Archive for May, 2014

May 27, 2014

SCLT is seeking a Community Growers Director


Community Growers Director – Job Description

Organization Description: Community Land Trust (SCLT) provides access to land, education and other resources so people in Greater Providence can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable, and healthy food is available to all. Each year, over 2,500 people benefit from SCLT’s programs which include community gardens, youth employment and education, garden leadership training, food growing and nutrition workshops, and new farmer development.

Position Summary: The Community Growers Director is responsible for planning and coordination of all community grower programming including management and development of new community gardens; facilitating the Providence Market Growers Network; coordinating SCLT’s seasonal workshop schedule and urban agriculture Neighborhood Hub sites; and various seasonal programs and events. This position will report to SCLT’s Executive Director.

Job Duties:

Manage existing and develop new community gardens;

  • Facilitate Providence Community Grower’s Council – an advisory body for SCLT’s community gardens programming.
  • Resource Distribution – compost, seeds, fish emulsion, garlic, manure, mulch.
  • Oversee garden leader leadership development – promote, facilitate and document garden leader meetings and supporting leaders to deal with garden management issues and conflict resolution.
  • Oversee garden maintenance contract and gardener maintenance activities.
  • Manage plot assignment and payment process including records maintenance.
  • Project Management for garden infrastructure improvements and new garden construction.   Oversee construction contractor, new gardener participation, and volunteers. Includes gardener recruitment.
  • Provide technical assistance/workshops/site visits for other organizations working to build new gardens.

Facilitate the Providence Market Growers Network;

  • Schedule, facilitate and document meetings with Providence Market Growers Network.
  • Arrange for technical assistance for farmers.
  • Oversight of all SCLT urban farm leases – ensure adequate maintenance and arrange for technical assistance as needed.
  • Manage development of marketing curriculum. Recruit participants and oversee SCLT staff or contractors responsible for in-classroom and on-site farmers market training.

Coordinating SCLT’s seasonal workshop schedule;

  • Work closely with Outreach Manager ensure that all new gardeners have sufficient access to beginning organic growing and other workshops.
  • Recruit and schedule volunteer workshop leaders.

Coordination of SCLT’s urban agriculture Neighborhood Hub sites;

  • Coordinate Spring Hub Day at 4 sites – scheduling workshops and resource distribution.
  • Work with 4 HUB leaders to develop and implement outreach strategies. Identify and make arrangements to meet unique community resource and education needs.

Other programs and events;

  • Coordinate Urban Agriculture Spring Kick-Off.
  • Provide technical assistance and oversight to Providence Composts program.
  • Track and report program outcome data.
  • Support fundraising efforts as needed.
  • Represent SCLT at educational and other events.
  • Perform other tasks as required.

Job Requirements:  This position requiresweekend and evening availability.   This position requires the physical ability to move/lift heavy objects, to kneel/sit/bend on the ground, and work outdoors in hot or cold weather.

Schedule: 40 hours per week (full-time).

Qualifications, Skills, Experience Requirements:

  • 5-8 years professional work experience.
  • Minimum Bachelor’s Degree in related field.
  • Experience working in multi-cultural, multi-lingual settings.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member.
  • Experience leading urban agriculture programs.
  • Experience in community organizing, leadership development and community development.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills – ability to make compelling written and verbal presentations.
  • Strong computer skills: Microsoft Word, Excel and email.
  • Ability to attend to details while maintaining a broad vision.
  • Interested in continuously improving programs and work processes.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize multiple work tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Committed to producing an excellent work product.
  • Dedicated to maintaining a positive culture among co-workers and community members.

The Community Growers Director must positively and professionally represent SCLT in community collaborations and with many of our constituents and partners. The successful applicant will be inspired by the work, interested in serving the public, motivated to go the extra mile, and respectful of different points of view.

Minority and bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged. Salary is $38,000-$46,000 annually based on experience, with full benefits and generous vacation package. SCLT is an equal opportunity employer.

To apply, please address cover letter and resume by Friday, June 13, 2014 to Margaret DeVos, SCLT Executive Director, at Preferred start date is July 14, 2014.

May 16, 2014

Thom, the Tomato Man, expert on all things tomato says….




Thom the Tomato Man, tomato expert and all-around Superman. 

Every year, SCLT connects with Thom the Tomato Man, the all-around champion of tomatoes in Providence, and one of our favorite members. 

He is guest-blogging for us today and here is your guide to all things tomato at our Plant Sale; weird, not weird, and always gorgeous and delicious.


It’s Spring in New England which means Summer will be here before long and that means it’s tomato season. Soon our recent far too long Winter will be a distant memory erased by the flavor and smell of fresh tomatoes right off the vine.

But before you harvest those tomatoes you have to pick which ones to plant. Which is harder than it sounds – we’ll have over 50 different tomatoes to choose from this year for our annual plant sale. Whatever your tomato needs, we’ve got the tomato varieties to meet them:

  • Need good canning tomatoes? We’ve got that.
  • Need good slicing tomatoes for Tomato sandwiches? We’ve got that. 
  •  Need to have the first tomatoes on your block? We’ve got that.
  •  Need spectacular looking tomatoes for tomato plates? Yea, we’ve got that too.  
  •   Organic? Heirloom? Rare? Of course, yes we have all of them.  \
  • Need a Tomato for full shade? Sorry, that we can’t help with you. Tomatoes need sunshine – 6 hours a day is usually the minimum.

