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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

Getting your Raised Bed Started

Editor's note: It's Build-a-Garden season again, and we're happy to share the first of several related posts from BaG coordinator Kathleen Banfield. We hope this is helpful to current and former participants in the Build-a-Garden program, or anyone else with a raised bed!

Read your Growing Guide

(or download a copy)

Five years ago, I had never tended a garden in my life. I was lucky if I kept a houseplant alive for more than a month. Farming overwhelmed me. When the The Food Project's Urban Learning Farm was built in 2007 and I was charged with the task of taking care of 22 raised beds, things looked bleak. Five years later, I'm hooked on growing my own food and found it surprisingly easy to learn. The Growing Guide was key to my success. I literally followed every word of it, and I encourage you all to do the same, especially if you're at the beginner level of square foot gardening!

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Locally sourced burgers!

Our friends at b.good, local purveyor of hamburgers and related foodstuffs, have some exciting news: the beef in their burgers will now come from local family farms!

b.good have been supporters of TFP for years and they have worked with our program participants to craft several tasty community lunches over the last few summers, so we're especially pleased and proud to see them take this step. And excited to have a taste!

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Eating school lunch every day

chili
chili
A friend of TFP recently passed on the URL to the facinating new blog FED UP WITH LUNCH: THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROJECT. "Mrs. Q", an anonymous teacher in a US school, eats the lunch from her cafeteria every day and writes a post about it, complete with a photo. In addition to the lunch profiles, recent posts have included a FAQ on the project and an open thread that's pulled in some interesting perspectives from other school lunches across the country. Well worth a vist if you'd like to see for yourself what American children are faced with on a daily basis.

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Tickets still available! Please join us at the symphony!

Jordan Hall
Jordan Hall
It’s not too late to purchase tickets to the Longwood Symphony Orchestra’s benefit concert for The Food Project next Saturday, March 13 at Jordan Hall in Boston. Please join us for an evening of the music of Barber, Debussy and Ginastera, and a chance to celebrate and support The Food Project’s work. More information is available online at www.thefoodproject.org/lso, where tickets may also be purchased, or call 781-259-8621 x38. Please purchase your tickets today!

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The 2010 Winter Institute is a wrap

Our annual Winter Institute came and went last week. Following is Institute organizer Greg Gale's summary. If you were interested but couldn't make it this winter, it's not too early to start thinking about attending the Summer Institute, coming up August 4th - 6th.

13 eager souls participated in this year's Winter Institute. They came from as close as Boston and as far away as NJ, NYC, VT, and ME. Most of them are running existing programs and some were getting ready to start new ones. All of them shared a deep passion for engaging youth in sustainable food systems work.

Their favorite part, imagine, was being with TFP teens talking, building raised bed containers, sorting seeds and doing a social justice workshop that required them to scramble across the floor grabbing candy in the ‘Scramble for Wealth and Power’. In between these experiential moments, we did some powerful reflection and learning about the theory and practice that drives TFP work.

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Looking Back at TFP From College

Gabriella Spitzer, an intern this past summer in Roxbury, wrote us recently. Here's what she said about TFP's impact on her experience at college (reprinted with permission!)

I wanted to tell you again how grateful I am to The Food Project. I am now at Barnard College, and I use so much that I learned from The Food Project all the time. I can and do talk about all the different ways oppression hurts people in all kinds of contexts. I'm so glad I came to college with the framework for thinking about oppression that I learned at the Food Project. I'm thinking seriously about majoring in Environmental Policy, and that comes directly from the work I did at The Food Project. I volunteered at a preschool this past semester, and I will work at a different preschool this coming semester because I know that I can't spend four years only dedicated to me -- I need to serve my community always, no matter what else I am doing. Thank you. I came to college prepared in part because of The Food Project.

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The Earthquake in Haiti

As is true for so many in the Boston area, The Food Project's community has numerous ties to Haiti. We've been in touch with a number of our community members. Some have been lucky enough to talk to their friends and families in Haiti and know they're OK. Others are still waiting to hear news of the people they know.

If you'd like to help support those actively providing relief to the earthquake victims, Food First's giving guide is the best we've seen.

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a few food system pieces

 that happen to mention us!

  1. Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl of the Center for a Livable Future launches a passionate defense of school garden programs. It's news to me that school gardens need defending from anything but challenged school budgets, but apparently the movement is becoming big enough to spawn a backlash. Fortunately, "then they fight you" is step 3 of 4 according to Gandhi!
  2. One of my personal heroes, Bryant Terry, includes us on his short list of "organizations. . .doing particularly effective work right now" in a brief interview with change.org.
  3. Our School at Blair Grocery is working to bring food security and rebuild community in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. And, they're hoping to use a couple of our books to help anchor a new Urban Farming Library

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Perspectives on "Drinking Fat"

Following are excerpts from an online discussion here about an anti-soda video from the NYC Dept. of Health. What do you make of the video and the related questions? 

J: *Warning* could gross you out. Do you think it’s effective in
delivering the message?

http://www.youtube.com/drinkingfat

A: I’m so thirsty now

K: I’ve succeeded in grossing out several staffers by showing this just now!

(if you're just seeing the preview of this, more meaty discussion in the full version)

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Gardening is for Superheros

Superheroes Garden
Superheroes Garden
Thanks to the excellent City Farmer News for this historical image. Hope it helps get you fired up for growing food in 2010!

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