Keeping the garden organized

By Birch

The garden is finally growing! The cold weather is officially gone and our garden is starting to become filled with lunch green edibles. We are growing 10 plant families, in 13 beds. All together we're growing around 45 different crops with different harvesting and growing habits.

One might wonder "how do you keeping track of everything?" or "what is your system for being organized?"

Well, we use the garden planning chart.

Every week we either put a light blue or red sticker in front of every crop, depending on it's status of: growing or has been harvested. With this, we have a 2x3' visual representation of the statues of every crop in the garden. This year has been pretty hot and dry, so if you spot the broccoli row (green arrow) you'll see that the broccoli was predicted to be harvested last week, but there is a light blue sticker there because it wasn't ready.

Also, thanks to the chart we have an idea of what Friday meals can contain. I know for one, I am looking forwards to the July 24th meal because our handy dandy chart tells me we'll be having eggplant!

Farm Update from Alexis

By Alexis S

This summer the sun has come in full force, making the work on the farm even more difficult. From weeding to harvesting to watering this week I realized just how much work goes into maintaining the farm. However, even with all the work I couldn't deny the satisfying results from a hard week of work.

Joining the Healthy Corner Store project

From the Healthy Corner Stores kick off in January 2016
By Neena H

I'm excited to see how a healthy corner store will impact our community. Currently, corner stores provide people with a quick snack and a drink, like chips and soda. By bringing healthy alternatives, customers can improve their diets. Studies show how a healthy diet can prevent some diseases such as obesity and lower your changes of a heart attack or stroke.

Most corner stores are located in food deserts where healthy, affordable food is scare. This project could change that by making produce that previously could only be found in the grocery store accessible. Customers could change their pallets, and try new things. No longer would they have to take a bus, car or train to get produce. No one should be have to go to bed hungry, or malnourished because produce was too far and expensive.

My major in college is called Food Studies. It focuses on food policy and the issues surrounding it. The healthy corner store project is addressing a part of the issue reflected in my major. A major in Food Studies has graduates dealing with food security, sustainability and distribution. I hope to use this major to work in a government agency dealing with these issues.

This week's menu: South American Celebration!

Ground Beef Empanadas


Mexican Rice

Spicy Spinach Quesadillas

 Based on this recipe.

Green Salad

By the brilliant Essie


Pico de Gallo

See recipe below

Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lime infused water

This week's meal was inspired by the flavors of South America, and the hot peppers that are growing in the garden. The meal for 50 people cost just $3.26 per plate!

This week's menu: Use What You Have!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Veggie Stir-fry

From Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd

Cucumber, Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Made with tomatoes and watermelon from the Mobile Market,
and cucumbers from the Youth Garden

Syrian Scarlet Runner Bean Salad

 Based on this recipe.
Made with scarlet runner beans from the farm,
and onions and corn from the Mobile Market

Kohlrabi Slaw

From MAP's Mobile Market Newsletter
 Made with onions and tomatoes from the Mobile Market,
and greens and herbs from the Youth Garden

Rice Pudding with Cherries

From the Good and Cheap cookbook

Cucumber infused water

This week's meal was a motley collection of recipes based on items in our pantry, seasonally available from the Mobile Market and ready to harvest in the garden.

We feed 50 people (usually) each meal. The cost per person represents how much each person would have to pay (if we asked) in order to cover the overall grocery costs. The cost per person for this meal was $3.93.

First two weeks of work!

By Dary R

During the school year I was a part of the Citizenship and Organizing group. I had facilitated make trainings in front of my group, which made it easier for me to speak in front of groups of people.

Last week I got the opportunity to facilitate a training on disparities based on different communities and how they are different from each other. Since I have experience facilitating, it was easier to do the training in front of the youth.

Throughout the past two weeks I saw the youth start to work together and become more comfortable talking and presenting in front of each other. They learned about what a social enterprise is - an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being. They also learned about serial testimony, which offers young people the opportunity to testify to the realities of the own lives. They new youth also got to share their privileges with each other.

Meet a farmer! Sam

Hello, my name is Sam. I am 14 years old. I have been farming for two years

Sustainable farming practices are important to me because I believe all species of animals and plants should thrive on our planet.

My favorite part about being a farmer is showing my 4 year old sister my plants.

Working together on the market

By Khadijah H

Every work day on the Mobile Market we meet at our office on 271 Grant St to pack up everything we'll be needing for the market. This includes: the produce, tables, stand for root vegetables, and the tent to give some of our produce shade. We also carry water in buckets to keep our produce moist and ice to keep our produce at a cool temperature.

CommonBound Conference

 By Neena H

CommonBound was an experience unlike anything I've been to before. It brought people from all over, and all walks of like to share ideas on reforming our economy. Local organizations and members of the New Economy Coalition help panel discussions and workshops. Each workshop went in depth on issues our society faces, from different perspectives.

