Tag Archives: Backyard Growers

Backyard Growers Spring Salad Workshop

Hey Good Morning Gloucester!

We have another big event coming up in addition to the fish tasting…and again we would be very grateful if you would help us promote it.

Spring may seem a long way off, but it’s really just around the corner. To ring in the spring and show off their brand new office, Backyard Growers is holding their annual Groundhog Day spring salad planting workshop on Saturday January 31 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am at 269 Main Street. 

The theme of the day: the versatile and colorful world of lettuces! Learn why lettuces are perfect early spring crops while you taste salad samples, plan your spring garden, and plant some seeds for early greens. Participants will leave with:

  • Ready-to-go windowsill lettuce plants
  • Plans for your spring garden
  • New, healthy salad dressing recipes
  • Everything you need to hit the ground running this spring!

No need to get a baby sitter – it’s a family event! Kids will be involved in the process and in their own fun activities like making salad dressings for salad samples. 

​The workshop is free to 1st and 2nd year Backyard Growers and only $15 for any families outside of the program.

However, space is limited! Click this link to sign up today and reserve your spot before January 25!

Interested in volunteering? Sign up here!

Breaking News: Backyard Growers Setting Up New Digs on Main Street!

Lara Lepionka Backyard growers Director ©Kim Smith 2015Executive Director Lara Lepionka

Backyard Growers is moving to their new home at the former site of Present Gloucester, 269 Main Street. They could use help moving furniture from storage in Rockport, unpacking, organizing, and setting up.©Kim Smith 2015JPG Volunteers are needed today, tomorrow, and Sunday, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, with volunteer lunch provided.

Meghan Stratton Backyard Growers ©Kim Smith 2015FoodCorps Service Member Meghan Stratton

Andrew Brousseau Black Earth Compost ©Kim Smith 2015Volunteer Andrew Brousseau from Black Earth Compost

Lara Lepionka Backyard Growers ©Kim Smith 2015

Backyard Growers is in the home stretch to win $10,000 for Gloucester’s school gardens!

Hi Joey! One more posting would be awesome! 

Backyard Growers is in the home stretch to win $10,000 for Gloucester’s school gardens! Please vote once a day until Tuesday, 10/15! And thanks! VOTE HERE = http://goo.gl/CKY3Nk

Here are a couple short youtube videos for your amusement and in thanks for your continued support! We have put rolly pollies on the payroll! And my kid is as sick of me as you are! (No rolly pollies or small children were harmed in the filming of these videos)

Rolly Polly wants you to vote

Sick of school gardens

It’s The Final Stretch! Backyard Growers Update!!! Your Vote Could net Gloucester School Gardens $10,000

They’re right there, please help make sure this happens for our school gardens!

PLEASE VOTE once a day until 10/15 so Backyard Growers can WIN $10,000 for SCHOOL GARDENS–We’re in the winning top 15 of the Tom’s of Maine competition! Help keep us there! VOTE HERE = http://goo.gl/CKY3Nk (click on Massachusetts)

A feast for the eyes and the tastebuds! Check out the roasted carrots, beets, and potatoes enjoyed by Gloucester students from veggies they grew themselves!

Image 3

A vegetable petting zoo? Yes! My favorite quote from School Harvest Days, “Is it real? Or is it plastic?”


Backyard Growers Is Growing!

Hello Friends, Colleagues & Get Fit Gloucester Partners,
The Backyard Growers Program has just launched its first-ever on-line fundraising campaign! We are raising money to host a FoodCorps Service Member next year and to support our expansion into Gloucester’s elementary schools (read below for details).
Check out our campaign at www.indiegogo.com

Please consider making a donation and/or forwarding our campaign to your networks.
The fundraiser video features my lovely daughters, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face : )
Thank you!
Here’s the nitty-gritty on who we are and what we’re asking for (you can also read this on our campaign site):

What we do
Backyard Growers is a program of the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market. We are part of the farmers’ market strategy for increasing fresh veggie eating in Gloucester!

Since 2010 the Backyard Growers Program, in partnership with The Food Project, has provided low- to moderate-income Gloucester residents with backyard raised-bed vegetable gardens, garden training, and ongoing mentor support.
It’s simple! We help people grow their own fresh vegetables. Our survey results show that having a backyard garden and knowing how to use it:

  • Increases the amount of fresh produce a family eats,
  • Gets kids excited about eating fresh veggies,
  • Saves money on grocery bills, and
  • Builds community within neighborhoods.

