Archive for February, 2012

February 28, 2012

Volunteer spotlight: Kim Downes, SCLT Growers Network Council Chair

Kim Downes is a beloved friend and volunteer of Southside Community Land Trust. Kim first started helping out at the greenhouse at City Farm about a year and half ago. She became the Growers Network Council Chairperson when she accidentally stumbled upon a CGN meeting. She was so enthusiastic about what the Growers Network was doing, SCLT thought she would be a great fit for the volunteer position. Kim will be moving out of state shortly, and we wanted to wish this all-star volunteer the best!

SCLT: What is your background? Does that fit into SCLT in anyway?

Kim: I studied landscape design in college. I had just moved back from California from working in urban landscape planning and was looking for a place to volunteer, while training to be a URI Masters Gardener. I loved that I could be outside and work in nature with Southside Community Land Trust, and that the urban agriculture aspect of SCLT was very relevant to my background in urban landscape planning.

SCLT: How did you find SCLT? What were some of your volunteer tasks?

Kim: I started off helping out at the greenhouse working with Rich at City Farm. One time I was at a meeting just filling in for somebody on the Growers Network, and I liked it so much I asked if I could stay and help out! I support Liza and Cindy with outreach and event planning around Growers Network events like the Garden Tour and Urban Agriculture Kickoff. I like that I can apply some of my skills to being a volunteer, like designing the kickoff poster.

SCLT: What was a highlight you learned and will take away with you?

Kim: I like working with such a diverse organization. There are so many cultures and personalities at Southside and the work is reflected in that uniqueness. I love the important benefits that community gardens bring to a place and to the people. In the city I’m moving to, I’m definitely going to ask them why there are no community gardens!

Want to volunteer at SCLT? Email your interests to Michelle at michelle@southsideclt.org

February 24, 2012

Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff in 1 week!

SCLT's Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff always feature delicious cooking demos, such as how to make nime chow, a southeast Asian spring roll.

We’re only a week and a day away from the Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff, hosted by SCLT’s Providence Community Growers Network! Word on the street is that one of the silent auction prizes is a delicious dinner for 6 at City Farm, cooked by the head chef of a prestigious restaurant in Jamestown.

Join us for our 3rd annual Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff, a day of family-friendly, food-growing fun on Saturday, March 3rd from 1:00-4:00pm at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. You can come enjoy live music, light refreshments, cooking demos, and take part in a seed swap (bring your seeds). Our lineup of educational workshops includes:  Planning for Canning, Organic Pest Control, Maple Sugaring, Seed Starting, Water Barrels/ Harvesting, Growing Year Round, Seed Saving and Seed Swap

Families are welcome; young “gardeners in training” can enjoy a kid’s corner with games and art projects.  SCLT will also hold a silent auction offering people the chance to bid on some great items, like garden design consultations with expert growers, a massage, a catered dinner party for 6, and other fun prizes.
Admission is $5 at the door (free for children and members of the Providence Community Growers Network). All proceeds will benefit Southside Community Land Trust’s Community Growers Network, which supports over 700 families with resources, education, and community-building they need to grow an abundance of healthy food!

February 21, 2012

The first steps towards Spring

After a brief hiatus, City Farm Steward Rich Pederson has returned to the farm!  One might spot him in the greenhouse seeding trays of herbs and vegetables, or over by the garden beds turning over the leaf mulch. Rich is also taking advantage of City Farm’s beautiful habitat for birds and doing some bird watching for Cornell University’s Great Backyard Bird Count. So far he’s counted 3 bluejays, 2 cardinals, 4 black-capped chicadees, 2 downy woodpeckers, 12 juncos, 15 starlings, 1 red-tail hawk and many more bird species! While lunching, SCLT staff spotted a red-tail hawk right outside our door, probably scouting the side-yard garden for squirrels or other rodents.

Credit: allaboutbirds.org

This week, Rich is jumping right into Plant Sale preparations. The 18,000+ veggies, herbs, flowers, and fruits he’s starting now will be ready for the event on May 19-20th. 2012 marks the 20th year of the Plant Sale! In this commemorative year, Rich is cultivating 20 years of favorites from Plant Sale volunteers and friends of SCLT. Already, Rich has started trays full of rosemary cuttings and a few types of thyme. Did you know that Rich uses the biodynamic method of planting according to the phases of the moon? “We want to grow the best quality plants at the farm and Plant Sale. I’ve found that the plants have done really well since I first gave this planting method a try about 8 years ago. I’ve been doing it that way ever since and have been getting really successful results.” Stay tune for more updates about what’s growing on at City Farm and other exciting preparations for the Plant Sale!

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February 10, 2012

Seeds of inspiration!

It was a full house at last Wednesday’s Seed Starting Workshop at Hope Artiste Village! Faye, Tess, and Laura from Sidewalk Ends Farm gave an informative and compelling lesson on how to start your favorite seeds at home in time for the growing season. They showed us that you can use anything from old soda cans, to seeding trays, to old milk cartons! Keep your plant babies happy in a grow box (pictured right), which provides UV light to help with seed germination. Faye, Tess, and Laura prefer a method of “upside down” watering to just using a spray bottle (which can miss the roots). Upside down watering involves putting your seed containers on a tray with 1/2″ water, which allows the roots to absorb water as they need it.

Missed this workshop but still want to learn about seed starting? Swing by Southside Community Land Trust’s Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff on March 3rd at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, where City Farm Steward Rich Pederson will be doing a workshop demo. There will be other fun workshops around food and gardening at the event. Get your hands on SCLT’s 2012 Plant Providence Calendar — a city-wide educational and affordable workshop series around growing food. Here’s to a productive growing season!

February 8, 2012

Celebrate Women in Agriculture!

The 2nd annual Rhode Island Women in Agriculture Conference is coming up! Save the date for Tuesday, March 13, 2012 for a day of information sharing, industry assistance, and resource guidance.  The agenda is focused to present women farmers with tips for the trade, strategies for how to make it work, and enlightening stories.  Click here for more info and to register.

February 6, 2012

Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff

Rich Pederson, City Farm Steward, leading a seed starting workshop at last year's urban ag. kickoff

Southside Community Land Trust invites you to its 3rd annual Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff, a day of family-friendly, food-growing fun on Saturday, March 3rd from 1:00-4:00pm. The kickoff will be hosted at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center – a sunny, warm, indoor garden full of lush plant life (it’s the perfect taste of spring!)

The event will feature live music, light refreshments, cooking demonstrations and a seed swap (bring your seeds). Check out the line up of exciting educational workshops:

* Planning and Canning

* Organic Pest Control

* Maple Sugaring

* Seed Starting

* Water Barrels/ Harvesting

* Growing Year Round

* Seed Saving and Seed Swap

Families are welcome; young “gardeners in training” can enjoy a kid’s corner with games and art projects.  SCLT will also hold a silent auction offering people the chance to bid on some great items, like garden design consultations with expert growers, a massage, a catered dinner party for 6, and other fun prizes.
Admission is $5 at the door (free for children and members of the Providence Community Growers Network). All proceeds will benefit Southside Community Land Trust’s Community Growers Network, which supports over 700 families with resources, education, and community-building they need to grow an abundance of healthy food!

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