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Dear Friend, 

"They thought they could bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds."

- Proverb based on a poem by Dinos Christianopolous

It’s seed season. Some of us thumb through seed catalogs, nurturing dreams of summer goodness. Some of us already have sunny windowsills lined with our hopes for tomatoes and basil. Some wait for the good work of farmers who start our seedlings for us. All of us look forward to our Seed Share at the Grow Food Northampton Winter Market (Smith Vocational High School, Saturday, March 13, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.).

“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. The harvest can either be flowers or weeds,” said poet William Wordsworth. Sometimes this past year, the garden of my mind has been weedy and would not pass a plot check in our Community Garden! If I could name those weeds, the most common one would be Pandemus avidus, common name, pandemic impatience. It is growing prolifically alongside its close relative, Pandemus iracundias, pandemic irritability. 

This spring I’m planting some new seeds, all in the genus Spem. Hopefulness.

But seed starting can be a brutal business. “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” - Cynthia Occelli

Even when our seeds sprout, we don’t let them all survive. We pinch back those that are weak or undeveloped, leaving one robust seedling in each little pot. Those we water tenderly, and make sure they have the right amounts of warmth and light. As my seeds of hopefulness break out of their shells and develop their first fragile roots, I know I must pinch back the doubtful seedlings that are unlikely to bear fruit, making room for those that will. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.

As we enter year two of the pandemic at the Grow Food Northampton Organic Community Garden, we will still be wearing masks and maintaining safe distances. The composting outhouse will remain closed. Gatherings will remain small, masked and distanced. Even so, we will grow healing food and flowers. We will savor the cool mornings and hot afternoons tending our plots, greeting neighbors, and savoring the beauty of our gardens and our time together in a place that for many is both safe and sacred. 

Perhaps we feel buried by the stresses of the past year, completely undone and maybe a little cracked. But we too are seeds, and spring is coming. 


Pat James

Community Garden Manager

Last Winter Market is March 13*

*New location: Smith Vocational High School

Mark your calendar for our final monthly Winter Market on Saturday, March 13! The market, held over the last two months at the Northampton Senior Center, has to change locations since the Senior Center has become a regional vaccination site operating on Saturdays, too. This month, we’ll be at Smith Vocational High School instead. Good thing our adaptability muscles are strong after a year of flexing them! You'll still find the same great selection of vegetables, honey, maple products, beef, lamb, pork, eggs, plants -- plus SEEDS! (see below).  SNAP and HIP (Healthy Incentives Program) accepted. SNAP and P-EBT doubled up to $10 per customer with our SNAP Match program generously funded this winter by Coldwell Banker Community Realtors

Thanks to all of our great Winter Market Vendors for a successful season and to our community for coming out each month to support local farms!

Saturday, March 13, 2021
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Smith Vocational High School
80 Locust St. (Rt. 9), Northampton 

Click HERE for the Winter Market Vendor and Product Lists

It's Time to Share Seeds! 

On Saturday, March 13 from 10-1pm we will be hosting a Seed Share at the Winter Market. Seeds will be free of charge.  Please note that depending on the amount of seeds available, we may limit the number of seed packets each person can take. We will also be welcoming and sharing gardening tips, tricks, and inspiration for this next growing season – so come prepared to learn and celebrate!

GFN Seed Share at the Winter Farmers Market
Smith Vocational High School
Saturday, March 13
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
 

How to donate seeds to the Seed Share: 

Stop by the contactless Seed Deposit Box on the first floor of the Arts and Industry building, located at 221 Pine Street, Florence MA, right inside the Main Entrance. We will be accepting donations until Wednesday, March 10th. Please make sure that any home-harvested seeds are in labelled envelopes, with the name and variety of the plant clearly written. Thank you!

We're collecting gardening tips too! Do you have a gardening tip to share with your fellow gardeners?  Drop us a quick note here!
Full details on the Seed Share

Grow Food Cooks- Session 2 starts March 16

Back by popular demand! We are excited to offer a second round of FREE after-school cooking classes for Northampton students!
 

Lessons will be taught over Zoom for four Tuesdays: March 16th, 23rd, 30th, and April 6th from 3:30pm-5pm.

Grow Food Northampton staff will deliver a box of ingredients and materials to each student the day before each program. Students will learn basic knife skills and kitchen routines as we make fun, healthy recipes each week. Sample recipes include: garlic mashed potatoes with kale chips, veggie spring rolls and dipping sauce, carrot muffins, and more! Adult supervision is required for children under 10 years old.

Register early, space is limited! To register, email: jules@growfoodnorthampton.org

Students and families loved our last session of classes, here’s some feedback:

‘”My son LOVED his Grow Food Northampton cooking class yesterday! He made the best kale chips I’ve ever had. Thanks for finding a way to add some brightness to these days!” – Parent

“My son can’t stop talking about [the cooking class]…I wish there was a way to show you the pride my son has sharing what he cooked with the family.” – Parent

Welcome Helen Kahn, Our New Farmers Market Manager!

As our longtime Tuesday Market Manager, Niki Lankowski, transitions into the role of Communications Manager, we're proud to announce that the new manager of Tuesday Market is Helen Kahn. You may know Helen as the owner of Florence’s beloved Cup and Top Cafe (2006-2017) or from around the community. From a commitment to serving local food at Cup and Top to her current position as a board member at CISA, Helen has been a longtime supporter of local farms. Her ability to bring the community together is going to be an enormous asset to Tuesday Market. Helen will be splitting her time between the market and her other job running adaptive tours for All Out Adventures. Be sure to give her a warm welcome on Tuesday Market's opening day on April 20!

An Inspiring read: How to Reverse Insect Decline

As we get ready to dig in the dirt, with this article, the Florida Museum's research department offers some simple ways we can help the important pollinators in our gardens and yards. Be sure to watch the video at the end!
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again

-
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from his poem, I Am Waiting (in his memory on his recent passing on February 22, 2021)

Huge Shout Out and Thanks

We are grateful to the Women's Fund of Western MA for a recent grant to support Grow Food Northampton’s emergency food access programming. We appreciate their partnership to ensure that women and their families are able to overcome food insecurity in the pandemic. Thank you, WFWM! 

A shout out and thanks to Dr. Kate Atkinson and Atkinson Family Practice for their recent sponsorship of Grow Food Northampton! Dr. Kate knows well the importance of growing and consuming organic, farm-fresh local foods for health and well-being. Your partnership is invaluable, Atkinson Family Practice, and we look forward to contributing to our community’s health together!

Enjoy Our Staff Playlist!

Each week, our mighty staff gathers together for staff meeting. Pre-pandemic, we would share pie, test out Grow Food Kids recipes, or sit comfortably on the couch and armchairs at the Grow Food Northampton office in the Arts and Industry building in Florence. Meeting via Zoom has meant trying to find new ways to keep it fun. From week to week, we take turns as staff meeting facilitator. Recently, Jules came up with a great prompt for us: what's one song you've had on repeat lately? One that's gotten you through hard times? One that always gets you up and dancing?

The result was a fun round of sharing and a great playlist. Check it out and enjoy: YouTube or Spotify.
Please DONATE to support our work!
The Giving Garden and our Food Access programs are funded by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare.

Thanks to our featured Business Sponsors!

Curran & Keegan Financial

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