The Food Project: Youth. Food. Community.

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Happenings

Reading this seasonal newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with things going on at The Food Project!  Email us to request a printed copy and get on our mailing list, or simply download them below (PDF format).

Fall 2008

 

Farmers' Market Newsletters

Every week check here for happenings at the market!  These newsletters can be downloaded by anyone, and give a glimpse of the fun and benefits of buying fresh produce from your local farmers!  All newsletters are in PDF format.

2008

2007

July 14 August 27
July 7 August 13
  August 6
  July 30
  July 23
  July 16
  July 9
  July 2
  June 25
  June 18

 

CSA Newsletters

Every week check here for happenings on the farm, as well as what's growing and how to cook it!  Though they're geared towards our CSA members these newsletters can be downloaded by anyone, and give a glimpse of the fun and benefits of buying a CSA share!  All newsletters are in PDF format.

2009

June 16
June 9
June 2

 

 

2008

2007

2006

2005

October 13 September 25  October 24  November 1
October 7 September 18  October 17  October 25
September 30 September 11  October 10  October 18
September 23 August 28  October 3  October 11
September 16 August 21  September 26  October 4
September 9 August 14  September 19  September 27
September 2 August 7  September 12  September 20
August 26 July 31  September 5  Sepember 13
August 19 July 24  August 29  September 6
July 29 July 17  August 22  August 30
July 15 July 10  August 15  August 23
July 8 July 3  August 8  August 16
July 1 June 26  August 1  August 9
June 24 June 19  July 25  August 2
June 17 June 12  July 18  July 26
June 10 June 5  July 11  July 19
June 3    July 4  July 12
     June 27  July 5
     June 20  June 28
     June 13  June 21
     June 6  March 4

School Partnership Program

What is the School Partnership Program at The Food Project?

The School Partnership curriculum enriches the classroom experience by using The Food Project gardens and kitchen as tools for hands-on learning. Students gain a firsthand understanding of environmental, health-related, and social, issues by immersing themselves in interdisciplinary, hands-on activities. The School Partnership program is a unique opportunity for students to do real purposeful work while seamlessly connecting with service learning in their community, food systems and our relationship to food and land (where our food comes from), and academic areas such as math, science, and social studies. The program invites students to farms in their neighborhood and ties into Massachusetts standards for science – teaching third graders about plant biology and life cycles in a tangible way.

 

 

A Young Person’s Secret Garden…Endless Possibilities for Learning

It is mid-October and Mrs. Scheer’s class of fourth graders from Emerson Elementary School in Dorchester has returned to the Langdon Street lot in Dorchester to unearth and harvest potatoes they planted last spring. In the spring, they had turned a bed of soil where they had grown lettuce and prepared the bed for planting potatoes. They learned that potatoes, part of the tuber family, are an underground stem that stores food. Mrs. Scheer’s class is a bilingual group of students from Cape Verde. One boy explains to his fellow student in Creole that she must find a dead plant and big mound of soil in order to locate her potatoes under the ground. Laughter and squeals of joy are heard in the lot as each student pulls out one…two…three…large potatoes from the ground and gently places them in a plastic container. Although the potatoes and the students’ hands are dirty, they are brimming with excitement to cook their potatoes the following week at The Food Project kitchen in Dorchester.

 

 

Cooking at The Food Project’s Kitchen

The following week the Emerson fourth graders run to the front door of The Food Project’s Dorchester office with great anticipation. They are coming to cook their potatoes. As the students enter the office, they are welcomed by The Food Project staff. Staff ask students how to act in a kitchen, and the students shout out suggestions: "Don't run in the kitchen, especially with sharp knives! Listen to the adults for instructions and wash your hands thoroughly before working with food!"

 

The Emerson students enter the kitchen and go to their food preparation stations after cleaning their hands. On the menu today: rosemary mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, and herb roasted potatoes. Cammy asks “What part of the plant is this?” “A TUBER” comes the enthusiastic reply. Patrick points out the roots as he chops up an onion, and Danny gathers the potato peels into a pile “This is for the compost, to give the plants nutrients”. Monica asks “if the recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon salt, and we already used 1/2 teaspoon in the water, how much is left?” Students screw their faces in thought, and finally measure out 3/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and get to measure out the answer, giving subtraction real meaning.

