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Planting at the Burlington Community Garden June 23, 2014

Posted by bsciencecenter in Burlington Community.
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Matster Garnder, Peter Coppola, and the first grade classrooms at Francis Wyman School spent the morning planting at the Burlington Community Gardens behind their school.  Their excitment was evident as the students came rushing to tell me about their future gardening adventure.

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Mr. Coppola gave the students a tour of the different areas within the garden.  He explained the difference between the leased plots for families/residents vs. the area designated for people who are in need of food assistance (food pantry garden).

Mr. Coppola then talked to the first grades about moving about within the garden.  He demonstarted the differnce between the row (where we can walk) and the bed (where we can not walk).  He also introduced the basic tools the students would be using for their planting.

Mr. Coppola explaining the difference between a bed and a row

Mr. Coppola explaining the difference between a bed and a row

Each class had the opportunity to introduce sprouted plants intto the soil and the opportunity to plant seeds directly in the ground.  Mr. Coppola described the steps on how to correctly place each plant into the ground.  Each student was given a small shovel for digging and a watering can for watering.

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Mr. Coppola describing the steps on how to plant in the soil

First graders at their planting beds

First graders at their planting beds

Some of Francis Wyman’s fourth grade classrooms also planted items at the garden the following week.

The Science Center currently supports plant science and sprouting seeds throughout several grades in the elementary schools.  We aspire to connect gardening with the science curriculum over the next few years.  The community garden is a great way  to extend the learning from the classroom into the outdoor environment.   It is an important tool for children to learn how we get produce and where their food originates from.  Our goal is to help connect our youth with nature, provide them with a meaningful outdoor experience and to educate them about ways they can help conserve our environment.

If you are interested in leasing a plot or volunteering, please contact the science center at pavlicek@bpsk12.org or Peter Coppola at petercoppola@rcn.com



Community Supported Agriculture May 21, 2013

Posted by Sean Musselman in Burlington Community.
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CC: Flickr user NatalieMaynor

Where does your food come from? Such a simple question can be more complex than you think. While most everyone in Burlington has likely purchased food at one of its many supermarkets, that doesn’t answer the question. Where does all of that food come from? The answers might surprise you. Some of the food you eat may come from places you have never heard of several thousands of miles away. With food sources so far off, its tough to know what kinds of fertilizers or pesticides a farmer has used on their foods. What’s more, the cost to move that food from their field to the market can be very expensive for you and the environment!

For those looking for peace of mind, there is an alternative to supermarkets: Community Supported Agriculture or “CSA.” A CSA is a group of individuals who pledge to support one or more local farms, with growers of many fruits and vegetables sharing the risks and benefits of food production with their supporters.

CSA members pay before the growing season begins for a portion of the expected harvest. As the food becomes ripe and mature for picking they receive shares of  the vegetables and fruit, delivered or picked up every one or two weeks.

Community Supported Agriculture has many benefits. They support jobs for local farmers and growers while reducing the environmental cost needed to move food from field to plate. Recently there has been a lot of buzz around CSAs (sometimes referred to as “farmshares”) around the faculty at Burlington High School. Guidance counselor, Stephanie Diozzi was kind enough to organize the collective knowledge of the BHS faculty into a go-to guide for those interested in joining a CSA. With her permission the Science Center has published her findings below!

Greater Burlington area:

Farmer Dave’s The most recommended farm by BPS faculty. “Close to organic,” almost exclusively fruit & veggies.

Boston Organics delivers. Not quite a local farm share since they offer products (and produce) from all over the world, but is a good option for people who live within their delivery areas.

Wilson Farm Lexington “Close to organic,” fruits and vegetables, fish and flower shares.

Bear Hill Farm Tyngsborough Pick up at farm. Vegetables, herbs, eggs.

Farmers to You Waltham

Dragonfly Farms Pickup in Allston, Westford, Acton

World Peas Pickup in Lowell

Ms. Diozzi ultimately went with, Misty Brook, and organic farm with a Boston-based farm share, which also sells their produce in the Union Square farmers’ market of Somerville. If you have another CSA you’d like to add to the list provided here, please share it in the comments section so we can update our list!

If you missed our post last month, Burlington has started taking its first steps towards their own community garden space. Located behind Francis Wyman Elementary School, the garden grand plans include space for a CSA and a community learning space for learners of all ages to enjoy while learning about agriculture.

Garden Project Breaks Ground Behind Francis Wyman April 24, 2013

Posted by Sean Musselman in Burlington Community, Science Center.
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Planned garden location in yellow

The fields behind Francis Wyman are about to get a whole lot greener!

The Burlington Science Center, in cooperation with the Burlington Recreation Department is taking the first steps towards the construction of an agricultural center designed to benefit the children and community of Burlington. The site, approved Tuesday, April 23rd by the Burlington School Committee, currently stands as an unused three-acre plot behind Francis Wyman Elementary and the fields adjacent to Laurel Lane.

The Science Center envisions the project will evolve over several years to include community gardens, a community supported plot for needy families, a field test and training garden, and an education center. In anticipation of utilizing and developing the area next year, we will be incorporating loam and organic matter to the soil this year.

Peter Coppola, former Planning Board Member and Recreation Department Commissioner, has been asked to serve as project manager under the direction of the Science Center and will be the point of contact for this effort. Peter is a Master Gardener and has been teaching and writing on the subject of agriculture in Burlington for over ten years.

The Science Center is thrilled to break ground on this project and gives thanks to the Burlington School Committee, Burlington Superintendent of Schools, Eric Conti, and Burlington Director of Finance and Operations, Craig Robinson for their support!

Proposed garden location

Proposed garden location.

View of Francis Wyman from garden

View of Francis Wyman from garden.

Loam to be spread on garden location

Loam to be spread on garden location.

Loam to be spread on garden location

Loam to be spread on garden location.

Current Laurel Lane entrance

Current Laurel Lane entrance.