Farmer Melanie and her crewRegardless of what the groundhog may have said, the last few weeks of regular snowstorms have given a strong impression that winter is still with us. And yet, the territorial song of cardinals and the warming February sun make clear that spring is inevitably on its way.

And with it come some important transitions for Land’s Sake. At the end of February, we bid a fond goodbye to Melanie Hardy, our farm manager for the past 5 years. Melanie has been instrumental it making the farm what it is today, and she has invested a tremendous amount of herself in this place. We all – staff, members, shareholders & customers – owe her great thanks for what she has accomplished. I will miss her hard work and her passionate commitment to good food, beautiful vegetables, and the people of Land’s Sake. She goes with good wishes from all of us, and we hope she will remain connected to Land’s Sake long into the future.

Farmer Erik BaumAt the same time, we are pleased to welcome back Erik Baum as our new farm manager. Erik was a member of the Land’s Sake farm crew from 2004 to 2008, and has been farming in this region for nearly 15 years. He brings with him a wide range of growing experiences, a passion for producing beautiful vegetables, and a deep knowledge of this particular piece of land. We’re glad to welcome him back! Erik is busily building his team, ordering seeds, and preparing the farm for the day the snow melts.

– Ed Barker

A Farewell From Our Farm Manager, Melanie Hardy

Not being a winter sports person, this endless snow has provided me with plenty of time to hunker down with my knitting and thus plenty of time to reflect on the last five years that I’ve spent here at Land’s Sake. I have so many thoughts and feelings about it all, but there are two things that feel most important to share.

First, there are so many goods and services that Land’s Sake provides for our community: education, vegetables, fun experiences, maple syrup, just to name a few. One thing that customers and supporters do not often realize is that behind the scenes, alongside the crops and the weeds, the people that are doing the hard work to make all of this happen are also growing in leaps and bounds, in all kinds of profound ways. What a gift this is that Land’s Sake provides to individuals as well as to the professional fields of farming and farm education. Here, I, along with countless others, have learned so much about farming, life, and running a business… and have been lucky enough to make lifelong friends along the way. For all of this I am eternally grateful.

I am so proud of the work and learning that my full-time farm teams, in all of their variations, have accomplished here in the past five years. Zannah, Nina, Alicia, Joseph, Hil, Laura, Brett, Olivia and (last, but most of all) Steph: you were all my rocks. And not the annoying kind that we spend a lot of time removing from the fields, but the good metaphorical kind! You were all incredible and devoted workers and teachers, who showed up, got work done, and stood by the farm through thick and thin. All of the thank yous in the world couldn’t express my gratitude to this particular group of folks.

My second thought is this: I want to say to our members and customers, the town of Weston, our executive director, the farm and stand crews, the education crew, the board, all of our dedicated volunteers, and anyone that I have forgotten to include: YOU make Land’s Sake the vibrant, dynamic, exciting and beautiful place it is now and will continue to be for years to come. I am so excited to see how all of your support and hard work for this organization will manifest in the future. What an amazing community this is!

I have one last thought. Erik Baum, our new Farm Manager, is so talented and skilled as a farmer. I couldn’t imagine handing over my responsibilities to anyone else, and I am so excited for him and his crew and the 2014 season! I encourage you to give him all of the inspiring support that you have given me and my crews over the years. And don’t forget: farmers love cookies!

Much love,

Melanie

Holly Ameden, Land’s Sake Board Presidentnwsltr_May11_grazingtendrils

For me, the answer begins with my family. Watching my three sons, twin eight-year-olds and a five-year-old, go out in the world with their curiosity and energy to experience new things and meet new people – this inspires me. I see their energy in action at Land’s Sake as they go on school field trips and use their five senses, as we pick up our weekly CSA share at the farm and roam the flower field, and as we learn what ripe tomatillos look like in the “pick your own” fields. The boys climb the trees, visit the rabbits and chickens, and tell me about the herbs and vegetables growing in the educational garden. When I pick them up from a February vacation program at Land’s Sake, the boys tell me how they collected sap, how maple trees work, and how syrup is made. This spring, I can’t wait to hear what they have to say when I pick them up from their “Afterschool Explorers” program.Teaching the children

Seeing the dedication and spirit of the Land’s Sake staff, the patience they show in answering my sons’ myriad questions, and the awareness of the world they’ve awakened in my sons – this inspires me. Knowing that my sons’ Land’s Sake experiences will shape their perspectives as they grow up and leave Weston and become thoughtful, informed citizens and leaders of their future communities, mindful of the impact of their choices on our environment and broader community – this inspires me.

