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SCLT Announces Exciting 2024 Workshop Series

All workshops are free | Registration is required | All materials provided to registered attendees Click the links below, or check out our Upcoming Events page for more information on each workshop.


Southside Community Land Trust is gearing up for an enriching summer and fall with the announcement of our 2024 workshop series. The series, featuring seven diverse workshops, kicks off Saturday, June 22, and runs through November 15. These free events offer a unique blend of gardening, art, and food justice education, catering to both families and adults.

The series begins with a Container Gardening Workshop on June 22, perfect for urban dwellers and those with limited space. Participants will create their own container gardens to take home, learning essential skills from SCLT’s Director of Special Projects and Master Gardener, Tarshire Battle. As summer progresses, attendees can look forward to EcoArt workshops, including Cyanoprinting at City Farm on July 25 and Landscape with Tape at Good Earth Farm on August 23.

For those interested in food preservation, an Introduction to Canning workshop is scheduled for August 14. This hands-on session will guide participants through the process of making and canning tomato sauce. The workshop will be co-hosted by Tarshire Battle and Andraly Horn, an organic farmer at Open fArms Retreat.

As autumn approaches, SCLT continues to offer creative opportunities with Mixed Media and Papermaking workshops in September and October, respectively. The series concludes with a thought-provoking Food Justice Workshop on November 15, exploring the historical context and contemporary issues surrounding food justice in Rhode Island.

These events not only offer practical skills and creative outlets but also promote environmental sustainability and community engagement. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast, an aspiring artist, or someone passionate about food justice, SCLT’s 2024 workshop series promises something for everyone.

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SCLT’s farmer-run Garden Center now open

SCLT’s The Good Earth Farm & Garden Center is now open. Visitors are invited to the farmer-run Garden Center, Friday through Sunday, 10am to 2pm, at 1800 Scituate Ave in Cranston, where Blue Skys Farm, Geek Garden, Philip Farm, Serenity Farm, and Somi Farm sell hyper-local, affordable, and culturally familiar produce, garden supplies, and wellness goods.

Still looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Visit the Garden Center for greenhouse-grown houseplants, from monstera to jade, plus decorative hanging baskets and cut flowers. New this year, the Garden Center features herbal teas, culinary seasonings, and other fine products from Sanctuary Herbs of Providence.

In addition to cool weather crops like bok choy, kale, and spinach, plus plant starts including strawberry and raspberry, asparagus, and a variety of herbs, the Garden Center now has organic fertilizers and compost, seed potatoes, and Coast of Main premium potting mix available. Everyone knows: healthy plants start with healthy soil!

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Thank you, 401 Gives Donors!

SCLT received $31,117 across two days of the United Way’s 401 Gives fundraiser this year. The funds will support our agricultural, arts, and cultural educational programs for children, plus our workforce development program for youth and emerging adults. Each year, SCLT employs approximately 50 youth, aged 14 to 24, from Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls. These Youth Staff and Food System Interns are exposed to career opportunities in agriculture and related sciences, experience hands-on training from culinary skills to environmental stewardship, and engage with a supportive professional development track.

United Way of RI reports that 597 nonprofit and community organizations across the state received $3.8 million, a new record for 401 Gives in 2024. Moreover, 20% more donors participated this year over last. Thank you for this much-needed support! If you meant to give but missed the event, your generosity is always welcome here.

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RI’s small & urban farmers paying outsized taxes for decades

The Small & Urban Farms Success bill was introduced to the RI House and Senate earlier this year by 10 State Representatives and was heard by the RI House and Senate this spring. Championed by a coalition of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, SCLT, and a network of farmers, including Open Farms Retreat‘s Andraly Horn and Sienna Viette, this legislation has the power to level the playing field by creating tax relief programs for small and urban farms that are similar to the programs that have been available for more than 30 years to larger, rural farms in our state.

RI’s current tax programs don’t meet the food or economic needs of our communities, and they don’t match our coalition’s commitment to equity. These programs need an update so that more Rhode Islanders can eat fresh, healthy, and affordable food grown right here in our tiny state, where the cost of agricultural land keeps going up, and the size of farms keeps going down.

Hear from several small and urban farmers on what this change would mean for the future of their farm businesses and the resiliency of our local food system:


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SCLT growers graduate from Technology Basics course


Nine farmers and gardeners in SCLT’s network recently completed a six-week Technology Basics course, gaining practical skills to help navigate daily digital life. This training series was made possible through a partnership with the Providence Public Library (PPL), which supplied a laptop for each participant and instructors who could give focused support to learners.

