Tag Archives: food justice

Worcester news you can use … and a song!🎵

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Fun in Recovery!

But we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.

~Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

We at Jeremiah’s Inn realize the importance of finding ways to have fun in recovery.

We encourage our residents to get involved in the local recovery community and participate in as many activities as they can.

This spring, Jeremiah’s would like to enter a team in the Worcester Sober Softball League, but we need your help!

There are many costs associated with this, from league fees to team shirts and equipment.

We are looking for sponsors to help us offset some of these costs.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of our team, and would like to donate, please contact me (Melissa) and I can fill you in on how you can help.

Help us show our residents that it is possible, and essential even, to have some fun in recovery!

Warmest Regards,

Melissa Waddell

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photo: Chef Joey

Cooking Up a Career!🍦🍞🍰

Obtain skills to become an entry level prep cook!🍅🍆🌽

For Ages 17 – 24 years

Out of School or in Alternative School

Paid Internship!!🍉🍇

WHEN:

Jan 31st – Mar 7th
Tues, Wed, Thurs
2pm – 5pm

Mar 13th – Mar 17th
Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri
11am – 3pm

WHERE:

Worcester Youth Center
326 Chandler St.

CONTACT
Demario Andrews
(508)-791-4702

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Gordon P. Hargrove (1)
Gordon Hargrove, executive director of Friendly House, and man with a heart of gold!

Friendly House
36 Wall St.
Open to ALL!

FRIENDLY HOUSE – at a glance!

By Danielle Delgado

When you think of Friendly House, what images come to mind? A small Social Service Agency in Grafton Hill? A place where people can go to get food, or youth to play basketball? Those
are only a few of the many amazing things that happen at Friendly House, located at 36 Wall St. For over 97 years
Friendly House has been a facet in the Grafton Hill Community. Growing from what was literally a small house to
its current ever changing location
still on Wall Street.

2016 was a year of enhancement, helping, productivity and healthy living for
Friendly House.

During 2016, Friendly House served well over 10,000 children, individuals and
families in some capacity.

These services included:

Youth Programs – Afterschool Program,
Teen Leadership, Summer Gym and Swim and Youth Hoops, Family Events & Programs

Social Services – emergency food, immigration support, translations,
utility assistance,coat and clothing distributions

Food Program – summer feeding sites, afterschool program and community feeding sites

Shelters … and 40 scatter site apartments

2016 at a glance includes:

Gymnasium Renovation

On November 1, 2016, we opened up ours door to a completely renovated gymnasium. Over 75,000 was raised to complete this project which included; a new floor, bleachers, wall padding,a dividerand paint.

Our gymnasium hosted numerous events over the course of the year but may commonly known as the site for our:

Annual Christmas Party, Community Halloween Party, Thanksgiving Food Distribution, Annual Coat Distribution, Grafton Street School community events and Summer Gym & Swim Program.

Over 6,000 people passed through our gymnasium this year to enjoy these
activities and events!

Thanksgiving Food Distribution

This year we distributed 921 turkey baskets (187,295 lbs of food) to over 3,400 people – thanks to the hard
work of many people, including WPI’s Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, the Sheriff’s Office, the City of
Worcester, Fallon Health, Worcester County Church of Christ and so many more who donated food/money to benefit the many families we served.

Summer Gym & Swim

Summer 2016 hosted over 250 children age 5-16 from all over Greater Worcester. The summer was high-lighted by themed activities, guest appearances from
Boston Bruin Alumni, Worcester Railers Mascot and book authors and various other special events. Each day
consisted of a new adventure either in our building or at the state parks.

After School & Teen Program

The Afterschool and Teen Programs provided services to over 250 participants each school year. During this time the youth were actively engaged in recreational, leadership, academic and community service programs.
Highlights included theaddition on the F.U.N (Fitness and Understanding Nutrition) Program which was
sponsored by our partnership with the Herbalife Family Foundation.

Additionally we hosted family celebrations and informational sessions.

Set for Success

Over 75 children were given a brand new backpack filled with all the necessary school supplies to start off
their school year with a SUCCESSFUL state of mind!

These supplies were donated through various school supply drives, headed by community supporters and partners. In addition supplies were purchased with
funds donated to the Set for Success Program

Social Services

Social Services assisted 7,787 people/families with food from our Food Pantries, gave 599 people baby food, assisted 1,763 people with Immigration applications, completed 598 document translations, distributed Farmer’s Market Coupons to 1,200 low income elderly.

