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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

Farm to Family + Groupon = Fresh & Healthy

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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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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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