Thinking about how the Land’s Sake farm staff work over 20 acres of cultivated land in five separate locations in Weston, growing more than 120,000 pounds of chemical-free produce last year, enriching our community every day – this inspires me.

Working with the Land’s Sake Board, a dynamic group of individuals with different perspectives that come together in their passion for Land’s Sake and speak with one strong voice – this inspires me.

And Alyson Muzila, long-time Land’s Sake Board member and generator of so many positive changes at Land’s Sake in the past few years, inspires me too. Alyson introduced me to Land’s Sake and got me involved, and I will forever be thanking her.

During my first month serving on the Land’s Sake Board in May 2011, Alyson, then Board President, posted a blog on “The heart, and soul, of Weston.” Her thoughts move me as much today, if not more, than they did two years ago. I share a portion of them with you here and ask – what inspires you?

The heart, and soul, of Weston  (May, 2011)

Alyson Muzila, (Former) Board President

Land’s Sake is one of the greatest things about Weston.  I have long believed this since ‘discovering’ it during my third year as a Weston resident. Driving by the farm one warm May day, I decided to enter the long driveway to poke around  and see what the wooden farm stand, and the fields, were all about. A tall, thin man with a long beard was there, hoeing a field. It was a wonderful sight for my Wyoming-raised eyes that ached for familiar scenes of farmers working their fields.

“Hi. Do you work here?” I asked, naively.

“Sort of,” the man answered, with a bit of a grin.

Little did I know that I had just met Brian Donahue, a co-founder of Land’s Sake, an internationally known academic and a champion of suburban farming and forestry programs, of which Land’s Sake was a national model.

And little did I know that Land’s Sake would forever change my life.

Now, eight years later, I am honored to serve as Board Chair of this great organization and to work for the Land’s Sake community.  As a mom, a customer, and a volunteer, I can attest to the many impacts that this land, and the people who work on and for it, have made on my family. Whether it’s stopping by the farmstand on a steamy July day for fresh basil and carrots for dinner, or watching my children frolic in the farm and forests that Land’s Sake staff help maintain, the memories we’ve made are fresh and powerful. I have grown attached to this part of our town in a way that I never expected.

Land’s Sake is a place, a model of sustainability, a community of dedicated citizens that value open space, working landscapes, and community involvement. It is a source of healthy local food, a proud steward of forests, an inspirational teacher to children and adults. It is a board of leaders and a hardworking, talented staff, it is the tired hands of volunteers that give of their time, and the smiles of children that depart their buses and discover where their food comes from. Land’s Sake is all of this, and much more…. (more)

Hiking the trails to find the perfect Christmas Tree!

Hiking the trails to find the perfect Christmas Tree!

Honey from our local bees and the Boston Honey Co. makes the best holiday gift!

Honey from our local bees and the Boston Honey Co. makes the best holiday gift!

Those eager for more delicious root veggies (grown by Land's Sake's hard-working Farmers), found delight at the veggie stand, manned by wonderful volunteers Ned, Pat and Amanda.

Those eager for more delicious root veggies (grown by Land’s Sake’s hard-working Farmers), found delight at the veggie stand, manned by wonderful volunteers Ned, Pat and Amanda.

Tree cutting tools resting in a quaint, rustic setting...

Tree cutting tools resting in a quaint, rustic setting…

Our great greenhouses housed the 2nd Deep Fall Distribution of the Season.  One left to go!

Our great greenhouses housed the 2nd Deep Fall Distribution of the Season. One left to go!

Education Director, Doug Cook and Board Member, Pat Hambrick at the 2012 Tree Cutting Event and CSA Distribution.  Possibly the best spot: near the fire and cider!