… Friendly House has enjoyed 97 years
of helping to build up the Grafton Hill community and our city, Worcester! We look forward to enhancing all aspects of our agency in 2017! Thank you to all who helped make each step possible!

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TO BE TREATED RIGHT

By Terry Reid

TOMORROW! Sat., Oct. 22 – Celebrate World Food Day! At REC Community Farmers Market – University Park!

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Sat., Oct. 22 – at Main South’s Crystal Park (aka University Park) – Join REC to celebrate …

WORLD FOOD DAY 2016!!!

… with a slate of events scheduled to highlight:

healthy food choices

food justice

food accessibillity for all!

Learn new ways to celebrate food and promote sensible, just food policies for Worcester and Central Mass!

There will be:

Food Tastings!

Yoga!

Face Painting!

Kids Games!

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Events Sponsored by:

Main South Community Development Corporation

Worcester Food Policy Council

Regional Environmental Council (REC)

University of Massachusetts Medical School

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What is World Food Day?

A global campaign to draw attention to and celebrate healthy, affordable foods produced in a humane, sustainable way and to fix the food system by:

Promoting safer, healthier diets

Supporting sustainable and organic farms

Reforming factory farms to protect the environment

Supporting fair working conditions for food and farm workers

World Food Day is a day of action against hunger!!!

Tomorrow people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.

Because when it comes to hunger, the only acceptable number in the world is zero.

World Food Day celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada. First established in 1979, World Food Day has since then been observed in almost every country by millions of people.

Why care about hunger?

Because the right to food is a basic human right.

In a world of plenty, 805 million people, one in nine world wide, live with chronic hunger. The costs of hunger and malnutrition fall heavily on the most vulnerable.

60% of the hungry in the world are women.

Almost 5 million children under the age of 5 die of malnutrition-related causes every year.

4 in 10 children in poor countries are malnourished damaging their bodies and brains

Every human being has a fundamental right to be free from hunger and the right to adequate food. The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.

Because we can end hunger in our lifetime. It’s possible. The world produces enough food to feed every person on the planet. In September 2000, world leaders signed a commitment to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals …

Since then:

40 countries have already achieved the first target, to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

In addition, over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, which means about 17,000 children are saved every day.

Extreme poverty rates have also been cut in half since 1990.

The challenge is significant, but these results show us that when we focus our attention, we can make big strides.

Because the cost of neglect is too high.

No one in the world should have to experience hunger. In addition to the cost of human suffering, the world as a whole loses when people do not have enough to eat. Hungry people have learning difficulties, are less productive at work, are sick more often and live shorter lives.

The cost to the global economy because of malnutrition is the equivalent of US $3.5 trillion a year.

Hunger leads to increased levels of global insecurity and environmental degradation. Ending hunger is not just a moral imperative, but also a good investment for society.

Because it can happen to anyone. Even in the U.S., one of the richest countries in the world, one in seven Americans – 14.3 percent – does not have enough to eat.

Nutritious food can be expensive, making a balanced diet a luxury for many.

Loss of a job, a family tragedy, poor health, or an accident can make anyone, anywhere, go hungry in a moment.

Globally, extreme climate events, war, or even financial crisis can dramatically affect a person’s ability to feed themselves and their families.

Without social safety nets, resiliency measures and good policy in place, these small and large events can set off a cycle of hunger and poverty.

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REC YOUTH GROW URBAN FARM IN MAIN SOUTH – 63 Oread St.

From REC:

We need YOUR help getting the Main South YouthGROW Urban Farm ready for fall!

Join us on through the end of October on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-5 pm and help us pull crops and harvest produce that will be sold on the REC Mobile Farmers Market!

Questions? Email Bettny Mazur at farm@recworcester.org

FOR INQUIRIES ABOUT OTHER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT Calandra Chaney at volunteer@recworcester.org

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LAWRETA KANKAM, YouthGROW Junior Staff photos:REC

From REC:

We are excited to welcome our newest YouthGROW Junior Staff! Lawreta is a Junior at South High School in Worcester and just completed her first year in YouthGROW.

Lawreta was hired as Junior Staff this fall beause of her excellent leadership abilities, passion for youth employment, urban agriculture and community education. Congratulations to Lawreta on her new position!

This Saturday! At Worcester State University! All-Day Organic Farming conference!


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Conference Keynote Speaker Ben Burkett

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE!

THIS Saturday,  January 16

(All day)

Worcester State University

Join us on January 16 for our annual one-day conference, which features 70 workshops and exhibitors; keynote speeches with Ben Burkett, family farmer and member of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; children’s conference and more.

