Fall newsletter 2015 for web

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Left: Root Crew youth help out with Family Feast. Right: Seed Crew youth enjoy the feast.

Catalyzing Change Executive Director J. Harrison shares our new three-year strategic plan

As we wrap up another successful summer at The Food Project, I’m excited to share our new three-year strategic plan with you. With our Seed Crew design and curricula on firm ground, our new strategic plan refocuses the energy and resources of our community onto the question of how to best build and support a more just and sustainable food system. Four strategies will help us build a food system that addresses the gap between the cost of producing healthy food and what many in our communities can afford to pay. Over the next three years, we will: Catalyze neighborhood food production

Urban agriculture plays an important role in the food system by providing supplemental fresh food, helping to build and maintain culture, and building community participation, interconnection, and local control. Everyone should have access to space to grow food. With more than 20 years of experience building urban farms and gardens [ Continued on page 4 ]

Celebrating summer Seed Crew OUR 24TH SUMMER season came to a close, with the Family Feasts, where our 90 Seed Crew youth, alongside their nine assistant crew leaders, gathered with their families to celebrate an incredible summer of growth and connection. The seven-week Seed Crew experience is filled with milestones every summer: from the end of the first grueling week working in the fields, to the first time youth engage in Straight Talk, the muchanticipated overnight, and the final days when the youth crews see just how much they have grown, individually and together, over the course of the summer. Ludia Modi, North Shore youth development specialist and Seed Crew alumna, reflected on the final days of Seed Crew. “My favorite moment of the summer came at the very end, watching all of the youth reflecting on what they learned this

summer,” she said. “People of crosscultural difference were coming together and working towards the goal of helping the community and stopping oppression and food injustices.” Your support of the Seed Crew experience was integral to offering youth a summer of growth and connection. Whether you wrote an inspirational message to our youth, donated, or shared a Seed Crew memory of your own, thank you for helping us continue to grow together this summer. Many Seed Crew youth will return this fall as part of our academic-year Dirt Crew experience. We can’t wait to see the change they will create in the community as they build raisedbed gardens, continue working in hunger relief organizations, and engage volunteers on the farms in the meaningful work of growing fresh, healthy food.

John Wang: Longtime staff member, new North Shore regional director JOHN WANG, a staff member of The Food Project, was recently named the new North Shore regional director. “With his experience, deep

John works alongside youth at a mobile farmers market for seniors.

relationships in the region, and passion for The Food Project, our North Shore region is in good hands,” said Executive Director J. Harrison when he announced the appointment of John Wang to the position of Regional Director. John has deep roots with The Food Project. He served as a founding member of The Food Project’s North Shore site where he helped establish youth programming and most recently was the North Shore Programs and Community Outreach Manager. John says, “I am honored to partner with the amazing people at The Food Project to continue pushing

for social change in our communities.” John is a graduate of the International Health Policy and Management program at Brandeis University and holds a certificate of Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Boston University. His experience in youth advocacy spans work in education, literacy, HIV-AIDS prevention, and community service promotion. As an Advisory Council Member for Rooted in Community John helps organize the annual Youth Leadership Summit. A gifted photographer, John has taken many images The Food Project uses in its materials.


Take a trip down memory lane as we remember the key


Ward Cheney, a white farmer from Lincoln, and Allen Callahan, an African-American minister from Boston with his wife, Jeanette, an African-American youth worker and community organizer, develop the idea for bringing youth together from the city and suburbs to learn about farming and each other and to explore how to be in service to the larger community.




The Food Project breaks ground in Lincoln on two acres of land at Drumlin Farm. The first crew of youth, totaling 18 teenagers, begins work that summer.

The Food Project begins farming in Lynn, on land leased from Lynn Public Schools. Five years later, we start the Munroe Street Farm with community garden plots. Read more about J. Harrison’s experience starting the Ingalls School Farm at thefoodproject.org/blog/seed-hope

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The Food Project moves its suburban farming operation to the Baker Bridge Farm on Lincoln conservation land. A few years later, a 10-acre expansion brings total suburban acreage to 31 acres.

1997 The Food Project, alongside Dudley community residents clear the land at the Langdon Street Farm in preparation for farming the next season in Boston. The Langdon Street Farm is Boston’s oldest, continuously-run urban farm.

