Back in September 2017, I decided to do some googling to find out what other organizations around the Somerville area were involved in urban farming and gardening work. I stumbled upon the Herbstalk website, began talking to Steph about various ways the two organizations could work together, and the rest is history!
Groundwork Somerville is an environmental justice nonprofit based out of Union Square, whose mission is to create a cleaner, greener, healthier, more equitable Somerville. Our programs fall into three main categories: Youth Programs, Food and Farms, and Sustainable Environment. Within the Youth Programs, we have our Green Team and the Schoolyard Gardens.
The Green Team works on projects in urban agriculture, environmental justice, and civic engagement. Green Team Members develop leadership and job skills while building a team and serving their community. The Green Team grows the leadership potential of Somerville youth to work for environmental and social justice.
Our Schoolyard Gardens program brings year-round garden-based education to children from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Groundwork Somerville manages gardens at all nine of the city’s public elementary and middle schools, a public charter school, and a public library. In both in-school and after-school programs, children learn to plan, plant, tend, harvest, and cook food from their own school gardens.
The Food and Farms program is focused on our quarter-acre urban farm, South Street Farm, and a new growing space at ArtFarm, a former waste transfer site on Poplar Street being converted into a space for art and urban agriculture to cohabitate and create novel community spaces. At both of these sites, we grow food to supply the Somerville Mobile Farmer’s Market. The majority of this food is grown as part of our World Crops program. We currently have five mentor farmers, each of whom bring experience cultivating crops from their countries of origin. With their oversight, we are working to demonstrate the economic viability of cultivating culturally relevant crops for larger farms, as well as supplying these foods to the Somerville community through the mobile market.
Included in our seedling order from Muddy River Herbals were epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) and culantro (Eryngium foetidum), two herbs that we are adding to our World Crops repertoire. Epazote is native to central and south America, where it is used both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Culantro is a culinary and medicinal herb grown and used in the West Indies, many countries in Latin America, as well as Vietnam.
How can one get involved with Groundwork Somerville? Thanks for asking!
- Come to a “Cleaning and Greening” Day
- Bring your friends and family to drop in volunteer hours at South Street Farm
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our Volunteer Opportunities page to find out about ongoing garden maintenance, teaching support, or other special volunteer needs
- Have another idea or skill set to offer? Email your idea to email@example.com or call our office at 617-628-9988!