What REC’s farmers market folks, urban gardeners and community food-justice leaders are up to this winter

Dear  Supporters,

Every REC Food Justice Program staff member has been asked this question at least once: “So what do you DO all Winter?”

Well, here is your answer!

January has been a full month for us, kicking off on Saturday, January 10, at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-MA) Conference at Worcester State University. Katie Rozenas, our School Gardens AmeriCorps VISTA, planned and led the children’s programming for the day with over 25 participants ranging from age 2 to 12. Activities included making homemade salsa, recycled rain sticks, and a group mural.

REC’s YouthGROW program also represented at NOFA where we premiered a new workshop titled “Gentrification in the Food System,” led by Junior Staff, Chad McClain and Ralph Weah.

The workshop generated great discussions with over 30 participants and Chad and Ralph both agreed the highlight was an original skit they had created to get people talking. Chad remarked after “I believe that people were connected to the skit because they’ve either experienced it before or seen it happen.”

This past week, we celebrated our amazing volunteer School Garden Coordinators at our Annual School & Educational Gardens Appreciation Dinner.

Katie prepared a delicious homemade meal with local ingredients and we all got a chance to hear about highlights from 2014.

Nancy Thibault from Rainbow Child Development Center talked about how their educational garden has changed the neighborhood for the better and about their new initiative to build a hydroponic growing system.

Patty Flanagan from the YWCA of Central MA told us how their educational garden has involved staff and participants from all programs of the organization—growing more than 200 lbs of fresh veggies for food-insecure families this season. The YWCA also hosted a Bancroft School intern who created beautiful art to decorate their garden.

For our community gardeners who may be feeling left out, don’t worry! We are planning a great event for you as well.

Please join us Tuesday, January 27, at 6 PM at the Dynamy Carriage House, (27 Sever Street), for the UGROW Appreciation Dinner. Stacie and the REC team want to congratulate you on your hard work in 2014 and hear your ideas for how we can enrich the gardens network this year.

Stay tuned for how we keep busy in February, and don’t forget to support your favorite Food Justice organization!

We are currently looking for interns and volunteers, and can always use your financial support.

Thank you for making our work possible!

-The REC Food Justice Team