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The Food Project youth and Dudley residents clear the land at the West Cottage Farm in Boston, spread compost, and begin soil testing, in preparation to farm this additional 1.5 acre urban plot the following year.

Youth. Food. Community.


y moments of land growth over the past quarter century



The Food Project turns 25!

Help us kick off our 25th anniversary! Watch for the date for our spring gala coming up in May.

The Food Project partners with the Trustees of Reservations to farm on the Long Hill Farm in Beverly.



The Food Project takes over operations of the Dudley Greenhouse, converting one half to support enterprise and one for community raised-bed gardens. The Greenhouse functions as a year-round community space and learning center for local residents and gardeners. Today, the Greenhouse is a hub of activity, with neighborhood events, gardening workshops, and more!

The Food Project signs a lease with the Wenham Conservation Commission to farm the 34-acre Reynolds Farm in Wenham. We are carefully restoring the health of the soil by planting fertility-building cover crops of buckwheat, rye, and vetch. This summer brought exciting developments on the farm. Because of generous donations, we have a storage structure for our tools, a tent for shelter, and will soon be adding a new irrigation system and farm equiptment. Our Seed Crew made the Reynolds Farm home base for the summer, tending the fields and harvesting the first produce crops. The addition of this large, suburban farm allows us to deepen our roots and broaden our impact on the North Shore.

2015: 99-year lease signed for Dudley land The Food Project signs a 99-year lease with the Dudley Neighbors Inc. (DNI), one of the country’s largest urban community land trusts, for the West Cottage Farm. After farming the urban plot on a year-to-year basis since 1998, this 99-year lease represents a long-term commitment with the Dudley neighborhood.

said, “Protecting the community farm for the longterm is a great example of why the neighborhood created the DNI community land trust. We are proud to partner with The Food Project on the Dudley Grows initiative and we see this agreement as a key strategy to maintain and expand access to local, healthy food for local residents.”

“We are excited to continue our relationship with DNI and to know that this land will be farmed for the next 99 years. This opportunity provides vibrant space for The Food Project and community members to grow healthy food for years to come,” said J. Harrison, executive director at The Food Project. “This serves as an important symbol and validation of the importance of urban agriculture.” Harry Smith, director of Dudley Neighbors Inc.,

Mayor Martin J. Walsh expressed his appreciation, saying, “Thanks to the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, The Food Project will be able to continue making a difference in the City of Boston for many years to come. This extended lease is a symbol of hope and wellness, and I encourage those who have yet to experience their work to get involved and help stimulate our local food system.”

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Catalyzing Change and supporting gardeners, we will continue to grow, expand, and refine this work. Build win-win distribution systems

The Food Project grows 250,000 pounds of food each year. As a nonprofit, we can experiment, take risks, and innovate in serving low-income markets in ways that commercial farms often can’t afford to do. We will use our food to develop, test, and share distribution models that work both for local farmers and for customers in our communities. Evaluate the impact of our models

The kind of change The Food Project works toward is multi-stranded,

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interconnected, and difficult to evaluate. We regularly field requests from other organizations for support in building meaningful measurement. In order to better understand our impact and refine our models, we will develop evaluation metrics to measure the impact of our youth development and food system work in Lynn and the Dudley neighborhood of Boston. Contribute to our field through sharing our models

Recognizing that well-designed and effective local models with new approaches are necessary to create larger change, our charge is to do

CSA Shares Available Enjoy a 5% discount when purchasing before December 31!

Lincoln Thanksgiving Share Lincoln Farm Share - Summer 2016 Beverly Farm Share - Summer 2016 *Lynn and Metro Boston shares will be available for sale soon.

our work here with great care and in response to what is happening in our communities. We will continue to support the dissemination and implementation of our youth, farming, and community engagement models through our training institutes, manuals, and conferences. We will help to build local agency, connection, and control in the food system here at home, while helping to support and inspire other communities to create change through sharing our models and learning. As we embark on this next chapter, I hope you will partner with and support us in this work.

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


Buy online at csa.thefoodproject.org or call 781-259-8621 x21 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.

10 Lewis Street, Lincoln, MA 01773

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 Heather Hammel. Additional editorial contributed by J. Harrison and Alice Poltorick. Photos by Greig Cranna, Chris Fowler, Gretjen Helene, and John Wang.

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