Join Backyard Growers for the Fifth Annual Great Gloucester GrowDown!
We’ve taken on a hard task. How do we reimagine one of Gloucester’s best events of the year, an event that raises essential funds for our work putting fresh produce on families’ tables through school, community, and backyard vegetable gardens, while the world continues to self-isolate?
With more than one in five American households experiencing food insecurity in the face of the pandemic, we put our heads together, reached out to Short & Main, our incredible and generous hosts of the GrowDown in years past, and cooked up a plan. We have all the ingredients in place, and now all we need is you.
THE GREAT GLOUCESTER GROWDOWN IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME.
The 5th Great Gloucester GrowDown is set for Tuesday, September 29.
Join us for a “party to go” in support of Backyard Growers’ school, community, and backyard garden programs, featuring…
🍅 Three-course pick-up picnic dinners for guests to enjoy in their own homes, prepared by the incredible chefs at Short & Main using fresh, local ingredients from North Shore producers, and featuring a take-out signature cocktail
🎬 A movie premiere exploring how we’ve been responding to our community’s food access needs during the pandemic – meet our gardeners, learn the impact of Backyard Growers’ programs, and see how our team pivoted to provide gardening resources, tools, support, and more, in a rapidly changing global health crisis.
We continue to be steadfast in our commitment to getting the community growing again! In the last two weeks, we have delivered 832 items from our online shop to 91 households in Gloucester and Rockport. This weekend, we launched our annual April seedling sale through a new pre-order only system. See below for information about how to order for curbside pick-up this Saturday. We have also continued with our Backyard Garden Program builds for low- to moderate-income seniors. Our new community garden members now have access to our weekly virtual garden planning training, and we will soon launch more virtual training content that will be open to the public. In the meantime, we’ve updated our Resources page with information to get you started. Read on and stay tuned for more!
In a bid to keep you and your children entertained and informed during our current doomscape, we will be putting a bunch of unrehearsed, unscripted, off-the-cuff, slightly wacky garden trainings and info sessions on-line for your viewing pleasure and acquisition of gardening knowledge (basically our official gardening training, but in a virtual format, and free for all). Spring is upon us and it’s almost time to plant!
PLUS, our very own Executive Director, Lara Lepionka, will be hosting our first-ever virtual story hour to keep your littles entertained and focused on growing food! Mark your “calendars” for the first story hour! Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 AM EST. Lara will gladly distract your children for a full 18 minutes with a charming gardening tale from yesteryear. (Don’t worry, we will get through this.) LOOK HOW EXCITED I AM TO TELL YOUR KIDS A STORY.
Tune in today at 10am here: https://www.facebook.com/BackyardGrowersProgram/
COVID-19 is having a direct impact on many families and seniors in our community. We’ve put together a list of resources available to those experiencing food insecurity and hunger at this challenging time. We’re all in this together. For assistance, please see below:
🥕 Project Bread – Food Source Hotline: The toll-free Hotline responds to more than 28,000 calls a year from people across Massachusetts struggling to feed their families. FoodSource Hotline counselors refer callers to food resources in their community as well as provides them with information about school meals, summer meal sites for kids, elder meals programs, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
🥕 The Open Door – The Food Pantry at The Open Door provides emergency groceries to those in need. Community Meals offer free, nutritious meals to those in need of food.
🥕 Gloucester School Food Service Department – The City has established a lunch “Pick-Up Station” at O’Maley Middle School at 312 Cherry St., Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – noon. All children ages 18 and under, regardless of their Free/Reduced/Full Pay status will receive a FREE complete nutritious bagged lunch daily. The meals are prepared under the same strict nutrition and food safety guidelines that are followed every day in our school kitchens. Meals may not be consumed at the “Pick-Up Station” limiting participants’ interaction and proximity to other participants.
🥕 The Office of the Mayor of the City of Gloucester – If you are self-quarantining or under mandatory quarantine (none as of 3/16) and need food assistance, please contact the Mayor of the City of Gloucester at firstname.lastname@example.org. The City has runners and will drop off a food package to you.
🥕 Backyard Growers will soon be launching a program to make container gardening materials and resources available to our community – putting the power to grow your own food on more doorsteps, patios, back stairs, and backyards throughout the region, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Watch this space.
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.
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.
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/
Cutest Fundraiser Ever!
Meet Backyard Grower’s chicks! There are four different families of chickens, with a triplet in each. The babies must be sold in groups of three because, as Meghan explained, when a new baby chicken is introduced to a flock, if they don’t come with their own posse, they may be bullied by the flock. The four chicken families are Rhode Island Reds, Silver and Gold Laced Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, and Easter Eggers, which lay blue eggs!
Lara and Meghan have named each family of chicks after a TV show, Downton Abbey and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example, and each chicken is named after a character in the show. See Backyard Growers Facebook page to find out the names of the chicks and visit their beautiful new website for more information on the Cutest Fundraiser Ever!
Stop In and Have a Peep!