Help wanted: Water and weeding for Community Growing

Our Community Growing program has vegetable gardens at three locations. We grow produce for the Belmont Food Pantry. It’s a great way to share the bounty of summer with out neighbors.

We need volunteers to water and weed at two of the garden locations. No experience is needed.

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Planning the 10th Farmers’ Market season

January is when we start thinking about the next Farmers’ Market season. It doesn’t start until June, but there’s a lot to figure out.We’ve already heard from some vendors who are interested in participating.

The Belmont Food Collaborative has many other activities, some of which run in the winter (like classes) and some in the summer (Community Growing). And don’t forget about the Pomona Project: we sell edible landscaping plants at wholesale prices.

Can you help with the Market, or other activities? We’re always looking for performers, vendors and (of course) volunteers.

And shoppers, too. Look for news about the start of the 10th season.

BHS Garden Growing in Labor Day Heat

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Despite the heat of this past Labor Day weekend, the BHS Garden is growing well. The tomatoes are slowing down a bit, but are still plentiful, and new eggplants seem to be coming in every day. With school starting at the High School this Wednesday the garden is still in the height of late summer.

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Earlier this month the broccoli plants were picked clean of their thick green leaves by the geese who live around Clay Pit Pond. After a week or so of a skeleton-filled bed we decided to replant it, but kept one of the healthier plants out of curiosity. Now, it is growing strongly, even more so than before. Although it would’ve been nice to have a full bed of these broccoli, it was a large risk to take since it took several weeks to grow back, and either way, the beans and lettuce we planted are now coming in.

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Besides geese, it’s now safe to assume that rats have also been frequenting the garden. We found one dead in the beet bed today, although we haven’t noticed any other signs of them.

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The BHS Garden had a lot to provide for The Belmont Food Pantry last Tuesday, including tomatoes, eggplant and beets. The peppers, zucchini and some of the tomatoes were donated by Belmont Acres Farm.

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Community Growing: Garden Predators and Successful Harvests

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The BHS Garden, part of the Community Growing Project, faced its first predators earlier this month when the geese that live around nearby Claypit Pond quickly cleared out the broccoli bed. Fortunately, the majority of the plants, about fifteen heads, had already been harvested. With nearly all the leaves removed from the plants and little chance for regrowth, we decided to replant the bed. Belmont High Seniors Charlie Smith and Maggie O’Brien helped rip out the broccoli skeletons to make way for bush beans and red lettuce.   

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To prevent future predators, a fence was put around the tomato, lettuce/bean, and beet/bean beds. The eggplant in the fourth bed has been largely ignored by the geese and other animals, likely due to it’s prickly stems and leaves.

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Despite issues with predators, we were able to harvest a large amount of tomatoes and beans from both the High School and Beth El Gardens. This produce was delivered to the Belmont Food Pantry, along with lettuce, corn and squash from the Boston Area Gleaners

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Vacation Garden Campers Visit Farmer’s Market

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Last time you were at the market did you interview a farmer? Or find a fruit or vegetable that you’ve never seen at the grocery store? These kids did, as part of an interactive scavenger hunt through Watertown-based Vacation Garden School at the Church of the Good Shepard. The camp is now in its third year, and has visited the Belmont Farmer’s Market each summer. 

The 29 campers are outside most of the day, says Reverend and camp director Amy McCreath, and activities focus on appreciating the wonders of nature in the world around them. The kids are from Watertown, Belmont, and Waltham and range from three-and-a-half to eleven years of age. Each day the older kids, called “Junior Counselors”, take a field trip to places like The Mt. Auburn Cemetery or The Charles River. 

At the Farmer’s Market the campers were split into groups to explore. Each group interviewed a farmer, asking questions like “What insects help/hurt your plants?” or “Why should people buy food from you rather than Walmart or Shaws?”. They were also given some money to pick out a new and interesting food to share with the rest of the group. 

McCreath, whose daughters participate in the camp, describes the annual trip as “a highlight”, where the campers have the chance to try new foods and learn about the sources of what they eat. “I love seeing kids dancing around, reporting on ‘how awesome’ fennel or raw corn or Japanese turnips are!” 

Vacation Garden Campers Visit Farmer’s Market

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Last time you were at the market did you interview a farmer? Or find a fruit or vegetable that you’ve never seen at the grocery store? These kids did, as part of an interactive scavenger hunt through Watertown-based Vacation Garden School at the Church of the Good Shepard. The camp is now in its third year, and has visited the Belmont Farmer’s Market each summer. 

The 29 campers are outside most of the day, says Reverend and camp director Amy McCreath, and activities focus on appreciating the wonders of nature in the world around them. The kids are from Watertown, Belmont, and Waltham and range from three-and-a-half to eleven years of age. Each day the older kids, called “Junior Counselors”, take a field trip to places like The Mt. Auburn Cemetery or The Charles River. 

At the Farmer’s Market the campers were split into groups to explore. Each group interviewed a farmer, asking questions like “What insects help/hurt your plants?” or “Why should people buy food from you rather than Walmart or Shaws?”. They were also given some money to pick out a new and interesting food to share with the rest of the group. 

McCreath, whose daughters participate in the camp, describes the annual trip as “a highlight”, where the campers have the chance to try new foods and learn about the sources of what they eat. “I love seeing kids dancing around, reporting on ‘how awesome’ fennel or raw corn or Japanese turnips are!” 

First Harvests with Community Growing

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The Community Growing Project at Belmont High School and Beth El Temple has made its first harvests for the Belmont Food Pantry. So far broccoli, beans and beets have been delivered and tomatoes and eggplant are on their way. Pictured here are some of the high school students who have been working in the garden.

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The produce was joined at the Food Pantry by summer squash, cucumbers and greens from the Boston Area Gleaners. This organization collects surplus crops from local farms and regularly provides fresh vegetables for the Belmont Food Pantry, as well as many others.

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BHS Garden Update: Stakes, First Tomatoes and Surviving Arthur

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As part of the BFC’s Food Assistance program, in 2014 the Community Growing project was expanded to partner with BHS’ Garden and Food Justice Club. The new BHS Garden has been built and cared for nearly exclusively by high school students. In 2012 Community Growing started with growing vegetables in local backyards. In 2013, we partnered with the Beth El Temple Center, and now have 6 beds providing produce for the Belmont Food Pantry at that location.

20140705_132945Despite the gusts and furies of tropical storm Arthur this past week, the garden is growing strongly! The tomatoes have been staked, thanks to a donation from Belmont Acres Farm, who also provided the broccoli, tomato and eggplant seedlings. In addition, we are growing beets and beans.

Looking to find out more about Community Growing or what’s going on at the High School? Contact the club at bhsgardenfood@gmail.com.

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BHS Garden Update: Stakes, First Tomatoes and Surviving Arthur

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As part of the BFC’s Food Assistance program, in 2014 the Community Growing project was expanded to partner with BHS’ Garden and Food Justice Club. The new BHS Garden has been built and cared for nearly exclusively by high school students. In 2012 Community Growing started with growing vegetables in local backyards. In 2013, we partnered with the Beth El Temple Center, and now have 6 beds providing produce for the Belmont Food Pantry at that location.

20140705_132945Despite the gusts and furies of tropical storm Arthur this past week, the garden is growing strongly! The tomatoes have been staked, thanks to a donation from Belmont Acres Farm, who also provided the broccoli, tomato and eggplant seedlings. In addition, we are growing beets and beans.

Looking to find out more about Community Growing or what’s going on at the High School? Contact the club at bhsgardenfood@gmail.com.

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