Fall 2014 print newsletter for web

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Youth. Food. Community.

Announcing Acting Executive Director James Harrison

Departing Executive Director Selvin Chambers (right) and newly appointed Acting Executive Director J. Harrison (left) pictured together on the Baker Bridge Farm in Lincoln, MA.

Starting October 6, James (J.) Harrison, North Shore Regional Director and ten-year veteran of The Food Project, will step in as Acting Executive Director for the departing Executive Director, Selvin Chambers, who has taken a role with The Trustees of Reservations. “The Food Project is a place of growth, transformation, and hope. It’s an honor to serve as the Acting Executive Director," Harrison said. Chambers leaves The Food Project after a successful tenure

which included the establishment of an effective new regional model for programs and service, as well as the implementation of significant improvements to its curriculum. "What we have accomplished over the last several years has fundamentally improved the way we serve and partner with communities," Chambers said. The Food Project's Board of Trustees is conducting a national search for a permanent executive director.

Bringing food system change to Dudley By Sutton Kiplinger Are you satisfied with the food options in the Dudley neighborhood? What is most important to you when making choices about food to buy and eat? With these questions, youth from The Food Project and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) surveyed 90 residents at block parties and community events this summer about how the local food system in Boston’s Dudley neighborhood works for them. From the surveys came significant insights: price motivates Dudley residents’ buying decisions most strongly, while organic options and convenience tied for a close second. Fast food dominates respondents’ non-grocery food purchases, though only three percent of residents want more fast food available in the neighborhood. Fresh produce consistently tops the list of what respondents wished there were more of locally. Each survey sparked a lively conversation, showing this neighborhood cares deeply about food. The youths’ efforts are part of a community food planning process —the first of its kind in the city of

Youth from The Food Project and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative survey Dudley neighborhood residents about their eating choices.

Boston—which kicked off in Dudley this past summer. Led by DSNI, in collaboration with The Food Project and Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), the process aims to surface residents’ priorities around food, articulate a vision, and develop initial action steps over the next six months. A steering committee of neighborhood residents and business owners guides the process, framing the questions, interpreting data, and convening additional neighbors to participate. The Dudley neighborhood has long experienced the ramifications of a food system built for profit, at the

expense of the well-being of people and land. Climate change is expected to exacerbate the neighborhood’s vulnerability to food insecurity and ill health, making even today’s “cheap” food more expensive. However, the Dudley food planning process allows for a different vision. With this process, the Dudley neighborhood is taking steps to increase control of its local food system and offer a model for how other communities might do the same. The Food Project is honored to partner in the effort, and we invite you to follow along when we post the survey results in the future.

Your support makes all our work possible! Please make a donation today! Return the enclosed envelope or donate online at thefoodproject.org/give

Meet Jeasebelle Jeasebelle graduated from Root Crew this summer. Now, she plans on studying agricultural economics. By Heather Hammel Jeasebelle, 18, from Peabody, has come a long way since her father first suggested she look into working at The Food Project in 2012. Initially, she didn’t see how it could be the place for her. But after her first few weeks as a Seed Crew worker, she found “a sense of community that drew me in and makes me come back every summer.” Jeasebelle recently embarked on her newest adventure: pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of New Hampshire. Jeasebelle plans on putting her new knowledge of economics to work in the farming community. “I want to work with farmers on how their farms can be more profitable and produce more food from the land,” she said. After college, Jeasebelle hopes to go to graduate school for agricultural economics and work as a financial

advisor to local farmers. She believes that by helping local farmers produce more, she can have a positive impact on the food system. “As individuals, we can help change the food system and the access people have to healthy food,” she said. For now, Jeasebelle plans on staying local. She hopes to come back to The Food Project, or a similar organization in the Boston region, in the summers to contribute in any way she can. And the lessons she learned as an Assistant Crew Leader on creating change this past summer will stay with her throughout her college experience. “I learned a lot in The Food Project’s workshops that I’ll take with me—how much of an impact a small group of people can have on

the community,” she said. “I strongly believe in bringing a group of people together to work towards fixing an issue.” Have you been following Jeasebelle this past summer? Watch the full Seed Crew video project from Summer 2014 at thefoodproject.org/seed-crew/2014

