Category Archives: Uncategorized

Community Growing photos

Our Community Growing project grows produce to donate to the Belmont Food Pantry. And everything is growing nicely. Here are photos from two of the gardens: Beth El Temple Center, and Rock Meadow.

Community Growing - Rock Meadow garden Community Growing - garden Community Growing - cucumber

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Meet the Market: Olivia Cronin, Intern Extraordinaire

Olivia Cronin

Olivia Cronin joined the Belmont Food Collaborative (BFC) as an intern in 2013. While you may see her at the Market, you’re more likely to find her working on her many other projects, like raising produce for the Belmont Food Pantry through Community Growing or working on our blog.

In addition to her work with the BFC, she has started a club at Belmont High School that focuses on food issues. A rising senior, she also rows with the Arlington-Belmont Crew Team and plays bassoon at the high school and with an outside orchestra.

Why did you start working with the Market/Food Collaborative?
Last year I was looking for summer opportunities and saw that the Market/Food Collaborative was looking for interns. I’d never been involved with the Market before and had actually only been a few times. The focus of the position has a lot of flexibility, so it gives potential to pursue whatever areas interest you the most. There is a lot more that goes on besides the Market, and I wanted to have the chance to be involved in more community projects, especially ones that give you the chance to be outdoors.

What projects are you working on this year?
This year I’m helping with the Community Growing project that raises produce for the Belmont Food Pantry. Over this past year, with the BFC, I helped to start a similar garden at Belmont High School (BHS) and will be working on maintaining and organizing this project. I will also continue to post on the BFC’s blog with updates on the garden and its progress.

Is there anything you’re working on with us that you enjoy most?
I really enjoy working on the garden, especially delivering the produce we’ve raised to the Food Pantry. This is very rewarding and emphasizes the idea of knowing where your food comes from.

Can you tell me a bit about the club you started at the high school?
The club meets every 1-2 weeks and has been primarily focused on starting up the garden, but has done other projects throughout the year. This winter we organized the first “Winter Food Drive Competition” at BHS, collecting food items for the Belmont Food Pantry. Each grade competed for a prize of a dessert party, which was prepared by club members.

A big project this spring was “Global Awareness Week,” which was headed by the leaders of four high school clubs that are focused on global issues. This event was another first for BHS. Throughout the week presenters spoke about a wide variety of globally centered topics and teachers were able to sign up their classes for presentations throughout the day. The week ended with a “Hunger Banquet,” an interactive simulation intended to represent the global struggle for food security. Guests were randomly placed into one of three socioeconomic classes, where the distribution of people and food matched the situation around the world. We are already planning for next year, but are hoping to expand the event to include more of the community.

Meet the Market: Olivia Cronin, Intern Extraordinaire

Olivia Cronin

Olivia Cronin joined the Belmont Food Collaborative (BFC) as an intern in 2013. While you may see her at the Market, you’re more likely to find her working on her many other projects, like raising produce for the Belmont Food Pantry through Community Growing or working on our blog.

In addition to her work with the BFC, she has started a club at Belmont High School that focuses on food issues. A rising senior, she also rows with the Arlington-Belmont Crew Team and plays bassoon at the high school and with an outside orchestra.

Why did you start working with the Market/Food Collaborative?
Last year I was looking for summer opportunities and saw that the Market/Food Collaborative was looking for interns. I’d never been involved with the Market before and had actually only been a few times. The focus of the position has a lot of flexibility, so it gives potential to pursue whatever areas interest you the most. There is a lot more that goes on besides the Market, and I wanted to have the chance to be involved in more community projects, especially ones that give you the chance to be outdoors.

What projects are you working on this year?
This year I’m helping with the Community Growing project that raises produce for the Belmont Food Pantry. Over this past year, with the BFC, I helped to start a similar garden at Belmont High School (BHS) and will be working on maintaining and organizing this project. I will also continue to post on the BFC’s blog with updates on the garden and its progress.