 

After peeling, chopping, measuring, boiling, mixing potatoes and other ingredients, the young chefs gather around a table and dine on a sampling of all three dishes with some sweet organic apple cider to wash their palates. Bon appetite! Before leaving The Food Project kitchen, the Emerson students get copies of the potato recipes that they prepared that day and with much enthusiasm they are excited to show off their cooking talents to their parents.

 

To see a day in the School Partnership garden and The Food Project kitchen, look on your local PBS station’s schedule for the Arthur Show episode "Buster’s Green Thumb".

 

 

History of the School Partnership Program

The Food Project’s School Partnership program started in 2000, as a collaborative relationship between The Food Project and three schools in the Dorchester neighborhood, Emerson Elementary School, Mason Elementary School and Clap Elementary School. School Partnerships gives students hands-on knowledge of where their food comes from at a young age, letting them grow and cook food for themselves. The program works with third and fourth graders in our urban garden on Langdon Street during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. The Food Project also works with the Lincoln Public School kindergarteners, bringing corn into classrooms in the fall and inviting all 80 students to the 31-acre Lincoln farm in the spring, when they get to pick potato beetles off plants, tour the greenhouse and beehives, and plant a row of sunflowers.  

 

To learn more about the School Partnership program please contact Kathleen Banfield, (617) 442-1322 x12.

Why Eat Local?

Why Eat Local

Why Eat Local?

 

    * Local food tastes better! Local food can be shipped to you the same day it is picked, so it is fresh.

    * Local food is better for the environment! By eating local, you save your food from being transported to distribution centers, processors, and retailers far away.

    * Local food supports your community's economy! Buying local food supports local farms and keeps farms in your community.

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Our Goals

   

 

Our Goals

“All people are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.  I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”  --Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

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History-Suburban Land

The Food Project has farms in 4 communities: Lincoln, Beverly, Boston and Lynn.

Farming in Lincoln

Originally, The Food Project began growing vegetables on the property of Drumlin Farm.  This is a Massachusetts Audubon Society site in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  After three years, we began a lease on 8 acres of Lincoln town conservation land and moved our farming activities to this site. In 1998, we moved again to the Baker Bridge fields that are some of the best farmland in Lincoln.  This is also town conservation land.  It is located 1/2 mile from Walden Pond in Concord.

Lincoln is about fifteen miles from downtown Boston, yet it retains somes rural character. It is a town well known nationally for its stance on maintaining a large percentage of land in conservation for both agricultural and recreational usage.  We feel quite privileged to have our farming operations based in a town with such a rich history of support for agriculture.

Over the past few years we have been collecting historical information about the Baker Bridge fields.  The primary sources have been conversations with past farmers on the land and town residents.  Here is, to the best of our knowledge some interesting facts:

•  The land was originally owned and farmed communally until the First and Second Division of Concord (1650’s).

•  In the 1650’s, the Billings family acquired a large parcel of land, including the present day Baker Bridge fields.

•  In 1729, the Baker family moves to the Lincoln area.  They married into and absorbed the Billings family and land.

•  In 1760, Baker Bridge road was built in order to allow them easier access to the new town center.  The road divided the land of two Baker brothers Amos and Nathaniel.  The Baker farms were small New England style mixed crop farms.  The two brothers each owned a horse, an ox, and cows.  They split hay, wood, and food crops evenly between their households.

•  On April 18th, 1774, Nathaniel Baker ran into Prescott & Dawes while coming home from courting in Lexington and spread the famous alarm through South Lincoln.

•  In 1899, the affluent Bostonian, James Storrow, bought land including the Baker Bridge South field creating the largest estate in Lincoln at the time.  He leased out the land for a dairy herd and grew hay.

•  In 1900, A.H. Higginson received the Baker Bridge North field as a present from his famous father, founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1881) and donor of Boston Symphony Hall (1900), Henry Lee Higginson.  A.H. Higginson ran the Middlesex Hunt Club on the land, which included a racetrack and a steeple-chasing course.  Later this field was host to a herd of prized Ayshire dairy cows.

•  1930’s Mr. Henderson (founder of Sheraton Hotels) bought the land to preserve the fields and allowed farmers to lease the land.

•  1969:  The Lincoln Conservation Commission acquired the North field from the Henderson Trustees.

