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Refugees Share Culture in Dudley Greenhouse

TFP staff Jennie Msall works with BCRHHR members.
TFP staff Jennie Msall works with BCRHHR members.
Each Friday, a group of refugees and clinicians from the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) meet at the Boston Medical Center and walk the mile to the Dudley Greenhouse together. At the greenhouse, they are welcomed by TFP staffers Jennie Msall and Danielle Andrews, who lead them into the community bay, where they have been hard at work all winter. Soon, they sink their hands into the dirt and settle into the work of cultivating their three raised-bed gardens, in which they grow a variety of vegetables, including plants from their home countries. As they tend their crops, the refugees discuss their lives in Boston, methods for growing food in small spaces, and what they cook and eat here in Boston and in their home countries.

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“Eat Well” Features Somali Cuisine

Eat Well: Somali Cuisine
Eat Well: Somali Cuisine
The Food Project invites you to learn about Somali cuisine with Fadumo Kheire, who will present the second session in our “Eat Well” series of workshops. Fadumo is a community gardener with RIAC, one of nine groups working in the community bays in the Dudley Greenhouse. She will lead us in preparing two Somali dishes.

Eat Well: Connecting to gardens through culture and cooking
Cooking with Your Neighbor - Somali Cuisine
* Saturday, February 25, 12 - 1:30 p.m., RSVP REQUIRED

Download a flyer for more information.

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Local Gardener Leads Cooking Workshop

Maria Barros prepares bacalhau.
Maria Barros prepares bacalhau.
Local gardener Maria Barros led friends, neighbors, and food enthusiasts in a cooking class about Cape Verdean cooking at The Food Project’s office this Saturday, January 28.

The ten participants included Cape Verdean Bostonians eager to learn about their traditional cuisine, as well as many local gardeners. As they chopped vegetables for the class, the gardeners discussed last year's cabbage crop and their excitement to plant collard greens for the spring.

Barros led participants in preparing two traditional Cape Verdean dishes called Cachupa and Bacalhau. Cachupa is a stew that contains collard greens, beans, and corn. Bacalhau is a stew containing salted cod. After preparing the two dishes, participants dined together to taste their creations.

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New TFP Workshop Series Starting Soon

Coming up soon at The Food Project, we’ll be presenting our new “Grow Well, Eat Well, Be Well” workshop series. In these sessions, we will explore gardening topics, share cultural recipes, connect you with other gardeners from your neighborhood, and more. These workshops are the beginnings of some exciting new opportunities coming up – you won’t want to miss them!

Grow Well: Bringing your gardening skills to a new level
Planning Your Garden
* Saturday, January 21, 10:00 – 11:30 A.M. OR
* Tuesday, January 24, 6:00 – 7:30 P.M.

This is the first workshop in our Grow Well series. Through this interactive workshop on designing your garden, you can get help with everything from planning its layout to ordering seeds. Other topics in this series will include: how to start seeds, planting tips, and how to dealing with pests and diseases.

Download a flyer for more information.

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Scenes from Thanksgiving Farmers' Market

DIRT Assistant Crew Leader Anna leads neighborhood children in drawing activity.
DIRT Assistant Crew Leader Anna leads neighborhood children in drawing activity.
The Food Project’s November Market took place in our Dudley Greenhouse in Roxbury on Tuesday, November 22. From 4 to 7 p.m., friends and neighbors came to the greenhouse to buy a variety of root vegetables and greens to enrich their Thanksgiving dinners and to store away for colder days.

Along with the last field vegetables of the year, TFP youth handed out samples of their own Butternut squash soup with croutons, prepared specially for the event. While adults shopped for vegetables, other TFP youth interns led children in special activities around the greenhouse, such as a vegetable scavenger hunt, a potato digging bonanza, herb taste testing, and a lively game of pin the tail feather on the turkey.

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Community comes together in Dudley Greenhouse

In early October, we started working with nine groups that had submitted proposals when The Food Project solicited suggestions for how the community bay of our Dudley Greenhouse should be used. The greenhouse has been abuzz with activity lately and we're so proud to have partners in this new space.

The Food Project has worked with many of these groups in the past. The Vietnamese American Civic Association (VACA), the Nubian United Benevolent International Association (NUBIA) and the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) worked with us through the Gardening through Refugee Organizations (GRO) group, which provides refugee and immigrant populations with urban gardening opportunities in Boston.

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TFP Seeks Community Greenhouse Proposals

The Food Project (TFP), with support from the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), is seeking partners to share community space in the recently opened Dudley Greenhouse.

The Dudley Greenhouse is a 10,000-square-foot facility in the Dudley Neighborhood of Roxbury. Owned by DSNI and leased by The Food Project, the greenhouse operates year-round as a food production and educational space. The Food Project operates enterprise projects that employ youth in half the space. In the remaining space, The Food Project has started running community educational programming, and is now seeking community partners to run their own programming in this space, with limited support from TFP.

Our hope is that by bringing in a few different organizations and/or individuals to use the space, the greenhouse will better serve a wide range of community interests and needs. Examples of projects include:

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Gardeners Plant Seeds of Community

Dudley greenhouse sits ready for City Farm Fest. Community beds can be seen in background.
Dudley greenhouse sits ready for City Farm Fest. Community beds can be seen in background.
“Now I know why vegetables are so expensive….oh, and I have NO idea what I’m doing!” So said one of the greenhouse gardeners as she passed by me on her way out, having just prepped her bed and planted it with broccoli, kale, and culantro (an herb closely related to cilantro).

In the past two weeks the greenhouse has welcomed 27 new gardeners and their families into the space. Most are from the Dudley neighborhood, and many have children they bring to the greenhouse to help with their plots. Most are brand-new gardeners: eager to learn how to plant and care for vegetables and herbs.

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Mayor Menino Opens Greenhouse

Food Project Intern Mayra Class shows Mayor Menino how to hand-pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon)
Food Project Intern Mayra Class shows Mayor Menino how to hand-pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon)
Neighbors, friends, and supporters gathered at the official opening of the Dudley Greenhouse. The event, which took place on May 11, featured Mayor Menino, whose remarks applauded the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) and The Food Project for working to bring this important resource to the community.

“Not too long ago, this site where we’re standing was a garage; it was an eyesore and a blight on the neighborhood,” Menino said. “Now it is an agricultural oasis, where residents can learn how to grow their own vegetables, and where fresh, affordable produce will be grown for the city’s farmers’ markets and food banks.”

Besides the mayor, other speakers at the opening included John Barros of DSNI, Margaret Williams of TFP, and community member Sandra Mitchell, who spoke eloquently about what the greenhouse means to her, her family, and the neighborhood.

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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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