Keynote SpeakerBen Burkett

Ben Burkett is a fourth generation family farmer, who serves as the State Coordinator for the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives.

In 2014 he was awarded a James Beard Leadership Award. His cooperative provides watermelon and other southern grown fruits and vegetables to the communities of Boston. Burkett provides technical expertise to small-scale farmers, farmers with limited resources, and ranchers in rural communities.

He also assists farmers in implementing agricultural marketing/production and coordinates land retention. Burkett serves as the president of the National Family Farm Coalition and numerous boards of directors and has traveled to Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe, exchanging knowledge and information with small-scale farmers.

Conference Schedule:

7:30 am

Registration/Exhibitors open (free tea and snacks for registrants)

9 am – 5:15 pm

Children/Teen Program

(Children/Teen program & Seminar follow same schedule as workshops)

9 – 10:30 am

Workshop Session 1

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Annual Meeting and Keynote Address: Why Family Farms Matter

11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Organic catered lunch

1:30 – 3 pm

Workshop Session 2

3 – 3:45 pm

Break – Visit our exhibitors

3:45 – 5:15 pm

Workshop Session 3

6:00 pm

Exhibits Close

6:00 – 7:30 pm

Post-Conference Organic Dinner with Keynoter: Intimate conversation around Mr. Burkett’s 7 year carbon sequestration trials

Beginning Farmer Fall Workshop and Winter Conference Scholarships
These scholarships provide Beginning Farmers (farming 10 years or less) with a 50% discount on NOFA/Mass Fall Workshop and Winter Conference registration.

Workshops (workshop descriptions)

All workshops are approved for AOLCP accreditation.

The following workshops are approved Continuing Education Units. Each workshop is equal to 1.5 hour credit. To receive credit the Certified Crop Advisor must sign in at workshop:

New Plant Nutrient Regulations

Making Major Money with Minor Crops: Producing Profit on the Edges

Plant Disease Update: 2015 Year in Review

Effective Pricing Strategies for Local Markets

How to Run Your Own Payroll

Assessing & Managing Agricultural Risks on Your Farm

Five Steps to a Food Justice Farm

Biopesticides: How, When and Why to Use Them

Maximizing the On-farm Benefits of Cover Crops

Vegetable Pests and Diseases in Urban Areas

CLICK HERE to register and for more information!

REC’s parked in animal issues today!

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Worcester city kids (and hands-on-learning) in one of REC’s Worcester community gardens!

FROM REC:

Have you considered a gift to the REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL – REC – this year?

If you’ve already given to REC’s Annual Fund, THANK YOU for your generous support.

If you haven’t yet given, time is running out. There are only a few days left to give in 2015 to help build healthy, sustainable, and just communities in Central Massachusetts.

The REC relies on financial support from friends like you. Will you join in to help raise $37,000 – the amount needed to continue to make a powerful difference in 2016?

Your gift of $25, $50, or $100 will help close the distance on our fundraising goal. Help raise the final $19,000 needed so that together we can create a better Central Massachusetts in 2016.

Give today and say, “I’m in!”

When you give today, you will give young men and women their first job through YouthGROW, and you’ll help them become tomorrow’s community leaders.

You will help families stretch their food dollars by supporting the REC Mobile Farmers Market and Community Farmers Markets to reach senior centers, affordable housing complexes, and community spaces throughout Worcester with healthy, affordable, local food.

Your gift will also be visible next spring when more than 60 community and school gardens are flourishing throughout the city and when more than 1,000 volunteers come together to celebrate Earth Day with a citywide cleanup. 

When you give today and say, “I’m in!” you join with like-minded people to grow a better Worcester and Central Massachusetts!

Thank you for your generous support!

Steve Fischer, REC Executive Director and Julie Orozco, REC Board President

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CLICK HERE to give to REC!

Support their wonderful work in inner-city Worcester!

They have the BEST FARMERS MARKETS – Main South, Foley Stadium AND the REC blue mobile market van – that welcome and support poorer folks and the working class! SNAP accepted! Coupons doubled!  … FOOD JUSTICE NOW!

And … Help them provide jobs to Worcester inner-city kids!

Thanks!

Rose T.

From Main South’s REC!

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We’re thankful for you!

This Holiday Season, we’re so thankful that you’re involved with the REC. Over the past 44 years, thousands of people like you have helped build a powerful organization for community change. Thank you for volunteering, donating, supporting, and working together with us. You are making a difference every day in the lives of Worcester and Central MA residents. Together we are making a healthier, more sustainable and more just community.

