Print Newsletter Spring 2019

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Root Crew Reflections

Nikkia: I started at The Food Project as being shy and closed off. Now I

am loud and open to talking to many people, trying out new ideas, and new foods.

Cyriah: Well, transitioning from Seed Crew, to Dirt Crew, to a Root Crew peer leader position, the ask is always different. Initially I was just learning and absorbing all of these concepts that I was previously oblivious to. Now, I'm taking all of the skills I’ve developed over the years and applying them. The Food Project has helped make me a better public speaker and overall thinker. With the skills they've helped me find within myself, I have learned how to facilitate conversations around difficult topics.

host cooking classes with residents while also being able to create a resident owned food supply chain with community members who work in the neighborhood.

Cyriah: Currently Root Crew is working on a series of workshops

to facilitate for the wider community, which is awesome! One of the workshops I am assisting in creating is one about the history of the land with an environmental component. This topic can get super science heavy, which is exciting to me, and we are ensuring that it's something that people who aren't that big into science would enjoy and find impactful as well!


th e

What work during this academic season has been challenging?

project’s od fo

m ay 2

Nikkia: Being able to reach out to people who work for the (Mayor's)

Office of Food Access has been challenging, because they’re so busy yet also acknowledge the fact that we want to expand businesses in the Dudley neighborhood offering healthy food and take time out of their busy day to email us back and give us helpful information.

Cyriah: For the academic year I would say trying to be super creative is the

most challenging to me. Being in Root Crew, you are spearheading new ideas constantly and with that you definitely have to have a creative mindset. I am definitely learning how to think outside the box, but at times it can be challenging thinking of things that have not been done before.

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What are you most excited to be working on now?


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Nikkia: I love working with the community members and being able to



How has your work changed since you began at The Food Project?


Nikkia a.,18, boston


Cyriah T., 18, lynn

Root Crew Peer Leaders Nikkia A., 18, from Boston and Cyriah T., 18, from Lynn reflect on their work at The Food Project and how this work has changed since their first summer in Seed Crew. Read below to find out what excites them most about their work and what their crews have been working on.

Double the Transformation at This Year’s Winter Institutes

offer a process of adaptation and transformation that can be used to build something unique to each organization's time and place. Our first Institute cohort, in late January, included several organizations from Greater Boston and the MidAtlantic, as well as a pair from Moab, Utah. Participants took this message to heart Participants from second 2019 Winter Institute, February 7-9 and offered examples of their A Reflection from Yun-Yun Li, own organizational vulnerabilities Organizational Learning Fellow and questions around topics including managing the experiences of youth of This winter, we tried something color with trauma; choosing between new: The Food Project offered two a model that connects youth across back-to-back Winter Institutes— difference versus a model that provides doubling our usual offering—due to community, solidarity, and healing for increased demand from youth leaders, youth of color; and how to sustain educators, farmers, and other food young people's interest in returning justice advocates wanting to attend our for multiple seasons of work. trainings. Cindy Davenport, director of Our second cohort met in early learning & design and lead facilitator February, with representation from of the Institutes, shared a powerful the East Coast to the Midwest to lesson underlying the immersive, the Southwest. The group engaged three-day institutes: The Food Project's in passionate discussion around models cannot be directly transplanted the criteria for choosing youth to a new place or new community; applicants, how to ensure that instead, we serve as an example and structures for offering feedback are

constructive rather than punitive, and the potential consequences of a lack of racial diversity among staff members. The conversations around these organizational challenges demonstrated the immense care, critical thought, and desire to make meaningful change that each participant brought with them. In the words of Arlen Fernandez, Mobile Market Assistant at La Semilla Food Center in Anthony, NM, “I can’t wait to get back home and share my inspiration with others. Meeting others like me (you know, leaders in the food movement) was amazing! I was with them for three days and feel like I have known them forever!” For information on our 2019 Summer Institute from July 31 - August 2, visit:

A special thanks to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for sponsoring this year's Winter Institutes

Winter Institute at a Glance


total participants


new england

Abundance Farm The Cornucopia Project Eastie Farm The Eco-Stewards Program The Rivers School St. Mary's Nutrition Center/ Lots to Gardens


Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative

hours of training

22 organizations represented

organizations represented Bright Spot Urban Farm City Blossoms Community Food Action (New Settlement) Grow Pittsburgh Kingston YMCA Farm Project LEAF Project PA Mighty Greens Red Hook Farms a Project of RHI The Youth Farm Project


states represented


Chicago Botanic Garden/Windy City Harvest Growing North Minneapolis Legacy GardenWorks Matthew 25


La Semilla Food Center Youth Garden Project

Welcoming New Board Chair Carolyn Zern The Food Project’s Board of Trustees is excited to announce Carolyn Zern as the new Board Chair, effective February 1. Carolyn joined the board in 2015 and has been Carolyn Zern actively involved on the Big Shindig host committee, captaining our Ride for Food team, 2 Spring 2019

and serving on the board’s financial and development committees and most recently as Vice Chair. Carolyn also led the search committee for our new Executive Director. We are so appreciative for her leadership, her can-do attitude, and her dedication to the mission of The Food Project. Carolyn lives in Cambridge and loves to enjoy tomatoes from the farm! The Food Project is also incredibly grateful for the leadership of Linda

McQuillan, who recently stepped down as Board Chair after nearly six years on the board. Linda chaired the Big Shindig for many years, served as Interim Executive Director in 2018, and has been a steadfast advocate and partner. Linda loves to volunteer on the Boston farms and in the greenhouse, and we are so appreciative of her years of service. Thank you, Linda!