•  1970:  The Lincoln Conservation Commission bought the South field from the Van Leer Trustees.

•  1980’s-1993:  The Baker Bridge fields were managed by Verrill Farms.

•  1993-1997:  The Baker Bridge fields were managed by Arena Farms.

•  1998-2002:  The Baker Bridge South field was managed by The Food Project.  The Baker Bridge North field was managed by Butterbrook farm.

•  2003-present:  The Baker Bridge North and South fields are managed by The Food Project.

 

Suburban Agriculture, Beverly


We began growing on our Beverly land during the Spring of 2006. Through a partnership with the Trustees of Reservations we tend 2 acres of their historic Long Hill property. Using sustainable agricultural techniques we have transformed fallow land into a vibrant vegetable garden!

We have been growing 85 crop varieties, including staples such as potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce and specialty and ethnic crops such as arugula, kale, heirloom tomatoes, and swiss chard. We hope that you will come and visit us! Farming at Long Hill has given our young people the opportunity to be a part of larger scale agriculture, and has allowed us to grow even more food to feed those in need on the North Shore

Our partnership began with the Trustees prior to working the Long Hill land when our Summer Youth Program was hosted once a week by another property of theirs Appleton Farms. Hoping to expand our youth programs and create a more economically sustainable/independent farm, The Food Project is looking to add new acreage in the Beverly/Wenham area.

History-Urban Farms

The Food Project farms in 4 communities: Lincoln, Boston, Lynn and Beverly.  Currently, our urban farms are in Lynn and in Boston (in the Roxbury/Dorchester neighborhoods).

Urban Agriculture, Boston

Large parts of Roxbury and Dorchester were once individual farms, known primarily for fruit production. The "Roxbury Russet" apple was grown in the 1700-1800's and was prized for its excellent flavor and long storage. It can still be found in many heirloom fruit catalogs.

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Sustainable Agriculture Practices

The Food Project strives for a sustainable farm operation.  Sustainability for The Food Project means keeping a true balance between production and renewal.  It means working with and responding to nature in order to replace what is taken away.
There are three areas of sustainability that The Food Project aims to practice:  environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and financial sustainability.
Environmental Sustainability
The Food Project is dependant on the land as the basis of the work and mission.  Without it, the youth programs lack a medium for their experience and people lack access to healthy food.  Our role is to be aware of the long-term effects of our use of the land.  We are responsive to nature as we make our agricultural decisions.  The idea is not to simply take what we need from the land, but rather to work in cooperation with the natural world in order to direct and support the growth of agricultural crops.
Our environmental sustainability can be observed in how we manage our soil, fertility, weeds, tillage, insects, and plant diseases. Since our concern is the long-term health of the land, we do not use any chemically based fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or insecticides.  We grow a wide diversity of crops (over 175 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers), which provide a rich habitat for beneficial insects along with deterring disease problems.  Crop rotation, cover cropping, the spreading of compost and fallow seasons are used in order to reduce weed pressure, increase soil fertility, manage soil nutrients, and improve soil structure.
 
Social Sustainability
At The Food Project, we believe that the people on the farm need to work in a sustainable fashion in order to maintain the long-term health of the organization and the land.  If our farms are the foundation of our food system then we need to promote the well being of the individuals that provide for its abundant harvests.  We do this by structuring for staff a healthy workplace schedule, vacations during the height of the season, regular feedback sessions, open access to all farm information, interaction with the public, and the consumption of lots of healthy produce.
Financial Sustainability
In order for our suburban farms to exist long into the future, they need to be able to cover their expenses.  If they are a continual financial drain on The Food Project, they will eventually lead to serious organizational consequences and reduce the validity of the work that is done.
The pressure to cover our costs has many positive effects; if we didn’t need to cover our costs, it would not matter how well we grow vegetables.  The push to be financially sustainable forces us to focus on efficiency and quality.  One of the primary reasons that we began our Community Supported Agriculture program in 1999 was to find a market in which we could earn a significant amount of money. This has been our answer to financial sustainability in the future.  It is also the type of distribution that demands a consistent supply of high quality vegetables.  The rigor that is involved in providing produce in this manner helps give structure and reason to the experience of the youth and volunteers who come to the farm.  They realize that not only are they growing food for shelters, but they are also providing food to people who are financially supporting the mission and work of the organization.
 
