Tag Archives: Regional Environmental Council

ACTION ALERT! Support Urban Agriculture in Worcester!

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We Help Make Change in Your Local Food System!

For the past 3 years, we have been working with the City of Worcester on a zoning ordinance that would allow commercial farming in the City of Worcester.

Over the past year, the process has been stalled and community advocates have no longer been included in the development of the policy, or in the process for bringing it to the community.

We asked some of our key partners to start making phone calls to City Hall, and as a result Councilor Rivera asked for the Urban Agriculture Ordinance to be on the agenda at TONIGHT’s City Council meeting – Tuesday, January 31, at 7 p.m.

WE NEED YOU TO COME SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

How can you do that?

1. Come to Worcester City Hall, 3rd floor for the meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday, January 31 at 7 pm. Bring a sign if you want! Having extra people in the room shows a lot of support!

2. Come and speak at City Council. Are you an aspiring small farmer? Are you a beekeeper? Are you an avid gardener that might like to sell some of what you grow? Come and share your story! You WILL make a difference!

3. If you can’t come but have something to say, send an email … we can read your remarks. Don’t forget to include your zip code as a City resident.

4. If you can’t come, call your City Councilor and let them know your interest in and support of the ordinance and that you won’t be able to attend the meeting in person, but that you’re supportive.

GET INVOLVED TODAY!

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Food justice in Worcester! REC’s Winter Mobile Farmers Markets roll into action!

From REC:

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The 2nd session of REC’s Winter Mobile Farmers Markets starts on Wednesday, February 1

It runs through Thursday, May 11!

Be sure to stop by one of our stops for any/all of your local vegetable, cage-free egg, grass-fed beef, and other speciality item needs!

WEDNESDAYS:

9-11am: Green Hill Towers
(In the Community Room)
27 Mount Vernon St, Worcester

12-2pm: Family Health Center of Worcester (1st Floor Lobby)
26 Queen St, Worcester

THURSDAYS:

8-10am: Seabury Heights
240-244 Belmont St, Worcester

11am-1pm: The Worcester Senior Center (in the Main Lobby)
128 Providence St, Worcester

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!

Get ready! Autumn’s almost here! … and … REC Farmers Market – across from Foley Stadium!

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By Edith Morgan

It’s inevitable: every year at this time, it comes upon us, gradually, sometimes almost unnoticed.

But all the signs are there: Already, it’s darker when I wake up, and for the last two nights, I’ve pulled the blankets higher over myself. Driving home from Lincoln Plaza, if I tarry a bit longer, I no longer have to fight the blinding glare of the setting sun.

The calendar says September, but fall is not really due to arrive until after the 21st. The maple tree in front of my house is still green, and there are only a few leaves on the ground, dried up from the lack of rain. But I know it is all coming, soon! I have started to wear long sleeves, and the temperature is perfect for sitting outside, reading, listening to music or just enjoying the passing ”parade” of traffic.

But the most obvious sign is the steady parade of school buses and of children walking with backpacks, adding to the morning and evening “rush.” The neighborhood has suddenly grown quieter, as studying and earlier bedtimes replace the summer games and activities.

Though the calendar says that fall does not officially begin until closer to the end of the month, so many signs come well before that date: not just the start of school and college, but the planning for next year’s garden, checking the heating system, pruning the bushes once more before winter and fully enjoying all the special activities that are particular to this season. We are surrounded by small towns that have great fairs at this time: some are very old and historical, like the Hardwick Fair; some still feature the doings of 4H and offer close contact with what so may of us in the city no longer get to see: real live farm animals, raised lovingly by the latest generation of farmers. (The animals have not changed much, but the technology has!) Time to visit our favorite nature haunts and all our great Worcester Parks!

I am not so dedicated a gardener that I want to put in a last, fast-growing crop of radishes or lettuce; but I do want to dig up some herbs to grow inside for the winter. Somehow, freshly cut herbs have so much more “bang” to them! I‘m getting my fill of tomatoes now, as my friends and children bring us all kinds and sizes, still warm from the sun. I have always felt bad for those who smoke a lot, as their taste buds are so damaged (at least temporarily) that they miss out on the wonderful and varied flavors of the fresh produce available everywhere now.

And, not to bring up unpleasant subjects, this is the time to trim out the great accumulations of unneeded “stuff” that has accumulated over the summer and to make room for winter clothes … bringing plants indoors and carrying out some of my favorite plant experiments, with seeds that have ripened over the summer.

And this year, I won’t make the mistake of planting a lot of bulbs in the fall, as the squirrels and other visitors from the park managed to dig them all up last autumn and eat them all up!

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And don’t forget!

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Grant Park: ribbon cutting at last!

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Late summer bloomers… pic:R.T.

By Edith Morgan

It was touch and go for a little while on Saturday, August 6th: the skies opened up and a sudden shower soaked us as we loaded things into the car at 10 a.m. to take to the picnic at Grant Park. We DID have a rain date set up for Sunday, but a quick phone call to Wini, the moving spirit and co-chair of the Green Hill Neighborhood Association, with Deb Bolz, assured me that the event would go on as planned. And sure enough, the sky cleared, and we proceeded!