We’re so glad that you are part of the REC.

Steve Fischer, executive director
Regional Environmental Council

The Boston Globe ran …

… a terrific series on ALL THINGS FOOD: the politics of it, the fads … Get the “scoop” here!

Is farm-to-table just a fad?

Amid this resurgence, it’s easy to forget that farm food was not always a luxury item but something fundamental.

By Kathy Gunst

A YOUNG MAN with a slightly wild beard, wearing a blue and black flannel shirt, makes his way through the crowd of partygoers. In his hand he carries a silver tray. “Would you care to try a French breakfast radish?” he asks the guests dressed in white pants and designer dresses. “They were picked just about an hour ago.”

I’m at a farm-to-table dinner on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a gorgeous summer night, the sky streaked with shades of fluorescent pink and orange. Close to 50 people are gathered outside the weathered barn. Despite the mud and dirt in the barnyard, many of the women are wearing heels, while the men soil their Topsiders. These farm-loving friends have each paid $125 to attend this dinner.

The radishes come with no sauce or fancy sea salt. A diminutive woman standing next to me looks at the tray of radishes as if she’s falling in love. “Is that the most precious thing you’ve ever seen?” she says to no one in particular. “What an adorable little radish.” And with that she pops the little baby right into her mouth. …

CLICK HERE to read the entire article and the several others that comprise this excellent series!    – R.T.

Interns needed for REC mobile farmers market!

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REC is looking for some great young folks to learn about FOOD JUSTICE, BRINGING FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE AND MORE TO INNER-CITY WOO NEIGHBORHOODS and more! Learn about farming, gardening, sales, customer service, navigating the streets of Worcester!

For more information, call REC at (508) 799-9139

To learn more about REC’s mobile farmers market and its Beaver Brook farmers market AND its Saturday Main South farmers market, CLICK HERE! 

– pic + text – R.T.

Worcester FOOD HUB meeting today at Hanover Theater! FREE! Please attend! Fight for food justice! Fight for economic development in Woo! ALSO: ICT Food Hub story by Congressman Jim McGovern

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Food hubs grow our local economy, especially immigrant and first-generation endeavors, and they bring produce at affordable prices to inner-city kitchens! 

A FOOD HUB FOR WORCESTER!

Once again, from REC …

Building A Sustainable Worcester: Taking Regional Food Hub from Vision to Reality

TONIGHT!

FREE!

HANOVER THEATER

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

We invite you to attend a free presentation TODAY,  Thursday, February 19, co-hosted by the Regional Environmental Council, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Hanover Theater for the Performing Arts

Come learn more about the role food hubs can play in promoting Food Justice while fostering economic development.

FREE tickets can be reserved by calling the theater box office at 877-571-7469 or register online.

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts [aka REC] has received a planning grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts to explore the feasibility of establishing a Worcester Regional Food Hub in partnership with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Food hubs are broadly defined as facilities that manage the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution or marketing of locally and regionally produced food.

We are thrilled to explore opportunities with diverse community stakeholders to dramatically increase access to healthy, affordable, local food in Worcester, while helping local farmers access new markets.

FOOD HUB Advisory Committee members include:

Central MA Regional Planning Commission

Central MA Workforce Investment Board

City of Worcester Division of Public Health

Clark University, Community Development & Planning Program

Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Smart Cities & Wellness Project

Lettuce Be Local

Northeast Organic Farming Association

Office of Congressman James P. McGovern

UMass Memorial Medical Center

UMass-Amherst Stockbridge School of Agricultural Extension

Worcester County Food Bank

Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Sustainable Food Systems Project Center

Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

REC – Regional Environmental Council

P.O Box 255

Worcester, MA 01613

To learn more visit: http://www.recworcester.org/

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InCity Times is passionate about FOOD HUBS! Here’s Congressman Jim McGovern’s InCity Times kick-ass Food Hub cover story! He wrote it for us in 2013.     – R. Tirella

WORCESTER COULD BE HOME TO STATE’S NEXT FOOD HUB

By Congressman Jim McGovern

What if I told you that within a quick drive of Worcester lies an incredible agriculture community you have never seen, touched, or tasted?

In 2010, there were nearly 8,000 farms in Massachusetts, according to the United States Census—the highest number in the state dating back to at least 1978. And that doesn’t count hundreds of additional community and personal operations that fall below the size threshold.