Buffalo Food System Panel at MAP

MAP youth working in our community garden space.
By Alexis S

Last week at MAP we held a panel so that leaders in the community involved in food justice had the opportunity to speak. These speakers included Derek Nichols from Grassroots Gardens of WNY, and one of the Lexington Co-op's produce managers, Eric.

The discussion consisted of Derek and Eric sharing their involvement in food and the community, then moving on to questions from the audience. Derek briefly spoke about his background, sharing his love for his grandmother's pierogies and awareness of food, while growing up in the country. Once Derek was older and lived in Buffalo, the cities shocking lack of fresh food availability moved Derek to get involved with the community.

Farm Update

By Javert B

Last Thursday Katie gave me and my co-worker Alexis a tour of this years MAP farm and had us make a map of it. Below is a rough sketch of said map.

Of the plants pictured on the map, we've harvested green beans and okra. These were also a lot of onions and leafy vegetables ripening.

On Wednesday Alexis and I also watered Big Winter lot. This is a tedious job in and of itself. The field takes more than 30 gallons of water, which must be hauled out of the nearby cistern one bucket at a time. The water must then be carefully poured into watering cans, each of which waters about half a row of plants. Despite the tedium, watering was still fun since the water kept me cool in the high heat and humidity of this summer.

Middle Eastern Meal

By Adam P

The meal last week was Middle Eastern food. We made baklava, couscous, salad, lentils and chicken. The meal was fine. I liked it.

  • The baklava was made of phyllo dough, walnuts, honey and sugar.
  • The couscous dish had tomatoes, onions, and lemon juice.
  • The salad had a mix of greens and such.
  • The lentils had jalapeƱos in them.
  • The chicken had all sorts of spices like turmeric in it and was served with rice.

I didn’t like the lentils that much because I don’t like the taste of lentils. The Baklava turned out nice which is good.

There was a random fire drill and that was bad. I don’t really know any similarities between film and running the kitchen. Skills in the kitchen involve cooking and cleaning. I guess organization is used in both. Also I listen to music when doing both to help me work. In the kitchen we played music like Lil Boat.

It goes down in Da Garden

By Messiah 

Our garden calendar shows what plants to plant, when to plant them and what we harvested. We also have colored dots so we won't forget things, like when to transplant or harvest anything. This calendar helps us keep track of a lot!

Meet a farmer! Mohamud

Hello, my name is Mohamud. I am 14 years old. I have been farming for one year.

My favorite part about being a farmer is planting.

Close Up Washington DC Trip

By Khadijah H

These past few weeks I got a chance to many different things. From June 26th to July 1st I was in Washington DC with Close Up. Close Up  Washington DC is a national program open to youths all over the United States that teaches then about our government and gives youths the opportunity to visit different memorials.

Attending CommonBound

By Dary R

Throughout the year I have facilitated trainings and meetings for the Citizenship and Organizing group. Working with this group has made it easier to understand what it means to play a role in community organizing. When people facilitate groups to help create change in our communities it is important to learn about your topic and have good public speaking skills, so it could make it easier for other people to understand what you are saying. Also, it is important to communicate with your group and have a discussion to they can engage in the conversation. My in the Citizenship and Organizing group was good because it definitely made me practice by public speaking and communication skills.

This past weekend, from July 8th to the 10th, I attended the CommonBound Conference at Buffalo State College. CommonBound is a conference that brings people together to talk about political, social and economic problems happening in our communities. The topics included: Black Lives Matter, Allyship, food policy and gentrification. We attended panel discussions where Rebekah Williams and Khadijah Hussian represented MAP and told their stories about how they started working at MAP.

This week's lunch menu: Extravagant flavors of the Middle East

Chicken Biryani with Rice 

Brown Lentil Dal served with Naan

 from the Good and Cheap cookbook
Made with onions and garlic from the Mobile Market,
and hot peppers from the Youth Garden

Couscous Tabbouleh Salad

 from the Simply in Season cookbook
Made with onions and tomatoes from the Mobile Market,
and green peppers and herbs from the Youth Garden

Green Garden Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing

 Made with onions and tomatoes from the Mobile Market,
and greens and herbs from the Youth Garden

Honey Baklava

Mint infused water

By Ben H

Last week was the first week of the summer program here at MAP, and you know what that means! Yes, the summer lunches have begun again! This summer, I am one of two Farm to Table specialists so my job is to facilitate meal planning with new youth and to help cook every Friday.

Meet Paulie, an ABLE team leader!

 I’ve been part of MAP Growing Green for about 3 years now. I started working here in high school when I applied through the Mayor Summer Youth Program.

