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G rowing F ood + C onsciousness , O ne S eed at a T ime

Growing Food + Consciousness, One Seed at a Time Since 2009, GUS upper school students have had the opportunity to learn about the problem of food insecurity and make a small contribution to its solution through the school’s partnership with The Food Project.

T

he Food Project started in Lynn using land adjacent to an elementary school, according to Miriam Stason, Beverly and Wenham Food Project Farm Manager for the past three years. The purpose, according to The Food Project website, is to “grow food on our farms and sell it through neighborhood farmers markets and businesses. Knowing that affordability is a challenge in our neighborhoods, we focus on building models for selling

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fresh food that work for both farmers and for low-income customers.” About 13 years ago, as the Project expanded to the Trustees of Reservation site at Long Hill in Beverly, a vital need remained. They were in search of greenhouse space. “It is important to have a greenhouse or else you are buying seedlings which is expensive,” explains Stason. A connection was made and, in 2009, The Food Project partnered with GUS to

use half of the school’s newly renovated, 7,000-square-foot greenhouse to grow both food and social consciousness.

“I appreciate this kind of collaboration and the use of the greenhouse,” says Stason. “People don’t

“PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE HOW ESSENTIAL THE GREENHOUSE IS TO THE RUNNING OF THE FARM. IT A L L STA R T S H E R E.” “The Food Project brings together youth from across the North Shore to grow over 50,000 seedlings in the GUS greenhouse every year that are then planted on its North Shore farms,” according to the group’s website. “Each year, seedlings grown in this greenhouse provide over 65,000 servings of healthy vegetables that are sold, donated, and distributed to increase food access throughout the North Shore communities.” The Food Project also “leads workshops on planting and growing food and food justice, and co-hosts food system related films and other activities for both community members and GUS students in the greenhouse.

realize how essential it is to the running of the farm. It all starts here. And it’s a beautiful space. It’s fun to have the students come out to the farm. It is probably the first time many have come out to the farm, though some of them may have a CSA share.” How do GUS students get involved? The Food Project generally visits the sixth grade class, offers a seed project, and talks about plant biology. In the spring, the sixth graders plant some seeds in the greenhouse. In seventh grade, students visit The Food Project in May to help get the ground ready for planting and learn about food