Archive for December, 2012

December 21, 2012

Plant Providence 2012 Highlights

As 2012 is coming to an end, we would like to share with you some of the highlights from this year’s Plant Providence workshop series. 2012 was an incredible year for both teaching and learning how to grow food. This year’s diverse array of 23 food-growing workshops drew in over 300 community members! From teaching the basics of planning and planting to delving into more specific, advanced topics, such as Cultivating Perennials, Plant Providence 2012 catered to growers of all kinds and levels.

While offering favorites from last year, we also introduced some new topics, including Seed-starting and Fermentation. Additionally we offered several popular workshops, such as Urban Beekeeping and Chicken-keeping, multiple times and provided translation services at others, making our workshops accessible to the diverse communities in Providence.

We’ve already started planning for 2013, and we’re looking forward to more workshops and our community continuing to strengthen around growing food. Here’s to 2012, and let’s also toast to 2013–a year for more learning and teaching how to grow food!

Check out the slideshow below for some snapshots of the workshops and community members learning how to grow food.

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For other highlights from the 2012 growing season, go to our new “Year-end Highlights” feature on our website!

December 11, 2012

On Seeding New Farms

SCLT works to support growers of all kind, including those who are growing for market. Through several programs SCLT has helped seed new farmers. One such program–the City Farm Apprenticeship Program–provides people with opportunity to explore urban agriculture and acquire the skills necessary to practice sustainable urban agriculture as a profession. After working at City Farm for a full season, many apprentices have gone and started their own farms, including Kathleen Reed–a recent Providence College alum who will be starting her own one-acre vegetable farm in the Hudson Valley in the next growing season.kathleenblogpic

Kathleen did not grow up thinking that she would one day become a farmer. In fact, Kathleen’s interest in agriculture began as a sophomore at Providence College when she worked with SCLT for two semesters as a requirement for her major. While she did not know much about growing food when she first started, she grew a love for agriculture very quickly and continued to volunteer with City Farm until her latest role as City Farm Apprentice for the 2012 growing season. According to Kathleen, without her apprenticeship with City Farm, she would not be gearing up to move to the Hudson Valley and start her own farm.

“City Farm provided the knowledge and education it took to be able to see myself growing as a profession. I have been given the skills necessary to form a strong foundation to build upon in the years to come.”

You can learn more about Kathleen’s story on our new “Meet Your Community Growers” feature of our website.

Another program through which SCLT provides support to new farmers is the Urban Edge Farm program. The program is a farming collaborative between seven farmers, including Christina Dedora of Blue Skys Farm.

Small scale farming in the Northeast is a difficult business, but through the Urban Edge Farm Program, Christina has been able to gain access to two acres of land, an irrigation system, deer fencing, tractors and tractor implements and heated greenhouses–all of which have helped her transform Blue Skys Farm from a part-time business to a full-time, year-round farming business. Additionally, being part of a farming collaborative has allowed Christina and the six other farmers to share ideas and learn from one another.

Christina sells her flowers, herbs and vegetables at several farmers markets and through the Farm Fresh RI Market Mobile. She is also a partner in a collaborative CSA and sells cut flowers for weddings and to local florists. Catch up with Christina and other Urban Edge Farmers on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Wintertime Farmers Market!

December 6, 2012

Decorating with Vegetables

Check out these creative, unconventional holiday decorations at several grocery stores across the country!

December 4, 2012

Community Gardens Grow More Than Just Food

Last Friday Executive Director Margaret DeVos led a salon at the Athenaeum and spoke about the role of food in community development. Margaret shared ┬áher prior work with community economic development in Detroit’s Mexicantown and her vision for using urban agriculture to strengthen the greater community of Providence.

Mexicantown was once a thriving community in Detroit. However, between the 60s and 80s, Mexicantown’s population heavily declined due to several factors, including loss of economic opportunity. As a result, the neighborhood became riddled with vacant land and urban blight. Margaret worked to revitalize the once bustling neighborhood of Mexicantown and, through this work, came to realize the power of food to facilitate economic opportunity and ultimately serve as a medium through which a community can sustainably develop.

Many thanks to the Athenaeum for inviting Margaret and coordinating this event!

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