Open today and tomorrow 12-4 including Sunday Closing Reception, Raffle event 2-4pm
Open today and tomorrow 12-4 including Sunday Closing Reception, Raffle event 2-4pm
Winter 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.
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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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.
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 🙂
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
December 6, 2016
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.
Your “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 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.
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!
Get 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.
Don’t you love these baby Osh Kosh veggie bloomers, just adorable, and only $15.00!
Join 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!
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.
Judge Beatrix Brosnihan and Lara Lepionka
Check out Cape Ann Reads snazzy new website header designed by Ashley Curcuru with the Teen Artist Guild instructors at the Hive, part of the illustrious Cape Ann Art Haven art center. Ashley did the seagull logo for the newly named, Gulliver!
Wednesday July 20: If you’d like help writing your original Cape Ann Reads picture book entry, Amanda Cook from the Writer’s Center leads this monthly workshop.
Thursday July 21st Cape Ann Reads at the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market. Sawyer Free Library Children’s Department will be hosting a pop up library. Cape Ann Art Haven will be on hand! Breaking news: Cape Ann Art Haven has added middle school Open Studio drop in hours Monday-Thursday from 3:30-5pm ($10 drop in class), enter at the 180 Main Street address. You can see their new screen printed t-shirt and apron PRODUCE ART. Awesome!
Visit Cape Ann Reads programs page to read more about the programs, which are free unless otherwise noted. Cape Ann Reads is on James GMG calendar, too!
I had a great time at O’Maley this week, presenting to 6th graders for “Gloucester Day”. For the past couple of years, I’ve spoken with classes about the HarborWalk because they study it at some point during the academic year. 6th graders are great and all (they were fantastic), but these O’Maley teachers make it seem effortless. Me? I bought cookies from Cafe Sicilia and Virgilios to hand out! This year I ran into Tom Balf for Maritime Gloucester on the way in, heard the teachers delight in seeing their former student, David Brooks for the Hive, back as a mentor, coach and leader. I caught some of Rick Doucette’s presentation because I heard the exclamations over YMCA summer camp and the 24 sleepless hours in a rocking chair fundraiser. Allison Cousins was heading into a class with Little Charlie Goes To Gloucester, a children’s picture book about poet Charles Olson by filmmaker Henri Ferrini and illustrated by Stefan Mallette. (It was also mentioned as it’s one of the links on the Olson marker for the HarborWalk and you can see it with other Cape Ann Reads published books.) This year, Gloucester day fell on National Teacher Appreciation Day. Every day could be National Teacher Appreciation Day. Here’s the report from 6th grade social studies teacher, Jessica Haskell and her O’Maley colleagues:
On Tuesday, May 3rd, 6th grade students at O’Maley Innovation Middle School participated in “Gloucester Day” as part of an introduction to their end-of-the-year service projects. Citizens who are active members of the Gloucester community volunteered their time and expertise to come in and teach students about organizations that work to make our community a better place. Students were also introduced to ways in which they can personally get involved in these efforts through exploring and discovering their hometown, volunteering, participating in summer camps, and coming up with their own ideas. Community mentors who attended were Catherine Ryan (HarborWalk), Rick Doucette (YMCA, Awesome Gloucester), Meghan Stratton (Backyard Growers), David Brooks (The HIVE), Tom Balf (Maritime Gloucester), Beth Klinefelter (The Open Door), and Allison Cousins (O’Maley Guidance).
Thanks for sending these photos and looking forward to hearing about the students’ projects!
Laura Lepionka writes,
She simply didn’t believe me. There was no way that there could be carrots growing in her school garden because all she could see was a bunch of green leaves. But this little kindergartener from Veterans School had the surprise of her life when she reached down, scraped at the soil surface and found some orange! In the next moment she was yanking a carrot out of the ground along with her classmates and holding it up in the air with the biggest smile.
Please join us this year by donating to our end-of-year campaign in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, which is TODAY!
Why Backyard Growers this season? School, community, and backyard gardens yield delicious veggies, increase access to nature, provide learning opportunities, and improve children’s health — But more than that, gardens grow community and a powerful source of self-reliance.
This Giving Tuesday, help Backyard Growers strengthen our work serving Gloucester’s families and children. When you give today the first $2,250 we receive will be matched by three of our generous donors. This match represents a year’s worth of garden supplies for our district-wide Salad Days and Fall Harvest Days programs in Gloucester’s elementary schools. Double your impact and help us meet our match! Our partner, The Giving Common, will cover credit card fees so that 100% of your donation goes to Backyard Growers.
Please click the link to make your donation: https://www.givingcommon.org/profile/1141198/backyard-growers/
Lara Lepionka, Executive Director
269 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Come do your holiday shopping for the gardeners in your life at Backyard Growers this Saturday for SHOP LOCAL SATURDAY! We have new t-shirts, ready-to-go garden gift tins filled with donated products from local businesses, and High Mowing seeds, sprouts, and gift boxes. 100% of your purchase will support our non-profit programs that benefit Gloucester kids and families!
PHOTO CREDIT: BACKYARD GROWERS
Lisa Smith submits, “Fall is here and it is time to harvest the crops. The Backyard Growers have gardens at all of the Gloucester schools where they mentor the students on how to grow vegetables from seed. Here they are harvesting at Veteran’s Memorial School with the students.”
Follow these steps:
1) Go to http://www.seedsofchangegrant.com/TheGallery.aspx
2) Type Backyard Growers into the Garden Name field and hit search.
3) When we pop up click on Backyard Growers.
4) Then click VOTE!
5) Vote once a day until 4/27
Last year YOUR VOTES made it possible for us to win $10K. LET”S DO IT AGAIN THIS YEAR!!! BUT FOR MORE!!! And thanks!
Did you know that chickens eat their own pooh, and other chicken’s pooh as well? You can see one of the chicks doing just that in the Vine below.
The first time the food passes through the gut it is not fully digested. Many species that eat primarily vegetation eat their own pooh to recover nutrients. Herbage can be a tough substance to breakdown. Vegetating-eating animals have evolved to either have several stomachs, a cow, for example, or to eat their own feces and digest it again.
I just can’t get enough of Backyard Grower’s adorable peeps. As of yesterday, there are two families remaining. Visit their website for more about the Cutest Fundraiser Ever!
Abigail and Samuel Cook Peep Viewing at Backyard Growers!
Friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.