As on our suburban land, we are committed to using agricultural practices that are sustainable and reflective of the scale and programs which are run on our urban land. We define agricultural sustainability as a balance between production and renewal that allows our agricultural work to continue over a long period of time. On a practical level this means careful attention to soil health and fertility through practices such as crop rotation, composting, cover-cropping and careful tillage methods.
 
One of the advantages to growing in small spaces with a large volunteer and youth labor pool is that we have been able move away from using a rototiller for preparing the beds, relying instead on garden forks and people power to accomplish this task. While a rototiller can be a time-efficient tool for tillage, there is also a greater risk of compaction and destruction of soil tilth. For these reasons we have switched to turning beds by hand. We use a raised bed model, marking the beds each spring with corner stakes and string as we re-fork and shape the beds from the previous year. While we strive to incorporate compost with each new crop that is planted in a bed, we are not always able to do so, as we are limited in our ability to produce compost on site by the size of our land and the need to maintain piles that are aesthetically appealing to our neighbors. We use crop rotation and covercropping as other methods of increasing soil fertility.
 
As our soil improves, we aim to maximize production on our land by carefully spacing our plants as well as developing crop plans that ensure that beds are kept in production throughout the growing season. For instance,  we successfully developed a 3-crop rotation for some of our beds- our early plantings of brassicas that are harvested in June were followed by a quick growing buckwheat crop to rejuvenate the soil. In late July these beds were planted into fall root crops. By paying close attention to planting and harvest dates we continue to develop crop plans that ensure that beds are never left fallow and harvests are maximized.
Beyond multiple crop plantings, we also use a dibbler to mark our beds prior to planting to guarantee that the plants are spread evenly across the beds.  Using a dibbler, and experimenting with closer spacings of transplants and direct-seedings, allows us to maximize productivity. Because we do not rely on mechanical cultivation techniques, we are more able to space our crops close together.
Finally, we also try to start as many of our crops in the greenhouse as is feasible. By starting our first plantings of spinach, beets, annual herbs and other crops that are traditionally direct-seeded into fields, we are also able to increase our crop yields. Transplanting wherever possible means that we have greater control over the quality and spacing of the plants. This also means that the plants will be in the beds for a shorter period of time prior to harvesting and re-planting that bed. Using transplants rather than direct-seeding can often mean the difference between harvesting 2 or 3 crops out of a beds during a growing season.
 
 
The Food Project helped create the CRAFT program of eastern Massachsetts in 1998.  Its purpose is to offer agricultural training, provide a network of peers who are in similar roles on their farms, and to explore the diversity of farming operations in Eastern Massachusetts.  Our growers have been active in the formation and support of the CRAFT program.  The CRAFT website includes schedules, participating farms, and important links in sustainable agriculture.
The Food Project is committed to training future farmers.  We provide agricultural education opportunities to thousands each year thorough our youth and volunteer programs.  We also have a comprehensive training program for adults who hope to make farming their profession in the future.  Grower’s Assistant positions are available at both our Urban and Suburban farms each season. 
Grower’s Assistants are trained in all aspects of the farm operations including seedling propagation in our greenhouse, tractor usage, harvest techniques, managing work crews, distribution, marketing farm products, etc.  
We begin to advertise for positions for the next faming season in August/September.  If you are interested in becoming a Grower’s Assistant, please check our list of open positions.
 

Sustainable Agriculture Resources

American Farmland Trust AFT works to stop the loss of productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy environment.

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Directions: Dudley Town Common Farmers' Market

Dudley St & Blue Hill Ave in Roxbury, MA

 

By Car from the North or South of Boston:

Take Route 93/Fitzgerald Expressway to Exit 18 (Mass. Ave./Roxbury). At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and continue to stop light. Take a left onto Mass. Ave. Refer to 'from Mass. Ave' directions below.

By Car from Mass Ave:

Follow Mass. Ave. South (past a McDonalds) until you see a UHAUL Center on your right. Just after the center, take a right onto Magazine Street. Continue straight at your first stop light. The second light is at the intersection of Magazine Street, Dudley Street, and Blue Hill Avenue. The market is at this intersection in the Dudley Town Common. 

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