Education Director, Doug Cook and Board Member, Pat Hambrick at the 2012 Tree Cutting Event and CSA Distribution. Possibly the best spot: near the fire and cider!

Our amazing volunteers: teens from  the Weston High National Honors Society and farm-stand  frequenter, Amanda...keeping warm by the fire :)
Our amazing volunteers: teens from the Weston High National Honors Society and farm-stand frequenter, Amanda…keeping warm by the fire.
Keeping us warm with local and sustainably harvested cord-wood.

Keeping us warm with local and sustainably harvested cord-wood.

Register for Kids' Winter Programs now (for all things maple, visit the Weston Rec. Dept. website) and keep a look out for Summer Registration beginning in January!

DIY ornaments supplied by nature and our friendly beekeepers at the Boston Honey Co.!  Register for Kids’ Winter Programs now (visit the Weston Rec. Dept. website) and keep a look out for Summer Registration beginning in January!

Our greenhouse is now filled with a rainbow of curing winter squash!

Best carrot ever!

Livingston supervises hand-weeding in the brassicas. This was our cauliflower planting back in late August.

Farmer Laura spreading onions out in our greenhouse in early/mid-August. Here, they will cure (dry out) for a couple of weeks before we start cleaning and selling them.

Emily and Linda are our veteran Tuesday harvest helpers. They have worked here longer than any of the farmers! Here they are cleaning onions last week.

Ah, September…all crisp blue skies and apples. We make weekly trips to Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA, to get our apples for the farm stand. This particular day I had to wait for my order, so I snapped some photos and bought some cider donuts for the farm crew.

One of the best parts of my job is walking the fields to see what work needs to be done and to find out what crops are ready, or nearly ready, for harvest. This Sunday’s was a particularly exciting walk, especially in our northern fields. Left to right: Daikon radishes, sweet potatoes and popping corn. And a turkey feather.

Steph with our newly strung twinkle lights.

Ned, our favorite painter, putting a few coats of sealant on the endwalls of our greenhouse yesterday. Thanks Ned!

A Brandeis student learning to sort tomatoes on Monday. He and his 15 or so classmates helped us to pick 1300 pounds of tomatoes in record time.

Greens are back! Here is a CSA member choosing from: dinosaur kale, white russian kale, rainbow chard, bok choy, Vitamin Green and Tokyo Bekana. Yum!

The Green Power program provides teens with the opportunity to grow food, care for animals, mentor younger children, volunteer in the community, cook fresh food, work hard and have fun!

Check out all the cool things the teens did Summer 2012! And keep an eye out for the chance to join the Green Power Summer 2013 Crew!

While it’s not quite Fall, the air has certainly turned brisk and Summertime fun has been replaced with Back-to-School excitement.  Here at Land’s Sake, we particularly notice the change of seasons as weeks of Green Power give-way to After School Programs, and constant harvesting and weeding in the heat segues into harvesting and storing the bounty of Fall.  Thank you to all who have made for such a wonderful Summer season; we look forward to what Fall has in store for us and say ‘farewell’ with 10 of our favorite Summer moments.

Enjoy!

1.  First Wellesley Farmer’s Market appearance of the Season.  Beautiful display!

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2.  Farm & Forest Explorers mucking out the goat and sheep stalls.  Great teamwork!  Image

3.  Thinned Beets.  Quite vibrant! Image

 4.  Kids’ Cafe-ers climbing in the Magic Tree.  South Boston Boys and Girls Club Crew!

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 5.  Truckin’ Tomatoes!  Heading to the fields to be planted…

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6.  Ripened ‘n’ Ready!  Farmer Melanie celebrating the results of all that hard work.

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7.  A bunny named Squirrel and a few of her Boys and Girls Club friends.  Farm Tranquility.

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8.  Farmer Laura direct seeding.  A Ground’s Eye View.

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 9.  Feeding the new bulls, Williamsburg & Vermont, during Green Power’s morning animal chore routine.

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10.  A successful carrot harvest!  Way to go Green Power 2012!