Youth. Food. Community.

A New Phase of Growth on the Baker Bridge Farm An update from Lincoln Farm Manager Alex Pogany

After a winter of rest and planning, we are back to work on the Baker Bridge Farm in Lincoln. Our first seedlings have been started, and soon the greenhouse will be filled with seedling trays and sprouting plants. During the next few months, we will be busy managing our compost piles, seeding, spreading compost, more seeding, tilling our first fields, and putting new plastic on our greenhouse. With the growing season approaching, we wanted to update you on some changes we are making this year on the farm, which will allow us to be better stewards of the land, and to better serve our communities. These changes include reducing the number of acres we grow on and discontinuing CSA box share delivery to the Boston area. By reducing the number of acres we grow on, more of our land

can be planted with cover crops. Cover crops add organic matter to soil, prevent erosion, and increase fertility by pulling nitrogen from the atmosphere and depositing it in the ground. Cover crops also invite a large diversity of micro and

Baker Bridge Farm

macro organisms, which in turn also enhance the fertility of the soil. Reducing the size of our CSA will allow us to distribute more of our crops to customers who have difficulty accessing fresh, healthy food. Fewer CSAs will allow us to grow more culturally-relevant crops

for our affordable farmers markets and corner stores in Boston’s Dudley neighborhood, as well as for hunger relief organizations. Lastly, these changes will allow youth to take more ownership over the land. Having fewer acres in production reduces the amount of land that is weeded by hand— providing youth with more time to engage in a wider variety of farm tasks. While we will miss our box share members, we are excited by the new opportunities that these changes will bring. There are still on-farm and pick-your-own shares available in Lincoln, so get yours while they last at We look forward to another season of youth on the farm, and growing an abundance of veggies for our communities.

Youth, Food, and Community at Eat Well Workshops

Community member Winnie Pickett leads participants in making roti




throughout February and March, the kitchen in The Food Project’s Dudley Street office was filled with community members, energetic youth, and the smells of freshly baked bread, Caribbean-inspired sauces, and more. Residents of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan gathered together over their shared love of food in “Eat Well” classes—free cooking workshops for neighbors as a part of The Food Project’s “Grow Well, Eat Well, Be Well” workshop series.

Keely Curliss, Root Crew Supervisor, shares, “‘Eat Well’ classes are meant to bring community members and youth together around cooking and delicious food. Through these workshops, we hope to showcase the talent of local community businesses, neighbors, and restaurants, and uplift the vibrant food culture already present in the neighborhood.” Classes are taught by members of the surrounding community including neighbors, chefs, and restaurant owners who share recipes from their own cultures. This year’s instructors included Cassandria Campbell and Jackson Renshaw, Food Project alumni and co-founders of Fresh Food Generation, and Nahdra Ra Kiros, owner of Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor. Youth in Root Crew take a leadership role in organizing these workshops from planning to execution. They are responsible for recruiting chefs, spreading the word, assisting with set-up and clean up, and facilitating a fun and interactive environment for neighbors to enjoy time together over a delicious meal. We are grateful for another wonderful season of "Eat Well" classes—bringing together youth and community through food!

Save the Date: 2019 Spring Seedling Sales City Farm Fest (Dudley): May 11 Mother's Day Plant Sale (Lincoln): May 11-12 City Farm Fest (Lynn): May 25 More info to follow!

For the latest event information, visit:

T h e Fo o d P r o j e c t 3

Anne's Corner

Sign up for your 2019 CSA Share! Join us for 20 weeks of freshly harvested produce. Available for pick up in Beverly, Lincoln, and Lynn.

Get yours today!

Happenings is published three times a year to inform our readers about

activities in our community. The newsletter design, graphics, and editorial are contributed by Hannah Ladesic. Additional editorial contributed by Anne Hayes, Lisa Jurras-Buchanan, Yun-Yun Li, and Alex Pogany.

encouraging to know that our models are as relevant now as they have been for the past 27 years. I am thrilled to be a part of The Food Project. Our work with youth and communities not only brings people together to work across difference, it also leads them to value what that difference brings to the work. Having a safe space to dig deeply into issues of race and economic inequity and understand the impact of those factors on a personal level is so important if we hope to see lasting change.

Boston 555 Dudley Street, Dorchester Lincoln 10 Lewis Street, Lincoln North Shore 120 Munroe Street, Lynn

The Food Project’s mission is to create a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system.

10 Lewis Street, Lincoln, MA 01773

During the past few weeks, since I started as executive director of The Food Project, I have had the absolute pleasure of getting to know our staff, our Dirt Crew and Root Crew youth, and folks from the organizations participating in our Winter Institutes. I started my time here visiting each of our three offices (Lincoln,

Dorchester, and Lynn), enjoying, appropriately enough, a wonderfully prepared breakfast with staff in each place. I spent time with all of our staff individually, getting to know their backgrounds, what brought them to The Food Project, and what they love (or don’t) about their work here. It was truly inspiring to hear their stories and their perspectives on the work. The next three days were devoted to learning about The Food Project’s models through the Winter Institute. Across the two Institutes offered this winter, 29 people representing 22 organizations from across the country came together to dive into our work with youth, food, and community. It was humbling to hear about all of the work that is being done and