Tag Archives: local food

Land’s Sake

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Land’s Sake is a non-profit organization that uses farming, education, and forestry to connect people to the land to build community and inspire lifelong stewardship.  On our farm, we distribute vegetables through our CSA program, farmstand, and hunger relief program. Through these avenues, we expose people to new types of vegetables, like the cruciferous vegetable kohlrabi, sweet and nutty husk cherries, and the Mexican herb epazote. Our education program works in tandem with the farm to expose over 3000 children each year to local food through field trips, after-school and summer programs, and outreach visits in libraries and schools. In the woods of Weston, our forestry program works to sustainably manage several hundred acres of forest, provide sustainable firewood, and harvest maple syrup annually. All three programs are supported by full-time and seasonal staff, as well as a robust volunteer community.

We are celebrating Food Day because it is a natural extension of our farm and education work; we highly value local, sustainably-produced food for everyone. We will be celebrating Food Day with a variety of on-site activities that involve people with our work. We can be found at www.landssake.org

 

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Powisset Farm Cooks Up a Local Food Feast

Barn Dinner 8.30.15

If you have been to Powisset Farm, you know it’s a special place. Not only easy on the eye, but a place where everybody knows your name, where everyone knows their farmer (Meryl Latronica) and where you can go to get away from the oh-so-close but so far city.

Barn DinnerLine

On Friday October 23rd, Powisset Farm will be hosting their first (of many, hopefully) Fall Farm Dinner where people from the community will come together as “the last hurrah” of the season before we switch gears to winter crops and indoor activity. The meal will be catered by Heritage Food Truck Company and will incorporate produce from the farm. Jack’s Abbey Craft Lagers (Framingham) and Far from the Tree cider (Salem) will be joining to provide local beverages, while the Railroad House Band will be providing entertainment for the night.

We are participating in the Food Day celebration not only to bring awareness of the food grown literally right outside our front door, but as a celebration and  a way of bringing together a community – of new friends and old.

Powisset Farm is located at 37 Powisset Street in Dover, MA. To register for the Powisset Farm Fall Farm Dinner, click here or contact Nicole at nnacamuli@thetrustees.org or 508.785.0339 x3003.

Eat Local this Winter with the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair

Nicewicz Farm StandFresh, local food doesn’t have to end with the first frost, even in New England. Explore a new season of New England food at the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair on October 16 in Watertown! You can meet farmers and representatives from several farm share/CSA programs, as well as some different kinds of local food programs for the late fall and winter.

If you’re new to eating locally year-round, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the variety of locally grown food available, even in the middle of winter. You can expect a variety of produce, including apples, beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, collard greens, garlic, lettuce, onions, parsnips, popcorn, radishes, spinach, squash, and turnips. Some programs offer local foods like chicken, cider, eggs, cheese, fish, maple syrup, pork, wheat, and yogurt. And one offers meal kits, with the ingredients and recipe for a locally-sourced feast.

Farm Share Fair 8x10

If you’re already a fan of local food, you’ll enjoy the variety of farm share programs attending the fair. The fair will have several traditional single and multi-farm programs for the winter months, as well as a grain and bean program. There will also be programs that offer pay-as-you-go, like a local or organic food delivery program – some will even deliver to your door. If you live or work between Worcester and Boston, Beverly and Buzzards Bay, there’s a pick-up site or delivery convenient to you.

Meet your winter food farmer at the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 16, at the Watertown Public Library, 123 Main Street, Watertown, MA. See you there!

– Becky Prior, Belmont Food Collaborative

Working Together for Healthy People and Healthy Land

VegetablesWhen Nourish Boston first came together about a year ago, our ambitions were broad: nutrition education, increasing food access, supporting local farmers, encouraging health and fitness, and connecting members of the Boston community with their food, the earth, and each other. A year later, these goals remain unchanged, but building partnerships has emerged as the key strategy in turning any of these ideas into reality.

There is an incredible sense of community in Boston, and there are many like-minded organizations that are working to promote and support health and wellness. Nourish Boston was not the first to imagine a city in which all residents feel a connection to the land and to the food that comes from it. Organizations cannot act in isolation, but rather we must work together in concert to achieve our goals. Engaging both the Boston area community and joining the collective movement of organizations working to make Boston healthy is crucial.

Fresh TruckNourish Boston has collaborated with the Fresh Truck to support their efforts to make healthy food accessible to all and to help individuals and families make more informed choices when food shopping. This past spring, Nourish Boston members joined the Fresh Truck team at Fit for a King, an Urban Field Day at Dorchester’s Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 school. Students and their families received healthy produce from the Fresh Truck, and learned about the sugar content of their favorite drinks, how to recognize a healthy meal or snack among unhealthy options, and tasted mashed sweet potatoes donated by the Haley House restaurant.

FIt for a King

How much sugar is in your drink?

