A Message from Vidya Tikku, General Manager
Last week, Mayor Walsh released his Food Access Agenda, citing issues of affordability and access to healthy food and how the city aims to address the issue and end food insecurity by 2030. “In Boston, we believe that food is a right, not a privilege,” Mayor Martin Walsh said in a statement recently. “Our Food Access Agenda builds off the important work that our Office of Food Access is doing to help make fresh, healthy food more affordable and more accessible across all of our neighborhoods.
The Trustees have been participating with the Mayor's Office of Food Access in helping identify priorities to focus on as part of this initiative. Our community gardens produce, conservatively, an estimated $1.4 million worth of healthy organic produce that supplements many family food budgets. The harvest supports a diverse culturally appropriate diet and increased access to affordable fresh foods. As your garden cleans up for the fall, please consider donating any extra produce harvested to your local food pantry. If you have more open plots in your garden than can be filled by your wait list, please reach out to us so we can help fill them. Thank you all for helping us operate such a robust community garden network that contributes to our city's food access movement.
Gardeners celebrated their produce and stored it up for the fall—adding grape leaves to keep veggies crisp--at Pickle Potlucks at Nightingale Community Garden in Dorchester and Leland Cooperative Garden in JP this past weekend.
Meet Our New Stewardship Manager
– Barry Merluzzo, Stewardship Manager
Hello! I am pleased to be serving as the new Stewardship Manager for the Boston Community Gardens. Having worked some years ago as a ranger at Appleton Farms, a Trustees property on the North Shore, I am thrilled to be rejoining the Trustees once again. My educational background is heavily weighted toward agriculture, horticulture and urban forestry. Over my many years in the Boston area, I have had the chance to work with several nonprofit organizations in creating productive urban farms and educational gardening programs.
I’m a certified Arborist and Naturalist and most recently, graduated from the Master Urban Gardener Program here in Boston. My interests include hiking, surfing, skiing, camping and exploring and photographing our wild places and national parks.
I hope I can be a resource to our community gardeners going forward and I look forward to working with all of you! You can reach me at 617.542.7696 extension 2114 or bmerluzzo@...
Come and be judged at the Urban Agriculture Fair
– Peter Bowne, Engagement Manager, South End & Lower Roxbury
Bring your prized garden veggies to the judges at the Urban Agriculture Fair this Saturday and see if you can win swag, bragging rights, and the coveted Pomme d’Or 1st place ribbon! Urban gardeners, beekeepers, canners, bakers, & food craft-makers are encouraged to submit entries to be judged by a team of master gardeners & chefs. Games & ag exhibits for all ages, too! Find entry guidelines here.
We are thrilled to be partnering with DCR’s Roxbury Heritage Park, UU Urban Ministry, & Agricultural Hall to bring you this event. Exhibitors and educators include the Boston Area Beekeepers Association, Boston Food Forest Coalition, Eastie Farm, Haley House Farm, and the Urban Farming Institute. Join us on Saturday, October 12 from 11-4 at the grounds of the recently renovated Dillaway-Thomas House, the oldest surviving building in Roxbury.183 Roxbury Street (4 blocks from the Roxbury Crossing T stop). Check out the event on Facebook or contact Peter Bowne for details: 617-869-6720.
Crop Spotlight: Sweet Potatoes
– Michelle de Lima, Engagement Manager
I’m a huge fan of fermenting to store cabbage, radishes, turnips, and more, but today, I want to talk about a lovely crop that can be kept easily without pickling or cold storage: the sweet potato (stay tuned for another one next month). If you haven’t grown sweet potatoes and have the space, I highly recommend it. With edible leaves and an abundance of highly nutritious tubers, they are a low-maintenance and high-yield choice. Prepare mounded beds and plant your own slips—a topic for a spring newsletter--or mail-ordered ones after the soil and air have warmed to 60 degrees. Water while establishing, then let them do their thing. They're quite successful at crowding at weeds, though I like to mulch with straw to reduce watering. Once the vines start to yellow or frost approaches, carefully dig the tubers and bring them inside to cure so they sweeten up and last longer. My favorite method for this is the water/lightbulb/oven curing chamber pictured below. You’re trying to get as close as possible to 90 degrees F and 85% humidity for 5-7 days. After that, you know what to do: roast, bake, mash...
Urban Agriculture Fair
Saturday, October 12 | 11AM-4PM
The Dillaway-Thomas House, 183 Roxbury Street
Drop in for urban growing and homesteading demonstrations, games for young and old, pie eating, veggie car racing, and harvest contests. Free & open to all.
Halloween at Hutch
Saturday, October 26 | 4-6PM
Governor Hutchinson’s Field | 225 Adams Road, Milton
Celebrate Halloween with costumes, pumpkin painting, and campfire delights! Registration appreciated.
Urban Orcharding: Mulching & Winterizing
Saturday, November 2 | 10AM-12:30PM
Southwest Corridor Community Farm | 57 Lamartine Street, Jamaica Plain
As the season comes to an end and the last fruit has fallen, come learn the best way to put your orchard to bed before the winter.
Thanks for all of your support in the gardens!