Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

Winter Greens & Low Tunnels Workshop–this Wednesday!

Summer might be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean your growing season has to! By planting hearty winter greens, such as kale, chard, collards and spinach, and using the right techniques to protect them from the frost, you can keep your garden growing well into the Winter Season.

To learn how to keep your winter greens nice and cozy, come to the Winter Greens & Low Tunnels workshop next Wednesday, September 5th. Katie Miller, Co-Manager of Scratch Farm at Urban Edge Farm, will be leading the workshop from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Peace and Plenty Community Garden (89 Peace St.).

Click here to register!

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August 29, 2012

Open Garden Day–a taste of what to expect!

Sweet potatoes. Roasted, baked or mashed, their heartiness and sweet, caramelized flavor is the essence of Autumn. These orange tuberous roots have been a part of our diets for countless years, but did you know that their leaves can also be incorporated into delicious dishes? Like the orange tubers that we are more familiar with, the greens are versatile and can be prepared a variety of ways–boiled, sauteed, steamed, you name it! These greens are a staple in many Asian and African cuisines. They are used in many stews and stir-fries and even eaten alone as a side dish.

The next time you’re at the farmers market, why not buy a bunch of sweet potato greens and add some global flavors to your diet. Or, even better, come to Open Garden Day on September 8th and discover how the pros cook with it! After the garden tours, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of global dishes prepared with food grown locally by Providence’s very own community growers. Buy your tickets here and join us on Saturday, September 8th, to try a number of delicious ethnic dishes, including Community Grower Garmai Mawolo’s Liberan Chicken with Sweet Potato Greens and Rice!

N.B. Please do not try to substitute Irish Potato greens for sweet potato leaves! Irish potato greens are poisonous. Contrary to most assumption, sweet potatoes are not related to potatoes but are in fact a member of the morning glory family.

August 24, 2012

“A Not-So-Vacant Lot”

You may have already seen these three ladies at the Armory Park Farmers Market or eaten some of their goods at AS220 and Broadway Bistro, but here’s a chance to get to know these rockstars a little bit better.

Meet the farm stewards of Sidewalk Ends Farm–Laura, Tess and Fay. Beginning in 2011, these three sisters transformed an underutilized lot into a high-yield, market-viable eden.  Here at Sidewalk Ends, you can find both salad and cooking greens, herbs, tomatoes and a variety of root vegetables growing against the urban backdrop of Providence’s Westside neighborhood.

Co-managing the Backyard Farms Urban CSA and selling both at the Farmers Market and to several Providence restaurants as part of the Little City Growers Coop (all in addition to feeding themselves!), these busy bees try to maintain a model that promotes a hyper-local food system.

Veggies, however, aren’t the only things you’ll find here. Laura, Tess and Fay also raise five chickens, providing Providence with fresh, local eggs.

Want to meet the ladies (hens included!) in person and see what’s growing at Sidewalk Ends? Come join us on September 8th for Open Garden Day and tour Sidewalk Ends Farm.

August 23, 2012

Hi, everyone!

Pardon me for not introducing myself before blogging. My name is Judith, and I am the new AmeriCorps VISTA with SCLT. Originally from Virginia, I moved two weeks ago and can now proudly call myself a member of the Providence community.

“Excited” is my official word for 2012-2013, as it perfectly describes how I feel about working with SCLT–an organization I had admired from afar in Charlottesville–and living in a city where urban agriculture has truly taken flight. I mean, not everyone can say they live in a city whose comprehensive plan is called the “Greenprint” (I studied Urban and Environmental Planning, so naturally, things like comprehensive plans get me pretty excited!).

So yes, I am thrilled to be here, and I look forward to witnessing the growth of community gardens and the strengthening of this revolution here in Providence!

Cheers,

Judith

August 21, 2012

Best of Rhode Island! 2012

Thanks, Rhode Island Monthly, for selecting SCLT as Rhode Island’s Best Way to Grow a Green Thumb!

Here’s an awesome quote that pinpoints the work that we do: “From composting your coffee grounds and modifying your soil to taming tomatoes and growing ethnic foods, SCLT holds classes each spring, summer and fall to help you make your way back to the land.”

Pick up a copy of Rhode Island Monthly’s August 2012 issue to read the full description and see some of their other picks for 2012!

August 20, 2012

Open Garden Day–a Sneak Peek!

Let the count down to Open Garden Day begin! In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek of one of the featured gardens.

The Potters Community Garden, adjacent to Carter’s Park, provides one of Southside’s neighborhoods with a lush oasis. Predominantly grown by Hmong gardeners, the garden flourishes with ethnic vegetables that are central to their cultural dishes. Armies of water greens border plots, bitter melons and Asian long beans hang heavy on trellises, and bitter eggplants, which resemble a cross between a pumpkin and tomato, peek out from the shade of their bright green leaves.

In the Fall of 2011, an opportunity came along for SCLT to respond to the growing demand for more plots. A major storm knocked down an old tree in Carter’s Park, providing space for SCLT to expand the garden. There are now nearly 60 plots, each bursting with fresh produce and adding to the vibrancy of the neighborhood.

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Want to see more? Come join us at Open Garden Day on September 8th, and you can experience it all FIRSTHAND! Tickets can be purchased here.