We are expanding!
Next fall we will expand into Gloucester’s elementary schools, bringing our comprehensive garden program to over 1300 students! Our program will build the capacity of each school community to manage their school farms over the long term. Students will:

  • Learn through doing in the school garden!
  • Grow and harvest their own salad greens and eat them as part of school lunch in the cafeteria.
  • Plant crops in June to be harvested when they return to school in the fall as part of an annual harvest celebration.

To do this we need help…
We have an opportunity to host a FoodCorps Service Member for one year starting in September.

FoodCorps is a national nonprofit organization that works with schools to create a healthier school food environment. It is part of the AmeriCorps service network, and targets improving childhood health by placing service members in public schools around the country to teach hands-on nutrition education; build and care for school gardens; and work to bring high-quality local food to school cafeterias.

Our Service Member will build the capacity of each school to maintain productive school gardens with the goal of school gardens becoming part of the culture of each school!

Your contribution will make all this possible! Please help us raise $7,500 by donating to our campaign.

  • $5,000 = Our salary contribution for a one-year, full-time FoodCorps Service Member
  • $2,500 = Program expansion costs (garden & program supplies, additional staff costs)

We have some fun perks for you, including free seeds & seedlings and garden training, and some special ways for you to connect with the school garden program. If we don’t reach our entire fundraising goal we will ramp up the grant writing. If we exceed our goal, we will put the funds toward the future sustainability of the Backyard Growers Program.

Help us Spread the Word!
Forward this indiegogo campaign to your people.

Like and follow Backyard Growers on Facebook.

Lara Lepionka

Square Foot Gardening Training


Grow a more productive garden with less work! And enjoy eating your own home-grown veggies this year!

Quick Links

Contact Lara, BYG Coordinator

BYG webage

BYG on facebook

BYG blog

Square Foot Gardening Training

This year we are offering a limited number of spots to the general public to attend our Backyard Growers Program training. The training program fee is $25. You will be trained alongside this year’s program participants. (Sorry! We can’t provide you will additional Backyard Growers Program resources! The $25 fee is for the 2-hour training only.) To learn more about our program go to the Quick Links above.

The Backyard Growers Program partners with The Food Project to provide an interactive, hands-on training, which is fun, informative, and gives you what you need to successfully start and maintain a garden. You will learn the "square foot gardening method" and how to plan your family’s garden.

Where & When

  • We offer two training dates. Both trainings cover the same material so you only need to sign up for one. 
    • Saturday, March 23 generally for families at Veteran’s, East Gloucester & Plum Cove
    • Saturday, March 30 generally for families at Beeman & West Parish
  • Families that do not fall within these categories can choose which date they would like to attend.
  • The trainings are from 10 AM – 12 PM at The Open Door in the dining room. Please arrive at 9:45 to register. Please use the rear entrance.

Sign-up & Payment

If you’d like to participate please email me with the date you would like to attend and the number of people attending. Space is limited! After confirming your spot you can:

Click here to pay on-line

Or mail a check with BYG in the memo line to:

Cape Ann Farmers’ Market, PO Box 1458, Gloucester, MA 01931

Your $25 fee goes back into supporting the Backyard Growers Program.

Spring is coming, I promise!

Lara Lepionka

Backyard Growers Coordinator

What’s New in Jenna’s Garden? Week Seven

What’s New in Jenna’s Garden?

Jenna Howard headshot

Pleasant Street resident Jenna Howard is providing updates on the chard, cauliflower and other vegetables growing in her plot at the new Burnham’s Field Community Garden. The reports and photos allow GoodMorningGloucester viewers to follow the garden’s progress with a weekly answer to the question, “What’s New in Jenna’s Garden?”

By Jenna Howard

Week Seven

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of “housekeeping” in the garden. As you may have read in last week’s update, I had to re-stake the tomato plants and remove the squash from the garden. This left a lot of free space and possibilities for new additions.

On the right side of the garden you will see a small fence. This is simply three sticks (that I took from my yard) tied together with twine. This structure was made for the green beans with hopes that as they grow they will climb the fence. This should keep them from interfering with any of their neighbors!

green beans

The newest additions to the garden are Bright Lights Swiss Chard, cauliflower, Romaine Lettuce and Wooly Thyme. While the far end of the garden is looking very mature with 6+ foot tall tomato plants, the middle of the garden is filled with young plants that are just starting to grow.

You may also notice the wild-looking vine growing at the foot of the plot. That is a pumpkin that I grew from a seed! (Yes, I’m very proud to have successfully grown something from a seed!) It has been doubling in size every week. And this week I was so excited to see that a small green pumpkin has appeared!

new stuffpumpkinWeek 7