This was a long-awaited event, and even though there are still a few pieces missing in the park’s improvements, it was really time to celebrate how far we had come, and how much was already accomplished.

So, at noon, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place – with a large number of Worcester officials and elected officials participating. Our mayor Joe Petty, City Manager Ed Augustus, our District Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, our previous longtime councilor Phil Palmieri, School Committee member John Monfredo, Councilor Kate Toomey, State Representative Mary
Keefe, State Senator Harriette Chandler, newly appointed Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargent – and Lt. Governor Karen Polito – (did I omit anyone?) all came to help cut the ribbon and say a few words to the assembled neighbors.

Several of them said: When Wini calls, everyone comes!

And therein lies a story: Although Wini has not lived here all her life, in the time she has been here, she has been an unyielding champion for, and advocate, for her neighborhood, its children and its inhabitants. Noting that there was a great concentration of social service agencies, Wini and Deb invited them to participate in our neighborhood and help in its improvement – and help they did!

Grant Park was for many years just a weed-infested block, with a basketball court at one end, often strewn with litter and drug paraphernalia, pretty much neglected and uncared for.

But Wini, owning a home right across the street from this park, was determined that this park should become a jewel in the area: playground equipment, fencing, retaining walls, benches – all sorts of amenities needed to make this park a gathering place for all ages in this community.

The Regional Environmental Council created garden plots there, and money was appropriated while Phil Palmieri was our city councilor. With constant pressure from Wini and her neighbors, finally a state-of-the art park was created. And this summer it was one of the sites for the city’s summer recreation program, RECREATION WORCESTER.

After the ribbon cutting, the picnic began in earnest: hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soda, water and various hot dishes and salads as well as Table Talk pies for everyone were in plentiful supply – and lots of volunteers from the area, who passed out food and drinks, set up tables and chairs, and kept everything clean and tidy.

Around the periphery, tables set up by Lt. Annie of the police department, as well as Niko from the election commission giving out voter information, the USDA booth about the Asian longhorned beetle, and other displays to inform neighbors were there.

And for the younger children, Annie Parsnips, the clown, made balloon animals and with the able assistance of neighborhood residents, painted faces.

There is still work to be done at Grant Park, and perhaps by next August, we can celebrate the installation of the lights.

Our thanks to all who contributed, who helped, who attended – who supplied food and music (I am remiss in not having gotten the name of our disc jockey!!). And most of all, thanks to Winifred – Wini – Octave and Debra Bolz, without whose persistence and belief in the goodness of our neighborhood all this would not have been accomplished!

Worcester community news you can use!

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The Family Health Center fair drew hundreds of folks to the Piedmont neighborhood! photos: R.T.

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Kids!!! TODAY!!!!! YAY!!!!

FREE!!!

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We are happy to announce that we are holding free Boston Bruins Alumni Street Hockey Clinics Wednesday August 17 and 24 from 6pm-8pm at the Buffone Rink (Parking Lot).

There is no need to pre-register.

Come out and meet the Bruins Alumni, get a free Bruins Alumni T-shirt and have fun!

Founded by US Olympian and NHL veteran David A. Jensen in 2012, DAJ Hockey is New England’s premier on-ice/off-ice hockey skills training company. DAJ features on-ice hockey skills programs via Boston Bruins Alumni Camps and off-ice skills training at the high-tech DAJ Skills Centers in Foxboro and Attleboro, MA. DAJ also manages street hockey and floorball clinics, camps and leagues throughout New England.

DAJ’s “Hockey in the Streets” program brings the joy of hockey to urban children, who may otherwise not get the opportunity to play the sport!

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Worcester Bands Together To Fight Substance Use!

Upcoming Events Promote Recovery and Healing!

Over the past several years, August and September have been the worst months for opioid-related overdoses in our community and beyond.

In 2014, there was a significant increase in the number of opioid related deaths during the end of the summer.

Since then, the City of Worcester, the Department of Health and Human Services, and our community partners have partnered to respond to the national opioid epidemic – equipping all first responders with life-saving Narcan; training non-emergency city personnel on the use of Narcan; collecting hundreds of pounds of unused prescriptions; instituting the first-ever needle exchange program with AIDS Project Worcester; conducting training for medical professionals on the dangers of overprescribing pain medication; and working to alert the public to the dangers of addiction.

The City of Worcester continues to collect unused prescription drugs at a dropbox at Worcester Police Department Headquarters and at all neighborhood watch meetings.

“Battling the opioid epidemic is a top priority for the city, and it’s a battle we intend to win,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “From responding to overdoses, public education about addiction and recovery, From prevention to treatment to recovery, the City and our community partners are going all-in to fight this epidemic.”

Overdose Recognition and Response Training

The Worcester Police Department will offer free training for the public on how to recognize and intervene during an opioid overdose using nasal Narcan.

