researched often overlapped with my research for Greylock WORKS!. North Adams has so many wonderful food opportunities on the horizon, and I was honored to have the opportunity to work with Greylock WORKS!


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