To paraphrase a bit of seasonal doggerel this year we’ve got:

Something Old, Something New

Something Borrowed, Something Indigo, 

Something Weird, Something Disease Resistant

Something Old – Cherry Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes are the Rodney Dangerfield of the tomato world – they get no respect from their bigger brethren despite being the most requested type of tomato.  I’m not sure why they don’t the respect they deserve, maybe it’s their easy abundance and diminutive size. But whatever they lack in size, they more than makeup in flavor, sweetness and production.

We have 15 different varieties this year including old favorites like Sungolds, Super Sweet 100s and Black Cherry. We also have new varieties like the Purple Bumble Bee and Bing Cherry Tomato. While cherry tomatoes are hard, but not impossible, to slice for a sandwich, they shine in tomato and mozzarella salads, are great for drying to use as sundried tomato and most importantly they taste great right off the vine warm from the afternoon sun.



Transplanting tomatoes in City Farm’s greenhouse in preparation for the Plant Sale.

Something New – Mule Team – This tomato is new to me, but it is an heirloom tomato so named because the plant is sturdy like a mule team – it just works and works. The fruits are red, excellent balanced flavor, 8-12 ounces each in clusters of 3-5 fruits with very high yields and have good disease resistance and drought tolerant without being too susceptible to cracking. These tomatoes are great sliced and are also good canning tomatoes.  If you are new to growing heirloom tomatoes this is a good first plant.

Something Borrowed – Pink Brandy Wine – Before the days of seed catalogs and gardening stores, people had to grow and keep their own seeds. These seeds were passed down through generations.  And if your neighbor had a tomato you liked, you’d borrow a few seeds in order to grow it yourself. Pink Brandywines are one of the classic heirlooms heralded for their beefy size (1-2 pounds) and their rich complex balanced favor. The fruits are pink in color with potato leaf leaves.

Something Indigo – Indigo Rose – It may not rhyme with new but the Indigo Rose is one of more beautiful and interesting new tomatoes to hit the Tomato world. (yes there really an insider’s tomato world, If you want in, I know a guy…) The Indigo Rose is so named because the fruits are a deep, dark purple, almost black. It is a very striking tomato that is full of anthocyanins – the same powerful anti-oxidants present in blueberries and other fruits.

The fruits are plum sized, meaty and they ripen slowly with a good flavor. Pick them when the fruits are black-purple and have lost some of their shine. Last year we sold out of the Indigo Rose in the first hour of the plant sale, based on demand we planted a whole lot more this year, but as always the early birds get the best selection so come Saturday morning.

Something Weird – Hillbilly Potato Leaf – Potato Leaf tomatoes are so named for obvious reasons – the leaves look like potato leaves. This variety is originally from West Virginia (hence the name) and to be honest it really isn’t that weird but it is a big juicy bicolor beefsteak tomato that is great for slicing and looks beautiful on a plate with fresh basil drizzled with olive oil and ground pepper. Beautiful yellow fruits streaked with red towards the blossom end weighing in at about 1 pound. It produces very well and with a sweet juicy flavor. 

Something Disease Resistant – Rutgers vFast – Gardening in New England is tough. The Season is short and the weather can be nasty and brutish. The ways in which mother nature can turn your beautiful plants into yellow, shriveled and stunted specimens are numerous – early frosts, late frosts, Early Blight, Late blight, horrendous heat waves, the Wilts – both Verticilium and Fusarium, Aphids, Hornworms, and the list goes on. But as tough as Mother Nature can be, New Englanders are even tougher and occasionally a little smarter (although that is debatable)


One of the tricks up the smart gardener’s sleeve is to plant a few disease resistant tomatoes. Our favorite this year is the Rutgers VFAST. It’s has good flavor, a gorgeous red color, and it’s versatile.  The Rutger’s is good for canning, cooking or slicing and most importantly it is resistant to Fusarium Wilt, Verticilium Wilt, Tobacco Mosiac and Alterneria Stem Canker. It’s indeterminate so it’ll keep producing until the days get too short or there is a frost. The fruits are red, round and about 7-8 ounces.

Thom the Tomato Man, lives in Providence with his family and is almost always thinking about either growing or eating Tomatoes, sometimes both at the same time.

May 9, 2014

City Farm is EXPLODING with life!



Countdown to City Farm’s Plant Sale: May 17-18th!

We are down to the last 7 days before our 22nd Annual Rare and Unusual Plant Sale.

As you can see, Rich and Joe and the City Farm Volunteer Posse have their hands full.

The greenhouse is packed, the greens and herbs are taking over the patio, and the tulips are blooming.

There are so many amazing, beautiful, and unique plants and perennials available. 

Keep coming back to check on the progress and preparations for next’s week extravaganza.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!


May 2, 2014

Presenting…Plant Sale Poster!

Presenting...Plant Sale Poster!

Artwork by Cathy G. Johnson

May 2, 2014

SCLT’s 22nd Annual Plant Sale




Everyone at City Farm is hard at work preparing for the Plant Sale! Rich, City Farm Steward, Joe, City Farm’s Apprentice, and the world’s best volunteers have been labelling, seeding, and planting non-stop since mid-March.

As you can see, many things are well on their way and will be ready for all of you attending the best Plant Sale in the Northeast.

Italian flat leaf parsley, orange bell peppers, rosemary, and
City Farm’s own sage! Cooking greens, and of course, everyone’s favorite, TOMATOES!

This year we will have over 50 varieties of tomatoes. WOW.

We are so excited to have such an awesome and gorgeous selection of herbs, perennials, fruits, and vegetables for all of you.

Stay tuned here for more updates!

City Farm Sage Orange Bell 1 Rosemary Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

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