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Join us this Fall for special memories to come!

Tuesday was a classic day at the farm. The final group of this season’s Green Power students were busily working in the front garden, helping to harvest and keep our fields looking great. Land’s Sake farmers were busily washing and packing the day’s harvest and setting out berries and tomatoes for sale at the farmstand. CSA customers were literally queued up, ready to claim their share of the vegetables that were all beautifully and carefully laid out under the CSA tent. Students from the Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club romped about the garden and the fields, learning about goats and compost, green vegetables and natural systems. It was Land’s Sake at its summertime best.

In the past two months, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about and observe Land’s Sake programs, meet with many of our members and donors, work side-by-side with our farm team, and speak with many of our CSA and farmstand customers. With each additional interaction, I have learned more about what makes Land’s Sake unique, and why it is such a special place for many people. We do lots of important things: provide access to local, fresh, healthy vegetables; offer programs that teach children the relationships between the food they eat and the world around them; create opportunities for people to gather together in a beautiful place; grow produce to share with those with less access to it. Most importantly, however, Land’s Sake makes this a stronger community and a better place to live.

I am pleased to be a part of all that Land’s Sake does, and I’m excited by the opportunity that exists here. We have much work to do in the months ahead, and I look forward to working with many of you to grow and strengthen our programs and our relationships and help Land’s Sake become what it has the potential to be. Please be sure to join us for our annual fall celebration dinner on September 22 if you can. Stop in to the farm to see what’s at the farmstand, or drop by the office to introduce yourself.

See you at the farm!

Ed Barker
Executive Director
Land’s Sake


Fresh-picked English Pea Soup and Farm-grown Black Bean Burritos with Arugula Pesto may sound like something you might find on the menu at a hip farm-to-fork restaurant in the city, or perhaps written up in the latest Food column on the New York Times. For the past couple of weeks, however, these delectable dishes have been gracing the table of our Friday Farm Meals cooked by our awesome Green Power crew.

Bringing in the harvest, rain or shine!

We culminate every week at Green Power by planning, harvesting, preparing, cooking, serving and (of course) eating a delicious, local meal, inspired by the best of the season coming out of the farm fields and our Education Garden. It has been such a joy to watch students bring this process from garden brain storming sessions to a stunning spread on red-checked table cloths. The students take ownership over every step of the process: from figuring out how to form the menu around our harvest, to learning knife-skills, to wrapping spring rolls and baking pop-overs.

Preparing our take on Garden Salsa Verde.

This cooking program could not happen without the support of our community. Special thanks go out to the Wellesley Whole Foods, the Waltham Shaw’s, and Waltham Costco for donating to our program. Big, big thanks go to the Wayland Whole Foods for donating over $600 in food staples and cooking supplies. We are forever grateful to our amazing super-star Chef Team, Ellen Touart-Grob and Trish Scozzafava, who put in hours of planning, teaching and kitchen mentoring to make our program possible.

Enjoying the feast!

Seeing the pride our youth have in presenting this meal to our farm crew and friends is such an incredible experience. I must say that after years of working on farms, I have found that no one moment brings people together more than sitting down to a home-cooked farm feast with co-workers, friends, and family. It has been such a joy to share in this cultivation of community with the amazing and awe-inspiring crew of Green Power.

See you at the Farm,

Nicole

Green Power Leader

These are the principles that inform and guide our Summer Programs here at Land’s Sake.  Whether  packing meals at Community Servings for chronically-ill recipients or seeding radishes for the weekly Community Lunch on the farm, the teens of Green Power and the children of Farm & Forest Explorers are not only guided by these aforementioned principles, they are the inspiration for the principles.

I was struck with this thought when viewing a recent video of New Zealand teen, Brittany Trilford, addressing the delegates attending the Rio+20 Summit, an international conference held this June charged with resolving the severe issues of environmental and social degradation worldwide.  Brittany Trilford proclaims:

I stand here with fire in my heart. I’m confused and angry at the state of the world. We are here to solve the problems that we have caused as a collective, to ensure that we have a future…When all around us is the knowledge that offers us solutions [,] Nature as a design tool offers insight into systems that are whole, complete, that give life, create value, allow progress, transformation, change.

