Archive for July, 2012

July 24, 2012

Katherine Brown in ProJo Article

This is the latest article in the Providence Journal featuring Katherine Brown, who has been the Executive Director of SCLT from 2003-2012 and will be succeeded by Margaret DeVos.

” Over a 30-year history in Providence, Southside Community Land Trust has leveraged multiple layers of connections above and below the ground. We have catalyzed whole neighborhoods to reinvent themselves from despair and confusion into the true sense of community — all through growing food and flowers and friendship, together.’

Right now, she is helping the land trust make the transition from her leadership to that of DeVos.

Wayne, a member of the land trust’s board since 2007, said Brown is leaving the land trust “in the best place it ever has been.”

“She has transformed this into much more widespread organization,” Wayne said.

 “The plan is that we will go from being identified as strictly Southside –– as a result of the Providence Community Growers Network –– to being a city-wide entity. We will continue to serve the Southside but we hope to transplant some of our principles to other parts of the city as well.”

Click this link for the complete article.

July 19, 2012

There’s something about the trees at City Farm

Last June, a sudden intense microburst storm took down a pre-civil war tree at City Farm. And just yesterday, lightning struck the large tree by the chicken coop!

Luckily, there was no major damage, just a really cool looking “tree bark scar”!

July 17, 2012

New City Garden Provides Food and Jobs

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 6:57PM

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — A community garden can be more than a neighborhood lot for growing tomatoes. In the case of a new public garden in Federal Hill, a revamped parking lot now serves as a classroom and job-training center.

Ricardo Tillman lives near the garden, and through the guidance of DownCity Design’s Urban Collaborative, helped remove sheets of asphalt, install new fences and pour concrete. After gaining this experience, Tillman started a landscaping company. “I picked up a lot of skills from the program that I can use in my own business,” he said.

Tillman was one of a dozen interns and students to participate in the design and construction of the multifunctional garden. Several students from the MET Community School participated in the project, many using everyday tools for the first time.

“I realized that this is just not a random building made to look nice,” said Kelly Kwasniewska, a sophomore at the MET School. She was initially bored by the project and admitted she didn’t know the difference between a nail and a screw. But when she saw the other students building creative and functional structures with wood from discarded pallets and using large chucks of cement for chairs, she embraced the project, even showing up on weekends to participate.

“I cannot be happier. I never would have thought I’d learn so much,” Kwasniewska said.

She and other participants liked seeing neighborhood kids gather at the garden, many meeting for the first time.

“We like to create amazing spaces so people can feel good about where they live,” said Gary Clotier, executive director ofGroundwork Providence, during a July 9 unveiling of the garden and classroom.

The project also combined the resources and expertise of local organizations and businesses, such as Southside Community Land Trust, Rhode Island for Community and Justice, the Steel Yard, Trees 2020, Arnold Lumber and Whole Foods Market.

The community space has a learning center for seminars, space for tool storage and, of course, many native and exotic plants, such as peach trees. In addition to learning about gardening and helping build the learning center, the students and interns helped construct rain gardens, raised flower beds and a drainage swale.

Ultimately, the collaboration is about getting people to take interest in their environemnt. “This is what I believe is education,” said Dennis Littky, co-founder of the MET Center. “You don’t have to make (students) come in on the weekends. They want to come in on weekends.”

Article originally appeared on (

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July 12, 2012

Taming Your Tomatoes

A City Farm volunteer picks tomatoes that have been trellised for supporting the plants, making sure they grow and produce fruit well.

A tomato seedling usually costs about the same as a pound of tomatoes at the store! That means that growing your own tomatoes is a great way to save money on food while enjoying juicy, ripe, and flavorful tomatoes right in your garden.

Tomato plants definitely require some maintenance, If you want to enjoy tomatoes right off the vine from your backyard, window box, or hanging basket, check out some of these resources we’ve compiled. SCLT also hosts a  “Taming Your Tomatoes” every early summer on our Plant Providence Calendar. Check back for updates! The workshop provides practical advice about planting, staking, tomato care (watering, mulching, fertilizing, weeding), and ways to fend off the pests that enjoy the taste of tomatoes as much as we do.

Here are some great sites we found for all your tomato care needs!

 Tomato care that includes pruning, staking/caging, and watering

• Pest identification and control

• Diseases

• Growing tomatoes in containers

 Varieties that do well in containers

For more resources on growing food, visit our Urban Agriculture Resource Library

July 9, 2012

Farewell Potluck Supper and Celebration

Join us in honoring Katherine Brown as she starts a new life path! Southside Community Land Trust invites you to a potluck supper and celebration honoring SCLT’s beloved Executive Director, Katherine Brown, who has been helping people grow food with SCLT since 2003!

Where: Carters Park, 163 Potters Ave off Prairie Ave, South Providence

When: Thursday, July 26th, 5:30-7:30

What: BYOB and your favorite dish to serve 8 or more.

Rain or Shine! RSVP by Thursday, July 19th. phone: 401.273.9419 ext. 23 / email:

July 9, 2012

A Special Announcement about SCLT’s new Executive Director

On behalf of The Board of Directors of Southside Community Land Trust, I have exciting news to share.  After a six-month nationwide search, the SCLT Executive Transition Committee has selected Margaret DeVos as our new Executive Director. Margaret will officially join Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) on July 16, 2012. SCLT’s beloved current Executive Director Katherine Brown will stay on to work with Margaret during her first two weeks to ensure a smooth organizational transition.

SCLT received an impressive response to the job posting earlier this year and was honored to choose from a very qualified and engaged pool of candidates. We feel that Margaret’s experience and vision will successfully take the organization into its 4th decade of helping people grow food in Providence.

Margaret DeVos (formerly Margaret Garry) joins SCLT from Detroit, Michigan, where she has dedicated her career to improving communities through pursuing social and economic equity. Her wide range of professional experience includes non-profit real estate development and construction, sustainable building technologies, and comprehensive community development in Detroit’s hardest hit neighborhoods. She has served as a senior level manager in the public and non-profit sectors, in addition to running a successful small business.

For a number of years, Margaret’s efforts have focused on creating and sustaining food-related economic opportunities. She has developed initiatives to increase the number of grocery stores in low-income areas of Detroit and to support food truck entrepreneurs. She has researched inner city economic trends in the food sector. At the State of Michigan, she advocated successfully for changes in the distribution of food assistance benefits so that people would have better access to fresh and healthy food. For her efforts, Margaret was honored as one of Detroit’s Most Enterprising Women by the Detroit Historical Society, and Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 amongst other awards.

Margaret is honored to accept the position and eager to get started with SCLT’s Board, staff, and community partners. “By developing local food systems and pursuing urban agriculture, I believe that we can create dramatic and positive change in the areas of public health, youth and community development, environmental stewardship and civic pride,” Margaret shares. “The mission of Southside Community Land Trust fits perfectly with my commitment to develop thriving, economically and environmentally just urban communities.” Margaret is very happy to be relocating to Providence this summer and to be joining her husband and family in New England.

SCLT’s Board of Directors, Katherine, and staff have worked together to prepare the organization for this transition for many months, and we are excited to introduce Margaret to all of you, our friends and supporters, in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll join us in welcoming our new Executive Director to Greater Providence. If you have any questions or thoughts, please e-mail me at


Louis Raymond Signature

Louis Raymond

President, Board of Directors

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