August 16, 2012

City Fest 2012

On Tuesday afternnoon we celebrated the end of the summer Children’s Garden program with salsa-making, potato stamps, a watermelon eating contest, the infamous flour tower, a special performance by the Southeast Asian Coalition, freshly-made pizza featuring City Farm cherry tomatoes, basil and kale, face painting, a whole lotta dancing and plenty of smiles.

Thanks to Big Nazo, Bravo Wood Fired Pizza, SEACMA and all the volunteers who made City Fest 2012 a hit.  And, of course, here’s to the kids and their successful growing season!  Until next summer…

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August 9, 2012

City Farm – Bloomin’ Thursdays

The City Farm crew is busy harvesting for Thursday’s Armory Market (Dexter Park on Parade and Hudson) from 4-7pm. The farm is absolutely gorgeous – so much is in bloom! Of course, you have a chance to take home some of the beauty with you at the Armory Park Farmers Market on Thursday and the Hope Street Farmers Market on Saturdays. We’ll let this slide show speak for itself.

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August 8, 2012

Join Us for Open Garden Day!

Providence, how do your gardens grow? You can find out that and more at Southside Community Land Trust’s 4th annual Open Garden Day  on Saturday, September 8th (raindate September 9th) from 10am-2pm.

This family-friendly event starts off by featuring Providence’s rich history of urban gardening as well as the on-going movement of food-growing in the city. The tours will run from 10am-1pm at community food gardens and urban farms in several Providence neighborhoods, followed by a 1-2pm celebration of garden-fresh potluck dishes prepared by Providence’s most beloved community growers.

You can choose three different and unique tour options – a bike tour, a bus tour, and a special historic tour guided by local historian Sarah Zurier. Each tour route will feature educational programming, such as a workshop or demo. Which urban gardens will each tour route visit?

Historic Tour: Roger Williams Park (RWP) Community Garden, Southside drive-bys via Broad Street & Prairie Ave., Potters Avenue Community Garden, Lincoln School Garden, Searle Family Gardens

Bus Tour: sites including RWP, Searle Family Gardens, Groundwork Providence Public Garden, Sidewalk Ends Farm, Potters Ave, Sidewalk Ends Farm, drive-bys on the Southside and Eastside

Bike Tour: routes may include sites such as RWP, Potters Avenue Community Garden, Grove Street Community Garden, Sidewalk Ends Farm with 3 experienced bike guides on each route.

And don’t forget the food! At the end of the tour, there will be a Harvest Potluck from 1pm – 2pm at Roger Williams Park Community Garden. This event is open to all and will be a great opportunity to enjoy a delicious garden-fresh meal prepared by local chefs.

Tickets are limited, so please pre-register and purchase here. We hope to see you there!!

August 1, 2012

Growing a Food Pantry Garden

The newly built beds at Gospel Tabernacle Outreach Ministries will grow fresh food for its food pantry clients and will hopefully serve as a model for other food pantry and food bank sites in cities like Providence.

Southside Community Land Trust is excited to welcome a new community garden into its garden network – the Gospel Tabernacle Outreach Ministry (GTOM) garden. The GTOM community garden is the first of its kind in Providence and hopes to be a replicable model for other food pantries and food banks on a small urban scale. This garden was possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and SCLT’s Providence Community Growers Network (PCGN).

Initially sparked by the popularity of a community gardening workshop at the RICFB, Loni McGrath, Agency Services Coordinator, reached out to SCLT to target Providence food pantries interested in creating a unique type of community garden at their sites. The RI Community Food Bank sponsored the GTOM garden to join the PCGN, enabling them to receive free/discounted garden resources like compost and fish emulsion, as well as be a site to host food-growing workshops. And ultimately both organizations share the common goal of providing Providence residents access to healthy, fresh, locally grown food.

Why link community gardens with food banks? According to Food Security, “Community food security is such an approach that many food banks and other groups have implemented [because] the value of incorporating community food security measures …can increase [the food bank’s] capacity to address multiple needs and problems and provide a valuable tool for community building that fosters self-reliance…It also creates a wealth of opportunity to implement innovative solutions that address the root causes of hunger and move people out of poverty. Embodying these practices into a food banking operation establishes a more dynamic system that fosters social change and directly challenges dependence.”

Although the food pantry- community garden model is a popular and sensible idea, it hasn’t taken firm root in Providence. However, the opportunity is promising — the potential foods grown at the food pantry gardens can supply the food pantry and/ or meal site. Volunteers and food pantry clients can help with garden maintenance while learning about growing their own food.

 

Jennifer Watkins, the key coordinator in the GTOM garden effort, is excited for the impact the garden will have on its food panty and soup kitchen clients. “We want our clients to have access to growing their own food. This new garden allows them the space and community building opportunities for that,” says Watkins. The GTOM garden is growing radishes, lettuce, carrots, green beans, thai hot peppers, and tomatoes. Watkins hopes to see not only the GTOMgarden grow, but for other food pantries in Providence to start growing gardens and fresh food for their clients as well. We look forward to the bounty that lies ahead!

The GTOM is located on 145 Oakland Avenue. They hold their food pantry on the second Monday of the month at 5:30-7pm and the fourth Monday of the month at 6-7pm. Their meal site, or soup kitchen, is held on the second and fourth Saturday of the month at 3-4pm. Contact Lenny or Jennifer Watkins (401)454-0988 for more information.

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