Tag Archives: community gardens

From REC, home of REC farmers markets, Woo community gardens, YouthGrow and so much more!

Growing Community Since 1971 – the Regional Environmental Council

THANK YOU for helping us GROW in 2015!

Happy New Year! 

THANK YOU for your generous support last year. Because of you, we have a lot to celebrate!

In fact, here are 5 awesome things you did in 2015:

1. You trained 34 young men and women to become tomorrow’s community leaders and empowered them to make positive choices through YouthGROW. 

2. You provided more than 8,000 families access to healthy, affordable, and local foods by supporting the REC Community and Mobile Farmers Markets. 

3. You built or planted over 60 community and school gardens. Wow! These are going to be beautiful this spring!

4. You brought together 600 community gardeners and almost 2,000 public school students to grow healthy food in the city. What a tasty way to unite a community!

5. You cleaned more than 60 streets and parks in Worcester with the help of over 1,000 volunteers on Earth Day. Thanks for making our neighborhoods cleaner and safer!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Pat yourself on the back, give yourself a high five, and pin on a gold star for what you accomplished in 2015.

Together, we can do even more in 2016! Please give us a call, follow us online, or stop by to say hello in person.

It’s only with your help, your voice, and your action that we will create a healthy, sustainable, and just new year for Worcester and Central Massachusetts!
Steve Fischer, Executive Director, and Julie Orozco, Board President

REC’s parked in animal issues today!

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


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


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!


Rose T.

Students celebrating a great school garden!


ICT editor Rosalie is getting into urban gardening! LOVES IT!  Here are her 3 pink hyacinth bulbs she’s gonna plant in a pal’s Worcester front yard!

In less than a few hours!

Today at 1 PM! 

Congressman Jim McGovern will tour …

Algonquin Regional High School’s school/community garden!

To learn about how the school’s gardening program is enriching the school curriculum with technology and community participation!

The school recently received a $2,000 grant from the Southborough Garden Club to hire a garden coordinator for the summer to support the program and volunteers, as the garden is used as a teaching tool in the summer months!

o   WHO! – Congressman McGovern, Nancy Vargas (President of Southborough Gardens), Tom Mead (Principal of Algonquin Regional HS), Students

WHAT! – Tour of Algonquin Regional High School Garden with Culinary Students

At 79 Bartlett St, Northborough

TODAY from 1 PM to 2 PM

Refreshments will be available after the garden tour and they will include RHUBARB SCONES!!! and summer-time ice tea!

Volunteer to fight hunger in Worcester!

United Way of Central Massachusetts is excited to take part in National Volunteer week, April 12-18! That’s next week!

We need volunteers for projects that help fight hunger and food insecurity in our community.

Get a team together for a weekday project or bring your friends and family on Saturday!

Have fun and team-build while participating in projects that range from:


Labeling seedlings

Building a food pantry …

Limited spots are available for weekday projects.

For more information:

United Way of Central Massachusetts 484 Main St., Worcester


Please make a donation $ to REC today! Last day! … Go, REC, go!!!!!

Thank you for all you have helped accomplish this past year!

Together we worked with our neighbors to build new gardens, create meaningful jobs for young people, connect local farmers and urban consumers, and make our homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods healthier, more beautiful places to live, learn, work and play.  

In 2014, your gift made change possible:

You sent our Mobile Farmers Market vehicle to Worcester’s lowest-income and most food-insecure neighborhoods with healthy, affordable, and locally grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, and meat, with stops at 15 different locations around the city each and every week from June through October.

You helped the REC provide Community Farmers Markets in Worcester 6 days each week from June to November, serving more than 6,000 families.

You provided thousands of free organic vegetable seedlings, compost and technical support to our large and growing community and school gardens network-now totaling 62 gardens across Worcester! 

You helped organize our largest ever Annual REC Earth Day Cleanups since our first in 1989. More than 1,500 volunteers, friends, and neighbors came together to give our neighborhoods a wonderful spring cleaning, removing 50 tons of trash from 98 sites in Worcester. 

You helped build the next generation of environmental leaders, employing 34 young people from low-income families through our year-round summer and after-school YouthGROW program.

Together we have done so much. Together we can do so much more.Your annual gift at any level will continue to make change in 2015.

Make a gift before the end of the year!

Last day!

CLICK HERE to make a donation $!

Get the Dirt on Katie, Our School Gardens VISTA!

From the Worcester Regional Environmental Council …

For those of you that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Katie Rozenas and I am serving my second year as the [the Regional Environmental Council’s] School Gardens AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

My job is to provide technical garden support and educational resources to 27 school and educational gardens throughout the city of Worcester.

People often ask me why I chose to become an AmeriCorps VISTA. The answer is simple. After graduation, I wanted to be an advocate for food justice and work with an organization whose mission is very close to my heart.

Farming is an integral part of my family heritage and there is no doubt that I have farming blood running through my veins. Growing up, I had the privilege of going to my grandparent’s farm in Oxford to get fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers that grew them. I eventually worked with my grandmother for over 5 years at the Worcester and Holden farmers’ markets.

Between working at the farmers’ market and getting funny looks from my college classmates for eating raw green beans, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers in class, I soon realized that many people, especially young people were unaware of where their food comes from, and the importance of eating fresh locally grown food.

Being part of the “REC Food Justice League,” (as we affectionately call ourselves) has been a unique and rewarding experience which has fueled my optimism for future generations.

It has been an honor to have the unique opportunity to teach garden-based educational activities to students ranging from pre-school to 12th grade. Over 2,400 students and 240  teachers have taken advantage of their school garden and the resources offered through our network this year. 
This past April at Tatnuck Magnet Elementary School, I and three volunteers led a school-wide educational activity called I Can Eat a Whole Plant. The activity highlighted the various plant parts that we eat. To begin, each student shared what their favorite vegetable was. Some of the students responded by saying, “I’m allergic to all vegetables,” “I heard that vegetables are bad for you,” and “I don’t like any vegetables, they are gross.”

I asked every student to try a bite of a vegetable sample as part of our activity, thinking that some might spit it out but hoping for the best. I was shocked but overjoyed when every single student in the school sampled all the vegetables. Many even asked for seconds!

During the spring when I feel the most overwhelmed by all of the work that I have to do, I remember Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

I immediately feel empowered, and reassured that the work we are doing is important and meaningful to thousands of students throughout the city.

I love coordinating the School Gardens Network and the experiences I’ve had working at the REC have been invaluable and truly memorable. I am thrilled to work with an amazing and dedicated Food Justice Staff, devoted volunteers, thankful teachers, and inspiring youth.

Katie Rozenas is REC’s School Gardens Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA