The Food Project: Youth. Food. Community.

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Community comes together in Dudley Greenhouse

In early October, we started working with nine groups that had submitted proposals when The Food Project solicited suggestions for how the community bay of our Dudley Greenhouse should be used. The greenhouse has been abuzz with activity lately and we're so proud to have partners in this new space.

The Food Project has worked with many of these groups in the past. The Vietnamese American Civic Association (VACA), the Nubian United Benevolent International Association (NUBIA) and the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) worked with us through the Gardening through Refugee Organizations (GRO) group, which provides refugee and immigrant populations with urban gardening opportunities in Boston.

Another refugee group, the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, sent refugee volunteers to The Food Project's rooftop garden at the Boston Medical Center this past spring and summer, where they helped grow food for our Dudley farmers' market. Most of these immigrants and refugees have extensive experience growing food, and the Dudley Greenhouse offers them opportunities to grow foods that they can't grow outside or don't have the capacity to grow at their residences.

Other groups in the greenhouse are new partners. Each week, Mother Caroline Academy and Education Center and the Epiphany School send middle school students to learn about growing food and cooking, and to participate in our interns' food justice workshops. Ultimately, we hope to work with these schools to build gardens of their own, and have the students apply what they have learned in the greenhouse to their school gardens. Another youth group we're working with is the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP). Several teens from REEP are growing food to share at community meetings, and they'll eventually start a seedling production project to give transplants to community gardeners in the spring.

Finally, we're working with a group that's growing fresh vegetables for a senior center in Roxbury, where we are also going to help revive their garden. And, Life Symphony is a group of Dudley residents who are bringing community members and groups through the greenhouse to learn about The Food Project, growing food, and eating well.

It has been exciting to see some of our most important hopes for the Dudley Greenhouse come to life! Continued production of vegetables into the cold season, the participation of community members of varying ages and backgrounds, the learning and growing that’s taking place – all this makes it especially satisfying to think about how these vegetables will ultimately benefit so many different people. Most importantly, as we continue to build connections with and amongst all of these groups, we're able to build a community of diverse people coming together around food.

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