From PETA.ORG. Some sweet – and arresting – images. – R.T.
… food center, TEMPLE STREET. Every Saturday!
Thank you, Stop and Shop, for donating your fruits and veggies to St. John’s church! (Oh, Lord, stay with us!)
The greening of Rosalie’s shack continues, unabated. Boughs bend, heavy with fruit! Petals of many colors curl and unfurl while Lilac naps…(do they make a sound?)
Can you grow strawberries in a fourth-floor, Green-Island apartment?
Rose pays 2, 3 and 4 bucks for her flowers. Her spider and tomato plants were free – gifts from friends. Babies at the time – you see their cousins strewn on Home Depot cement floors … big box store scraps… Don’t you see? They are Uranus looking for Puck and the other moons!
I wish moonlight made my plants grow.
I dig dirt! I dig digging my plants new digs!
The furtive, mistress-up-the-street Sabino, my Italian grandfather. With 10 kids, wife and hound dog. An avid gardener… When building his house in North Worcester, by hand, with his sons, he directed them: not too big!
Sabino wanted most of his land for growing
I – Rose, named after my Polish grandmother, named after the velvety petaled flower – will drive around Worcester today, in search of the most perfect imperfect rosebud!
– text+pics: Rosalie Tirella
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!
And don’t forget!
Not these, silly readers!
I’m talkin’ my baby tomato plant I was given four weeks ago! It is shooting straight up to my kitchen ceiling! Its fruit secretly blossoming in its slender shoots …
When I got her she was so teeny! See her on my kitchen window-sill with her kid brother, in the green pot, a pretty blue dish to collect the run off???
I gifted her bro to a friend. Now it’s just “Stella” (yes, sometimes I name my plants!) Soon I’ll have to move her, for the last time, to a BIG POT I have waiting for her …
Yes, you can be a gardener in Worcester’s ‘hoods…enjoy God up close… I’m getting more pretty petal babies this afternoon. Placing them in da other window. This one is getting a little crowded!
… Or you can buy FRESH TOMATOES and delicate flowers from Worcester County farmers AT REC FARMERS MARKETS (Beaver Brook today!):
– pics/text: Rosalie Tirella
THIS Saturday, January 16
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.
Registration/Exhibitors open (free tea and snacks for registrants)
9 am – 5:15 pm
(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 – 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!
Today is the last day to register at the early bird rate!
Join over 300 other enthusiastic farm to cafeteria advocates from the preschool, K-12, and college sectors for a full day of workshops, networking, cooking demonstrations, and fun.
We will have over 20 different workshops including:
Farm to School Policy and Advocacy
Funding Farm to School Programs
On Campus Farming
Farm to Preschool 101
Farm Based Education Initiatives – Urban and Rural Farm Field Trips
Sea to School: Incorporating Local Seafood in School Meals
The conference will also include Farm to Cafeteria Regional Networking Sessions so that you can connect with others in your community who are involved in farm to cafeteria activities. Learn from their best practices, share your own tips, and move forward together!
We will be holding a concurrent Buyer Tradeshow and Networking Session for Farmers and Distributors. This will be a great opportunity to make direct connections with farmers from your region and discuss local sourcing with distributors.
REGISTER HERE to secure your spot! Discounts are available for students and conference presenters.
We expect the conference to attract over 300 individuals from a variety of fields including school and college dining services, farmers, non-profit organization staff, state agency representatives, legislators, school educators and administrators.
Massachusetts Farm to School
34 Main Street, Suite 10
Amherst, MA 01002
Nearly 365,000 Massachusetts schoolchildren rely on school meals for more than half of their daily calories.
Serving children healthy food that they like to eat is a simple and effective way to protect them from hunger, ward off health risks, and help them to do better in school, but all too often kids are denied the critical benefits that daily access to fresh fruit and vegetables can provide.
These same children often have limited exposure to where real food comes from, a connection that we know plays an important role in developing healthy eating habits.
That’s why Massachusetts Farm to School introduces school children across Massachusetts to local fruits and vegetables, and to the farmers who grow them.
Through this program, schoolchildren regularly enjoy fresh Massachusetts vegetables, fruits and dairy products as part of their school lunch.
Our approach is hands-on, personal and effective:
We connect school districts with farmers who provide affordably-priced local food;
We provide cafeteria cooks with healthy recipes that are easy to prepare and kid-tested;
Students are introduced to a wide range of local fruits and vegetables; and
New, life-long healthy eating habits are instilled.
Visits from Massachusetts farmers and special field trips to local farms spark curiosity, and can be transformative for those children who rarely see anything green and growing in their neighborhood.
Massachusetts Farm to School is already very successful, but the number of students who benefit is still small. Hundreds of thousands of children across the Commonwealth still need our help.
Your generous tax deductible gift can help Massachusetts Farm to School ensure that every child in our state has access to the fresh and healthy food they need to grow and thrive.
The Mass. Farm to School Team
P.S. Your support today will help students across the Commonwealth to have access to a well-balanced school lunch every day this school year – giving a chance for a brighter future.
Massachusetts Farm to School
34 Main Street, Suite 10
Amherst, MA 01002
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