Thursday, February 24, 2011

A worm by any other name would still be good for your garden.

Intensive Vermiculture Workshop
10:00 am - noon
Spring into Gardening 2011
Sunday March 27- Pierce School - 50 School Street Brookline

Sadie Richards, a member of the Urban Homesteader's League and the North Shore Permaculture Group, will present this 2-hour hands-on Intensive Vermiculture* Workshop where you can::
  • make a worm bin to take home;
  • settle some worms in their bedding;
  • learn how to keep the worms well fed with household waste; and
  • learn how to use the compost they produce to nourish your garden
Sadie is very eager to share her knowledge of vermiculture.  She told us that:
“Worms are wonderful composters which can easily be kept by anyone who wishes to reduce his or her contribution to the waste stream while simultaneously producing nutrient-rich plant fertilizer conveniently in one's home. Worm bins allow you to compost your paper and food waste year-round, and they provide an excellent learning opportunity for children and adults alike. In this hands-on workshop Sadie will cover the basics of worm-rearing, and provide you with the knowledge as well as the tools to become a master vermiculturist. Topics covered will include basic worm biology, bin setup, worm feeding, maintenance, troubleshooting and worm compost harvesting. You will leave the workshop with informational handouts and a worm bin that you have made out of a recycled plastic bin, complete with bedding and a worm colony that is ready to begin transforming your kitchen scraps into compost."

$25 workshop registration fee plus $13 for materials applies to this workshop in addition to general admission.  Materials fee is payable to the workshop leader at the workshop.

* Vermiculture - ”the cultivation of annelid worms (as earthworms or bloodworms) especially for use as bait or in composting “ Merriam Webster online

Thursday, February 10, 2011

get ready to grow - get ready to go to Spring into Gardening 2011

Spring into Gardening 2011
Sunday March 27, 2011 - Pierce School - 50 School Street

Pre-Register online February 21 - March 25

Check back here at for updates about how to register and for a look at the exciting, informative workshops, demonstrations, exhibits and kid’s activities planned for this all day celebration of edible gardening in Brookline.

Introducing the Keynote Speaker, Greg Watson

“You are no doubt aware that anyone who has been involved with urban agriculture in any way is hooked for life!”  So said Greg Watson, in an email accepting our invitation to be the keynote speaker for Spring into Gardening. Watson is Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Technology in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, on loan from MassTech where he was the first Director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust.

But Greg Watson’s roots in local and sustainable food production go deep, extending back to involvement in the 1970s with Boston Urban Gardeners (BUG) and working with the New Alchemy Institute which developed ecologically self sustaining food systems. In an interview with an alumni group at his alma mater Tufts, Watson described BUG as an on the ground resolution to the conundrum he felt as an African American coming into adulthood during the 1960s era of civil rights activism but who also was very concerned with environmental issues. He found that, ”BUG organized inner city residents for the purpose of gaining access to land and tools so they could meet some portion of their own food needs with their own hands.  In the process I came to understand that environmental issues were very much an urban concern.”

As Massachusetts Commissioner of Food and Agriculture in the Dukakis administration, Watson encouraged the development of local food chains and rural-urban connections, bringing farmers’ markets into urban neighborhoods.  In the mid-1990s he directed the Dudley street Neighborhood Initiative, the Roxbury-based community economic development project that is renowned for innovation in land use policy and success in community building. Now, as Vice Chair of Bioneers, an organization dedicated to meeting human needs with processes derived from the ecological principles found in nature, Watson continues to engage with the cutting edge where social justice and environmentally sound practice merge.

Greg Watson combines visionary thinking with practical accomplishment. With a systems approach inspired by Buckminster Fuller, he has a profound appreciation of the connections and synergies between healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy Earth. We are thrilled that he will be speaking at Spring into Gardening and hope you will join us..

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture - connecting farms to your table in Brookline

The CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) movement in the U.S. began with two farms in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1985. It has since spread throughout the country and assumed many different forms, but the basic premise of building connections between farmers and consumers remains central. Farmers essentially sell 'shares' of their farm in order to generate much-needed income before the start of the growing season and ensure a market for some (or all) of their crops. The consumers shoulder part of the risks inherent in farming (illness, crop failure, etc.) in exchange for a weekly box of fresh produce during the growing season.
Bountiful Brookline is working to create and strengthen an enduring local food system in Brookline and the surrounding area. In order to expand access to fresh food that is healthy for our citizens, our communities, and our environment, we encourage and facilitate participation in urban community agriculture. One of the many benefits of a functioning local food system is its resilience, for it draws on a wide variety of decentralized sources in order to feed people.
At this point urbanites cannot feed themselves, but there are many different ways for residents of Brookline to sink their teeth into fresh local/regional food. In addition to the popular farmer's markets and farm stands, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model has become an important part of emerging local food systems in Massachusetts. CSA is a great way for you and your family to forge new connections with your food while directly supporting the small farm that produced it. Of course, you get to enjoy delicious fresh produce too!

Stillman's farm, located in Lunenburg, Ma, offers a summer fruit and veggie CSA, a more limited winter CSA, and a monthly meat CSA. Stillman's has several pick-up locations around Boston, including a convenient spot at the Brookline Public Health Department Parking lot (11 Pierce St.) on Sundays. You can find out more, including online CSA registration information, at their website .

And in our own backyard Allandale Farm offers a host of CSA options, including produce, eggs, and flower shares.

If you are interested in learning more about CSA, or if you know you want to reserve a share for yourself, then head over to theMOVE's 2011 Farm Share Fair where you can meet representatives from over a dozen CSA farms and find out which farm is best for you. This free event is on Thursday 2/3 from 5:30-8pm at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square.

The same night there is a panel discussion titled being held in JP. The purpose of this forum is to evaluate the current state of food security and food justice in the Northeast region and identify ways to strengthen the local food system. The event is from 7-9pm at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, located at 6 Eliot Street, Boston, Ma. Put on by the JP Forum, this free event features Edith Murnane, the city's recently appointed director of food policy, as moderator. Please see the above link for more information about what should be an interesting and informative evening.