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!
Congressman McGovern will praise the work Daily Table is doing to help local families and highlight it as a model for other communities!
2:15 PM – 3:15 PM
Visit of Daily Table Grocery
Congressman McGovern visits Daily Table Grocery, a not-for-profit retail store that offers our community a variety of affordable and healthy food for low-income families and works with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food in an attempt to help reduce food waste. Congressman McGovern will praise the work Daily Table is doing to help local families and highlight it as a model for other communities.
WHO: Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), Daily Table Founder and President Doug Rauch, Community Leaders and Anti-Hunger Advocates
WHERE: Daily Table Grocery, 450 Washington Street, Dorchester
Reposting Congressman McGovern’s speech: America Spends $218 Billion Every Year on Food That Is Never Eaten
Reducing Food Waste Is Key to Helping 50 million Americans Struggling with Hunger
Congressman Jim McGovern recently spoke on the House Floor to raise awareness about food waste in the U.S. and to praise efforts in Massachusetts and across the country to reduce food waste and help the 50 million Americans – including 16 million children – who struggle with hunger every year.
“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten,” Congressman McGovern said. “Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms. This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.
“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures,” McGovern added. “We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits. We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.
“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste,” McGovern concluded. “I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.”
In his speech, Congressman McGovern recognized Massachusetts leaders and organizations like the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for helping to reduce food waste as part of the larger push to tackle hunger. McGovern also thanked Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their work with the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network to provide hunger relief in their local communities through campus food recovery initiatives.
Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:
“Thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C. this week for “Feeding the 5000” – an event designed to bring awareness to the issue of food waste.
“Participants will be served a communal meal made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been discarded – in other words, wasted.
“Since 2009, Feedback, a global environmental organization working to end food waste, has hosted dozens of “Feeding the 5000” events in cities across the globe.
“I’m pleased to see so many local partners – including government agencies, charitable organizations, NGOs, industry, and chefs – joining together to call attention to food waste.
“Because the truth of the matter is, we’ll need all of these partners working together to solve the issue of food waste.
“Last year, the USDA announced their first-ever food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. USDA is working with charitable organizations, faith-based groups, and the private sector and I believe this goal is 100 percent achievable.
“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten.
“Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten. Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms.
“This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.
“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures.
“We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits. We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.
“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste.
“Just last week I attended a screening of the documentary film, Just Eat It at Amherst Cinema, organized by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Just Eat It follows a couple, Jen and Grant, as they stop going to the grocery store and live solely off of foods that would have been thrown away. Jen and Grant were able to find an abundance of perfectly safe and healthy food available for consumption that would have been thrown away.
“It’s exciting to see new partnerships forming to study food waste and find ways to use this perfectly good food to reduce hunger in our communities.
“One such private-public collaboration, ReFED, has brought together over 30 business, government, and NGO leaders committed to wide-scale solutions to U.S. food waste.
“In March, 2016, ReFED released a Roadmap that charts the course for a 20 percent reduction of food waste within a decade.
“The Roadmap calls for farmers to reduce unharvested food and create secondary markets for imperfect produce. It calls on manufacturers to reduce inefficiencies, make packaging adjustments, and standardize date labeling. It calls on food service companies to further implement waste tracking and incorporate imperfect produce and smaller plates into restaurants. And it urges the federal government to strengthen tax incentives for food donation and consider standardized date labeling legislation.
“The good news is that many in the industry are already taking steps to dramatically cut down on wasted food by implementing robust donation programs.
“For example, Starbucks recently announced it will soon scale up its successful food donation pilot program nationwide. In partnership with the Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, Starbucks will donate unsold food from more than 7,000 company-operated stores –salads, sandwiches, and other refrigerated items – to the Feeding America food bank network. By 2021, that amounts to almost 50 million meals.
“Our college campuses are also stepping up. Both the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network work with college dining facilities and students to provide hunger relief in their local communities. In my congressional district, Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute all have campus food recovery initiatives.
“Over the past 35 years, Feeding America has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring food that would have otherwise been wasted makes its way to food banks across the country and into the homes of families in need.
“There are dozens of other industry leaders also taking steps to reduce food waste by implementing manufacturing upgrades, maximizing harvests, and utilizing recycling initiatives.
