Archive for October, 2009

October 30, 2009

SCLT at Bioneers Conference, alongside Will Allen

Will and RichOn Friday, October 23, SCLT’s City Farm Steward Rich Pederson presented a workshop on Urban Agriculture at the Bioneers by the Bay Conference in New Bedford, MA. Rich presented “Urban Agriculture – Real Solutions to Improve Access to Healthy Food” with Will Allen of Growing Power, Inc.

Hundreds of people joined Rich and Will to hear about how to incorporate community programming to the difficult work of growing food in the city, with results anyone can visit either farm and see. The urban agriculturalists covered a range of topics, including vermicomposting, organic methods, and challenges of urban food production, while also hitting on their commitment to maintaining viable models of sustainability in three main areas: community, environment, economy.

Many thanks to Bioneers by the Bay for inviting Rich to be a part of the conference!

October 28, 2009

Last Days of Outdoor Farmers’ Markets!

Outdoor farmers’ markets are closing for the season!

Early winter chills and shorter days have slowed us down and encouraged early hibernation. We notice a marked rise in warm couch and bright kitchen occupancies. As they wait out the seasonal calm, farmers and community gardeners alike – piping hot, mulled cider in hand – will hunker down to plan out next year’s plots and partake in their well-deserved vacation.

Thank your local farmer for their hard work during the growing season. Buy up your fall veggies and gourds this weekend!

City Farm
Hope St. Farmers’ Market (previously Hope High Farmers’ Market)

Saturday, October 31: 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Lippitt Park

Hope St & Blackstone Blvd, Providence

Big Train Farm
Providence Downtown Farmers’ Market

Friday, October 30: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

by Kennedy Plaza and Burnside Park

Kennedy Plaza & Exchange Terrace, Providence

Little City Grower’s Coop (Red Planet Vegetables, City Farm, Scratch Farm, and Big Train Farm)

Armory Park Farmers’ Market

Thursday, October 29: 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Cranston Armory

Parade St And Hudson St, Providence

October 22, 2009

Harvesting Hope Breakfast

It must be autumn, because SCLT is Harvesting Hope

at its 5th annual Breakfast Fundraiser!

Harvest Time

Harvesting Hope Breakfast Fundraiser

Wednesday November 4th, 7:30-8:30am

Roger Williams Casino 

Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI 02903

Please join us for an inspiring, one-hour breakfast to celebrate the programs and mission of the Southside Community Land Trust.  

The morning’s program will feature moving gardener testimonials, musical performances, a short video and visionary talks by the organization’s leaders. A light breakfast will include fruit, honey, and baked goods from SCLT’s community of local producers. 

Kindly RSVP to me, Susan Sakash at (401) 273-9419 extension 23, or

October 13, 2009

Nuestras Raices

aji dulce!Last week, members of the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) staff and City Farm apprentices went on an incredible fieldtrip to Nuestras Raices in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Similar to our programs at SCLT, Nuestras Raices promotes urban agriculture and provides access to land, education and resources in its low-income community. Their programs are the prevailing source of community development in Holyoke for a largely Puerto Rican immigrant population.

On the tour, led by Organizing Director Julia Rivera, we visited two of their seven community gardens – CuentoConMigo and La Finquita. At CuentoConMigo, we listened to a medley of tropical-sounding birds and learned that Nuestras Raices community gardens compete annually against each other, for titles like “Cleanest Garden” or “Best Produce Yield.” At La Finquita, we watched a community gardener clean up his plot, and were shown aji ducle peppers used frequently in Puerto Rican meals.

We also toured Nuestras Raice’s main La Finca (The Farm), which hosts numerous educational and community events. The week prior to our visit, La Finca held one of its biggest events, Festival de la Cosecha (Harvest Festival); that day, over two thousand people gathered to eat freshly roasted pigs, listen to music and watch the Paso Finos (“fine step horses”) in all their elegant flair.

