Explore: Tales From the Farm

Volunteer Spotlight: Allison Aley

At Gaining Ground, our hunger-relief work is made possible by a community of volunteers that embodies a dedication to sustainable, holistic farming practices and uprooting food insecurity rivaled only by that of our incredible farmers.  A standout member of this outstanding team is Allison Aley. We caught up with Allison to learn more about her […]

From the Lab to the Farm

MIT Brings a Drip Irrigation Prototype to Gaining Ground’s Fields “What’s that?” has been a particularly frequent question from our volunteers this year, and they’re not just talking about equipment, plants, insects, or other common farm-related mysteries.  This year, the source of curiosity has tended to be a massive black drum, orange metal box, and […]

Deepening Our Partnership with the Soil

The past two years have been a picture-perfect lesson in why our relationship with the land we cultivate is one of ongoing commitment and learning. A drought in 2020, followed by extraordinary heat and rain in 2021, took their toll on farms across New England—and Gaining Ground was no exception. We watched as our farm […]

Farmer Spotlight: Catching up with Chrissie Edgeworth

This year, we have the great fortune of retaining most of the farmers from our 2021 crew for a new season of growing at Gaining Ground. One such returning farmer is Assistant Grower Chrissie Edgeworth. We are thrilled to have Chrissie back with us in the fields, and wanted to take the opportunity to catch […]

Energized by Mulch!

In the life of a farmer, as much as deep winter is for reflection and quiet, it is also a time of intricate planning, preparations, and dreaming. Those long days of summer light are so far off, yet in just a short couple of months a rebirth will be upon us.   This season I am […]

Switching Lenses on Hunger Relief

When I was a volunteer at Gaining Ground, I thought like a volunteer. I watched the seedlings my students planted turn into gorgeous veggies, helped drive them to a local food pantry, and heard the exclamations of recipients about the quality of the produce. Yet this process only revealed to me the surface of hunger […]

Connecting the Past and Future of Food Through Seed Saving

In mid-November, Farmer Erin Espinosa visited the Children’s Meetinghouse preschool in Concord to teach the students there about seed saving—the practice of collecting seeds from open-pollinated food crops and using them to grow future harvests of those plants. Her visit was a reminder of the importance of learning about the life cycles of plants, food […]

What Teamwork Can Grow

The end of November means the days are approaching their shortest and the coldest nights will soon be here. It also means that our volunteer season has come to an end for the year and the last of our seasonal farm team members have departed. At the farm, we grow used to the many devoted, […]

With Food Costs Rising, Hunger Relief Can Start With Storage

On a bright, warm November afternoon two weeks ago, the Gaining Ground team gathered in front of the barn—some of us wearing t-shirts in the midday sun that filtered through the treetops along the edge of the farm. We set out hefty boxes and bags of harvested vegetables and got to work assembling and filling […]

Women Who Farm: The Joys—and Challenges—of Farming as a Woman

Last month, we shared some of the insights and experiences of the incredible women who make up our 2021 farm team. It has been a delight to have such a thoughtful, dedicated, and skilled group of farmers with us at Gaining Ground this growing season. Women farmers can face gender-specific barriers as they navigate their […]

Challenging Weather Can’t Dampen Gaining Ground’s Commitment to Hunger Relief

This story ran in the September 3 print edition of the Concord Journal. CONCORD, MASS. – This summer has been a season of extremes. It was the hottest June on record for Boston and July was the wettest in Massachusetts history. These conditions have brought unprecedented pressure from diseases and pests to the fields at […]

Through the Eyes of a Young Farmer

Growing up in Chicago, summer was always my favorite season. It meant wiffle ball in the streets, ice cream cones larger than my face, lightning bugs, movies in the park, running through sprinklers, and annual camping trips. But as I’ve gotten older and travelled around more, spring is something I look forward to most. It’s […]

Water: Life at the Wash and Pack Station

Without water life does not exist. Water makes up 60 percent of the human body, 70 percent of the earth, and almost 90 percent of many of the vegetables we grow, like cucumbers and tomatoes. This season I have spent my days surrounded by this sacred substance—using it to spray, dunk, shimmy, and shine our vegetables.

Faith, Patience, and Healthy Soil

In 2016, we started with a vision of making the farm more productive, and over the last four years we have reimagined and reconstituted almost every system and aspect of our farming practices. The driving force behind all these changes was the long-term plan of regenerating the soil, along with a switch to no-till farming. We believed […]

We Put It Down on Paper

In celebration of its 25th year, Gaining Ground has published a book chronicling the organization’s history and growth—from a visionary garden project in 1994 to a highly productive farm that now donates more than 120,000 pounds of food in a season. In Gaining Ground: The Story of a Community Growing Food and Giving It All Away, the farm’s history comes to life […]

Leaders in the Field

It’s 8 AM and already 93 degrees outside, and your friends have invited you to go to the air-conditioned mall. But wait… it’s Farm Team day, and you are heading up the high school volunteers. Besides, who would want to be indoors on a scorcher like this when there are 2,000 pounds of butternut squash […]

Bird’s Eye View

I began working at the farm in late June, just after a killdeer nested in the leeks and fledged two chicks. Great-crested flycatchers occupied the woods surrounding the far field. One of my favorite things about farming is being more in tune with changes in the seasons and the weather and how they affect the […]

Honey Bees Hard at Work

For the first time in years, Gaining Ground collected over 50 pounds of honey from our bee colonies this summer. Do you know how amazing that is?! The production of honey requires complex processes, and now bees face the additional challenges of highly toxic pesticides and extreme weather.

Despite Challenges, Bees Are Still Alive!

In 2018, Gaining Ground hosted two new bee colonies purchased from beekeepers located in Western Massachusetts. The colonies arrived in late May and mid June and we named them Autumn and Warm.  The colonies faced multiple threats this year. In July they encountered a bacterial disease that took control of their brood and affected their population […]
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