Is there anything you’re working on with us that you enjoy most?
I really enjoy working on the garden, especially delivering the produce we’ve raised to the Food Pantry. This is very rewarding and emphasizes the idea of knowing where your food comes from.

Can you tell me a bit about the club you started at the high school?
The club meets every 1-2 weeks and has been primarily focused on starting up the garden, but has done other projects throughout the year. This winter we organized the first “Winter Food Drive Competition” at BHS, collecting food items for the Belmont Food Pantry. Each grade competed for a prize of a dessert party, which was prepared by club members.

A big project this spring was “Global Awareness Week,” which was headed by the leaders of four high school clubs that are focused on global issues. This event was another first for BHS. Throughout the week presenters spoke about a wide variety of globally centered topics and teachers were able to sign up their classes for presentations throughout the day. The week ended with a “Hunger Banquet,” an interactive simulation intended to represent the global struggle for food security. Guests were randomly placed into one of three socioeconomic classes, where the distribution of people and food matched the situation around the world. We are already planning for next year, but are hoping to expand the event to include more of the community.

Pomona planting guides

While you’re waiting for spring, read our Pomona planting guides. If you placed an order, you’ll get email about delivery dates and the workshop.

Winter Markets Are Still Open

With the snow finally thawing and spring around the corner, the winter farmers’ markets will be closing soon. If you haven’t yet had a chance to stop by, plan to make a trip before winter ends.


Winter markets have become increasingly popular, with a dozen listed in the Boston area, many featuring our Belmont Farmers’ Market vendors. Much like at a summer market, there is an incredible variety of local food to choose from: vegetables, fish, cheese, bread, wine, fruit, nuts, tea, and sometimes coffee and chocolate, too.


Check out the closest winter markets to  Belmont, or try the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture’s interactive map to find a market near you.

95,000 lbs of food — how big a pile would that make?

From the Feb/March Farm and Market Report of the Mass Dept of Agricultural Resources, a note by a group that we work with:

Boston Area Gleaners would like to thank all of the farmers who donated their produce during the 2013 growing season! We were able to glean over 95,000 pounds of food for delivery to 20 different hunger relief agencies in the Greater Boston area.
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Farmers to You: New in Belmont

farmers-to-you-share

Eating locally can be a challenge in the middle of a New England winter. With the growing number of winter farmers’ markets and deep winter CSAs, however, it’s possible to continue enjoying fresh, regionally-produced food even in this cold, snowy winter.

A new year-round option for Belmont-area residents is Farmers to You , a farm box program that participated in our Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair. Farmers to You is a regional partnership of families, farmers, and producers that allows families to select their order weekly online, then delivers to a central pick-up location (or, for a fee, to your home or office). Ordering options range from seasonal produce  (like beets, celeriac, dried beans, greens, and potatoes), to Vermont cheese, meat , and bread .

Rachel Greenberger, an enthusiastic local Farmers to You partner, shared her experience with their service:

“My husband and I have been a partner family for a year and a half, but it feels a lot longer, in a really great way. I’ve been surprised by just how much I love them and want to support them in any way I can, beyond being a constant customer. Before starting with Farmers to You, I largely shopped at Whole Foods. I’d do my best to get to farmers markets and the Somerville Winter Farmers’ Market, but sometimes for scheduling reasons it was just too much of a hassle. With Farmers To You, my weekly “basket,” updated by midnight on Sunday, is the sun around which all my supplemental grocery shopping orbits. Everything they bring us is so delicious. “

Belmont High School is one of their newest pickup locations – but needs more families to join to program to continue the service. Interested? You can explore and sign up online.

Answers to Market shopper questions, part 2

We distributed a survey at the end of the 2013 season. Thanks to all of you who filled it out.

