Tag Archives: Backyard Growers

Top notch GPS O’Maley & Veterans teachers engage Cape Ann Museum, Backyard Growers, and Black Earth Composting thanks to Essex Heritage | North Shore Magazine spotlight

Gloucester Public School teachers shine through the North Shore Magazine September 2017 issue with exemplary projects helped in part by one of Essex Heritage grant programs: “A Park for Every Classroom”.  Essex Heritage supports local initiatives in a big way.

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Congratulations to Gloucester Public Schools dynamite O’Maley Innovation Middle School 6th Grade teachers: Pat Hand, Mary Beth Quinn, and Jessica Haskell!

O’Maley 6th grade students collaborated with the Cape Ann Museum and a local cartographer to create maps of their diverse Gloucester neighborhoods. Part of an effort to get the entire 6th grade community to come together as they experience their first year of Middle School, the project aligned with the curricular focus on geography.  A collection of the students’ maps, called “Gloucester Through My Eyes,” is on display at the Cape Ann Museum.” 

Congratulations to Veterans Memorial Elementary School teachers Laura Smith and Mary Housman!  Their “students worked with Backyard Growers and Black Earth Composting to understand the benefits of composting, created posters and presentations to share their knowledge, implemented and monitored lunch-time cafeteria composting, and used the compost they created to enrich the soil in their school garden.” We were lucky to hear about this project during a pitch night at Awesome Gloucester.

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SCENES FROM BACKYARD GROWERS INCREDIBLE EDIBLE FANTABULOUS GARDEN TOUR!

Although only able to visit just two of the incredible Backyard Growers Gardens, the two that I did attend were fabulous and beautiful and overflowing with deliciousness. Lara Lepionka, founder of Backyard Growers, and Amy Clayton (one half of the Crazy Hat Lady sisters fame) are across-the-street neighbors. As a matter of interest, Amy grew up in what is now Lara and Steve’s home, and Lara’s first Backyard Growers garden customer was Amy!

This was the first ever Backyard Growers garden tour. In case you missed, don’t despair, a second is planned for next summer.

Bea, Lara, and Jen

Amy’s zucchini

Lara’s Beacon Street terraced front border is a series of raised beds. Every spare inch is devoted to growing veggies, herbs, and flowers; no high maintenance lawn here. Lara supplies the fresh greens for three local restaurants, Duckworth’s Bistrot, Short and Main, and the The Market on Lobster Cove. 

Lara’s California Poppies

Amy’s pumpkin on the vine

Sunflower bud

Amy’s towering sunflowers.

Both Lara and Amy’s gardens were abuzz with pollinators!

BREAKING: CONGRATULATIONS TO BACKYARD GROWERS FOR THEIR BIG WIN!!!

Lara Lepionka, Backyard Growers executive director shares,

WE ARE THE $35K WINNERS!!!!!!!!!!!! And we won because of YOUR VOTING POWER!!!!!! A huge thank you to the b.good Family Foundation for giving us this opportunity (stay tuned for pics of us receiving our check next week), and thank you to Backyard Growers Program staff, service members, board members, partners, and supporters who worked on our voting campaign. WE DID IT. THANK YOU.

 

STILL TIME TO VOTE FOR BACKYARD GROWERS BECAUSE–MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES!

Love this funny video from Backyard Growers, featuring Willa Brosnihan ~

IF you haven’t already, please vote for Backyard Growers to receive a $35,00.00 grant from the b.goodfamilyfoundation.

Vote here: http://www.bgoodfamilyfoundation.com/35k-grant-vote/

Voting ends at 11:59 tonight, so please don’t procrastinate. It takes all of ten seconds to place your vote.

BACKYARD GROWERS THANKS YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

GREAT BIG PUSH TODAY TO HELP BACKYARD GROWERS WIN $$35K GRANT – PLEASE VOTE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, THANK YOU!!!

 

Lara Lepionka, Backyard Growers executive, director writes,

Thank you everyone for all your support this week! We’re doing a final push on this last day of voting for Backyard Growers to win $35K. Voting closes at 11:59 tonight! Please share this opportunity with your networks—so appreciated! Vote here: http://www.bgoodfamilyfoundation.com/35k-grant-vote/

Many thanks,

Lara

 

Photos courtesy Backyard Growers Facebook page

LET’S HELP BACKYARD GROWERS WIN A $35,000.00 GRANT- IT’S EASY, JUST VOTE!

Soooo exciting and very best of luck to Backyard Growers!!! Please share this post with your friends and ask them to vote, too.

Lara Lepionka, Executive Director of Backyard Growers, writes,

Hello Friends of Backyard Growers,

Backyard Growers is one of three finalists in the b.good Family Foundation’s competition to win a $35,000 grant! In all of Greater Boston, we were chosen as one of the finalists because of the work we are doing right here in Gloucester—so proud!

