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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

Mayor Menino Opens Greenhouse

Food Project Intern Mayra Class shows Mayor Menino how to hand-pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon)
Food Project Intern Mayra Class shows Mayor Menino how to hand-pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon)
Neighbors, friends, and supporters gathered at the official opening of the Dudley Greenhouse. The event, which took place on May 11, featured Mayor Menino, whose remarks applauded the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) and The Food Project for working to bring this important resource to the community.

“Not too long ago, this site where we’re standing was a garage; it was an eyesore and a blight on the neighborhood,” Menino said. “Now it is an agricultural oasis, where residents can learn how to grow their own vegetables, and where fresh, affordable produce will be grown for the city’s farmers’ markets and food banks.”

Besides the mayor, other speakers at the opening included John Barros of DSNI, Margaret Williams of TFP, and community member Sandra Mitchell, who spoke eloquently about what the greenhouse means to her, her family, and the neighborhood.

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Additional Plant & Garden Sale

Are you looking for vegetable plants for your garden?  If you missed our City Farm Fest, it's not too late!  We will be holding a second plant and garden supply sale this week. Here are the details!

Additional Plant & Garden Sale 

  • Date:  Thursday May 12
  • Time:  4 - 6pm
  • Location: Dudley Greenhouse, 11 Brook Ave., Roxbury

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, collard greens, & more! 

Here's a list of what's available today.

Available Food Project plants:

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Hardening Off Your Transplants

In New England, heat-loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants must be started indoors, ideally in a greenhouse, in order to mature during our growing season. Any plant started in a greenhouse, however, must be “hardened off” before it can be planted in the garden. Hardening off is the process of exposing a plant to outdoor conditions (like wind, sun and irregular watering) to help them transition to life in the garden.

Follow these steps to harden off transplants:

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Container Gardening 101

This segment will be featured monthly for all of the gardeners who are growing in containers. It will be specifically geared towards those using The Food Project's new container garden kits on porches and in spaces that are too limited to have a raised bed. I will bring you through my experience with my container garden kit step-by-step, and I invite you to share your ideas too!

 

My Kit


I did the first planting in my containers on April 12 inside of our Dudley Greenhouse. This gives me a head start, and hopefully it will help me test out some of my ideas and share the results with all of you!

 

After being away from work for a week, I returned to find my tomatoes rapidly growing and in desperate need of support. We tied a string to a rod at the top of the greenhouse and used special tomato clips to hold it up. As the plant continues to grow, we will add more clips.


 

 

By mid-June, you will need to support your tomatoes in some way. We will write more about this topic next month – but at Saturday’s City Farm Fest we will be selling tomato stakes and clips, and offering hands-on demos for using these special tomato clips!

In this pot, I plan to grow hot peppers. Since I won’t plant this until about May 20, I decided to plant fast growing salad mix, which I planted on April 12. After 3 weeks, I am now ready for my first harvest of fresh greens (it would take about 1 week extra if these pots were outside). In the next 2 weeks, I’ll get a few more cuttings for salads before ripping it up to plant the pepper!

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Request for Proposals from Boston Partners

Following a successful pilot program last summer, The Food Project is excited to release a call for proposals for our 2011 Farm Fresh Coupon Program. Through this effort, we will partner with other Boston agencies to promote the consumption of fresh, healthy, local, affordable food with coupons that are redeemable for fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets. The distribution of these coupons will be paired with partner agencies' existing health-related activities to create a holistic approach to health, nutrition and well-being in underserved communities.

The Food Project is requesting responses no later than 5:00 PM on Friday, May 20th, 2011. Please help us to get the word out by sharing this RFP with your peers and colleagues. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the program coordinator, Max Gitlen, at [email protected].

Download Request for Proposals

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Farm to Family + Groupon = Fresh & Healthy

Exciting news that just went out to our mailing list...   Not on the list, but want to be?  click here

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City Farm Fest - Boston - Saturday, May 7

11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m .
40 West Cottage Street in Dorchester 
Important Update: Due to the weather, City Farm Fest will be held in the greenhouse at 11 Brook Avenue. 

Highlights

Workshop: Planning & Planting your Raised Bed Garden
Held twice, starting at 12 noon & 1:30 p.m.

Garden Consultation: Do you have specific questions about your garden? Our Greenhouse Manager, Danielle Andrews, will be available to talk with you throughout City Farm Fest!

Clover Food Truck: Bring a few extra dollars so you don't miss the chance to taste their delicious food!

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Community Turns Out to Raise a Greenhouse

A sea of green: tomato plants rise up along trellis lines held aloft by rollerhooks.
A sea of green: tomato plants rise up along trellis lines held aloft by rollerhooks.
This past Friday morning was a busy one. As volunteers helped me finish trellising our tomato plants onto overhead lines, the head of construction from Griffin Greenhouse was working out the last of the kinks in our control systems. My ag scout was checking on the work of our newest staff: the parasitic wasps that are busily mummifying the aphids in the greenhouse while other volunteers made their way through the trellised rows, pollinating the flowers with hand-held pollinators.

As we finished up the morning, I felt a huge wave of relief. The last three weeks have been hectic and hard, and it's only through the rallying efforts of many that we now have a greenhouse full of rapidly growing, beautiful plants that will soon be bearing fruit.

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TFP Partners with FoodCorps & CitySprouts


    

Application
Deadline:

April 10, 2011

 

 

 

TFP Launches Program to Address Child Nutrition and Obesity

The Food Project is excited to announce a groundbreaking, collaborative project that will improve education about and access to healthy food for schoolchildren, parents, and other members of school communities. A partnership with Cambridge, MA-based CitySprouts, this program will also address childhood obesity and diet-related health problems.

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3rd Graders Experiment with Spinach

The spinach sprouted!
The spinach sprouted!
In late September, third graders seeded spinach at our urban learning farm. Knowing it was late in the season and the weather was getting colder, we asked the students to make a hypothesis about what would happen next. Would the spinach grow at all? Would it sprout and die?

Next, we explained that we would put row over the bed, a lightweight fabric that allows water and air to flow through but acts like a blanket. Sure enough, the determined spinach seeds sprouted! A few weeks later, we also used a staple gun to put clear plastic over the bed for an extra layer of warmth. Would these "blankets" keep the sprouts warm enough to get through the winter?

With all of the snow piled on top of the blanket layers, we weren't quite sure ourselves. As soon as the snow melted, we eagerly took a peek! Turns out, we have delicious spinach ready to eat.  

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