While eating a delicious lunch of plantains and empanadas at Mi Plazita, which specializes in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, SCLT’s staff couldn’t get enough of the pawpaw trees bearing edible fruit in the restaurant’s outdoor seating area. Mi Plazita was started with the help of Nuestras Raices, and is just one example of the many ways the organization supports economic development within its community. The pawpaw trees, as some of our staff speculated, were probably grown by Eric Toensmeier, Farm Project Director, who helped start La Finca and is author of the book, “Perennial Vegetables.”

Our tour ended with visiting Eric’s home, where he and his wife, Marie Claire, showed us their edible backyard and functioning polyculture filled with fruit trees, lotus flowers, silk worms, and, of course, our day’s mascot, the pawpaw tree.

Many thanks to Julia, who provided a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm, and the entire Nuestras Raices staff for helping make function what is a very special community outlet within the city of Holyoke.

To see photos from our trip, check out SCLT’s new flickr account!

October 5, 2009

Community Gardens Network Party


On Saturday, September 19th, twelve of Providence’s community gardens opened their doors to neighbors and friends – some gardens led activities, like seed ball workshops and fall planting, while most everyone gave tours. It was the first ever “Open Garden Day” of the Greater Providence Community Gardens Network!

The garden tours were held from 1pm-4pm, and were followed by a potluck at Bridgham Street Community Garden on the West Side of Providence. Over 100 community gardeners brought dishes with ingredients grown in their own garden. They also shared bread from Olga’s Cup and Saucer.

The day’s success was the result of many months of hard work, planning, and collaboration. Over two dozen gardeners attended the summer party planning meets, two of which were held in July and the final one in August.

Fifteen people helped bring it all together the day-of, setting up (tables, chair, candles and cutting flowers) and packing up; much hugging and hi-fives were exchanged the end of that night, along with returning borrowed baskets, platters and pick-up trucks. Prior to the event, volunteers distributed specially designed, letter pressed posters around town (those same individuals wielding sharpies when rain struck the 12th), and hammed it up with all the locals to make sure they’d come and take advantage of the potluck bounty.

The potluck would not have been made possible without a fantastic bread donation from Olga’s Cup and Saucer, lovely flowers from Bridgam and Mount Hope community gardeners, tables plus chairs from the Davey Lopes Recreation Center and AS 220. Quality Stamping let us use their space for the event, and of course, many thanks to all of the attendees, whose contributions were as delicious as they were beautiful.

It was a day of gardeners joining together and celebrating a season of collaboration.

October 5, 2009

SCLT Gardeners sell at Broad Street Market!


Southside Community Land Trust recently started its first ever food growing collaborative with community gardeners. Gardeners are successfully coming together to sell excess fruits, vegetables, and herbs at the Broad Street Farmers’ Market, right around the corner from where the food is grown. About five gardeners call themselves the “Community Growers,” and are managed this year by SCLT’s Americorps VISTA Jamie Fredricks.

The collaborative was born out of the idea that many gardeners have a surplus of food in their garden plot. If gardener’s have extra food they aren’t using for family meals, they now have the option to sell in a formal market setting. Not only is this system great for gardeners, it works phenomenally well for Southside residents, too: the Community Growers farmer’s market stand is one more place where Southside ‘s community can have access to affordable, healthy, locally grown food.

So far, there are three consistent gardeners working as part of the collaborative, but their new business is encouraging other gardeners to join in. On the very first day of selling, one gardener made $40. The next week, she sold $120 worth of stuff: a three-fold increase.

It’s exciting to see how this grower’s collaborative is turning out to be a viable source of extra income for community gardeners and their families, in addition to being a huge time saver for the families involved. If five people contribute to the market every week consistently, then only one person has to run the market stand. That means gardeners can drop off their food surplus, and save time most weekends taking turns watching over everything.

Come check our the collaborative before shop closes on October 15th!

Community Growers’ at Broad Street Community Garden

Saturdays, 9am-12pm

Broad Street and Laura Street in South Providence

July – October 15th

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