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At Growing Places (GP), we believe in the power of gardening to improve lives. We help low-income individuals, families, and communities in North Central Massachusetts realize the many health, economic, and social benefits of growing their own produce by building food gardens and teaching the skills to maintain them. Each sustainable garden is designed to meet individual needs and built by a team of volunteers. Working in partnership with individuals, families, non-profit organizations, schools, and public agencies, we identify opportunities in which gardening can:
- Increase access, affordability, and consumption of fresh, healthy vegetables and fruits
- Increase physical, outdoor activity
- Improve mental and emotional well-being
- Promote pride in and enjoyment of neighborhoods
- Increase social and interpersonal connections
- Provide satisfying volunteer opportunities
- And enhance strategies to create a socially-just, regional food system for all.
Part of a network of organizations and agencies addressing related issues - such as hunger, nutrition, food security, and community health and wellness - we actively seek opportunities in which gardening can complement and enhance regional strategic initiatives.- See more at: http://growingplaces.org/programoverview/what-we-do#sthash.aMuIGcLR.dpuf
Growing Places’ Teaching Gardens are where beginner gardeners can learn to grow, harvest, and use their own produce by working side-by-side with trained Growing Places (GP) volunteer teachers (Garden Gurus) and GP staff.
Each growing season, starting in late April, Teaching Gardeners attend weekly two-hour lessons at their garden site and spend two additional hours per week maintaining their assigned garden plot. This gives everyone ample time for hands-on learning as well as opportunity to apply their new-found knowledge. All are encouraged to take home the fresh produce they’ve grown in their plots.
Hands-on lessons include all the important food gardening basics: garden planning, planting (direct sowing & transplanting), soil care, water conservation, weeding, mulching, harvesting, composting, season extension, pest and disease control and various other topics as they crop up during the growing season.
Once a month, a Teaching Garden lesson is devoted to food use in the form of a friendly garden-to-table cooking class led by Growing Places staff and volunteers. Gardeners harvest directly from the Teaching Garden and then prepare a healthy, simple and inexpensive meal for everyone to share. Registered dietitians are occasionally on hand to offer nutrition education and answer questions.
Growing Places also offers specialized gardening workshops for a fee to the general public and free to Teaching Garden participants and established GP gardeners. Our workshops cover a wide range of topics applying to food gardening, including indoor seed starting, tomato staking, food preservation, and season extension techniques.
- See more at: http://growingplaces.org/programoverview/teaching-garden#sthash.8FwLZw2W.dpuf
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