“I appreciate the efforts of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance in bringing together industry partners to reduce food waste, shrink the environmental footprint, and alleviate hunger in our communities.
“Reducing food waste is one step we can take toward our goal of ending hunger in the United States and throughout the world.
“I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.”
Unique Finds Antique and Vintage gift shop – 1329 Main St. – Worcester!
AND EVERY DAY!
UNTIL 7 p.m.!
Great super terrific prices! pics:R.T.
And back at Rosalie’s inner-city shack…
Never discount/dismiss the good stuff you see on the street! IT’S FREE! Clean it up! Paint it up! Got the little white cabinet on the side of the road, and the nicest guy gave me 50 flower pots he had displayed on tables outside his house. Simplifying his space, he told me. Breathe freely… I took them! He – a real Woo gent – even helped me load the flower pots into my car trunk! I’ve just begun getting BUSY at this kitchen window!
Sabino, my Italian grandfather would say (in Italian)…
By Edith Morgan
It’s a miracle: almost everything – seeds, beans, pits, pieces of fruit and vegetables – will grow with just a little bit of encouragement and some life-sustaining help. Got water? Got a little space? Got a little time? Got a little imagination? Then you have the potential for an indoor garden.
Don’t have a lot of money? Can’t go out for seeds or plants just now? No problem! Let’s take a little tour of the “possibilities” we have right now at home.
I find that if I keep onions or potatoes for a while in their mesh sacks, often they will start to grow. Potatoes will send out shoots from their “eyes,” and onions will send out green spikes and develop white roots below. Just about any vegetable will try to come to life, unless it has been “treated” or waxed. I have even planted the sprouts of fresh ginger. Of course, not everything you plant will grow, but since these little experiments cost nothing, since we usually pare away these outcroppings, it does not hurt to try to see what will persevere. So, enjoy and experiment with whatever you can find.
Maybe you do not have a bag of potting soil handy. Have you heard of “hydroponics”? It is simply the science or art of growing things in water. For Valentine’s Day my daughter gave me a glass jar with tulip bulbs in water, that had been forced and were in full bloom, with only water at their roots. This jar, of course, was fancy, but I am certain that any of you, dear readers, have some kind of glass jar that could be used to grow some bulbs. Your only expense would be for the bulb – unless you try it with onions, scallions or whatever other bulb vegetables you use.
If you like fresh herbs with your meals, you can buy live plants at your grocery store – I just brought home parsley and cilantro and will be cutting sprigs of each for use in meals. Remember, that the more you cut, the more they grow. With spring here there are more such plants on the grocery store shelves! If you feel flush and adventurous, you can go to one of our area nurseries and pick up lots of potted herbs and put them in a planter in a sunny window.
If you want flowers, try some seeds now: I soak them in warm water, then plant them. You do have to be patient; while many germinate in three weeks, some take longer. At our house, every time we eat an avocado, we save that huge pit! Great patience is needed with avocado pits, as they can take up to six months to send out a root shoot, but once they do they really take off. They are fun to watch grow, as the single stem gets quite tall quite fast. And if you are serious about growing them, you will have to transplant them into a larger pot eventually.
Don’t be afraid to plant several different kinds of seed or pits in the same pot! Unlike we humans, plants get along pretty well. I usually plant garlic cloves with various vegetables, and I love marigolds, as they discourage a number of rodents with their pungent “fragrance.”
Don’t be discouraged if not everything grows. Remember that Mother Nature is very profligate: How many thousands, or even millions!, of seeds never get to propagate, so that just one or two make it? How many seedlings drop from my maple tree and my Chinese Lilac that never become trees – or even saplings. I sweep them up every fall by the thousands.
And (thankfully!) how many times as a child have you blown the volatile seeds from a dandelion, watched them float through the air, while the neighbors hope they do not take root in their lawn?! Now maybe we will think of the lowly dandelion as having leaves that are tasty in salads and blossoms that can be made into wine …
So, grow, eat … enjoy!
By Edith Morgan
Didn’t last week invigorate us all? The wild gyrations of the temperature kept us all on our toes, and we had a great topic for small talk, as speculation as to what weather we might have next fills in the blank spaces in conversation.
