Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Focus on Food; Fourteen in 2014

The Brookline community made huge strides in 2014 towards creating a food system that focuses more completely on sourcing food locally!


Brookline - fresh and local - it's growing all around!

10. Little Kids Dig Local Food

Brookline Recreation Department’s Stephanie Springer has been busy inspiring a new crop of gardeners with Barbara Westley, Community Gardens Coordinator, and the Brookline Community Foundation Garden. Last spring and summer Brookline Rec. Dept. afterschool program participants and summer campers visited these gardens, learned about where their food comes from, and helped plant and harvest crops. Harvest from the Brookline Community Foundation garden was donated to the Brookline Food Pantry by the young gardeners.

11. Big Kids Take Action on Food

Brookline High School Food Justice Committee ran a food justice assembly in the fall for the 9 th grade class. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Hunger Banquet, a long-standing event at BHS. Read more here .

12.  Local Flavors Abound

In a local food victory, Brookline’s only certified green restaurant, The Fireplace will continue to serve up fresh and local in Brookline. Offering seasonal bests from over a dozen local producers, Jim Solomon continues his mission to serve the finest of Massachusetts and New England. Other new settings for savoring seasonal local flavor in Brookline include Rifrullo Cafe , Clover Food Lab , and just over the border in Boston is Mei Mei . Support local food in our local restaurants!

13. Farmer’s Markets go Year Round in Town

2014 marked many changes for Brookline’s Farmer’s Markets as they continue to bring fresh and local products to Brookline year round! This year many new and returning favorites fill up the Centre Street parking lot on Thursdays, June to November, with a kaleidoscope of colors, textures, smells and tastes. As the weather turns cooler a thoughtful selection of produce, meats, baked goods and special treats fills the arcade on Sundays November to June. Read more here and here .

14.  Growing Local All Over Town

In 2014 Goddard House got growing with help from Green City Growers (GCG) who led a weekly garden gathering with residents to install, tend and harvest a raised bed garden. This hands-on experience was so successful that the garden is expanding in 2015. A local favorite GCG has installed raised beds all over Brookline and interest continues to grow! Edibles are also plentiful in schoolyard gardens across town. The Community Garden at Larz Anderson, with 115 garden plots, continues to be in high demand. Window boxes, containers and hanging pots are overflowing all over Brookline - so dig in and eat local. Read more here and here .

Many strides were taken in 2014 across the country and in our backyard to become more conscious of the food we eat and where it comes from. This year we will continue to document this positive trend, and look forward to sharing it with you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Focus on Food; Fourteen in 2014

While local food victories abounded across the country in 2014, many exciting transformations occurred right here in Massachusetts!


5. Massachusetts Food System Plan

In early 2014 the Massachusetts Food Policy Council initiated the process to create a statewide Food System Plan. An inclusive public process is underway to assess strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the Commonwealth’s food system to guide production, distribution and access to Massachusetts’ harvest of its land and water. With input from producers, businesses, food system stakeholders and consumers this new Food System Plan, the first since 1975, will be finalized in the fall of 2015. Read more here .

6. Boston Public Market: Ribbon Cutting

Imagine a year-round, self-sustaining market featuring fresh locally sourced food. The new Boston Public Market will bring together local farmers, fishermen, and specialty food producers in a new dedicated facility as the only locally sourced market of its kind in the US. Opening in the summer of 2015, the new BPM along the Rose Kennedy Greenway will house more than 40 permanent vendors, seasonal classes and programs serving all of Boston. Read more here .

7. CropCircle Kitchen Pearl in Dorchester

Opened last fall, CCK Pearl offers shared use and private multi-functional commercial kitchens and work spaces that foster the growth of local food businesses, create employment opportunities for residents, and facilitate improved access to healthy food in the immediate neighborhood. This new 36,000 square foot facility with its sister site in Jamaica Plain offers Boston’s only shared kitchen commissary and culinary business incubator. Read more here .

8. Article 89: City of Boston Re-Zoning for Urban Agriculture

After a thoughtful inclusive process, Boston’s Article 89 was adopted into law. This citywide zoning article addresses commercial, residential and institutional opportunities and guidelines to improve access to fresh, healthy and affordable food across the city. By providing a legal mechanism Boston is leading the way for rooftop greenhouses, aquaculture and aquaponics facilities, urban farms and other food production opportunities including the keeping of bees and chickens. Read more here .

9. Urban Farming Institute

In July, UFI hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the first new urban farm in Boston developed under Article 89’s zoning for urban agriculture. Partnering with the Trust for Public Land and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative the Urban Farming Institute will be responsible for managing this and other new farms in Boston.  UFI’s mission to train residents of Boston and other urban centers to become urban farmers is benefitting from this innovative partnership to enable the up to 800 acres of vacant land across Boston to be re-vitalized for productive local food settings for urban farmers. Read more here .

Still to come: Brookline's commitment to local food in 2014, and its devotion to continue fostering a food system reliant on locally sourced food throughout 2015.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Focus on Food; Fourteen in 2014

With the new year, Bountiful Brookline is refreshing its voice in the local food arena. Here’s some “food for thought”: 2014’s food highlights from around the corner and across the country. In 2015, the UN's international year of soil, much attention will be focused upon this and other key ingredients needed for sustaining a food system. We look forward to sharing this with you!


1.   2014 Farm Bill: Organic and Local Food Grants

The USDA awarded over $52 million to organic and local food systems across the nation. On the local level, these funds will help improve access to locally and regionally produced food, including for food-insecure populations, and strengthen ties between producer and consumer. Read more .

2. The GMO Debate Continues

A new bill introduced in Congress, the “Safe and Accurate 5 Food Labeling Act of 2014”, and better known by food advocates as the “DARK” Act, threatens to undermine states rights in support of GMO labeling. Coined the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” Act, this bill would make it illegal for mandatory GMO labeling on the federal and state levels. It would allow companies to label products containing GMO ingredients as “natural” undermining organic food production. Read more here .

3. Food Safety Modernization Act

Initially passed by Congress in 2011, the public review period for the Food Safety Modernization Act was completed in December 2014. This act when implemented will facilitate the first major overhaul of our nation’s food safety practices since 1938. After extensive feedback from across the US, some adjustments were made to mitigate impact on small farms. Yet, even the FDA anticipates that the disproportionate cost of compliance will deter new small-scale operations and likely put existing farms out of business. Given that Massachusetts and New England are known for small family farms, this prognosis is particularly alarming for farmers and consumers alike. Read more .

4. Buzz About Bees

The plight of bees continued to draw attention at all levels. Native and managed pollinators produce over thirty five percent of the world’s food including over ninety percent of American fruits and vegetables. Although the President established a Pollinator Health Task Force in June 2014, it has not yet met its charge leading to strong pleas from national beekeeper associations, scientists and prominent national environmental groups for decisive sustainable action. Read more here and here .

Stay tuned over the coming days as we delve into our 2014 food highlights in and around Massachusetts, Boston, and Brookline!