City of Somerville, MA
Urban Agriculture Initiative Blog

Posts Tagged: urbanag

Do you know what hydroponics is?  The Groundwork Somerville Green Team does!

The GWS Green Team hopped on their bikes and rode across the river to check out Corner Stalk Farm, a Freight Farm located in Newmarket Square, Boston. Freight Farm is a MA company that re-purposes shipping containers with all the hydroponic equipment necessary to grow crops. A farm in a box, really. The Green team met with Connie and Shawn Cooney, owners of Corner Stalk Farm, and learned about how exactly they get all those basil plants to flourish…without soil…one harvest after another after another. One Green Team youth remarked that it was very relaxing to be inside the farm, with the cool glow of the LED lighting and the hum of hydroponic agriculture….ahhh…the serenity of urban agriculture.

Some seriously cool things are happening when it comes to growing food in unconventional urban places. Do you know of others? Share here.

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Just when we were ready to Spring into action….SNOW! Break my gardening heart, why don’t you….

Just when we were ready to Spring into action….SNOW! Break my gardening heart, why don’t you….

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A Garden so beautiful you could EAT it!
Edible Landscape Design
Somerville Garden Club Monthly MeetingWednesday, April 9, 7-9 pm
Barbara Emerson will cover the concepts to consider when integrating edible plants in your ornamental garden, or edible flowers into your vegetable garden.Manchester, MA, home.


All Somerville Garden Club meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings are usually held the second Wednesday of each month at the Tufts Administration Building, (TAB), 167 Holland Street, second floor, wheelchair accessible. Parking is available, and the building is a ten-minute walk from the Davis Square MBTA stop.

A Garden so beautiful you could EAT it!

Edible Landscape Design

Somerville Garden Club Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, April 9, 7-9 pm

Barbara Emerson will cover the concepts to consider when integrating edible plants in your ornamental garden, or edible flowers into your vegetable garden.Manchester, MA, home.

All Somerville Garden Club meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings are usually held the second Wednesday of each month at the Tufts Administration Building, (TAB), 167 Holland Street, second floor, wheelchair accessible. Parking is available, and the building is a ten-minute walk from the Davis Square MBTA stop.

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Got Yard? Wanna share?  
Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England and that means that we have a vibrancy and energy that is unmatched, but it also means that we don’t have acres upon acres of land on which to frolic, do cartwheels or grow crops. So folks have begun asking about yard-sharing as a potential solution for the numerous gardeners who can’t seem to find a place to hang their trowel. Not only is this a great idea, but some local problem-solvers have come up with a nifty online tool to make yard-sharing easy. Their website, called My City Gardens, matches people who want to garden with people with a yard that they want gardened. Genius, right?
Here’s how it works:
1. You sign up and identify what you are looking for. For example, maybe to grow some vegetables in a plot in your neighborhood and share them with the owner of the yard. Or you could offer your yard space to someone if they mow your lawn or tend your flowers once a week. You could even do a seasonal trade: let someone garden in your yard in exchange for shoveling help in the winter. (Remember that if you are a renter, you should check with the property owner before offering up the yard.)
2. Then you look at the other listings and see if someone matches with what you want and contact them via the site. 
3. The rest is your story. (imagine bushels of perfect urban crops, lifelong friendships, butterflies everywhere, etc. etc.) 
As always, if you are growing food in urban soils, be sure you familiarize yourselves with safe soil practices.  Find them on Page 6 of the ABC’s of Urban Ag Guide. 
But wait! There is more.  Some legal stuff we need to tell you: 
1) the website is provided for informational purposes and the City, by providing the information, is not endorsing the organization; 2) the website is not monitored by the City; and 3) upon request, the providing of this information is available to all similarly situated organizations pursuant to the City’s written policy; 4) neither the web addresses nor the sites have been reviewed for content or accuracy. 
If you know of other yard-sharing websites, let us know about them in the comments or by emailing loliveira@somervillema.gov and we will add them to this post. 
Or if you have used a yard-sharing website, feel free to share your story in the comments here or on the Somerville Loves Urban Gardening page on Facebook.

Got Yard? Wanna share? 

Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England and that means that we have a vibrancy and energy that is unmatched, but it also means that we don’t have acres upon acres of land on which to frolic, do cartwheels or grow crops. So folks have begun asking about yard-sharing as a potential solution for the numerous gardeners who can’t seem to find a place to hang their trowel. Not only is this a great idea, but some local problem-solvers have come up with a nifty online tool to make yard-sharing easy. Their website, called My City Gardens, matches people who want to garden with people with a yard that they want gardened. Genius, right?

Here’s how it works:

1. You sign up and identify what you are looking for. For example, maybe to grow some vegetables in a plot in your neighborhood and share them with the owner of the yard. Or you could offer your yard space to someone if they mow your lawn or tend your flowers once a week. You could even do a seasonal trade: let someone garden in your yard in exchange for shoveling help in the winter. (Remember that if you are a renter, you should check with the property owner before offering up the yard.)

2. Then you look at the other listings and see if someone matches with what you want and contact them via the site.

3. The rest is your story.
(imagine bushels of perfect urban crops, lifelong friendships, butterflies everywhere, etc. etc.)

As always, if you are growing food in urban soils, be sure you familiarize yourselves with safe soil practices.  Find them on Page 6 of the ABC’s of Urban Ag Guide.

But wait! There is more.  Some legal stuff we need to tell you:

1) the website is provided for informational purposes and the City, by providing the information, is not endorsing the organization; 2) the website is not monitored by the City; and 3) upon request, the providing of this information is available to all similarly situated organizations pursuant to the City’s written policy; 4) neither the web addresses nor the sites have been reviewed for content or accuracy.

If you know of other yard-sharing websites, let us know about them in the comments or by emailing loliveira@somervillema.gov and we will add them to this post.

Or if you have used a yard-sharing website, feel free to share your story in the comments here or on the Somerville Loves Urban Gardening page on Facebook.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE SOMERVILLE GROWING CENTER!
20 years? Now THAT is cause for celebration. The Somerville Community Growing Center has been building community through gardening and growing plants since 1994. Can you believe it? Time flies when you are hosting great events, providing a place for kids to discover and teaching an entire city about growing.To celebrate, they are planning a series of parties and get togethers and the first one is this week (drum roll, please):
Kick-off event: Get Growing with Seeds!THIS Thursday, March 27, 6:30-8:30pm Somerville Public LibraryCentral Library Community Room, 79 Highland Ave Seed swap, seed starting demonstrations—and a birthday celebration for long time volunteer “the Tomato Guy’s” 90th birthday. Please join us!
You can also pick up your High Mowing Seed order!

Photo credit: Maria Toumazou

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE SOMERVILLE GROWING CENTER!

20 years? Now THAT is cause for celebration. The Somerville Community Growing Center has been building community through gardening and growing plants since 1994. Can you believe it? Time flies when you are hosting great events, providing a place for kids to discover and teaching an entire city about growing.To celebrate, they are planning a series of parties and get togethers and the first one is this week (drum roll, please):

Kick-off event: Get Growing with Seeds!

THIS Thursday, March 27, 6:30-8:30pm
Somerville Public Library
Central Library Community Room, 79 Highland Ave


Seed swap, seed starting demonstrations—and a birthday celebration for long time volunteer “the Tomato Guy’s” 90th birthday. Please join us!

You can also pick up your High Mowing Seed order!

Photo credit: Maria Toumazou

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Ahhhhhh the first day of Spring! FINALLY.

Although it doesn’t feel like it, at least the equinox brings hope to those of us itching to get outside and start growing.  Somerville’s “Tomato King” , 86 year old Carmello Arria (not to be confused with the “Tomato Guy”- see explanatory video here) is ahead of the game. He planted his seeds already- some inside his house, and some in containers in a cold frame, which he covers with thick plastic on the cold days. Carmello boasts about 130 tomato plants in his small yard outside Union Square, so you bet he needs to get started!

If you are getting ready to plant, UMass Amherst Extension School has some great advice on starting seeds indoors here.  If you want to know more about cold frames and how they extend the growing season, check out this post on the website “Organic Gardening” or this post on cold frames from January .