Land in Wenham, our 34 new acres By James Harrison

People don’t grow plants, plants grow themselves. People help create conditions that allow crops to thrive by taking good care of the soil. This is the most fundamental tenet of sustainable agriculture. This past spring, we signed a lease to farm 34 acres in Wenham, nearly doubling our land. While we couldn’t be more excited—the Wenham farm will fundamentally change the scale of our farming operations—our first job on the land is to restore the health of the soil. In the first season, we made significant strides to support the long-term health of our newest farm. Planting only a small portion of the fields, we gave most of the land a muchneeded rest. We seeded a fertility-building cover crop of buckwheat during the summer (you’re welcome, bees!) and will plant winter rye and vetch this fall. We are setting up our future crops and programs to thrive and are so excited to be joining the Wenham community! 2 Fall 2 0 14

Amidst a field of buckwheat cover-crop, North Shore Grower Ben Zoba (center) teaches about the tenets of sustainable agriculture on our new Wenham Farm.

Youth. Food. Community.

The Food Project’s Standards of Sustainability: What It Means to Be USDA Certified Organic and Why We Aren’t

Our G ro w ing



While we buy mostly organic (and never treated) seeds, buying entirely organic, as required by the USDA, isn’t always practical.

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The USDA charges a one-time application fee and an annual inspection and certification fee. We forgo certification because we have direct contact with all our customers.

Prohibited substances


Total crop rotation and cover cropping is not always possible on our urban farms. We strive to provide popular crops like tomatoes at our markets in the Dudley Town Common and Lynn Central Square every year. The urban environment limits what can be grown where and what we can do with crop rotation.

The USDA requires three years of no use of prohibited substances. We don’t use any!

We partner with neighbors like Codman Community Farms, where we rotate cow pasture with growing vegetables to improve soil health.

The USDA has stringent requirements for the composting and application of manure and animal products. Our farms also have a very high standard for compost. The USDA requires farm plans, which include crop rotation, covercropping, and water use records.


The USDA-required buffer zone around the farm perimeter aims to decrease the risk of outside contamination. Our suburban farms comply with this regulation. However, given that our largest urban farm is only 1.5 acres, the required buffer zone between farm and sidewalk would use up too much of our limited urban farmland.


We start all of our own seedlings, in our Dudley Greenhouse in Boston, our Baker Bridge Greenhouse in Lincoln, and the Glen Urqhart School Greenhouse on the North Shore.

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On all of our urban and suburban farms, we farm in a way that nurtures and sustains the land. While we are not USDA Certified Organic for the reasons you see below, we meet most of the USDA requirements and our additional growing practices demonstrate a high level of care for soil health and the environment.

All of our farm locations have their own compost piles. The Dudley Greenhouse recently started a worm bin! This year, about 40 percent of our total acreage is planted with cover crops, such as buckwheat, which build up soil health.


Instead of employing methods such as irradiation for food preservation, we donate food not sold at the market or through our CSA to hunger relief organizations. In 2013, we donated 37,475 pounds of produce.

Our Beverly Farm uses the no-till technique of deep mulching to prevent weed growth and increase the soil’s nutritional content. We plan to experiment with no-till methods in Wenham and Lynn as well.

“Our best motto is transparency. We encourage people to come out and join us on the land, see our growing practices, and ask questions about how we grow.” - Robyn Burns, North Shore Urban Agriculture Manager

Have a question about our growing practices? We encourage you to ask one of our farm staff!

Our new staff are bringing in the fall Lucy Sweeney is The Food Project’s Development Officer for Individual Giving and Events. She comes to us from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she gained over five years’ experience in event planning, project management, and administration. Lucy received her B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Studio Arts from Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

Allegra Wiprud joins The Food Project as a Boston Community Programs Fellow, and manages the urban farmers markets and Farm to Family subsidized CSA share. She is a recent graduate of Princeton University and holds a B.A. in International Affairs and Public Policy, specializing in development policy and religious conflict in South Asia.


What’s happening? A Winter Farm Share makes your holiday menu easy as pie!

Change the Date! Buy a winter share at thefoodproject.org/csa

Our Annual Benefit

Farmers, Fables & Feasts Wednesday, May 6, 2015 6:30 p.m. The Artists For Humanity EpiCenter 100 West 2nd Street, Boston, MA 02127

Pick-up location: Codman Community Farms Barn, Lincoln, MA

Lincoln and Metro Boston Summer 2015 Farm Shares now for sale! Buy online at thefoodproject.org/csa

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.

555 Dudley Street Dorchester, MA 02125 617-442-1322


120 Munroe Street Lynn, MA 01901 781-346-6726

10 Lewis Street Lincoln, MA 01773 781-259-8621

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