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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected] 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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SNAP & Bounty Bucks Use in Boston Up in 2010

Preliminary results from a Food Project study show that our efforts to increase access to healthy food for underserved communities are making a big impact. In 2010, over $38,000 in SNAP sales were completed in farmers’ markets, with an additional $33,000 in redemption of Boston Bounty Bucks. Combining SNAP sales and Boston Bounty Bucks redemption, we’re projecting a final total of about $75,000 – representing a 271 percent increase from 2009 numbers! And more great news: the number of participating markets went up by 50 percent, from 14 to 21.

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Delaware First Lady Visits The Food Project

(left to right, from center) Mrs. Markell, Secretary Kee, and Ms. Willauer ask questions while stopping for a warm and inspiring visit to TFP's new greenhouse.
(left to right, from center) Mrs. Markell, Secretary Kee, and Ms. Willauer ask questions while stopping for a warm and inspiring visit to TFP's new greenhouse.
Braving the blustery cold of an early winter’s day, Carla Markell, the first lady of Delaware, led a delegation of government, banking, and community leaders on a visit of The Food Project’s Boston growing sites. A diverse complement of TFP staff and youth alumni greeted our guests on the morning of December 8, giving them a good look at what makes us so effective. By all accounts, we made quite an impression.

“The young leaders at The Food Project provide inspiration to all of us,” said Mrs. Markell. “We are grateful for the time the staff and youth leaders gave us and deeply value the ability to share ideas and learn from the great example The Food Project sets.”

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Intern Alvin Andino Awarded Posse Scholarship

Alvin and D.I.R.T. Crew member Peter work to collect surveys at TFP's farmers' market in Roxbury.
Alvin and D.I.R.T. Crew member Peter work to collect surveys at TFP's farmers' market in Roxbury.
We are pleased to announce that Food Project Intern Alvin Andino has been awarded a Posse Scholarship. Run by the Posse Foundation, this innovative and highly selective program selects 60 young people from a large pool of applicants (in 2009, the pool numbered about 12,000) to receive full-tuition college scholarships.

Alvin and alumnus Stefan listen closely to Chef Didi Emmons while preparing to serve lunch at the National Governors Association summer conference.
Alvin and alumnus Stefan listen closely to Chef Didi Emmons while preparing to serve lunch at the National Governors Association summer conference.
In his two and a half years working with The Food Project, Alvin has risen up the ranks, beginning as a crew worker, working as an assistant leader, and now serving as an intern. Currently, he also serves on TFP's board of trustees as a youth member.

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How to Keep Gardens Safe

Recently, new findings from research led by Dan Brabander of Wellesley College, conducted in partnership with The Food Project, have been reported by various media. They show that lead particles in urban soil can move over time, perhaps by wind or rain, and settle on the top layer of clean compost inside of raised beds. Because these findings are likely to cause concern, we want to make sure that people, especially urban gardeners, understand fully what they mean. The good news is that gardeners can take simple yet effective steps to keep their gardens safe.

Importantly, gardening in raised beds is still highly encouraged in places where contaminated soil is prevalent. It’s also important to know that the movement of particles happens over time – generally, at least a season must pass before changes in soil quality can be observed. So proper maintenance of raised beds should minimize or eliminate concerns.

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Garlic Growing this Fall

The history of garlic involves many ancient cultures with an extensive range of uses including medicinal, spiritual, and culinary. Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all used garlic to prevent diseases, and in many cultures, garlic was believed to repel evil and vampires.

Today, China grows much of the garlic used worldwide, with India's production on the rise. 90% of garlic grown in the United States is grown in California. That said, garlic is really fun to grow on your own, and the good news is that it's really easy!

Garlic is a bulb, and for each clove of garlic you plant, a new head of garlic will grow.  In New England, planting garlic in the fall enables it to establish its roots, "sleep" during the cold months, and then get an early start at the first signs of spring.

Selecting Garlic

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