Our volunteers have joined the Dorchester Community Food Cooperative, the Sustainability Guild International, and Earthseed Yoga in offering weekly community fitness and wellness classes to build their Bowdoin Geneva Hub into a resource for healthy activities. We have also worked with Taza Chocolate in a joint online education effort to encourage discussion around the importance of local, organic, and fair trade foods.

It is so important to work collaboratively when it comes to promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. After all, great food is meant to be shared. Growing, sharing, preparing, and eating food with one another builds community.

To celebrate Food Day, Nourish Boston will be teaming up with the Mission Hill Health Movement by providing recipe cards and educational information about nutritional “super foods” at the farmer’s market in Roxbury Crossing on Tuesday October 22nd and in Brigham Circle on Thursday October 24th

In partnering with great organizations across Boston, Nourish is able to complement existing efforts for healthy living— and there are many! We’re proud to be just one of many passionate organizations fighting to improve access to healthy foods and encouraging community members to engage with their health, their community, and their environment.

A Food Forest Grows in Boston?

Imagine yourself in a Garden of Eden, pulling ripe fruit off trees, popping sweet berries in your mouth, or grabbing handfuls of flavorful herbs. Now picture that this edible paradise is practically in your own urban backyard. That is the rough vision for a future food forest garden in the greater Boston area: to create a space where community can connect through the growing, sharing, and enjoyment of hyper-local food—from forest to table!

Reap the benefits

To get this harvest party started, a project called the Boston Food Forest Coalition is in its early days of locating a demonstration site for a food forest. This site would offer a place for urban dwellers to learn food-growing skills from experts, get access to healthy food, and gather together in an edible oasis. Other goals of the coalition are to reclaim and restore pre-existing community fruit and nut trees already growing here in Boston—and increasing education about how and where to harvest this civic fruit so none of the bounty goes to waste.

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A young backyard food forest in Dorchester, MA

 

What is a food forest?

In a nutshell, it is a sustainable land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem, replacing your usual forest plants with food-producing trees and shrubs. The upper level includes fruit and nut trees, the middle level is packed with berry shrubs and vines, while the lower level features herbs and edible perennials. Working together with plants that control pests and build soil nutrients, this diverse collection forms functional relationships that, over time, maximize food yields while reducing the need for human maintenance.

A few examples of existing food forests include Seattle’s Beacon Hill Food Forest, the NY Times-featured Paradise Lot in Holyoke, and Wellesley College’s Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden.

Onwards and upwards

As the saying goes, the best time to plant a fruit tree is 20 years ago. Guess when the next best time is? Now.

If this is an idea that piques your passion, we welcome your participation! The BFFC is currently in the process of reaching out to other urban agriculture endeavors, such as the Egleston Community Orchard and Festival Gardens, to expand our network and include everyone that is energized by this work. Feel free to email Allison.ding@gmail.com to get involved in any way, large or small.

What does a local food system look like?

Somerville is the densest city in New England, topping the population scale at 77,104 in 4.2 sq. miles of space. Somerville’s lack of open space and its rich industrial history (contaminated soil is a challenge that residents face when attempting to garden) allows for an endless amount of creativity that people are using to participate in the ‘grow your own’ movement. From porches to rooftops, raised beds to reclaimed lots, businesses, individuals, and youth are building crop knowledge and farming experience as a community. Although Somerville has a long way to go to create the kind of autonomy from the global food system that many cities around the world are striving for, there are features that should be celebrated for its innovation and forward thinking for a healthier, collaborative, and resilient community.

1) Mobile Markets

If a resident of the housing development walked around the Mystic Housing complex or to the North Street Playground in Somerville on any Saturday from May-September between 10am and 5pm one would be astounded at the hustle and bustle of the mobile market. Individuals and families can find affordable fresh produce, music, face painting, bike fixing, and healthy recipes right outside their doors. Three years since it’s inception, this subsidized market has become a staple dietary resource to these low-income neighborhoods. The market was co-founded by Shape Up Somerville and Groundwork Somerville as a way to increase access to affordable produce to under served communities. The businesses and organizations that congregate at this market included Enterprise Farms, the Boston Cyclists Union, the Mystic Garden Learning Center, and Groundwork Somerville.  Enterprise Farms, an organic farm located in South Deerfield, Ma, made the trip to Somerville every week to support and supply these low-income markets with affordable produce. Their mission to grow a balanced variety of vegetables made available to everyone, regardless of income, is one to be revered. An important part of building a local food system is providing access to everyone. At the end of each day, left over produce was donated to local food pantries. The inclusion of these markets and the energy that customers bring to it is what makes the mobile market special.Green Team Fall 2012 001

2) Youth Grown Produce

Groundwork Somerville’s Green Team and The Mystic Garden Learning Center share the desire to spread gardening knowledge to youth between the ages of 6 and 19. The Green Team is a youth leadership program that provides employment to local young people ages 14-19 years old. The program combines team building games (which the youth conduct themselves) with job readiness skills like resume building and public speaking in various settings like a schoolyard garden, a legislative meeting, or a reclaimed lot. During the summer these young people travel by bike throughout the city to tend to the garden beds in every elementary school in Somerville as well as to South Street Farm. They plan their plots, plant their seeds, water the seedlings, and harvest the produce for the Mobile Markets. group produce

