Building a Better Food System in Lynn
At the end of 2016, The Food Project’s North Shore youth and staff began an important partnership with the Lynn Food and Fitness Alliance (LFFA), housed within Lynn’s Public Health Division. This partnership will work to envision a healthy food system that supports everyone by learning from residents and those employed in the city about their goals, while educating people on the impact that race, class, and gender has on food justice. The partnership will develop goals in pursuit of a healthy and just food system. This new collaboration combines the efforts of The Food Project and LFFA to create a dynamic, coordinated effort to take action to improve the vitality of the food system in Lynn. “I see this as a fantastic example of a partnership between city hall and a strong community partner,” said Alex Freedman, Director, LFFA. “Together, the combined resources, community
input, and municipal reach will yield a dynamic, participatory response to the needs of the local food system and improve community health.” The partnership has developed a three-part process that began with The Food Project’s Food for Thought, which ended in February. Food for Thought was an interactive experience that introduced the concept of food justice and answered the question, “What is a food system?” Understanding where food comes from is the first step in increasing access to local, fresh, healthy, affordable food. Led by Root Crew, each session in this workshop series included either farm work or the preparation of meals for donation, discussions on the effects of the current food system on our health, the environment, and workers’ rights. Of course it is The Food Project, so each session ended with a meal shared with all participants. Food for Thought successfully
engaged a diverse group of over 130 community members eager to learn more. Starting in April, people can attend a Food for Us workshop with The Food Project. This day-long retreat will allow participants to deepen their knowledge about food access issues [ Continued on page 2 ]
Seed Crew 2017 Applications are in!
Congratulations to all of the young people who completed applications to be a part of this season’s Seed Crew! Each summer, The Food Project’s Seed Crew hires 72 high school aged youth between the ages of 14 and 17 from diverse cultural, racial, economic, and geographic backgrounds to work on our urban and suburban
participation skills. After working on our farms each morning, Seed Crew youth spend most afternoons participating in workshops that address issues such as sustainable agriculture, food access, social justice, and more. They also spend one day a week at hunger relief organizations preparing and serving the produce that they have grown. Seed Crew is the entry point to participate in our youth crews. Following Seed Crew, young people may apply to work each academic and summer season throughout their high school careers. We have a farms in Greater Boston, wonderful, diverse • 11,000 hours in and on the North Shore. group of applicants workshops learning During the season, youth this year. We’re about social justice work together to grow looking forward • 2,000 hours in vegetables and distribute to interviewing all service at hunger thousands of pounds of of these dynamic relief organizations produce to area hunger young people and to relief organizations while starting the summer developing important leadership, with amazing crews on both the North teamwork, diversity, and civic Shore and in Greater Boston.
[ Continued from page 1, Building a..] (both individual and systemic) in Lynn and will include an activity to model food availability in the city. After attending Food for Us, participants may apply to become members of a steering committee that will be headed by Lynn Food and Fitness Alliance. The steering committee will be a diverse group of residents and city stakeholders that will develop
goals and make recommendations to improve the municipal food system. These recommendations will be presented to the Director of Lynn’s Public Health Division, the Mayor’s office, and other agencies for review and future implementation. The Food Project’s North Shore Regional Director, John Wang, summed up this effort by saying, “We are very excited to partner with LFFA in our shared work with Lynn residents
and develop strategies that will build a better food system that supports everyone in the city.” The city of Lynn is a wonderful community where many residents have a culture of growing their own food. We look forward to hearing residents’ voices, seeing the goals developed by the steering committee, and working to make this vision of a food system that supports all people become a reality.
A Legacy of Justice In the week leading up to Martin Luther King Day 2017, staff and young people at The Food Project shared the words of the civil
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rights leader that inspire and motivate them in their lives. Dr. King gave his life to close the racial divides of this nation. We honor the legacy of the Civil Rights
Movement and MLK’s commitment to racial and economic justice as we work to make fresh, healthy food available to all.
Youth. Food. Community. t por sup al loc ure! t icul agr
Cover the World with Love
The world could always use a little more love. The spectacular youth of the North Shore Dirt Crew and Root Crew created a quilt full of love and inspiration, each square a reflection and vision of their experience at The Food Project. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, we posted their squares to social media to cover the world with love! We hope these squares of love have inspired you, given you hope, and made your days a little brighter. Continue spreading the love by joining The Food Project’s Perennial Society. Plant the seed of a small monthly or quarterly donation and watch it bloom. Join here: https://thefoodproject.squarespace.com/sustaining-donor
Farm Shares Available!
