Fall 2013 newsletter for web

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Youth. Food. Community.

Connecting at the 2nd Annual Gala By Charu Gupta

Top row, left to right: Intern Rodney Sadberry. Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power and first recipient of The Food Project’s Leadership Award speaks. Intern Cassi Hayes. Will Allen, the three speaking interns, The Food Project Executive Director Selvin Chambers and Gala Committee Chair Linda McQuillan gather for a photo. Side column, top to bottom: Intern Baie Rogers. Gordon Hamersley, chef, and Alli Berkey, grill chef, of Hamersley’s Bistro, at a chef’s table.

What’s Inside Nutritious soil; nutrientdense produce. Exploring the no-till, mulching method on our land in Beverly, p.2 A generous donation allows for the building of two high-tunnel hoophouses in Lincoln and a partnership with Codman Community Farms, p.2 Students from the Mason School learn to plant, grow, eat healthily and enjoy vegetables at the Dudley Greenhouse, p.3

wanted to understand why.” After some research, Baie deduced that The Food Project’s 2nd Annual Gala – honey wasn’t just honey and “the rest of our Celebrate the Harvest – held at the Brighton produce that we were selling that day – they studios of WGBH on September 10 was both weren’t just vegetables. The food that we grow an incredible show of fundraising support and and sell can have a significant importance on a unique opportunity to honor the youth who someone’s culture or tradition. And with that, I was connecting with the customers through become leaders through our programs. The Food Project presented Will Allen, food.” Transformative, introspective moments like Founder and CEO of Growing Power in Milwaukee, with its first Leadership Award. Allen these define so many of the youths’ experiences is also a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” at The Food Project. Rodney Sadberry, a junior award and one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most who has been through all of The Food Project’s youth programs, beginning in 2011, summed up Influential People.” the feeling of community on behalf of The Food Project’s Leadership all the youth. He spent his summer Award celebrates “change-makers” distributing food at a local food whose work and vision within pantry and helping customers the food movement has an carry bags of food to their impact on our communities, cars. “I’ll never forget this “It was one of food infrastructure, and moment when one mother environment. Allen’s work those looks that gave me this look that said has deep connections with changes something ‘Thank you.’ It was one of The Food Project, where those looks that changes youth are active leaders, inside you.” something inside you.” He diverse communities feel went on to tell the audience: - Rodney Sadberry, Intern connected to the land and to “She said, ‘whatever this each other, and everyone has organization is doing, they are access to fresh, local, healthy, instilling you with values that nobody and affordable food. During the gala program, three of our youth took the can take away from you.’” The audience was silent, stage to share their stories and experiences. riveted by Rodney’s confident story-telling. “I promise you,” Rodney continued, “even Cassi Hayes, a high-school senior, is in her third season with The Food Project. She when you do the math, you will not begin to grasp joined the Summer Youth Program in 2011, the magnitude of impact that The Food Project then continued with D.I.R.T. Crew (Dynamic youth have in our communities, on our society, Intelligent Responsible Teenagers) and as and someday on the world.” The audience roared an intern. Cassi spoke about how youth-led with applause. workshops bring home the power of what The The speeches kicked off a successful night of Food Project does and how giving workshops has fundraising and socializing. Nearly 350 guests came out to support The Food Project and see our had a huge personal impact on her. “I explain to a group of 14-year-olds about work in action. They were greeted by harvestthe tomatoes they buy in a supermarket which themed décor and food from the Lincoln farm, probably came from Florida,” she said. “I watch prepared by some of Boston’s premier chefs and their faces as they hear about an old tomato, the restaurants, including Chris Chung and Christian average living conditions of migrant workers, Touche of AKA Bistro in Lincoln, Steve DiFillippo and hope that they think about more than how of Davio’s in Boston, Peter McCarthy of EVOO in it will taste in a salad the next time they are in a Cambridge, Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston, Maryann Saporito of Sammy the supermarket.” Then Baie Rogers, who also started with Flatbread Cart and MAX Ultimate Food. The Food Project in 2011 and is now in her third The gala events were emceed by Robert Lewis, growing season, stood up to tackle the subject Jr., the manager of the Boston Astros, and raised of “Food.” Baie described the farmers market in over $240,000. Thank you for all your support! Lynn. “The one thing that really stood out to me was how much honey was being sold,” she said. “I Visit our blog to watch all the speeches in full.

