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.
It’s a bitterly cold day in March, all bite and bluster, but Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket is warm. And it smells like cake.
“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.
Southside Community Land Trust’s sale marks its 25th anniversary May 20-21.
With 20,000 plants, live music, and a team of expert gardeners on hand to answer questions, the Southside Community Land Trust’s Rare and Unusual Plant Sale is a perfect start to the growing season.
An event about ‘feel-good commerce’ has stayed true to its roots
Every May for the past 25 years, gardeners and urban farm enthusiasts have made a pilgrimage to City Farm for our Rare & Unusual Plant Sale. They come to support SCLT’s work to transform abandoned land into gardens and farms and provide resources and training so anyone who wants to can grow food. But they also come to celebrate the start of the growing season and to savor the traditions that make the Plant Sale a joyful, authentic, shared experience.
Did you know that SCLT helps make it possible for some of Providence’s best restaurants to offer dishes using the tastiest, locally grown ingredients? Every week during the growing season chefs place their orders for everything from bok choy, Swiss chard and herbs to edible flowers for their culinary creations thanks to Little City Growers co-op.
Volunteers, interns, apprentices and staff share camaraderie, advice and a passion for organic gardening
As the growing season ramps up, SCLT’s greenhouse at City Farm becomes a bustling place. Even with winter’s final storm (in April!) only just melting away, tiny sprouts are making their way through the soil on a recent Friday afternoon. Their progress is closely monitored by the skilled staff, high school interns and a revolving cast of devoted volunteers who drop in throughout the week to help out.
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.”
Photo Caption: SCLT’s Rich Pederson with City Farm Apprentice Nayeema Eusuf.
By LEIGH VINCOLA/ecoRI News contributor
PROVIDENCE—This growing season the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) will introduce a farming apprenticeship specifically designed for veterans and minorities. Funded by a grant from the USDA’s Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program, this is the first opportunity of its kind in the area.