We are now at the public voting stage. Please do the following to help us win!

Thank you! Lara

 

Vote once before Friday to help Gloucester’s Backyard Growers win $35,000 b.good family foundation grant

from Backyard Growers:

Backyard Growers is one of three finalists in the b.good Family Foundation’s competition to win a $35,000 grant! In all of Greater Boston, we were chosen as one of the finalists because of the work we are doing right here in Gloucester—so proud!

We are now at the public voting stage. Please do the following to help us win! 

Thank you! Lara Lepionka, Executive Dir. Backyard Growers

About b.good, growing chain of farm to table ‘real food fast’ healthy burger+ more joints:

“It wasn’t until our crazy family members started running the Marathon in giant burger suits that we realized we actually had the power to make a real impact. (Incredibly, over 82 running burgers have raised more than $146,000 for charities over the last 8 years.) Inspired by what we’ve accomplished with those passionate customers, we decided to start a foundation based on the principles they personify. So, this is funded by the grass-roots and innovative efforts that we undertake together with our customers. And it’s designed so that the people who raise the money decide who gets the money…The mission of the b.good Family Foundation is to use micro-grants to help inspired individuals improve their communities. We believe that the most sustainable, impactful changes are the ones communities design for themselves. So, we give directly to individuals looking to improve their neighborhoods. Then we put the final funding decisions up for a community vote by the b.good family and their network.”

REMINDER: FREE SEED SWAP AT BACKYARD GROWERS THURSDAY EVENING

16708388_1028244820612685_1365850163122677238_nWinter getting you down? Spring is around the corner! Come on down to our FREE annual seed swap! Bring some seeds to share and swap. Don’t have any seeds to bring? No worries! Come any way and grab a few freebies!

Thu, February 16, 2017
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
Backyard Growers Office
269 Main Street

This event is part of FRESH, a six-week exhibition with accompanying workshops and presentations hosted by the Rocky Neck Art Colony and Backyard Growers.

street art Gloucester: 21st Century Orphans by Danny Diamond graffiti writer and mural artist

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There’s a monumental outdoor mural behind Prince Insurance at 3 Washington Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts, that changes every year. It’s sited on private property.

Thanks to the Greeke family who own Prince Insurance and let him have at it, artist and writer Danny Diamond has expressed his ideas and showcased his can command on this same outside wall annually since 2011.

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My favorite sight line is from Middle Street heading to the Captain Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 and the Joan of Arc sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington. It’s in a tight spot, and so is the kid with the green, green eyes staring back from the latest mural.

Diamond is using his talents to bring awareness to homelessness and the economy. Here’s an excerpt from his statement about 21st Century Orphans: “The windfall of green-backs that flies from my letters gives way to dingy news-print and beggars’ placards–this orphaned child’s currency. It’s rarely discussed, in our scenic little fishing town, that the homeless population has increased in Massachusetts by 40% since 2007, even as the national average was in decline. This in part due to the fact that the cost of living here in Mass is among the highest in the country; the cost of housing continues to increase now that the market has come back, and there is no relief in sight… Fifteen percent (over half a million) of our children here in the Bay state live in poverty; of the over seventeen-thousand homeless people here, thirty-eight percent are children.” – Danny Diamond, 2016

A Gloucester native, Diamond is busy with commercial art and commissions on both coasts.  I had a chance to ask him more about his art and writing after I did a post about the sea monster fence he painted. He brushed off the street artist description: “I consider myself a graffiti-writer and sometimes a mural-artist, but not a “street-artist” (semantic distinction).”  I asked him about Gloucester connections and if he went to the high school. Did any teachers influence him? He wrote back swiftly:

I studied art under Jackie Underwood, who was “Jackie Kapp” at the time, as well as theatre and set-design with Krista Cowan and Kim Trigilio. I went on to earn a cum laude BA in English Lit and Creative Writing at UMass Boston, class of ’06… I spent a lot of time at Artspace on Center St. as a kid, and so Gloucester’s sub-cultural grandmaster Shep Abbott had a big effect on me by bringing punk rock and mural art into downtown. I was mentored in the world of graffiti art by the late Jed Richardson of Manhattan who was a major figure in the NYC subway-train art movement of the 1980’s; he moved to Gloucester in 2001 or so and remained here until his passing in September of ’09… ” 

Diamond created a tribute chalk mural to his mentor at Minglewood Tavern. I worked in New York and saw first hand the 1980 era kings (and not so kings) of subway and club graffiti. I didn’t know Jed Richardson’s work and wondered if Diamond had an image to share for this post.