Give Thanks with The Food Project Join us for a Thanksgiving Market! Featuring a farmers market, Mei Mei Street Kitchen, and children’s activities! Tuesday, November 26 (week of Thanksgiving) 3 - 7 p.m. Dudley Greenhouse

Farms aim to enrich soil and increase productivity Two new high-tunnels, one farm partnership By heather hammel A $250,000 anonymous donation is allowing the Baker Bridge farm in Lincoln to focus its efforts on becoming more financially sustainable through season extension and soil improvement techniques. Visitors will notice two high-tunnels on the property, which went up in April and May 2013. A lot of volunteer work, spearheaded by The Food Project trustee Peter von Mertens, went into building the high-tunnels. Lincoln grower Tim Laird sees it as an opportunity to control the growing environment. “We control the air moisture, and create a much more favorable climate,” he said. The high-tunnels work in concert with the Dudley Greenhouse to produce tomatoes for restaurants and for sale — the hightunnels start production when the greenhouse ends its tomato season. The ultimate goal of the new highBy heather hammel tunnels is to generate more income by extending the growing season. Covering An effort to maximize the soil’s nutrient level at less than a quarter acre, a high-tunnel the Long Hill Farm in Beverly has led to a new way of crop can bring in $20,000. Von Mertens, thinking about nature for The Food Project youth. who had previous experience building Beverly grower Ben Zoba and assistant grower Devon high-tunnels, commented that he was Landis have been utilizing the no-till method, acimpressed with the high-tunnel companied by woodchip mulching, on this tomatoes. plot of land since last spring. Landis A high-tunnel is different said that the method allows the “youth from a greenhouse in (to get) to know the plants better, as that the sides are two “It will be there isn’t as much focus on killing to three feet higher, (through weeding). But what does really interesting allowing for planting still need to happen is care. The closer to the edges. to do a soil test youth come through and prune in The walls can also be after four years.” order to highlight the beauty of the rolled-up to help with plant itself.” ventilation, or double - Tim Laird, insulated for heat. Zoba first arrived on the Beverly Lincoln Head Grower Out in the fields, land in 2009 but it was only last spring a new partnership with when he and Landis began experimentthe neighboring Codman ing with methods of keeping the soil moist and Community Farms in Lincoln will help nutritious, protected from weeds, which eat up the improve the nutritional content of the nutrients necessary to our plants. Baker Bridge Farm’s soil. In June 2013, At first they experimented with clover, a weedcattle began grazing on the land at Codman suppressing, soil-building cover crop, which other North. The Food Project will turn the soil farmers have found successful, before turning to over in Codman North in the fall of 2014 woodchips. “In an effort to maximize and begin planting potatoes and winter production and protect the squash in the spring of 2015. The cows in soil, woodchips are a turn will move to Baker Bridge North of good alterThe Food Project, beginning a four-year native” for rotation cycle between The Food Project a two-acre crops and cattle grazing on the two parcels farm without of land. “It will be really interesting to do a the capacity soil test after four years,” Laird said. for crop rotation, Zoba said. The Long Hill Farm’s soil is sandy and dry, but Zoba and Landis lay down a couple of inches of woodchips, made from all parts of the tree and delivered from the surrounding tree companies, over a layer of compost in order to maintain and improve the natural biology of the soil. Layering the soil in this manner requires no tilling, which turns up the soil and burns a lot of the nutrients in the compost. Zoba added that fungi, which are especially beneficial to plants, are especially vulnerable when tilled as they are long and delicate. A ugusto Menezes Employing the woodchip method,

B e n Zo ba

No-till method highlights growth, nutrients without tillage, enables Zoba and Landis to use less water and compost, as the top layer keeps the soil underneath moist without watering and the soil feeds off itself, as it does in nature. “It’s wonderful how nature is set up,” Zoba said. “In that context, I see weeds as Mother Nature’s allies…soil is so valuable to the farmer but to Mother Nature as well and it will be protected at all costs.” And yet, the duo has harnessed the farm in such a way that they rarely see weeds at all. Landis said: “Where we used chips, we have almost no weeds.” And the benefits are many fold. Landis points to a row of vibrant rainbow chard — “we only watered them a bit when they were seedlings,” he said. Currently, about half of the Long Hill Farm employs the no-till method with woodchips, and the growers believe that the initial added labor at the time of planting pays off in the long run, with more nutritiously dense produce. Landis added that while many farmers are wary of using woodchips because they add a lot of carbon to the soil, which can compete with plants for nitrogen, they have had very few crops they thought could have benefited from more nitrogen. As for the future, they said that they hope to chip a little more but are also excited about the other possibilities chipping opens up. Zoba said: “what excites me a lot is how (chipping) could be used for school gardens — it’s like plug and play and let it go for the summer” when no one is around to care for the garden.

