PAWTUCKET – Talk about a truly “good news” story. To celebrate its report to the community and to highlight the successes of the past year, the Pawtucket/Central Falls Health Equity Zone held a farm to table dinner at the Hope Artiste Village on Sept. 26.
This year’s Harvesting Hope fundraiser to benefit the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) will feature a menu designed by Gracie’s executive chef Matt Varga ’05 that will draw almost exclusively from local farmers, purveyors and brewers. The event, which takes place at the Squantum Association on Tuesday, October 3, highlights the SCLT’s work to strengthen, expand and better integrate a sustainable local food system here in Rhode Island.
“A few years ago nobody knew about urban agriculture,” says Roberta Groch, an SCLT board member who is also an urban planner for the state. “But, slowly we started incorporating it into the zoning in Providence and in other communities. And now it’s up at the State House, it’s in the Comprehensive Plan and in state regulations.
If you stop by our office or attend upcoming programs you’ll notice we’ve made some staff changes lately. After eight years at SCLT, Michelle Walker has moved on to pursue a career in the theater (where she’s drawing great reviews!). Agnieszka Rosner came on board January 1 as our new development and administrative coordinator. Also, last year’s City Farm Apprentice, Craig Demi, became a part-time special projects coordinator in November.
Debbie Schimberg started Southside Community Land Trust in 1981 with two friends who were also recent Brown University graduates. She later helped found the International Charter School in Pawtucket and the Providence Community Library. She and her husband, Kevin Neel, are the owners of Verve, makers of Glee Gum, which is headquartered in South Providence. Debbie won the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration award for “RI Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.”