The Mystic Garden Learning Center is another youth program that allows for garden exploration and inspires youth grown produce. Kids ages 6-12 can participate in the Learning Center’s summer camp and observe worms and compost changes, plant vegetable seedlings, and harvest greens. This summer, a grant was awarded to a few youth who applied to expand their garden space to increase their harvests. These youth showed up every week at the mobile market to peddle their free vegetables which always looked rich in color and flavor. Green Team Fall 2012 003

3) Somerville’s Urban Ambassador Program

The City of Somerville paired up with Green City Growers to create a hands-on intensive educational program designed to train 15 community members to garden in their backyards and in the community. Topics included how to assess a space for gardening, intensive gardening techniques, identifying plant varieties, cold frame construction, season extension, and an introduction to bee and chicken keeping. Graduates of the program then volunteered 30 hours of their time to existing garden related programs in Somerville. A few graduates spearheaded their own projects like building a community garden on a vacant lot and starting a seed saving library. This model of education and community integration creates structural support for people to get started growing their own food. Not only do programs like this encourage a sustainable mindset, but it also fosters a community unto itself. Graduates become resources for each other and for the city at large. abe

Somerville still has a long way to go before achieving true independence from the global food system, but these examples are to be shared, encouraged, and celebrated for its push for a more sustainable community.  What are some ways that your community is moving towards a local food system?

Will You Have a Part in Victory? Will You “Grow Your Own?”

Beverly Opening Day
Will You Have a Part in Victory? Will You “Grow Your Own?”

“Will you have a part in victory?” was an important question posed twice to the American people in the first half of the 20th Century; in 1917 during World War I and again in 1939 during World War II. A national campaign was launched promoting the cultivation of available private lands to increase local food production thereby greatly reducing shipping costs and helping the war effort. The Great Wars may be over, but the many benefits of “Grow your own!” are applicable today more than ever. So applicable in fact, one New England town teaches gardening to every 3rd grader as part of their “Be Healthy Beverly” initiative. 5 great reasons to grow your own:

1. Growing your own conserves energy and spares the environment. Today, the average distance food travels from the farm where it’s picked to your table where it’s eaten is 1,500 to 2,500 miles. Airplanes and refrigerated long-haul trucks require enormous amounts of fossil fuel, consuming resources and polluting the environment. In New England, why buy potatoes from Idaho and apples from Washington (or further!) when we can grow our own right here?

2. Growing your own looks and tastes better. In a blind taste test administered to local 3rd graders as part of the Green City Growers garden education program, the students preferred the locally grown organic fruit to the conventionally grown shipped fruit. Produce that travels long distances is picked before it’s reached full maturity because it continues to ripen during transit. Crops picked at their peak look and taste better.

3. Growing your own is better for you. Conventional soil has been stripped of natural carbon, nitrogen and microbial biomass, and laden with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This soil produces fruit and vegetables low in antioxidant activity and essential vitamins and minerals. And the longer produce travels and sits in a warehouse, the more likely nutrients will be lost. More importantly, childhood obesity is epidemic. Teaching children to recognize vegetables and know where they come from engages them in healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime.

4. Growing your own preserves genetic diversity. In modern agriculture, plant varieties are chosen for their high yield, heartiness, shelf life, and uniformity. You can grow a much more diverse garden, to produce a longer growing season, an array of colors, and the best flavors.

5. Growing your own is an investment in the future. Knowing how to garden, and teaching kids how to garden, is a valuable tool to have in the tool belt. Farming is a valuable part of education that has been lost. Not only is it better for our health and longevity to connect with our food – to harvest, prepare and eat REAL food instead of eating store-bought, manufactured faux food – and better for our planet; in truth, this knowledge may be essential to our very survival one day…

In the 80’s it was the threat of the cold war and nuclear weapons. In the 90’s we started to see massive scale environmental disasters. In the 2000’s it’s the possibility of global economic collapse. Each threat is not replacing the last, but instead being added to the pile of mounting threats. Gone are the days of root cellars, jarred preserves, and canned or frozen vegetables from our own gardens. We are completely beholden to the trucks that roll in every day carrying our food to market.

During an extended trucker’s strike in Paris, France in 1997, Parisiens cleared out the grocery stores within the first day. According to one account: within five days, normal, law-abiding citizens took to the streets and started threatening anyone who had food. Those with no food quickly crossed the line of sanity and started desperately looking to take food from those who had it by any means necessary. Civilization very quickly breaks down without access to food.

Or simply, as one 3rd grader from Ayer School in Beverly, MA, put it when asked Why is it important to garden at home or at school?, “Because if you don’t have any money and you’re hungry you can just eat the food you grow.”

What will be YOUR part in victory?

Augusta Barstow
Marketing Associate at Green City Growers