SCLT hosted the sessions in the community training space at our 404 Broad Street Healthy Food Hub in Providence. From late January to early March 2024, learners gathered once per week for two to three hours. Sessions covered online essentials like security practices and scam recognition, website navigation, account setup, and email basics. Designed for our growers, participants also learned about reliable places to shop for farm and garden supplies online and what the typical ordering process entails.

SCLT staff were led by Administrative Manager Tammy Kim and Urban Edge Farm Manager Ben Torpey. The opportunity was widely promoted to our network of over 40 farmers and nearly 400 community gardeners. In the neighborhoods where SCLT works, 50% of residents speak a language other than English at home. And 34 different languages are spoken on our properties. Meanwhile, most resources to build digital skills are available exclusively in English. Tammy and Ben arranged for interpreters so the program could help non-English speakers overcome two barriers – tech literacy and English literacy.

Because of the success of our pilot partnership, SCLT hopes to again work with PPL to bring this equitable and accessible programming to more of our neighbors.

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SCLT awarded farm tool grant by SNEFCC

Beginning farmers using farm tools to improve the quality of soil and the produce they grow.

The nearly 400 growers in SCLT’s community gardens network will get a boost this spring, thanks to a farm tool grant from the Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative (SNEFCC). The organization brings together stakeholders who want to increase the success of beginning farmers of color across the region’s six states. For the last three years, SNEFCC has made grants that aim to support these farmers in developing the skills, resources, and capabilities needed to build and sustain successful farm enterprises.

Approaching his first anniversary as SCLT’s Community Gardens Network Associate, Blong Yang authored the successful proposal for the tool stipend.  The award will enable Blong and Community Gardens Network Director Andrew Cook to purchase close to $5,000 in tools like rakes, shovels, loppers, digging forks, and rototillers. These have been identified as the top needs on an ever-evolving wishlist of resources requested by gardeners whose produce feeds their families and their communities.

In 2023, food grown by SCLT farmers and gardeners ended up on the plates of over 23,250 people, at least 97% of whom live in low-income communities where fresh, healthy, and delicious food is hard to find and harder to afford. An average of 32% of residents in the communities we serve live in low-access census tracts, meaning they live more than a mile from a source of fresh food. Outside our garden walls, the fresh foods commonly available are not culturally familiar to the people living in these communities, where 32% of residents were born outside of the US. The small and urban growers in our network and across the state are vital to meeting the needs of our food-insecure neighbors.

This year’s SNEFCC Tool Stipend grant was particularly competitive, and SCLT is grateful to have been a recipient. SNEFCC makes these stipends available as part of a grant awarded by the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). SCLT is a past and current recipient of BFRDP grants. We’ve used the funds, among other purposes, to fuel our Farm Apprentice program. Apprentices are beginning farmers who are matched with an experienced farmer – often someone they already know – and are compensated for participating in an immersive and unique career readiness curriculum that includes linguistically appropriate agricultural business management training. In 2024, with our BFRDP funding and with support from the SNEFCC stipend, we’ll continue to support seven Apprentices who participated in the program last year, all of whom identify as people of color.

Gratefully, this stipend alleviates some of the tool needs for the hundreds of people working the land in SCLT’s 22 gardens across Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls. However, the need for shareable, reliable, well-maintained tools remains an ongoing issue for our network of growers. Check out our Resource Wishlist and consider making a donation of your new or gently used tools to support the work of our growers.

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Greenwich Garden has fresh start to 2024 growing season

Properties & Equipment Coordinator Dan Roberts (left) and Community Garden Network Associate Blong Yang survey a successful bed rebuild while Food System Intern Frank Jolifier prepares the next.

Backed by our Burnett Community Garden and neighbored by residences and an elementary school, Greenwich Garden this winter received its first major facelift since SCLT established the green space in 2011. Led by Andrew Cook, Community Garden Network Director, and Blong Yang, Garden Network Associate, the project brought together SCLT staff, Greenwich gardeners, and volunteers from partner organizations who got their hands dirty to help make important improvements to the busy garden.

Twenty gardeners cultivate 38 plots at Greenwich Garden. A majority of them live within walking distance, by design. Greenwich’s gardeners are mainly individuals and families, with a few who sell their produce at local markets. In the garden, you’ll hear Swahili, Kirundi, and French spoken. The Garden Network team worked with Marie Uwera to develop the project. Uwera has served as Garden Leader since its 2011. With a network of 22 community gardens in the Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls area, the team maintains an active priority list of projects and is kept busy addressing them throughout the year.