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Local Food Production/Distribution Triangle
“Growing up in Somerville, urban agriculture was simply neighbors sharing some of their prized tomatoes or freshly grown basil. Supporting urban agriculture today is a return to those roots,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone. Why is the Mayor talking about urban agriculture when it’s sooooo cold outside? The City, along with our partners at Groundwork Somerville, STEM Garden Institute, Shape Up Approved - Eat Well, and Somerville Public Schools, recently received a $36,877 urban ag grant from the state of Massachusetts. BAM!  The funds will be used to create the foundations of a “Local Food Production/Distribution Triangle”  by expanding the South Street Farm,  cared for by Groundwork Somerville and creating the “Somerville Innovation Farm,” a hydroponics-based farm,  with the STEM Garden Institute. Along with providing Somerville youth with real work skills, both sites will provide produce for the Somerville Mobile Farmers’ Market. You just can’t get more local than that!

Local Food Production/Distribution Triangle

“Growing up in Somerville, urban agriculture was simply neighbors sharing some of their prized tomatoes or freshly grown basil. Supporting urban agriculture today is a return to those roots,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone. Why is the Mayor talking about urban agriculture when it’s sooooo cold outside? The City, along with our partners at Groundwork Somerville, STEM Garden Institute, Shape Up Approved - Eat Well, and Somerville Public Schools, recently received a $36,877 urban ag grant from the state of Massachusetts. BAM!

The funds will be used to create the foundations of a “Local Food Production/Distribution Triangle”  by expanding the South Street Farm,  cared for by Groundwork Somerville and creating the “Somerville Innovation Farm,” a hydroponics-based farm,  with the STEM Garden Institute. Along with providing Somerville youth with real work skills, both sites will provide produce for the Somerville Mobile Farmers’ Market. You just can’t get more local than that!

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The City of Somerville is sponsoring the 2014 URBAN AMBASSADOR PROGRAM. Apply to learn how to grow food in your community!

20 Somerville residents will be selected to receive FREE training in urban agriculture techniques in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer service in gardens across the city. The course is taught on 4 Saturdays from 10am-4pm March 29th - April 19th.

Apply to the program online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NTBG9PS or pick up a paper application at your local Somerville library.

The deadline to apply is Monday,  March 10th, 2014.

Visit the City of Somerville’s website for more info.

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Last year, Somerville company, Green City Growers, blogged about cold frames and using them to extend the growing season. You can find that post here. 
These are particularly great in the city, because they take up less space than a greenhouse and can extend the growing season.  They are also fairly easy to make with old windows, which is a great re-use project.  Remember that old windows (pre-1978) often contain lead paint, so think twice about using them if there is any danger of it flaking into the soil. Since it’s about the time to shift thinking to Spring and seeds and growing, here are some other websites that provide some DIY information for making one of these mini-greenhouses. 
Cold Frames
Make Your Cold Frame from recycled materials
Use Cold Frames to Grow More Food
Build a Cold Frame Using Old Windows

Last year, Somerville company, Green City Growers, blogged about cold frames and using them to extend the growing season. You can find that post here.

These are particularly great in the city, because they take up less space than a greenhouse and can extend the growing season.  They are also fairly easy to make with old windows, which is a great re-use project.  Remember that old windows (pre-1978) often contain lead paint, so think twice about using them if there is any danger of it flaking into the soil. Since it’s about the time to shift thinking to Spring and seeds and growing, here are some other websites that provide some DIY information for making one of these mini-greenhouses. 

Cold Frames

Make Your Cold Frame from recycled materials

Use Cold Frames to Grow More Food

Build a Cold Frame Using Old Windows

Source: greencitygrowers

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Maple Tree Tapping Event!
Yesss.  Sweeeeet!
Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:00 am near 200 College Ave.,in SOMERVILLE! 
Come join Groundwork Somerville for the Maple Syrup Project kick off at Tufts University for the Tree Tapping. Families, neighbors, students, and anyone interested in participating in this fun outdoor event should gather at the bottom of memorial steps across from Anderson Hall, 200 College Avenue. Call 617-628-9988 for more information.

Maple Tree Tapping Event!

Yesss.  Sweeeeet!

Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:00 am near 200 College Ave.,in SOMERVILLE!

Come join Groundwork Somerville for the Maple Syrup Project kick off at Tufts University for the Tree Tapping. Families, neighbors, students, and anyone interested in participating in this fun outdoor event should gather at the bottom of memorial steps across from Anderson Hall, 200 College Avenue. Call 617-628-9988 for more information.

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