This is the second half of our responses to your questions and comments. The previous blog post had the first set. We hope that this gives you a good look into how we run the Market.

comments about the Market

  • “I like the small town atmosphere, the wonderful food.”
  •  “The strong sense of community is the thing that we like most about the Farmer’s Market.  We always run in to someone we know and have met a few new friends there as well.  The ‘special events’ (musicians, magic shows, storytime) seem to be the thing that has helped to build that community.”
  • “I like the financial help with SNAP matching. I was able to eat well because of your market.” (SNAP is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps.)

shopper questions and responses

“I wish it could start at 1:00 rather than 2:00.”
“I wish it could open earlier and stay open just as late.”

We’ve gotten comments over the years about people wanting the Market to open or close at different times, or be open on a different day. We’ve settled on the current hours (2:00 to 6:30 until Labor Day, then 2:00 to 6:00) because it works best for most people, including the vendors.

It’s a long day for the vendors. Many of them travel a good distance to get to Belmont and need a lot of time to set up before the Market opens.

We originally picked Thursday because Arlington’s market is on Wednesday and Lexington’s is on Tuesday. If you can’t make it to the Belmont Farmers’ Market, see our list of nearby farmers’ markets – there are some open every day.

“Cooking and food preservation demonstrations (plus associated tastings) are fun, educational, and draw crowds. Fermentation, knife techniques, ‘forgotten skills’ like making yoghurt, vinegar, butter, crème fraîche. Food thrift topics like a dozen uses for stale bread.”
These are great ideas, and fit in with the goals of both the Market and the Belmont Food Collaborative (parent organization of the Market). BFC’s Education Committee is interested in courses like this, but needs people to organize and teach them. Let us know if you have any ideas about that.

“Good variety of events.”
“Can some of the storytimes/tastings be later so that people who come after work can attend?”

We’re glad that many shoppers liked the activities in our Events Tent. We had so many events in 2013 that there was almost always something going on.

We decided to keep the hours consistent for storytime so people know when it is. It’s hard for restaurants to come later in the day because they have to start preparing for dinner, but we’ll see if we can schedule some tastings later (like stores offering samples of olive oil or yogurt).

“I didn’t love being solicited by people at the entrance – political campaigns, new school openings, etc.”
The Market is in a public space, the Town’s parking lot. Just as people can solicit you in front of the Post Office, they have a First Amendment right to ask you questions at the Market. We do ask them to stay outside of the actual Market area, though.

“I tried to get in touch with ideas and never heard from you again.”
Thanks to the people who send email or stop at the Market Manager’s tent with suggestions. We really try to respond to everyone, but unfortunately sometimes we lose a comment or forget to reply, especially during the Market Season. The Market is completely volunteer-run and we do the best we can.

If you’d like to volunteer to help run the Market, let us know. There is a full range of jobs, and we’ll find you something you’ll enjoy.

“I wish it started a bit earlier in the spring and kept going through November the way the Davis Square Market does.  I wish there were some way to have a winter market.”
We’re not likely to start one, but there are many winter markets in the area.

Thanks to those who filled out the survey. We’re starting to plan the 2014 Belmont Farmers’ Market now, and look forward to seeing you in June. Let us know if you have any comments or questions, or want to help.

Concord Seed Lending Library

Take a look at the Concord Seed Lending Library. Their Web site says, “We’re a public library collecting and sharing bio-diverse, locally-adapted plant seeds, cultivated by and for area residents.”

Food donations in 2013: Financial donations

Recent posts show how the Belmont Food Collaborative (BFC) works with other groups as part of our Food Assistance program. We also make financial donations to help those in need.

Please help us continue programs like these. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Belmont Food Collaborative.

  • SNAP matching. The Belmont Farmers’ Market matches SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps), up to $25 per shopper per Market day. In 2013, we matched $1898 in SNAP benefits, helping many families take fresh nutritious produce and other local products home to their families.
  • Belmont Food Pantry. BFC donated $1000 to help the Pantry support those in need, right here in Belmont.
  • Belmont Area Gleaners. We gave $935 to this group: $450 as a donation, and $485 to support their deliveries to the Belmont Food Pantry. They glean produce from farmers’ fields that would otherwise go to waste.