NEW WEBSITE AT WWW.GARDENINGTHECOMMUNITY.ORG!!!!!

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NEW WEBSITE

Please visit our new website at http://www.gardeningthecommunity.org

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Cash, Crops and Conferences

It has been an exciting week here at GTC! We’ve been hard at work cultivating our capacities and keeping our eyes are focused on the future of urban agriculture.

First in the news, we are thrilled to announce that we received two substantial grants from the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources! The total funds of $30,600 will allow GTC to continue to make significant, sustainable progress towards food security for Springfield. We have so much gratitude for the generous support of these organizations; their investments in community development are what keep local non-profit organizations like us running.

The Ben and Jerry’s Foundation’s Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program is funding our food justice organizing work to build a more equitable and just food system. This particular grant encourages the community-development strategies we utilize for creating social change. And funds from MDAR’s Urban Agriculture Program will allow us to conduct soil nutrient assessment of two farm plots, purchase and construct protective structures for temperature-sensitive crops, establish a more visible neighborhood farm stand for GTC EATS!, and develop multi-lingual marketing materials. See this press release for more details on MDAR’s initiative! We can’t wait to get started. 

mdarlogo-ben-and-jerrys-foundationSecondly, a few of our staff and youth members will be featured speakers at the Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference in Boston this Saturday, March 8! We are looking forward to learning from and networking with other farmers, youth, and leaders in community food justice efforts. We are thankful to City Growers, the Urban Farming Institute of Boston, and MDAR for allowing us to be a part of an event that is, quite literally, sure to be groundbreaking. 

“Cultivating Lands, Nourishing Communities, Building Businesses”
The UFC is a forum to share information regarding what is currently happening in Boston and other local urban communities and to map out a vision for urban farming in Massachusetts. Boston and other local urban communities in Massachusetts have the potential to offer a fresh, local healthy food supply while promoting economic and environmental sustainability, as well as healthy communities, employment at livable wages, food security, youth engagement and more.
Visit the City Growers website to learn more!

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Community Gardening Workshop: Saturday, March 22!

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Great video featuring GTC EATS!

Our partners at Live Well Springfield put together this video to explore the healthy food options available in our community. It features our GTC EATS! farmshare program, as well as the Go Fresh Mobile Market which we grow for. Check it out and stay tuned!

Sign-ups for GTC EATS! will begin next month. E-mail Toussaint at gtceats@gmail.com if you’d like an application form when they become available.

Live Well Springfield is a movement for healthy eating and active living in Springfield. Their work includes a mobile farmer’s market, work to bring a full line grocery store into Mason Square, rowing and biking programs on the Connecticut River, and the development of a comprehensive Bike and Pedestrian Plan for the city of Springfield. For more information, go to http://livewellspringfield.org/.

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Thank You for Choosing GTC on Valley Gives Day!

Valley Gives Day 2013 was an incredible success! 11,436 donors raised a total of $2,012,089 for hundreds of nonprofits in the Pioneer Valley. What an amazing difference this will make as we improve our communities and make western Massachusetts a better place to live.

Gardening the Community earned a total of $5,683 from the generous support of 105 donors! We were thrilled to surpass our goal of raising $5,000 from 100 donors. 

Reflecting on the momentous day, one of our board members expressed that “Valley Gives was an amazing opportunity to reflect on all the great work that had gone into making GTC what it has become. Our donors showed us their full support and got to know a little bit more about who we are and the great community GTC creates.”

Your gift allows us to provide support to Springfield youth, grow over 3,000 pounds of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, operate GTC EATS!, secure land where we can grow year round, and provide leadership to community food justice efforts. Whether large or small, your gift makes a tremendous difference.

Thank you from all of us at GTC!

Thank you from all of us at GTC!

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Valley Gives Day is Here!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for: Valley Gives Day! As we speak, philanthropists across Western Massachusetts are showing their support for the nonprofits they love, including Gardening the Community.

We do hope you will consider visiting our Valley Gives page to make a donation HERE. Every donation and donor we get will go further to help us claim our share of more than $200,000 in cash awards!

