I love visiting the farm during off hours. Stepping onto the land, I feel peace. I see the farm in an alternate light. I have this moment of clarity, this realization that this is where I get to spend every day. I observe the work that took place during the week and all that was accomplished. I notice how things have changed, even in just one day. I notice how the first peas have grown, how the flowers have bloomed, the bright red that is taking over the strawberry patch, the size of the cucumbers, and of course some of the work that will take place in the coming weeks.
I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky to become involved with Gaining Ground. It was really serendipitous that I biked by one day seven years ago and decided to start volunteering. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop, easily convincing my husband, Mark, to join me every other weekend. Getting to know Gaining Ground from the perspective of the physical work that goes into making it successful is enlightening for someone who works in an office all day.
Our 2018 farm staff includes the familiar faces of Doug Wolcik, Hannah Lawson, and Paula Jordan from last year, along with the new additions of Jared Kimler and Kim Schmidt. Our market intern in Lowell is Wellinton Lantigua. We are so fortunate to have this team growing food, growing community in such an exceptional way this year. Read More
Gaining Ground welcomes two new members to its Board of Directors: Nina Frusztajer and John Canally. Here they share their interests and thoughts on becoming more closely involved with the organization.
Calling all high school-aged youth with a passion for being outside and digging in for a good cause. Join Gaining Ground’s Farm Team to work with others your age any Tuesday or Thursday morning from 9:00 a.m. until noon, rain or shine. The goal is to assist the farmers in tackling essential projects for the day, while also having a fun way to work with peers during the summer. Lexi and Ava of Concord-Carlisle High School are co-leaders for this year’s Farm Team.
The Bedford Community Table/Pantry was started in 1991 by the Grey family, who had participated in the Walk for Hunger for ten years prior to organizing the pantry. Now the organization is open every Thursday and, during the school year, offers a free community dinner.
Gaining Ground recently received a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation to expand and strengthen its programs of hunger relief and community volunteerism. Specifically, the grant will support the work of our innovative farmers who, in the past four years, have doubled the amount of produce delivered to those who face food insecurity. The grant will also support partnerships with our recipient organizations.
I’m a 21-year-old college student, and I’ve been volunteering at Gaining Ground since last spring. I heard about this beautiful farm from a family friend who used to be on the board. The first time I made the 40-minute drive from Boston to Concord, I brought along my three roommates and we planted butternut squash (my favorite fall vegetable!). The drive out was refreshing, and we were thrilled to have a morning free of city commotion. Then we entered a space of potent soil, pink worms, and friendly faces.
Do you enjoy working with flowers?
This season, we have planted more beautiful flowers than ever. Cheerful, colorful touches around the farm, these flowers create beautiful bouquets for our recipients. Just as importantly, they bring in beneficial insects that help protect our plants from pests. They line the drive and paths leading to the volunteer pavilion. They are nestled beneath fruit trees and shrubs in perennial hedgerows amongst the produce beds. They fill a new cutting garden beside the greenhouse. Read More
At the end of March, Gaining Ground hosted an interdisciplinary panel focused on the issue of hunger relief. In a community like ours, hunger might not be obvious, but here are the numbers:
- 41 million Americans are hungry, and yet 40% of food in the US is thrown away during the growing, distribution, and dining process.
- Children struggle with hunger with 1 in 8 children in Eastern MA being food insecure and 1 in 6, nationally.
- 800,000 Massachusetts residents do not know where their next meal will come from, an increase of 71% in the last decade.
Our panel included:
- Danielle Nierenberg, activist, author, and journalist. She co-founded Food Tank, a non-profit organization that researches food systems, hunger, and poverty.
- Dr. Kathryn Brodowski, preventive medicine physician who specializes in food insecurity and nutrition. She oversees both program and research at The Greater Boston Food Bank.
- Doug Wolcik, farm manager at Gaining Ground. Doug has focused on soil health and introduced no-till agricultural practices to Gaining Ground, a switch that has vastly increased the amount of food donated to hunger relief efforts.
We had a full crowd join us for an evening of discussion about food security, human health and one of the most surprising levers for positive change: the soil beneath our feet.