D e vo n L a n dis

2 Fall 2 0 13

Youth. Food. Community.

The Dudley Greenhouse: a gateway to veggies for kids By Allison Daminger “Thank you for bringing your curiosity, boys and girls!” Elementary school teacher Lee Burke‘s students are full of questions. Their eyes roam the unfamiliar space, taking in the 32 raised bed gardens, giant rain collection barrel, and high ceiling of the Dudley Greenhouse. “Will we get dirty?” they ask. “Will we find worms?” Lee shepherds the group to a raised bed in need of organic fertilizer: “We’ve got work to do today!” Burke, who is a General Specialist at the Mason Pilot School in Roxbury, brings her second and third-grade students to The Food Project to learn about growing food and eating healthily. Her Mason class is one of eight community groups we partner with in the Dudley Greenhouse. Mason students visit the greenhouse yearround for weekly sessions. Burke’s partnership with The Food Project dates back to before the greenhouse’s existence, when she began bringing her third-grade students to the Langdon Street Farm for six weeks each fall and spring. The students learned a lot about growing food from these excursions, but the opening of the Dudley Greenhouse in 2010 brought a whole new level of yearround engagement, Burke said. The strength of the lessons, Burke believes, lies in their multi-sensory nature. “It’s tactile,” she said. “They can touch it, feel it, get their hands dirty.” Students who struggle in the classroom often thrive in this alternative space. Normally picky eaters become willing to expand their vegetable repertoire when they step inside the greenhouse walls. Each week’s session ends with a produce-centered snack of some sort — anything from kohlrabi fritters to kale smoothies — that each student tastes and rates. “My goal is to have the students realize that fresh food just tastes better,” Burke said. Cooking seems to appeal to Burke’s students: “I really love chopping, slicing, and dicing,” said a student who participated last year, adding, “I go home and show my mother the recipe and we get to make it at home. That’s the best part.” Burke smiled when asked to describe the stu-

dents’ favorite lessons. Plant Parts Twister was a big hit last year, she said, in addition to being the perfect complement to the third grade life sciences unit. Burke tries to make connections between greenhouse activities and classroom lessons whenever possible: writing skills are sharpened through regular observations logged in field journals, and math concepts are reinforced when the students discuss plant spacing or follow the measurements in a recipe. On this particular morning in the greenhouse, the first session of the year, a group of students prepares a raised-bed for planting, while another Arugula Pear Smoothie Serves: 3-4 1 banana, preferably frozen 1 pear, chopped into chunks 1 cup arugula greens 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup ¼ cup yogurt (optional) ½ cup water or white grape juice ½ cup ice ¼ cup almonds or pecans (optional) Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and evenly bright green!

group carries around seedling trays. Burke holds out a palmful of cabbage seeds for the children to inspect and describe, before demonstrating proper planting techniques. One boy is quick to chime in: “They look like little cocoa puffs!” Too soon, it’s time to walk back to school. As the children rush to line up, they’re bursting with enthusiasm: “I found three bugs!” one reports. “I’m the messiest!” shouts another, holding up dirt-covered hands to illustrate his point. The new school year has only just begun and the students are already proving themselves eager gardeners -intraining.

Arugula makes a great pesto, just swap out basil for arugula, add a clove of garlic, oil, Parmesan cheese, and a nut or seed (optional)! Garlic Parmesan Dip, served with bread. You can’t go wrong with cheese and carbs! “Medicinal” garlic tea - chop, pound, or grind one bulb of garlic. Simmer with two quarts of water. Strain and serve. Garlic has antibiotic properties and is good for strength and vitality.

Eat your vegetables with The Food Project’s raised-bed Garden

A touching dedication to former youth and staff member Henry Masters

A ugusto Menezes

Bet h J am es o n

Family, friends, parents of current and former Food Project youth, alumni, and current and former staff members gathered on the Baker Bridge Farm in Lincoln on September 28 to dedicate the Henry Masters Bench and Arbor. Attendees fondly remembered former Food Project youth and staff member Henry Masters, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 25. Given Henry's love for the Baker Bridge Farm, the bench and arbor are a fitting way to remember Henry and to provide a place for reflection on the farm's beauty.

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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. Our community produces healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs, provides youth leadership opportunities, and inspires and supports others to create change in their own communities.


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