Our three-quarter-acre urban farm was recently profiled in the summer issue of Edible Rhody. The article does a wonderful job describing the daily labors of love that City Farm Steward Rich Pederson and our apprentices, interns, and volunteers undertake there to cultivate thousands of plants and thousands of pounds of food for farmers’ markets, restaurants, and our annual Plant Sale. As the article explains, the farm also serves as a site for the summer Children’s Garden program, which educates area youth about soil and plant ecology and healthy eating. All of this activity takes place in a space the size of a few home lots, demonstrating the very real potential for urban agriculture to produce a significant portion of our food and serve vital community needs. The farm is tucked away in south Providence; many people have commented on the unique sensation of stepping from the street onto City Farm’s soil, where the traffic noise falls away and your eyes are suddenly met with so much green. We hope you get a chance to visit and see it for yourself if you haven’t been already—until then, click here to read about the people and seasons of City Farm.
Whole Foods Market has been a longtime supporter of ours, helping to fund initiatives like the Plant Providence calendar of free and low-cost public workshops and making in-kind donations to many events like the recent 30th Birthday Party and Family Picnic. Now they have generously agreed to offer “register coupons” for the Community Land Trust at their Cranston store through the month of August. The next time you’re there waiting to check out with some great organic, fair trade, and environmentally savvy items in your basket, consider adding a few dollars to your total that can help underwrite our work. Those small gifts add up to a lot more plants in Providence! And mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 11th, when all three locations of Whole Foods in Rhode Island will be hosting a 5% day in support of our mission. 5% of total sales that day will go to the Community Land Trust. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us, and we hope you’ll take part. Thank you in advance for voting for more gardens and more educational programs with your checkbook, and thank you very much to Whole Foods for the many ways that they give back to the community.
We hope you enjoy these images from the 30th Birthday Party and Family Picnic! You can see that the kids had a great time playing games and getting their faces painted and their portraits drawn while adults relaxed in the shade of the big tent. And of course, everyone loved the refreshing watermelon slices from Whole Foods Market! We were happy to see so many families spending the sunny afternoon together out-of-doors taking horse-drawn hayrides around Urban Edge Farm and glad so many got a chance to hear Bill Harley perform. Thanks again to everyone who helped to make it a memorable day.
Photos by Casey Coleman & Skye Hibbard-Swanson for the Community Land Trust — you can see more images taken by ecoRI here.
Many thanks to everyone who came out for our 30th Anniversary Birthday Party and Family Picnic on Sunday, July 17th! The day was a great success – families enjoyed watermelon and cupcakes, a concert by Grammy-award winning children’s musician Bill Harley, and fun games and hay rides through Urban Edge Farm. Over 200 people were in attendance to sing “Happy Birthday” to the Community Land Trust.
Many thanks to our sponsors – Bananagrams, Coastway Community Bank, Empire Guitar, Empire Loan, Thames & Kosmos and Whole Foods – for making this great day possible. Read more about the event and the work of Southside Community Land Trust in the Providence Journal! Kudos to the amazing volunteer committee that put the event together. And thank you to the farmers out at Urban Edge Farm for sharing their gorgeous acreage with members of the community at the height of the growing season.
For the last month, Liza Sutton, our Community Growers Director, has been coordinating the construction of a new garden at 49 Greenwich Street in partnership with the International Institute of Rhode Island, which provides educational, legal, and social services to immigrants and refugees in Providence. Thanks to Liza’s efforts, and the efforts of Ben Torpey, a teacher at the school and a former Southside Community Land Trust apprentice, a group of men and women studying intensive English at the Institute now have access to plots nearby filled with healthy soil where they can grow food for their families.
From now until Friday night, you can purchase two adult tickets to this weekend’s family picnic for the price of one! Discounted admission to our 30th anniversary party out at Urban Edge Farm is currently the featured RhodeDeal through Rhode Island Monthly. The weather forecast for Sunday is bright and sunny with a 0% chance of precipitation, so come on out for watermelon, cupcakes, hayrides and games, and a folk concert that the whole family will enjoy! The deal ends at 11:59 p.m. tomorrow, so lock it in now… and start packing your picnic basket!
