We’re Ramping Up for Green Power!

Anna at the office planning for Green Power

Anna at the office planning for Green Power

Our Green Power educators, Anna and Luke, are super busy and excited planning for Green Power this summer! The countdown is on, and with the program rapidly approaching, plans are getting nailed down.

Luke in the green house checking on Green Power seedlings

Luke in the green house checking on Green Power seedlings

 

This year, Green Power has its own new field! Some of the crops are pre-planned, but there’s still plenty of room for campers to help plan their own late-season crops. Every week of Green Power will be a little different, so sign up for multiple weeks to be a farmer all summer!

 

Fun stuff happening this summer:

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Learning to Sugar: 2014 After-School Maple Program

The Sugar Shack – Living the sweet life with Aaron Lefland from Weston Media Center Inc. on Vimeo.

 

kids tapping Each year, Land’s Sake teams up with 20 middle schoolers to produce our delicious maple syrup the good, old-fashioned way. This year’s maple syrup production was a huge success thanks to help from our students and volunteers from Weston and surrounding towns; with their help, we collected over 3500 gallons of sap to produce close to 80 gallons of syrup, available for sale at the farm stand (while supplies last).

Our season began in late January when we had help from both students and volunteers to tap approximately 250 trees. Participants learned how to correctly identify sugar maples, drill a hole for the spile, and hang the buckets. Once the buckets were hung, it was not long before the sap began to flow and the buckets were overflowing. With help from our team of 18 middle school students, we then began the process of turning sap into syrup.

Evaporator Sugar ShackStudents who participated in our after-school program learned about the entire process of sugaring: learning how to identify sugar maple trees, tapping the trees, collecting the sap, splitting and stacking firewood, boiling sap, and bottling syrup. During warm days, they could be seen around town collecting sap from the overflowing buckets. On colder days, the students learned how to split the wood used to feed the evaporator. Once there was enough sap in the tank and firewood ready to go, students fired up the evaporator and began boiling the sap. After many hours of boiling, the sap finished it’s transformation, and the students helped to filter and bottle the finished product.

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Planting for the Future

photoIn the 10 days since we started on Earth Day, our dedicated farm staff here at Land’s Sake has planted 49,500 seedlings, not even including the seeds in the ground for veggies like carrots, hakurei turnips, peas, arugula, tokyo bakana, tatsoi, and radishes. That’s a huge number of vegetables! Seeing the seedlings go off in trucks from the green houses at the Melone House office to the farm is very exciting; it’s an affirmation that the season is really underway (after a long winter) and that in a few short weeks, we’ll be doing what we’re here to do: bringing people together and feeding them good, clean, local veggies. seedlings table

It’s also a visual reminder of what we do outside the fields. Moving these seedlings from the warm, safe green house to the fields where they will grow to feed the community is, in many ways, a conceit for everything we do. Continue reading

Land’s Sake Green Power Video

The Green Power program provides teens with the opportunity to grow food, care for animals, mentor younger children, volunteer in the community, cook fresh food, work hard and have fun!

Check out all the cool things the teens did Summer 2012! And keep an eye out for the chance to join the Green Power Summer 2013 Crew!

Summer on the Farm: Growing Community

Tuesday was a classic day at the farm. The final group of this season’s Green Power students were busily working in the front garden, helping to harvest and keep our fields looking great. Land’s Sake farmers were busily washing and packing the day’s harvest and setting out berries and tomatoes for sale at the farmstand. CSA customers were literally queued up, ready to claim their share of the vegetables that were all beautifully and carefully laid out under the CSA tent. Students from the Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club romped about the garden and the fields, learning about goats and compost, green vegetables and natural systems. It was Land’s Sake at its summertime best.

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Get Cookin’ with Green Power


Fresh-picked English Pea Soup and Farm-grown Black Bean Burritos with Arugula Pesto may sound like something you might find on the menu at a hip farm-to-fork restaurant in the city, or perhaps written up in the latest Food column on the New York Times. For the past couple of weeks, however, these delectable dishes have been gracing the table of our Friday Farm Meals cooked by our awesome Green Power crew.

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Work Hard. Work Together. Give Back. Show Leadership. Live Local.

These are the principles that inform and guide our Summer Programs here at Land’s Sake.  Whether  packing meals at Community Servings for chronically-ill recipients or seeding radishes for the weekly Community Lunch on the farm, the teens of Green Power and the children of Farm & Forest Explorers are not only guided by these aforementioned principles, they are the inspiration for the principles.