The Food Project provides fresh, locally grown produce for purchase through our 20-week Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share program. Joining the CSA helps support our farms and farmers in advance of the harvest. All of the vegetables, herbs, and flowers are grown on our farms using sustainable methods without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. During the summer season, these veggies are grown and harvested by the farm staff and Seed Crew youth. New this year: CSA members can use our convenient payment plan and pay for their share in up to six installments. Additionally, we are pleased to accept SNAP benefits as a payment option. Locations include: Beverly, Cambridge, Dudley Town Common, Jamaica Plain, Lincoln, Lynn, Somerville, and select area businesses. To learn more about our CSA, giving a CSA as a gift, SNAP benefits, or to signup; visit csa.thefoodproject.org!
Lynn City Farm Fest
May 20, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Munroe Street Farm in Lynn
Featuring music from Tigerman WOAH! Buy plants, seeds & garden supplies! Enjoy refreshments and help in the garden. Kids and Creative Adults: Visit RAW Art Works’ art-making table.
Lincoln Mother’s Day Plant Sale May 13 & May 14 , 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Baker Bridge Farm in Lincoln Buy vegetable, herb, and flower seedlings to start your garden! Rain or shine.
New Well on the Baker Bridge Farm Thanks to the generosity of the Ogden Codman Trust and the Llewellyn Foundation, The Food Project has begun the construction of an additional well for the Baker Bridge Farm in Lincoln. The well will irrigate nearly a third of the 31-acre farm. Produce from the farm is distributed to local food pantries, The Food Project’s SNAP-accessible Dudley Town Common Farmers Market, and supplies hundreds of Community Supported Agriculture shares.
“The Ogden Codman Trust and the Llewellyn Foundation grants will provide vital infrastructure improvements for our Lincoln farm,” said J. Harrison, Executive Director of The Food Project. “After the past summer’s record-setting drought, which caused devastating crop losses on the farm, we are grateful to have a sufficient and reliable source of water on the north side of the farm for this upcoming growing season.”
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J.’s Corner We
tools to do our work at The Food Project. On the farms, one of the first physical tools our youth become proficient with is the hula hoe, which is used to remove weeds between crop rows. Like a hammer or saw, the hula hoe is simple to pick up and use, but requires direction and practice to use well. The first time you pick up a hula hoe, the natural impulse is to hold it in a way that makes you hunch over and dig too deeply. This is inefficient and can’t be kept up for long. However, with practice, the young people get the hang of it and the difficult work of the farm becomes possible. Much of the work we do on the farms isn’t physical but it’s no less difficult. It involves building understanding and respect for
one another across difference. Like learning to use a hula hoe, working well with people from different backgrounds and skills takes intentionality and care. At the beginning of each summer, Seed Crew members are introduced to tools to better understand and navigate the differences of race, class, gender, and sexual identity. Seed Crew members agree to a set of standards and expectations for how they will work together and they also learn how to give and receive feedback with their supervisor and peers. These interactional tools are as important as our hula hoes in helping us to accomplish our work and fulfill our mission. Using these tools well and placing importance on growth is just as important for The Food Project’s
adult staff. During January’s annual staff retreat, given the current level of conflict and polarization in the country, we decided to add a new set of tools to help us communicate across differences and beliefs. We were joined by Aviva Argote, a former member of our board, and John Sarrouf from Essential Partners. They each offered new tools for effective listening, understanding the impact our perspectives and assumptions have, and ways to ask better questions of people with whom we are in conflict. Like the hula hoe, each of these tools is simple but requires practice to use well. I look forward to using what we learned to help us keep moving forward with the work we can do together. -J. Harrison, Executive Director
Boston 555 Dudley Street, Dorchester Lincoln 10 Lewis Street, Lincoln North Shore 120 Munroe Street, Lynn thefoodproject.org
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 Amanda Chin. Additional editorial contributed by Ross Condit, Rae Axner, and J. Harrison.
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
Sponsorship opportunities, tickets, and more at: shindig.thefoodproject.org