This training event will take place at 5:30 p.m. August 23 at the Worcester Public Library.

Worcester DPH encourages health care providers, substance abuse treatment service providers, first responders, and the public to exercise increased vigilance in promptly identifying suspected overdose victims and taking appropriate action.

The Good Samaritan Law provides protection to people who respond to an overdose and call 911.

The law is intended to encourage people to report drug overdoses as soon as possible, even if drugs are present at the scene.

AIDS Project Worcester’s Overdose Prevention and Narcan distribution program provides free Narcan to those who are likely to witness an overdose.

Learn to Cope, which has a chapter in Worcester, also provides free Narcan to family members of those with a substance use disorder.
Narcan is also available for purchase at CVS and Walgreen’s Pharmacies in the City of Worcester.

Overdose Awareness Day with a Candlelight Vigil:

The Worcester Department of Health and Human Services, along with our community partners will honor International Overdose Awareness Day, with a candlelight vigil and an addiction and recovery awareness campaign at 5:30 p.m. August 31 at the Worcester Common.

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. There will be an opportunity for people to receive information and referral to services for addiction and recovery.

The event will provide an opportunity for the public to express sorrow while also raising awareness on the actions needed to provide more services for recovery and improve understanding of the opioid abuse epidemic.

Participation is free.

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Get yourself outdoors – to one of the many beautiful Worcester parks/green spaces…

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Every 3 1/2 hours, someone dies in a house fire.

With the goal of reducing home-fire related fatalities by 25%, the American Red Cross is installing free smoke alarms in residential homes across the nation.

In Massachusetts, the Red Cross will install up to 2 photo-electric and one dual (photoelectric and ionization) smoke alarms, as well as one carbon monoxide detector.

If you are a Massachusetts resident and would like to request a free smoke alarm installation, please call 1-800-746-3511**

* Southeast Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands are experiencing a significant backlog

**please self-identify as a military attached household if applicable (military, military family member, National Guard, veteran)

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The Worcester Public Library Presents
The Rhythm Room Enrichment Program with Rick Morin

Thursday, August 18

2 p.m.

The Worcester Public Library will be hosting the Rick Morin and The Rhythm Room Enrichment Program on Thursday, August 18 at 2:00 p.m. as part of the Summer Reading Program 2016.

The interactive drumming program will be held in the Children’s Room at the Worcester Public Library, and is free and recommended for children ages 5-12.

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Go, lil’ drummer girl, go!!!

About The Rhythm Room:
The Rhythm Room Enrichment Program by Rick Morin explores world music as it relates to today’s pop culture, combining discussion, demonstration and participation. The use of world percussion, drum set, buckets and exploring percussion from objects and one’s own body (clapping, stomping, etc.) is educational as well as motivational and fun. Rick will explain the execution of hand motion to bring out the proper voice of each drum and demonstrate how a percussionist can tell a story with rhythm and theatrical flair.

About Rick Morin:
Rick Morin is the creator and director of the The Rhythm Room, an all-original ten member band. He also developed The Rhythm Room Enrichment Program. Morin is a freelance drummer/percussionist. In 2006 he was awarded the Kathleen McKiel Memorial Award from the North Attleboro Cultural Council for his contributions to the Arts. Morin is an endorsed percussionist by LP, Sabian, REMO, and Vic Firth.

The Rhythm Room Enrichment Program is part of the Summer Reading Program at the Worcester Public Library. The theme for the 2016 program is “Wellness, Fitness, and Sports” – with loads of free programs being offered through August 20 at the Main Library and all branches.

Participants are eligible for prizes for reading and participating in programs. All ages are invited to sign up for summer reading at mywpl.org or at any library location until August 20.

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And don’t forget! Rolling into your neighborhood TODAY! THE REC MOBILE FARMERS MARKET – AKA THE PRETTY BLUE VAN CAN! See schedule, below…

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Time to get more plants and blooms …

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Rosalie’s kitchen window – right now! – crying out for more flowers …

Where to get ’em?

The REC’s PLANT SALE AND GARDEN FESTIVAL, of course!

Saturday, MAY 21!!

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At Main South’s YouthGrow Farm

63 Oread St.

Proceeds go to the inner-city kids and their gardening projects at the farm!

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Rose can’t wait! She’s playing her fave artist!

In the mean time … At the Crow Hill Conservation area …Friday, April 29

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Be there!

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So pretty!!!

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2016 Farmers Gala!! … parked in A.I.

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May 19, 2016

6:00 – 9:00 PM

At Tower Hill Botanic Garden
11 French Drive
Boylston, MA 01505

REC and Tower Hill Botanic Garden
invite you to support urban agriculture and Worcester’s food justice movement at our upcoming event!

2016 Farmers Gala!!

Featuring:

Spring tasting menu, by Pepper’s Fine Catering!

Local beer wall!

Silent and live auctions!

Live music!

All in a beautiful indoor/outdoor setting!

We hope to see you there!

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Tickets available now!

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!

Questions? Contact the REC:
508-799-9139
Email: www.RECworcester.org

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