These remarkable words remind me of our own Green Power principles; furthermore, Brittany’s words highlight the youthful origin of these foundations. I was similarly awestruck once again after stumbling upon a photograph of two young boys working together to save the life of a stranded dog.  The boys’ actions are an inspiration, reminding us that one moment can turn into an opportunity the give the best of ourselves, to become showcase the compassion and ingenuity that lies within all of us.

As an Educator, I prepare for any given program by researching topics, establishing essential questions, and developing activities that will stimulate the mind and senses.  I bring a well-thought-out plan in my head, and am ready to jump into action.  The first child or teen arrives and I’m immediately reminded, as I was when watching the video and viewing the photo, just who has the most to learn this day.

This Spring, during an Afterschool Program at the Farm, I experienced such a lesson when an 11 year old girl, took a 3 year old boy under her wing to teach him how to identify and harvest mint in the Education Garden.  I gave no direction to do this. This moment of mentorship and patience was initiated solely by the 11 year old herself.

Youth that spend the Summer here at Land’s Sake bring this inherent knowledge and power with them.  Children bring curiosity and wonder, respect for living things and thoughtfulness toward their surroundings.

I for one am eager to follow their lead and begin a Summer of learning more about Working Hard, Working Together, Giving Back, Showing Leadership and Living Locally.

Warm Regards,

Megan

As the vegetables in the fields grow, Land’s Sake’s staff of farmers and educators increase too, bringing with them their passion for completing the rigorous work it takes to fulfill our mission and reach our seasonal goals.  Each member of our team has been inspired in some way to heed the call to return to the land, that inspiration is contagious and is truly the engine that continues to drive us towards success.  Land’s Sake is a very special place for a multitude of reasons.  High on the list is our dedicated staff and the energy that they brings with them, we are immensely grateful to have such an amazing and devoted crew.  Please join the Land’s Sake community in welcoming: Laura Eppstein, Nicole Gelb and Brett Maley among the new faces on the farm this season.

Laura Eppstein – Assistant Grower and Farm Stand Manager

Laura Eppstein - Assistant Grower

Laura Eppstein – Assistant Grower

Laura grew up nearby in Brookline, MA. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 2009 with a degree in American Studies she moved to Brooklyn, NY to work as a paralegal at a small boutique law firm.  During that time she became an active member of the Park Slope Food Coop and realized that working with food was much better then sitting in a cubicle all day.  In August, 2010, she quit to live and work at a Community Farm in Manchester, Vermont.  In 2011 she worked as a Land’s Sake weeding crew member while also working part time as an organizer for the Northeast Organic Farming Association. In addition to cooking and eating, Laura loves good dance parties and frequenting local cafes.

Nicole Gelb – Green Power Leader

Nicole Gelb – Green Power Leader

Nicole hails from the Great Pacific Northwest. After completing a self-designed major in Environmental and Experiential Education at Western Washington University she moved to the San Juan Islands, a tiny archipelago off the coast of Washington State, to take youngsters kayaking, sailing, tide-pooling, garden-digging and tromping through the woods. After falling in love with the pace and autonomy of “island-life”, Nicole apprenticed at small organic island farms and spent two years living, working and teaching at the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island. Nicole spent this past spring working with the Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard in New Orleans, and is excited to escape the Southern heat for the agreeable summers of the Northeast. In addition to her passion for food and farm-based education, Nicole is excited about bicycles, ukulele, heirloom tomatoes and face-painting.

Bret Maley – Assitant Grower and Flower Manager

Brett Maley – Assistant Grower

Brett is from the south, hailing from the great state of Georgia where she farmed while working on her undergraduate degree.  She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Biology and then worked in Atlanta as an Environmental Consultant.  Brett returned to graduate school to study Ecology and has an M.S. with a focus on food web ecology.  Brett moved up north in 2010 and found herself back on a farm.  Brett joined Land’s Sake last fall, and is back this year as an assistant grower!  Brett enjoys cooking, biking, and when she can find the time, loves to go birding.

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