Fresh, locally grown cucumbers, kale, spinach, apples, berries, and more… That’s breakfast for many homeless and low-income men and women living in the Lowell area! How? These delicious vegetables are turned into free healthy breakfast smoothies thanks to a new partnership with Gaining Ground and other produce providers.
In June, Kenzie Thomas and Claire Brandhorst began their 2016–2017 youth board member commitments at the board's traditional summer potluck in the pavilion.
Mark your calendar and gather together at Gaining Ground for a community harvest celebration on Sunday, September 18!
- Listen to Twisted Pine, a new roots band with an unbridled, contagious spirit.
- Purchase locally sourced sandwiches, salads and dessert from pop-up restaurant Company Picnic or bring your own lunch.
- Participate in cider making, art projects, treasure hunt and games.
Gaining Ground has a strong team of 16 riders participating in its first year of the Three Squares New England Ride for Food, a bike ride on Sunday, September 25 that raises funds to eliminate hunger in New England. The team has pledged to raise at least $10,000 with a portion benefitting Gaining Ground directly.
After you go to all the trouble of building a barn by hand—from cutting every last joint to raising it by hand, resulting in a structure that will last for generations—you really can’t crown it with some made-in-China, mail-order weathervane. That would be like Alice Waters plating up Twinkies for dessert at Chez Panisse. It just wouldn’t be right.
For over twenty years, students from many local schools have helped fight hunger by participating in our Read for Seeds program. This unique program links fundraising, education, and community action. Led by Pam Goar, long-time board member, Read for Seeds pays for almost 70% of the seeds needed to grow 60 different vegetables annually.
I am writing this after the sun has gone down on the longest day of the year. Looking back on the day, it seems like a lot can be done with fifteen hours of light fueling you.
All of us farmers started the morning with our regular Tuesday walk around, observing how the fields have changed over the weekend (a lot, mainly weeds).
Although it was just the seed of an idea in March, June’s rollout of produce to our partner organizations is now transitioning into a steady weekly rhythm of harvesting, washing, boxing, weighing and loading. Our partners include:
- Tuesdays: Head Start, House of Hope, Loaves & Fishes, Pine Street Inn, Sudbury Food Pantry
- Thursdays: Bedford Food Pantry, Open Table Concord, Rosie’s Place, Westford Community Housing
- Saturdays: Food for Families, Lowell Transitional Living Center, Open Table Maynard
This year Gaining Ground welcomed two talented, hard-working individuals to our Board: Theresa Cohen and Elisabeth Elden.
Did you know that Project Bread’s 2014 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts found that the food insecurity rate has increased by 71% over the past ten years?
On a blustery Sunday in May, Gaining Ground donors and friends gathered to celebrate our completed barn.
This new structure will advance all aspects of our mission and will be the center of life at the farm. Our barn will protect our equipment and supplies — the essentials for growing more food. It will provide produce storage areas, enabling us to harvest vegetables at their peak and to keep them fresher longer so we can distribute more food. It will provide shelter for our ever-growing number of volunteers, allowing them to gather and work in all kinds of weather.
Spring at Gaining Ground reminds me of the beginning of Richard Wilbur’s poem “Seed Leaves:”
Here something stubborn comes
Dislodging the earth crumbs
And making crusty rubble
It comes up bending double
And looks like a green staple.
It could be seedling maple,
Or artichoke, or bean
That remains to be seen.
I wander around the farm as dusk settles in on this silent spring night, and I pause knowing this is the calm before the storm. This spring marks the beginning of my fourth season of growing at Gaining Ground. Which means I have walked all around and over this piece of land. Back and forth from the orchards to the greenhouse, up and down every row and through each field. I am blessed by the opportunity to walk the fields determined, yet again, to plough, sow and reap its soil, seed, and bounty.
We are a five-person farm crew again this season, with Doug and Kayleigh co-managing the farm, Coleman Wadsworth and Alexis Mantis as our two seasonal apprentices, and Paula Jordan as Head Start mobile market manager.
For farms, winter means more time to plan, and this year’s focus has been to streamline our volunteer sign-up process. We want our volunteers to spend less time in their planning and more enjoyable time in the planting and harvesting.