But there is plenty else to discuss: Worcester is in for some more great changes, in addition to all the new buildings, streets, trails, park improvements, plantings and other projects taking place in all parts of our city.
Two great decisions face us: the selection of a new superintendent of our schools and replacing Steve O’Neill, former head of the WRTA. Even if we do not have children in school and do not use public transportation, the domains of these two critical institutions in our city touch us all, even if indirectly.
And of course there is the primary election on March 1 – and preparing for “the BIG ONE” – the presidential election in November. All these decisions are “heavy duty” stuff – requiring deep thought and research, and we will need some relief from these heavy duties.
So, let’s think SPRING!
I know: spring is really three months or more away, but so much of the pleasure of enjoying it lies in anticipation! Looking forward to that first crocus pushing up through the ground and going out at the first sign of warmth to see if anything else has survived the winter.
During the cold months, I have been in the habit of pushing seeds and bulbs into the ground around my houseplants, quickly forgetting what I buried where. So, about this time of year, shoots are raising their heads, in unexpected places, enjoying the warmth and increasing amount of sunshine indoors as the days grow slowly longer. And every time we eat an avocado, I save the great oblong pit and in a fit of eternal optimism save it and try to get it to propagate. Avocado pits are very deceptive: They will remain dormant for months and then suddenly develop a root first, split and send out a straight shoot into the air, very quickly. And turning into an impressive sapling in what seems like no time at all.
This is also the time when all the catalogs arrive, and even though I am on a 70 X 70 foot lot, mostly occupied by my house, I still start out with high hopes every spring and try to whittle away at the grass more and more each year to make room for gardening.
The catalogs are crammed full of eye-dazzling photos and mouth-watering pictures and ideas for growing things in so many ways, there is scarcely any home that cannot accommodate SOME kind of growing thing.
Remember the “Victory Gardens” of World War II? It was patriotic to grow things in every nook and cranny and almost every American tried some kind of gardening. Would this not be a great time to bring back that idea? The Regional Environmental Council (REC) does such a great job of helping Worcester neighborhoods. REC staff and volunteers teach young people to grow, plant and produce their own food. We should all help and follow their example.
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!
By Edith Morgan
For the first time this winter, we have a bit of snow on the ground, with some ice beneath. Luckily, the schools are still out until after the New Year, and so the slippery sleet on the roads and sidewalks is not a danger to buses and cars – at least not for the school children, and also not for college students, who are on their winter break, too.
But for those of us who are at home much of the day when the weather gets nasty, the ice and snow are a worry. So we stay in, and wait …
The mail arrives and brings its usual load of “begging” letters, replete with address stickers, calendars, and all manner of appeals – all designed to pull money out of our pockets. I would have to spend a great deal of time checking out all these apparently worthy causes, with many having names so similar that it is easy to get fooled. So I have started to give directly and locally, to outfits I know, or to organizations that I know really well, and who have a track record of spending the funds I donate directly to their causes, without huge administrative costs and high-paid staffs.
But intermingled now with all this mail that I usually toss out, the gardening catalogs have begun to arrive!
And with the early coming of night still, just days after the winter solstice, these seed and plant catalogs give me a boost and let me look forward to the coming of spring. (I am told that the very mild winter so far has caused some plants to become confused and to begin sprouting in the middle of winter.)
The seed catalogs are a joy to behold: so many mouth-watering vegetables in full color – pages of bright red and even yellow tomatoes, in all sizes and of varied pedigrees!! And I can get them in various stages of development, too! Further on, peppers too come in so many shapes, sizes and colors – not just the familiar green, but yellow, orange, and all shades in between.
Not to be outdone, potatoes also take many shapes and colors now, and last but not least, onions and their many relatives fill more pages with their infinite variety.
Beans too have branched out, into the yellows and purples, but the lowly pea has stayed true to its nature and remained bright green, though of various sizes. Lettuce still is dominated by greens, but sports an infinite variety of leaf shapes.
I have not even gotten to the cucumbers, squashes, carrots, beets and other less frequently planted vegetables.
But just looking over this mouth-watering assortment is enough to take my mind off the weather outside and to realize that once again, the old saying that ”if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” is still true.
Maybe soon I can start to think about the flowers I want to raise in my back yard …
But for now, we can all watch the snow fall and dream of our gardens, as we would like them to be … soon.