Tag Archives: #Massachusetts

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.

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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.

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

MDAR celebrates Food Day!

Governor Patrick celebrates Food Day 2011 with MDAR, Food Project and Boston Area Gleaners

Massachusetts Food Day 2012 has a special ring to it.  It is the day that I will witness the unfolding of the vision of what Food Day means to hundreds of organizers working to bring it to “harvest” across the state.  As the coordinator for the state’s Food Day efforts, I am in awe of the passionate community groups,individuals, students, families, food advocates and organizations who are stepping up to take a more active role  with decisions about our local food system.  Food Day celebrations across the state, and nation, will come in many shapes and forms, as diverse as the communities who are impacted by our local and national food systems…in other words, all communities.  The Department of Agricultural Resources, MDAR, was asked to participate and oversee the Food Day coordination in 2011, because of the work we do, it was a natural fit. Below is MDAR’s Food Day statement, written by former Commissioner Scott Soares, highlighting why everyday is Food Day.   

Food Day in Massachusetts gives us an opportunity to highlight all that is being done to support greater and equitable access to locally grown products and the continued growth and development of a sustainable agricultural economy.

It bridges rural and urban communities by providing opportunities to recognize the significant contributions that agriculture makes to our economy, our community characteristics, and our physical and mental health.  Importantly, it also gives us the opportunity to recognize and support the great and necessary diversity of agriculture in our Commonwealth; in all its production forms and growing methods.  As the agricultural axiom ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’ suggests, diversity is in fact an insurance program for sustainable agriculture, not only by allowing farmers to weather the ever changing market conditions and influences that could mean profit or foreclosure but also to meet increasing consumer demand for broader selections of ALL agricultural products from vegetable to fruit to dairy to livestock to poultry.  Furthermore, for states like Massachusetts that are blessed with access to some of the most productive fisheries resources in the world, we also must include fish and seafood in the food system equation for that primary industry’s similarly significant contributions to physical and economic health.

Indeed, the greater and more equitable access that we strive to promote is important for our economic and our physical health.  Such access allows healthy communities in the broadest terms, across all age groups and down to every individual community member. But we must also promote and support it from “soil to supper”, “farm to fork”, “farmer to consumer”.  Otherwise, we increase demand beyond production capacity and based on high population densities we force unsustainable distribution systems that are subject to global influences on what is currently a petroleum based industry.  Furthermore, the absence of strong and secure local food systems creates a need for increased processed shelf stable food products that have been implicated in poor health outcomes.  Nonetheless, we must recognize the important contributions that all farmers make and further recognize that the American farmer strives to meet consumer demand and has time and time again demonstrated their capacity to produce the products that we all ask for.  We simply need to ask for them.  As Michael Polan, author of books such as the Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, has stated, by our food selections we have the opportunity to ‘vote’ three times a day for what our food system should be.  And after all, as Wendell Berry has so simply described, “eating is an agricultural act” which means that, whether we are farmers, fishers or consumers,  we all have a active role in shaping our food system as well as the sustainability and characteristics of our agricultural identity.