That’s thousands of farmers, right in our backyard. It’s a testament to the long endurance of some family farms, as well as a sign of the returning, growing impact of farms on our local economy and society.

It’s a move that parallels the so-called “locavore movement” towards locally-grown food over the past decades; a demand that has grown as we have all learned about the economic and health benefits to buying and eating local.

Yet, despite the breadth and increasing number of farms in Massachusetts, in our urban centers such as Worcester, there remains a huge physical and emotional disconnect between the producers (the farmers) and the consumers (us).

Despite the presence of some truly admirable local farmers markets, there is a gap in our food infrastructure that prevents food produced in the state from getting to the consumers who want and would benefit from it the most.

As I’ve travelled around the 2nd Congressional District, visiting farms across Central and Western Massachusetts, the most oft-cited challenge relayed to me by small to mid-sized farmers and producers is a lack of processing, packing, and storage space to get their products ready to sell and ship.

It leaves us with a major question: What if we could drastically improve the economic output of local farmers, allowing them to grow their businesses, while simultaneously making good, fresh, healthy, locally grown products more available to consumers who want them in cities like Worcester? It’s clear that if we could bridge that gap, there would be a huge impact on our local, regional, and state economies, as well as a huge societal benefit.

I believe that Worcester can be the epicenter of that impact by being the home of an innovative concept known as a “food hub.”

The word “Food Hub” can encompass a variety of operations, both in terms of size and scale, but the National Food Hub Collaboration defines regional food hubs as “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”

In essence, food hubs allow small and midsized farms reach markets and consumers they’ve never had access to. They provide a central collection point for products from a variety of farms; they provide space and equipment for processing, packing, and storage. And they provide an economy of scale, allowing smaller local farms to pool their products and sell to larger consumers, such as grocery chains.

In many ways, food hubs are a return to the traditional economic values that made Massachusetts and New England so strong. Food hubs allow for a stronger local food economy based on closer relationships between farmers and consumers. They allow institutional buyers, such as hospitals, a greater opportunity to provide the healthy, local food they want to, but can’t always access.

Though food hubs are relatively new, there is a demonstrable positive economic, social, and environmental impact where they are located. Based on the 2011 National Food Hub Collaboration Survey, food hubs gross nearly $1 million in annual sales on average, with many reporting double and triple-digit annual sales growth.

That same survey reported that, although the majority of food hubs have been in operation for five years or less, there is a clear and immediate impact on job opportunities. For example, the Local Food Hub in Virginia, which opened in 2009, had already created 15 paid jobs at its distribution and farm operations. And that says nothing for the spin-off job growth at the farms that utilize the hub. Green B.E.A.N Delivery, a food delivery business that serves Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, estimates that since 2007, the company has invested more than $2 million in local food economies and helped create more than 100 jobs in the Midwest.

I look at those stunning numbers, combined with the growing demand for local food, and it’s clear that a regional food hub belongs here in our city. This is an idea I am passionate about, and one that I plan on continuing to talk about with local, state, and national partners in the coming year.

Food hubs must be a critical piece of how we think about our broader economic development strategy in Massachusetts, and I believe that Worcester is the right location. We have strong local leadership on local food issues, through groups such as REC, and we have a geographic location that makes us an enviable location for any statewide distribution network.

The question for me isn’t whether we’ll see a food hub built somewhere in Central Massachusetts—it’s when and where. We’re a state with agriculture resources beyond what many of us have traditionally realized, and a consumer base chomping at the bit to take advantage of those resources. If we can only build the bridges, we’ll be healthier food wise, and economy wise

Save the date! 3rd Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference!

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 REC will be there!  This great Main South-based urban gardeners/farmers market/food justice group is working to establish a FOOD HUB in Worcester! Yay!

Saturday, March 28

8 am – 5:30 pm

Worcester State University

Chandler Street

A sample of panels and workshops:

§  Urban Farming and STEM Education

§  Soil Nutrition

§  Urban Food Hubs

§  Aquaponics

§  Urban Farming Training Workshop

§  Biodynamic Growing

§  Viable and Sustainable Enterprises

§  Cultural Crop Production

§  Youth and Urban Agriculture

§  Farms First: How Urban Ag Can Help Address Food Insecurity

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Purchase your tickets today – this event will sell out!

$35 Early Bird Registration (until February 23, 2015)

$50 Registration (February 24, 2015 – March 15, 2015)

$75 Registration (March 16 – event day)

For more information, contact Rose Arruda at MDAR; Rose.Arruda@state.ma.us