I was struck with this thought when viewing a recent video of New Zealand teen, Brittany Trilford, addressing the delegates attending the Rio+20 Summit, an international conference held this June charged with resolving the severe issues of environmental and social degradation worldwide.  Brittany Trilford proclaims:

I stand here with fire in my heart. I’m confused and angry at the state of the world. We are here to solve the problems that we have caused as a collective, to ensure that we have a future…When all around us is the knowledge that offers us solutions [,] Nature as a design tool offers insight into systems that are whole, complete, that give life, create value, allow progress, transformation, change.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpxsvZ4eqZk&feature=player_embedded]

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New Faces on the Farm

As the vegetables in the fields grow, Land’s Sake’s staff of farmers and educators increase too, bringing with them their passion for completing the rigorous work it takes to fulfill our mission and reach our seasonal goals.  Each member of our team has been inspired in some way to heed the call to return to the land, that inspiration is contagious and is truly the engine that continues to drive us towards success.  Land’s Sake is a very special place for a multitude of reasons.  High on the list is our dedicated staff and the energy that they brings with them, we are immensely grateful to have such an amazing and devoted crew.  Please join the Land’s Sake community in welcoming: Laura Eppstein, Nicole Gelb and Brett Maley among the new faces on the farm this season.

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It’s Just Really Cool

“I think it’s so cool that you make so much of what you use here.  It’s just really cool.”  This was just a piece of my conversation with a teen volunteer last week while repairing a compost bin in the Education Garden, and a sure sign that things are off to a great start!

As the new Education Program Coordinator, I have many tasks on my plate: developing curriculum for the Spring Afterschool programs, observing soil critters with 3rd graders from the Woodland School, planting in the Education Garden so there is a robust source of produce for our Green Power cooking program, and writing newsletter editorials, to name a few!  There are many formal and quantitative ways to evaluate the successes of these tasks, however, I know things have gone well when I hear a young person tell me that something they’ve learned or done with me is “cool.”  I reflect on the past two weeks working with our great volunteer and think of how much we accomplished together: roofed and predator-proofed the chicken coop, researched companion planting (for example: leeks and carrots grow well together because the leek helps repel carrot flies), seeded four garden beds with lettuce, beets, brussel sprouts and more, and sketched a preliminary map of the garden.  And as I count and document it all, I can’t help but smile when I think of the intangible outcomes, such as building our own unique “companion relationships” here in Weston.

I am excited to be here and look forward to more of these great moments.  There is always more to do!  Call (781-893-1162) or send an email my way (megan@landssake.org) if your favorite teen is looking for some volunteer opportunities or ways to get involved!

Warm Regards,

Megan

Introducing Land’s Sake’s Community Supported Forestry Program: Sign Up Today!

This coming year, we are excited to introduce a new model for firewood sales that will align our program more closely with Land’s Sake’s mission of connecting people to the land.

Since 1980, Land’s Sake has been sustainably managing portions of Weston’s town forests and supplying cordwood to the greater Weston community. The program has been a large success- our customers consistently comment on the clean and well-seasoned quality of our firewood. Sustainable suburban forestry is about more than cutting firewood, however. It is about education, sharing the beauty of a well-managed forest and inspiring its appreciation in all of its stakeholders.

Our Community Supported Forestry model will help Land’s Sake accomplish two important goals:

1. More deeply connect our customers with the mission and importance of sustainable forest management. As with many vegetable CSA models, we will offer each customer/family the chance to join us in the woods for work and education one Saturday morning in February or March. During this time, members will go on a guided hike with Land’s Sake’s foresters, witness a tree felling demonstration and then help split and stack firewood. Dates for these optional educational walks/work sessions TBD.

* This education/work component is not a requirement- we understand that not everybody enjoys this. However, working alongside our foresters will give you a new appreciation for the effort that goes into producing cordwood. Also, we would greatly appreciate the help!

2. Alleviate some of the initial production costs. In order to preserve a healthy forest ecosystem, firewood must be cut during the dark cold months of winter. We will require a $50 deposit with each order- this will help us cover the upfront costs of the program at a time when we traditionally do not generate any income and will guarantee your order for cordwood in 2012.

Details:

Deposit: $50 (all other fees will be assessed at time of delivery)
½ cord: $250
1 cord: $400
Delivery fee for orders outside Weston: $50
Discounted optional stacking charge: $44.45/labor hour (orders placed after this sale will be stacked at our normal rate of $50/labor hour).

Deliveries will be scheduled between September and November of 2012. We are limiting this sale to 20 total cords! While there may be additional wood available for sale in the late summer/early fall, this is weather dependent and cannot be guaranteed so ORDER NOW! Please contact Jordan McCarron, Conservation Land Manager, at jordan@landssake.org or (781) 893-1162 for more information and to place your order. DEADLINE TO REGISTER: JANUARY 31ST, 2012.