Some garden bed walls had been replaced here and there through the years, but after more than a decade of piecemeal patches, the garden’s years were showing. The goals in the remodel were many. Eliminating redundant pathways between plots increases plantable space. It also means fewer bed edges to maintain, meaning the project is less expense in the long run. Before the revamp, walking paths disrupted the distance between beds and barrier fences; now, gardeners can plant climbing plants and use the fences to trellis their growth. The project is climate smart, too, with the design shown to provide better temperature modulation and improved water retention.

Lending a hand to Andrew and Blong, several other SCLT staff picked up shovels and pitched in. We owe special thanks to volunteers from UNFI, who weren’t afraid to dive into the project, helping with everything from hauling lumber to weed whacking. Youth Staff from SCLT’s Pawtucket Youth Program spent a shift clearing the site and readying it for the coming growing season.


Interested in a plot? Read more about our Community Gardens program.

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With a Solid Foundation, Advancement Team Grows

We bid farewell to Jenny Boone, longtime Grants & Communications Manager, in December as she embarked on two exciting and intertwined adventures: grandmotherhood and retirement. For the last eight years, Jenny has been deeply committed to the mission of the organization. A gifted writer and caring colleague, Jenny joined a much smaller SCLT team than the one she left. One of six staff in 2015, she used her many talents to steward funding that helped to sustain and grow the organization over the years into the multiprogram, 24-member staff team it is today.

In her newly free time, Jenny will be working to complete requirements to earn Master Gardener certification. The Rare & Unusual Plant Sale was what brought Jenny to SCLT years before joining our staff, and we are so grateful that she’ll be lending a hand for this spring’s 32nd annual sale. Best wishes and stay in touch, Jenny!

On the solid foundation Jenny leaves behind, we’ve made some exciting changes to our Advancement team early in 2024.


In January, SCLT welcomed Marcel De Los Santos to the role of Grants & Communications Manager. Marcel brings 15 years of development experience, including grants management, multimedia communications, and stakeholder engagement. With a particular passion for food security and a record of working with diverse audiences, Marcel is committed to developing opportunities for others. Marcel supervises SCLT’s Federal Grants Coordinator Grace Feisthamel and Grants & Communications Coordinator Sam Shepherd; both joined in early 2023.

Josselyn Velásquez-Florián, who has served as SCLT’s Development Coordinator for the previous three seasons, has accepted the position of Development Director. Informed by her two decades of nonprofit experience, Josselyn looks to deepen our connections to community, diversify the organization’s membership, and support the continuous improvement of SCLT’s programs and services.

Development Director for the last decade, Shana Santow has moved into the role of Senior Philanthropy Advisor. Shana will strengthen her longstanding relationships with corporate and private supporters and build new partnerships with mission-aligned collaborators to help advance SCLT’s work across the state.

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Leveling the playing field for small & urban farmers in RI

Margarita Pons (right) harvests beans with husband Teo on their plot at SCLT’s Urban Edge Farm, one of several sites the pair farms in small scale, including their yard in South Providence.


We need your to help change tax relief programs for farms in Rhode Island. They were written over 30 years ago and prioritize midsized and large scale agricultural operations while leaving out the small and urban farmers who are vital to our local food system. Put simply, larger agricultural producers are eligible for certain tax exemptions. But these benefits do not exist for the more than 250 community gardens, urban, or small farms in operation in our state today, many of which are operated by low-income farmers of color.

The state has set goals to increase local agricultural production and land conservation. Agricultural tax relief programs, as currently designed, do not accomplish these goals. Including small and urban farms will support them to meet critical community needs like economic opportunity, nutrition security, and education.

The Rhode Island Food Policy Council‘s 2024 legislative agenda focuses on addressing this inequity with the Small & Urban Farmer Success bill. The bill proposes farms working less than five acres and earning less than $3,000 in annual income are eligible for tax breaks designed specifically to support their operations. SCLT has been central to this effort, spearheaded by Food Access Associate Amelia Lopez, who works with farmers, gardeners, community partners, and legislators to bring attention to the disparities facing small and urban farmers. SCLT heads to the State House on March 28, 2 to 4:30pm, for the RIFPC’s first annual Advocacy Day to highlight this bill.

While these proposed incentives would have minimal impact on the state’s tax revenue, they would significantly – and positively – affect farmers’ abilities to invest in their farm businesses and, in turn, building resilience in our food system.

Click to read more about the RIFPC’s 2024 legislative agenda and learn how you can get involved in the movement to support small and urban farmers in our state.


SIGN THE LETTER to RI Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi and encourage them to secure tax relief for local farmers in 2024.

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With USDA funds, SCLT-network farmers feed thousands in need

 SCLT is known for our programming to bring equity to local food production and access. Within this work, the collection, or aggregation, and distribution of fresh produce has been turbocharged since 2022, when SCLT and other food sector partners entered into an initial $475,000 contract with the state.

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