Explore: Tales From the Farm

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 […]

Leadership in the Field

Gaining Ground’s no-till practice is garnering attention: the organization is one of nine organic farms selected to participate in a three-year USDA Conservation Innovation Grant. The $170,000 grant was awarded to Northeast Organic Farmers Associations (NOFA) of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The goal of the project is […]

For the Love of Bees

I have always wanted to work with animals, but growing up in a crowded city like Bogotá, Colombia, there was a large gap between what I learned in school and the knowledge of the world of animals that I was seeking. In 2010, I became captivated by honeybees, with their mystical world and important connection to our food systems. This early interest […]

Race to the Start

The holidays have come and gone and, after a very successful 2017, where we saw production increase to over 80,000 pounds, we now reflect and set a course for our next season. Winter is the season for planning. How do we achieve these results again or, better yet, how do we continue to grow more […]

Food for Thought

Why do I volunteer at Gaining Ground? Interesting question. I started there because I was looking for a way to be useful in this world. I stayed because I get more than I give. So what do I get? I get enough hard, physical work to avoid feeling like I should go for a run […]

In the Present Season

As the growing season starts to wind down, I start to get excited about the winter months and the planning process for next year’s growing season. I can’t help myself. As a farmer, it is so ingrained to always be thinking two days, two weeks, even two months ahead at any moment. But on days […]

Market Days

“Those are carrots. Reindeers eat carrots.” —A 4 year-old talking to her friend at the Head Start market “The market is an opportunity to see all the colors, all the vegetables. Kids feel important when they shop.” —Teacher at Head Start in Lowell “We’ve tried new vegetables, and I’m learning how to cook.” and “This market […]

Survival

Gaining Ground offers us an outlet that exercises our minds, bodies, and souls. Meditation is largely inaccessible to our restless young minds. Over the years we’ve sought methods of clearing our heads like yoga and hiking, but nothing seems to do the trick like weeding for two hours. The satisfaction of clearing a patch of […]

The Learning Curve

Hard to express in a few words, my experience at Gaining Ground has meant growth, empowerment, challenge, and fulfillment. It’s also been sweaty. I came into this season with very little farming knowledge. For many years now, I have studied plants—how to identify them, draw them, understand their biology. I have spent many countless hours […]

A Fresh Start

One of the joys of farming is that each season is a fresh start, bringing new challenges and new successes. Until you are in it, you never know how it will go. Farming forces you to be present, to live in the now and depend on the elements. You can plan as much as possible, […]

Getting Our Hands Dirty

Farm Team is a program within Gaining Ground that brings together local high school-aged kids who have a genuine passion for being outside and getting their hands dirty. We hope to assist the farmers with the greatest amount of work possible. This means heading out to the farm every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 am […]

Farming Isn’t All Fun and Games

Throughout my two visits to Gaining Ground, I have learned more about farming in the fields than I could have in two weeks in school. I have really learned farming isn’t all fun and games. There are tasks that will leave your sore for a week. After going through what these farmers do every day, […]

Volunteering as a Patagonia Intern

Thanks to the support of Patagonia Boston and a Patagonia Enviro Internship grant, I am  grateful to be volunteering with the farm staff at Gaining Ground for four weeks this summer. My field reports for the Patagonia office joyfully list all of the insects, animals, and birds I have met in the fields. Everywhere I […]

Gaining Ground Sows New Strategic Plan

After the completion of our five year strategic plan, “Dig Deeper,” the Gaining Ground board tackled the question: “What’s Next?” Our 2011 strategic plan, “Digging Deeper,” focused primarily on growing more food for our recipients. We were successful in achieving that goal, expanding from 25,000 pounds in 2012 to 62,000 in 2016. That increase was […]

Learning about Life on the Farm

Everyone always talks about how high school is such a blur—a crazy, fun, busy blur. Upon graduating, we can confirm this. The days are slow, but the years are fast. The world is growing faster than we are, and it seems that we’re just being taken along for the ride. For the most part, this […]

Welcome to the No-till Farming Revolution

I definitely know that I love my job when I am more excited than ever for the growing season to begin, my fifth at Gaining Ground. And by “begin” I mean “continue,” as we have been harvesting and distributing fresh produce throughout the winter months. At the end of last season, we finally decided to […]
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