Once you have done that, please help spread the giving spirit! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, spread the word with #gtcspringfield, and help build the buzz. Tell your friends and family why you donated to our cause. If they need some convincing, here are a few more fabulous reasons to support GTC:

  1. Support Springfield youth taking initiative and making big changes in their neighborhoods! Our youth are actively engaged in growing food, organizing community action, running educational programs, and making critical decisions. They have leadership roles in the day-to-day work and a few also hold positions on our board of directors.

    This year, 27 youth participated in our program, including employment through our citywide partnerships during the summer months.

    This year, 27 youth participated in our program, including employment through our citywide partnerships during the summer months.

  2. Sustain a loving, vibrant community rooted in empowerment. Our garden sites and gatherings are places where people from diverse backgrounds come together to work collaboratively. We value this diversity and the common ground we share in our commitment to food equity and racial justice.

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    We love sharing our garden spaces with community members! Perhaps we’ve found a future GTC youth member?

  3. Celebrate a diverse community coming together to help itself. The vast majority of everything that we do is carried out as a labor of love by many volunteers and just a few paid staff. We are always looking to find sustainable ways to support our work; your donations make an enormous difference.

    Our youth at the farmers market with some of their bounty.

We absolutely love working towards a just and equitable food system in Springfield and we couldn’t do any of it without your support. Thank you!

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Why Give to GTC?

Only two more days until Valley Gives! Here are a few more great reasons to give to GTC:

  1. Address the root causes of hunger, chronic disease, and food insecurity. We believe the root causes of these problems involve economic and racial inequality. In addition to growing food, we engage in undoing racism training, provide opportunities for youth development, and think creatively about generating more steady income streams for ourselves with the food we grow and sell.

    GTC creates a meaningful platform that empowers youth to develop many skills, grow their own food, and build a healthier lifestyle for themselves.

    GTC creates a meaningful platform that empowers youth to develop many skills, grow their own food, and build a healthier lifestyle for themselves.

  2. Fund efforts that address the “big picture” while making concrete, tangible change. This year alone, five neighborhood and school groups started or planned gardens with our technical assistance.

    GTC is evolving, spreading its impact, and sharing its successes.

    GTC is evolving, spreading its impact, and sharing its successes.

  3. Encourage biking and sustainability in Springfield. We transport all of our organic produce to our GTC EATS! customers and the local farmers market by bike.
    This past season alone, we collectively biked a total of 1,600 miles.

    This past season alone, we collectively biked a total of 1,600 miles.

    Keep an eye out for more reasons to support GTC as we get closer to Valley Gives day, 12/12/13!

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Gearing Up for Valley Gives on 12/12/13

Valley Gives day is a 24-hour celebration of generosity. During Valley Gives, western Massachusetts nonprofits collaborate with the goal of getting thousands of Valley residents to support their favorite nonprofits, like Gardening the Community! By participating, donors will help these nonprofits become eligible for special prizes totaling $200,000. Please visit our Valley Gives Campaign page for more information!

You may find yourself asking, why should I give to GTC? We’ve brainstormed a few reasons:

  1. Support healthy living and eating for everyone. In 2013 alone, GTC youth distributed over 3,000 pounds of organic vegetables to Springfield families at affordable prices!

    These are the vegetables people get in our sliding-scale affordable CSA shares. In 2013 alone, GTC youth distributed over 13,000 pounds of organic vegetables to Springfield families at affordable prices!

    This is just a sampling of the vegetables people receive in our sliding-scale CSA shares through GTC EATS!

  2. Provide a great way for teens to serve their community while earning money for themselves. One of our youth said “I like the fact that the program brings together individuals who all work towards a noble goal. The program is very informative and in that sense it has made my life a little different as I now know new facts about agriculture.”

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    Some youth members at the Mason Square Farmer’s Market.

  3. Create a healthy, sustainable oasis in the middle of a “food desert”. Mason Square has no full line grocery store, so residents have very limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables and high rates of diabetes and obesity. There are many empty and contaminated lots and few green spaces. GTC provides both a vision for what is possible, as well as a concrete model of how to scale up and move towards creating a healthier and more equitable Springfield.

    A street view of our garden on Hancock St.

    A street view of our garden on Hancock St.

Keep an eye out for more reasons to support GTC as we get closer to Valley Gives day, 12/12/13!

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Help Develop a Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan for Springfield this Tuesday!

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