Starting tomorrow, stop by the Algonquin House at 807 Broad St. every Saturday from 9:00 to noon for the Broad Street Farmers’ Market, where you can pick up a variety of greens, vegetables, and herbs for your summer meals. The five vendors there include several farmers from Urban Edge Farm as well as the Southside Community Land Trust Community Growers, a collaborative of six community gardeners and City Farm that was profiled in our most recent newsletter. The members of the collaborative pool their harvest each week for sale. Sharing the stand reduces the cost of participating in the market for each person, ensuring that growers who want to sell their extra produce have an affordable opportunity to do so.
Farm Fresh RI, which manages the market, has a variety of special visitors lined up. Tomorrow, representatives from the University of Rhode Island SNAP Education Program will be on hand to share information about family nutrition, ways to prepare healthy foods on a budget, and using SNAP benefits to purchase fresh vegetables directly from farmers. Chefs from Johnson & Wales will also be doing cooking demos in the coming weeks. And next Saturday, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras will be at the market from 11:00 until noon to greet customers and show his support for locally-grown food. So be sure to stop by, say hi to the mayor, and support these small-scale urban farmers from the community! The market runs from now until October 29th.
At this morning’s City Council meeting, the following resolution was read by Councilman Miguel Luna from Ward 9.
What a true honor to be so recognized by the leaders of our community – BLUSH!
City of Providence Resolution
Honoring the Southside Community Land Trust
On the Thirtieth Anniversary of their Founding
WHEREAS, In 1981, the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) was founded to provide access to land, education and other resources to enable people in Greater Providence to grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable, and healthy food is available to all; and
WHEREAS, SCLT’s founders partnered with neighbors and community members to turn a vacant lot into a vibrant community garden; and
WHEREAS, Since the creation of that first community garden, SCLT has grown and established 13 more gardens in Providence’s neighborhoods ; and
WHEREAS, In 2009, SCLT founded The Greater Providence Community Garden Network, which connects 36 community gardens in Providence and Pawtucket, allowing urban gardeners to share resources, information, and experience; and
WHEREAS, SCLT also manages the 50 acre Urban Edge Farm in Cranston, providing a steady source of local food to Providence’s markets; and
WHEREAS, Through their Agricultural Education Program, SCLT has given hundreds of schoolchildren firsthand lessons in biology, ecology, and environmental science; and
WHEREAS, Many of the families helped by SCLT over the years were recent immigrants from war-torn countries of Southeast Asia and West Africa; and
WHEREAS, SCLT is dedicated to preserving and improving our environment through the promotion of and education about sustainable agriculture; and
WHEREAS, Over the last 30 years, SCLT has helped build healthier and stronger communities in Providence by encouraging neighbors to work together, share resources, and reconnect with the land.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
That the City Council of the City of Providence does hereby offer congratulations and thank the Southside Community Land Trust for its thirty years of service to the people of Providence, and for successfully transforming Providence’s urban environment.
We’re inviting all of our friends, small and tall, to share in celebrating SCLT’s 30th Birthday. Join us on July 17th from 12-4pm for a day of fun out at Urban Edge Farm. Bring along your own picnic, blankets, and chairs, and we’ll supply the watermelon and cupcakes! There will be family friendly activities throughout the day including hay rides, vegetable art, and relays. Special guest and Grammy award-winning childrens singer/songwriter, Bill Harley, will share his songs and stories during a concert, starting at 2pm. Can’t wait to see you there, rain or shine!
Click here for more information and to buy tickets.
City Farm has played a big role in the local food movement in Providence over the past three decades, both by showing that it is possible to grow a great deal of produce on city lots and by inspiring many young people to take up the old art of farming (but with a few new twists). ecoRI recently profiled the impact that City Farm and our own Rich Pederson, the “farmer with the straggly beard,” have had on people throughout Rhode Island both via farmers’ markets and our apprenticeship and internship programs. As the number of farms in this country continues to shrink (meaning that food production is consolidated into fewer hands) and the average age of our farmers continues to rise (it’s now about 55), the creation of a new, more diverse group of young, small-scale farmers becomes an even more vital mission. Indeed, one of the greatest rewards for Rich is the knowledge that City Farm’s roots have extended so far outward and rhizomatically led to the growth of new sustainable farming businesses throughout the region and the country.
Click here to read the ecoRI story and see more photos.