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artist Jed Richardson c.2008 (photo from artist Danny Diamond)

I also thought about the owners who turned over their wall for Diamond’s art. I learned that the building is owned by Peter Greeke who founded Prince Insurance. Aha! A creative family that understood and allows Danny Diamond the use of a large wall to practice and express his art. The Prince Insurance company is on Washington Street between Middle and Main and directly across from the Legion. It is a second generation family business that has specialized  in personal insurance for more than 35 years. It’s now co-owned by sisters, Melissa Moseley and Wendy Prendergast. A third sister, fashion designer Jennifer Greeke, operates Harpy Fashion out of the back office. The Prince Insurance storefront stands out with such original picture window displays.These windows are an entire family affair. Melissa doesn’t remember a time before the windows. Their mother creates them; Jen has made clothing, sculpted papier-mâché  creatures and mermaids. “Of course because of the community we  live in, over time artistic customers and friends joined in…like Richard Harding and the built boat. They’re just a lot of fun.”   Prince Insurance has a beautiful new website.

I hoped Danny Diamond had a record of his devoted wall mural project, which he obliterates and repaints every year. He did. Photographs below are from Diamond or his website, www.skribblefish.com.  His Instagram is @pyse117.  I added one showing a work in progress he is  completing for a new restaurant opening in Salem in February and other local commissions.

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HAVE YOU POPPED INTO BACKYARD GROWERS POP UP SHOP?

back-yard-growers-copyright-kim-smithThere you will find an array of thoughtful, fun, and useful gifts; not only that, but your purchases help support this outstanding organization that gives back everyday to our community, in ways great and small.back-yard-growers-6-copyright-kim-smith

Garden gadgets and gloves, gardening how to books, Backyard Growers tees, children’s gardening tools, one of a kind finds, and much, much more. Here are some favorites of the favorites.

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Give a gift of a garden to a member of our community. A donation of $25.00 purchases a card printed on paper that is embedded with seeds. The donation provides a season’s worth of seeds and seedlings to a family, and you can plant the card in the spring–your choice, a carrot- or lettuce-infused seed card. Wonderfully clever! (and Laura made the envelopes from seed catalogues, too).

Victoria Martins is helping at Backyard Growers. She is an Americord service member and her position is community engagement coordinator. I couldn’t decide which photo 🙂

 

THE GILLNETTER REPORTS ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE STUDENTS PARTNER WITH BACKYARD GROWERS!

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Rachel Rex Photo

(From left) Jarrod Martin, Joao Ramalho, Tyler Parisi, Gabi Goszczynska , Macaella Oliver, Katie Nugent, Lexi Ciolino, Chrissy Nugent, Sophia Pata, and Sierra Rudolph practice their gardening skills

The Gillnetter

MARIA KOTOB, Staff Writer, Editor

Growing your own food and understanding nature may seem ancient in today’s high-tech society, but it is a lot more important to the environment than you may think. Food requires an abundant amount of resources to transport, a concept many do not consider when grocery shopping.  GHS’s environmental science students are learning how gardening can help offset some of the consequences of a mass produced food supply.

The Environmental Issues course is for seniors who are a part of the dual-enrollment program with Endicott College. Taught by science teacher Rachel Rex, the class studies the environment and the big issues that affect it, such as pollution, loss of biodiversity, and the loss of natural resources.

“We had a lot of experience interacting with the environment, learning how to make it a better place. Ms. Rex is a good teacher, she’s taught us a lot. It’s a good class,” said senior Bridget Stevens.

The class is partnered with Backyard Growers, a nonprofit organization based in Gloucester whose mission is to provide affordable renewable food and teach the community how to garden.

“It’s a really nice tie in and it includes biology, chemistry, and number of sciences. It fits really well under the umbrella of environmental issues,” said Rex.

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#GIVINGTUESDAY TO BACKYARD GROWERS!

15304293_959017724202062_7914960486487041530_oYour “Giving Tuesday” donation to Backyard Growers will help us reach our goal of raising $10,000! AND we’re already a 1/3 of the way to our goal thanks to generous donors who have launched our campaign with a collective gift of $3,500. OUR GOAL IS TO MATCH $3,500 ON GIVING TUESDAY!

When you donate to Backyard Growers on Giving Tuesday (11/29), your credit card processing fees are covered by The Giving Common so 100% of your donation benefits Backyard Growers.

Click on the this link and then click the blue DONATE button. And thank you! https://givingcommon.org/profile/1141198/backyard-growers-inc/#8

PRESENT GLOUCESTER OPENING SUNDAY SNEAK PEAK!

Present Gloucester is working like mad to pull their holiday pop-up shop together for the grand opening on Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm. This is simply one of the best holiday shopping experiences around, with gorgeous, and all handmade items by some of our most talented local Cape Ann artisans. Alexandra’s Bread, Backyard Growers, and Present make a wonderful trifecta of three in a row fun shopping. Don’t miss this! 

Thank you Sharon Lowe for sharing your photos.

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BACKYARD GROWERS HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP OPENING CELEBRATION SUNDAY FROM 2 TO 6 PM!

