Apologies to Kermit, but It Actually is Easy Being Green
rowing Places of Leominster is an organization that sets its sights on working with individ- uals, families, non-profit organizations, farmers, businesses, schools and public agencies to make fresh, healthy food more accessible, affordable and widely consumed.
In these gray days of winter, Growing Places wants to add a little color with the question, “Can you go greener?” -- the theme of the eighth annual Food Gardeners’ Gathering, to be held Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. from 12:30 p.m., at Mount Wachusett Community College, 444 Green St., Gardner.
“The goal behind this event is to create a space for gardeners of all levels, and people who are passionate about local, healthy food, to learn and connect with one another through workshops, exhibit tables, and local food and garden vendors,” says Molly Peterson.
Peterson is the educational program manager for Growing Places.
The “Can you go greener?” event will feature local food and garden vendors, a composting station and a food-waste solutions discussion panel.
“By asking ‘Can you go greener?,’ we’re offering attendees the chance to learn what small changes they can make to their garden, their food choices or their lifestyle that, in turn, will have a positive impact on the health of our planet,” Molly says. “We hope that our array of workshops, exhibit tables and food and garden vendors will help those who attend this event to learn different ways they can make their gardens and lives ‘greener.’”
Guests are invited to bring their extra gardening tools to trade with other passionate gardeners at a tool swap, new this year to the gathering.
“At the event, visitors can make choices that are healthier for themselves and our planet at our Food-Health Connection Workshop,” Molly says. “And enjoy organic, fresh, local, delicious food from Leominster restaurant Roots Natural Foods, and freshly roasted coffee from local roaster Dean’s Beans of Orange.”
Other workshops include Vermicomposting, Pest Management for a Greener Planet, and a Food Waste Solutions Discussion Panel.
The following exhibitors and vendors will be on hand: Red Eft Farm in Ashby, selling and demonstrating how to grow microgreens; Adam Jankauskus of City Compost; and Kate Gervais of Worcester County Conservation District in Gardner, who can answer all of your composting questions; The Gardener’s Spot in Leominster; Skye Mountain Farm in Princeton, selling and demonstrating how to grow mushrooms; Jason Yeagle, with medicinal herbs and preservation tips; and Homesteader Carrie Novak and her chickens. The event is free with a suggested contribution of $20; or an option to pay what you can. Growing Places encourages people to register in advance by visiting www.growingplaces.org . Registration on the day of the event begins at 8:30 a.m.
“In previous years, we’ve held this event in Leominster, but as our organization has expanded into Gardner and Winchendon, we are excited to bring this awesome educational opportunity to a new community,” Molly says.
Growing Places believes that eating locally grown food improves physical, mental and emotional well-being, and builds healthy habits and lifestyle skills.
“We promote healthy people and healthy communities by providing resources for people to garden in community settings,” Molly says.
Growing Places is also proud to teach and advocate sustainable growing, preparation and consumption of food, and to teach and promote environmentally healthy and sustainable-living practices.
They do this in a few ways: by managing Community Teaching Gardens throughout North Central Massachusetts; prioritizing communities with high rates of food insecurity and barriers to healthy food access; offering in-school and after-school youth programming in local elementary and high schools; managing the Fitchburg and Leominster farmers markets; partnering with the state Department of Conservation & Recreation to provide outreach for the Greening the Gateway Cities program in Leominster; and with a series of hands-on, educational workshops geared toward intermediate and advanced-level gardeners.
“Our workshops focus on a variety of topics around growing in your own backyard or in a community garden and ways to best use your harvest,” Molly says.
The next workshop will be Indian Cuisine, led by Jaymini Naik, Growing Places gardener and home cook, on Monday, March 18, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Wheat Community Cupboard & Café, 272 High St., Clinton. It’s the third class in the new Global Table cooking series, focused on building community and exploring cultures through food.
The cost for each workshop is $15, unless otherwise noted, and free for Growing Places backyard and community gardeners.
“Our goal is to have attendees leave our events feeling energized and empowered, having learned the many ways that they are involved in creating a healthy local food system and healthy planet,” Molly says.
Growing Places is located at 325 Lindell Ave., in Leominster. If you have questions or want more information, contact Molly Peterson at 978-598-3723, ext. 4, or email email@example.com .
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