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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

A Week in My Garden

For those of you who haven't met me, my name is Joy and I am the Massachusetts Promise Fellow for The Food Project's Boston location this year. Last year, Kesiah did a wonderful job of taking you step-by-step through the Growing Guide and chronicling her journeys in her garden. This year we will continue that tradition by answering your questions about the gardening process. Whether it is pest control or yield increase, we will try to touch on common problems and focus on solutions that will keep your garden happy and healthy.

New this year, we will have "A Week In My Garden" segment. Each month we will feature one of you, our great Build-a-Gardeners! If you’re brand new to gardening or have had one for years, this segment will take us inside different gardens for a week as each featured gardener shares how they are balancing the management of a garden along with their busy schedules!

A Week In My Garden
Featured Gardener: Joy Gary of Mattapan

How many years have you been gardening in Massachusetts (or northeast U.S.)?
Three years.

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Greens and Tomatoes and Restaurants, Oh My!

Winter greens in Roxbury, February 2011.
Winter greens in Roxbury, February 2011.
For the past six weeks, our Dudley Greenhouse was a sea of winter greens. While the construction schedule was delayed and our greens were only seeded the first week of January, we were pleased that the harvest began a month later, and produced an abundance of delicate salad greens and crunchy spinach.

The winter months have been hectic, but despite the stresses of finishing construction (and tinkering with controls that are finally close to functioning correctly!), it has certainly been a remarkable privilege to be harvesting greens while the wild winter storms of this past season raged outside. One happy customer emailed to thank me for the bag of “silken spring” – a phrase that I have adopted to describe my salads at home!

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Changing Seasons, Changing Faces

As we get ready for another growing season, we’d like to thank and bid a fond farewell to departed staff and welcome new members of The Food Project team.

Miriam and son Zalen on the farm.
Miriam and son Zalen on the farm.
This past December, former Director of Agriculture and long time Lincoln farmer Miriam Stason left us after eight years helping us grow farm-fresh food. In life off the farm, Miriam will be focused on raising her young family, which will grow to four when she gives birth to her second child in late March. Taking up the reins as our new agriculture director is Tim Laird, who will continue to manage the Baker Bridge farm in Lincoln. Pedro Ghirotti will be joining Tim as our new field manager. We're excited to have Pedro working on a soil fertility plan that should help make our fields more productive in the coming season and for years to come.

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A Community Garden Under Glass

Neighbors of Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester - come grow with us this summer!

Greenhouse Community Garden Flyer - Post this on a local bulletin board...
Greenhouse Community Garden Application - Fill it out and send it back!

The Food Project is pleased to be able to open up our Greenhouse this spring and summer to local residents to grow food for their families in a temporary indoor community garden! As we firm up our plans for our long-term use of the community bays of the greenhouse, we are happy to be able to offer up the space to neighborhood residents for food production this year. For $25, you can have your own 4'x8' raised bed in which to grow short and medium-height plants such as salad greens, collards, broccoli, and summer squash as well as access to a communal bed that  will produce an abundance of tall heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and more!

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Reflections on NE Food & Justice Summit

Anim Steel, Real Food Challenge cofounder and Food Project national programs director addresses over 500 NE Food & Justice Summit attendees.
Anim Steel, Real Food Challenge cofounder and Food Project national programs director addresses over 500 NE Food & Justice Summit attendees.
From where I stand, the weekend was a huge success. It was what we hoped for and more. The event showed that there is a movement ready to burst out there: over 500 youth showed up at Northeastern University. If it hadn’t been for a snowstorm, we would probably have had over 650. The registrations were pouring in at the end.

And this wasn’t just the “choir.” There were many young people there who were pretty new to the issue of food.

The diversity of the crowd was striking in other ways. The Summit was attended by young people from some of the most and least privileged places in this country, from inner cities to Ivy Leagues and in-between. I hope—I think—we created an environment with the ethos of The Food Project: looking injustice in the face while also creating common ground—a deeply respectful space. 

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Urban Ag, Conceptual Art, and Apple Trees

The Food Project is excited to endorse the Boston Tree Party, the first initiative of our friends at Hybrid Vigor Projects. The Boston Tree Party is a collaborative campaign to plant 100 pairs of heirloom apple trees in publicly used spaces across Greater Boston. The tree plantings will be undertaken in partnership with a diverse range of institutions, organizations, businesses, and communities.

The Boston Tree Party is at once an urban agriculture project and a conceptual art project. It aims to create vital gathering places, build community connections, and improve community health while it engages with metaphor and symbolism, and playfully reimagines patriotic and political language, imagery, and forms of association.

For more information about the Boston Tree Party and to learn about ways to participate, visit the project’s website.

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BNAN, TFP to Present Tree Pruning Workshops

Ever wonder how proper pruning of orchard trees can keep them healthy and improve their production of quality fruit? Find out how by attending one of two workshops sponsored in March by the Boston Natural Areas Network’s (BNAN) Boston Orchard Program.

Two sessions are planned. The first, which is being presented by The Food Project as part of our Winter Workshop series, is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at the Shirley Eustis House Orchard (33 Shirley Street, Roxbury). The second is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, at the Blake House Orchard (735 Columbia Road, Dorchester).

Both programs are free, but you need to register in advance. To do so, contact BNAN at 617-542-7696 or info@bostonnatural.org. For more information, and to spread the word about these important winter learning opportunities, download this flyer.

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TFP Intern Impresses at Museum of Science

(left to right) Ken Kaplan of MIT, Food Project Intern Alvin Andino, and Karen Spiller of Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness take part in a Q & A session at the Museum of Science's Let's Talk about Food forum.
(left to right) Ken Kaplan of MIT, Food Project Intern Alvin Andino, and Karen Spiller of Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness take part in a Q & A session at the Museum of Science's Let's Talk about Food forum.
On Friday, January 21, The Food Project made a big splash at the first session of the Museum of Science's "Let's Talk about Food" forum series. The many attendees who came despite the evening's cold weather saw the best of The Food Project, represented by Intern Alvin Andino. With passion and poise, he described the organization he's worked with the past two and half years, focusing on the impact TFP youth programs have made on him and other youth he's known.

"It's important to educate people when they're young about good food and healthy eating habits," Alvin told the audience. "These habits can be set for a lifetime so it's important to reach youth with this message."

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Garden Workshop Series Kicks Off Next Week!

Mark your calendars!  The Food Project is excited to announce our first ever Winter Workshop Series. We hope you will join us to get an early start on your garden planning.  Please email buildagarden@thefoodproject.org with questions. 
 

Winter Workshop Series

All workshops will be held at our new Greenhouse, located at 11 Brook Ave in Roxbury
(just off of Dudley Street and around the corner from our Dorchester office)

Planning your Garden - Tuesday, January 25, 6:00 - 7:30pm

We will walk you through all the steps of planning your garden, from designing its layout to ordering seeds. Join us for this hands-on session and you will be sure to leave with a plan in place!

Starting your own Seeds - Saturday, February 12, 10:00 - 11:30am

Learn how to start your own seeds inside your home! We will share simple, affordable ways to get a head start inside, and suggest where to get supplies.

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Monday Movie Series

Monday, January 3, 6:00 p.m. - Codman Square Library,  690 Washington Street, Dorchester 

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