14902857_934962203274281_7236443920671964497_oJoin us for the opening of Backyard Growers’ Holiday Pop-Up Shop! ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT BACKYARD GROWERS’ SCHOOL, COMMUNITY, AND BACKYARD GARDEN PROGRAMS.

We’ve filled our office with garden-themed goodies including funky veggie socks, brand new garden books, children’s gardening tools, hipster veggie tattoos, and more! Come shop our new and vintage fashions, Backyard Growers swag including new embroidered aprons, gardening tools, cooking supplies, High Mowing seeds and sprouts, Neptune’s Harvest, and more!

Following our opening day on November 6, we will be open every Monday-Friday 9 – 5 from November 7 – December 21.

Also, shop late from 5-10 PM on Ladies Night Dec 1, Employee Night on Dec 8, and Men’s Night on Dec 15! We are located at 271 Main Street across the street from Animal Krackers.

Present Gloucester and Alexandra’s Bread will be open also be open on Sunday from 2 to 6pm. Plan to shop at all three, you won’t be disappointed!

PRESENT GLOUCESTER POP UP SHOP GRAND OPENING SUNDAY AFTERNOON!

1458448_760636487296449_1891367206_nGet ready for wonderful Holiday Happenings on the east end of Main Street! Present Gloucester and Backyard Growers are both opening pop up shops, and sandwiched between the two of them is the always wonderful Alexandra’s Bread. All three shops will be open on Sunday afternoon from 2 to 6 during the Present Gloucester holiday opening party so come on by to the east end and do some early shopping!

Present Gloucester is located this year at 261 Main Street, at our friend Chris Anderson’s Eastern Point Lit House.

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Don’t you love these baby Osh Kosh veggie bloomers, just adorable, and only $15.00!

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img_1278Alexandra’s whimsical Get Out the Vote window decor-note the donkey and the elephant 🙂

SAVE THE DATE FOR BACKYARD GROWERS FIRST EVER GREAT GLOUCESTER GROWDOWN!!

14263992_896421497128352_6394351660514559626_nJoin us for Backyard Growers’ very first annual fundraiser! We are coming together to celebrate Backyard Growers’ work in the community and to raise funds to support our school garden programs. Enjoy cocktails, a delicious pizza buffet, and get to know the other folks in your community who are passionate about kids, gardening, healthy eating, and delicious food!

WHEN: Thursday, October 13 from 6-9pm
WHERE: Short & Main, 36 Main Street, Gloucester
TICKET PRICE: $50

PROGRAM: Dinner served at 6:30. Program begins at 7:00.
6:00 – Appetizers & drinks
6:30 – Buffet dinner
7:00 – Program begins featuring:
–Lara Lepionka, Executive Director of Backyard Growers
–Dr. Richard Safier, Gloucester Public Schools Superintendent
–Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken
–J. Harrison, Executive Director of The Food Project
–Peggy Lyman, Backyard Growers program participant
7:30 – Program ends. Mingle until 9pm!

HATS OFF TO NICOLE BOGIN, GLOUCESTER FISHERMAN’S WIVES ASSOCIATION, AND THE CAPE ANN FARMER’S MARKET!!

A wonderful celebration of locally caught fish and fisherman, local produce and farmers, and top notch local chefs

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Mayor Sefatia teaching Lt. Governor Karyn Polito about Sicilian eggplant, with Angela Sanfilippo

Who Fishes Matters

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market and Seafood Throwdown and last night’s competition did not disappoint. Local chefs Eric Lorden, owner of Passports Restaurant, and Danielle Glantz of Pastaio Via Corta joined forces (dubbing themselves the Center Street Chefs) to compete against David Gauvin of Addison Gilbert Hospital and Todd Shopkowski of SnapChef.

The mystery fish, revealed moments before the competition began, was caught by Al Cottone, Captain of the Sabrina Maria. Fresh, whole, beautiful and fabulous whiting, alternately named Silver Hake, was presented to the chefs and off they went through the market shopping for farm fresh local ingredients. With only fifteen minutes to shop and an hour to prepare, the race was on!

Celebrity and very special guests included Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, Gloucester Fisherman’s Wives Association President Angela Sanfilippo, former Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk (now the Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office), lobsterman Mark Ring, author and Gloucester Times food writer Heather Atwood, and Maria and Sal DiStefano. DSCF0277

DSCF0247Throwdown Judges 

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Judge Beatrix Brosnihan and Lara Lepionka

Seafood Throwdown Gloucester 2016 Al cottone Mark Ring copyright Kim SmithLobsterman Mark Ring and Fisherman Al Cottone

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Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Carolyn Kirk
DSCF0172Daniele chopping squash blossoms for the pasta

DSCF0406Mayor Sefatia and Angela Sanfilippo frying whiting for their cooking demonstration

See Instagrams Here

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