When I was placed to work for MAP as a teenager I thought it would be boring. Little did I know I would become very interested in the work MAP does. As a youth, I worked during both the summer and school year programs. During the summer over 30 teens are hired here at MAP and are rotated through three different component of the program: the farm, nutrition and enterprise, and community organizing. Through these three components, a lot of knowledge about where our food came from, harvesting, and becoming an active citizen in your community is gained.

Meet Dillon, an ABLE team leader!

 Hello my name is Dillon Hill.

I have been working at MAP since I was fourteen. I started out as a regular Growing Green youth employee, and I am currently an ABLE Team Leader.

When I was younger I lived next door to Diane, MAP's Executive Director. My brother and I would hang out with her son, Adam. We would play outside and at his house. Diane informed me some time after this, that when I turned fourteen I could start to work in the Mayor Summer Internship Program. I was eleven or twelve at the time and I was interested in having money I could freely spend on things I wanted, like a car or books and music I was interested in. I started working for MAP when I was fourteen and continued until the summer before I went to college. I had worked at MAP for five summers and four school years in total as a MAP Growing Green employee.

After my first year at college I came back in the summer to become an ABLE team leader. I had seen AmeriCorps members since I had started working and I wondered what it would be like to actually lead the youth and be in charge of some of the lessons that were done in the summer. Being on this side of the program lets me actually find out what being a team leader is actually like. I look forward to working with the new youth, playing all the games we have set up, and going camping at the end of the program with most of the staff, all the other ABLE members, and also all the new youth.

Meet Becca, an ABLE team leader!

My name is Becca and this summer I’ll be working at MAP as a Growing Green Team Leader!

My introduction to MAP began a few summers ago when I worked with Katie and Jesse as a summer farm intern. I spent many summer days planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and preparing produce for the weekly CSA and farm stand. My experience as an urban farmer was challenging but impactful, and sparked my interest in all things food-related. For the first time, I began to consider my role as a consumer in the food system. I was hungry to learn more - not only about growing and harvesting food - but also about the long journey that so much of our food takes before making it onto our plates.

Meet a farmer! Messiah

Hello, my name is Messiah. I am 15 years old. I have been farming for 1 year.

Sustainable farming practices are important to me because it's a big deal!

My favorite part about being a farmer is weeding, planting and planning every thing for the next year.

Meet Essie, our Farm to Table Coordinator!

Hi there Buffalo!

What happens when a gardener and an environmental engineer get together and have a kid? Me, that’s what!

I grew up recycling, helping my mom in the garden and listening to my dad talk about groundwater contamination. At our home in Boston, my mom had a four-foot-by-four-foot patch of soil from which she coaxed a rainbow of flowers, and when we moved from Boston to southwestern Pennsylvania she breathed a sigh of relief and put in a veggie garden. My mom fed us a lot of vegetables. As a wee child I wasn’t too keen on vegetarian lasagna, but as a teen going on young adult, I realized veggies have amazing flavors and benefits. I was converted as soon as I tasted my first juicy, sweet, sun-ripened tomato from our garden in PA.

Essie's thoughts from the garden

These beautiful flowers - called Bachelors Buttons, or cornflowers - are edible too! They taste like . . . flowers. They are faintly sweet like Earl Grey tea.

I never knew that radishes and carrots had flowers. From the flowers come seeds and a new generation of plants that are adapted to this very spot!

This cayenne pepper is so excited to be part of spicy dish that it's curling with joy!

Essie is an ABLE team leader this summer. She graduated from Houghton College this past May and is excited to be at MAP as the summer Farm-to-Table coordinator, meaning she oversees the weekly meal preparations. She is from southeastern PA and loves horses, reading and playing Ultimate Frisbee. Both now and in the future she hopes to work in some way to improve how humans treat the earth.

This week's lunch menu - Secrets of the Mediterranean

Chicken and Watermelon Kabobs 

Peas, Pea Shoots and Mint Salad

Kale Cesar Salad with Quinoa

from the Good and Cheap cookbook

Humus with Pita Chips and Vegetables

from the Good and Cheap cookbook

Secret Chocolate Cake with Secret Frosting

cake from the Simply in Season cookbook and frosting found here

Mint infused water

The clever ABLE team leaders have done it again, and created an inspired meal for the second week in a row. Last Friday's community lunch was Mediterranean themed and cost $4.15 per person to make.

What's growing in the garden | June 2016

The month of June has been hard for our garden because it hasn't rained very much. Hand watering every day has kept the crops vibrant and verdant as the grass around the garden has turned brown and brittle.

During June we planted: arugula, scarlet runner beans, potatoes, basil, thai basil and lots of flowers.

We harvested: peas, pea shoots, lettuce, arugula, kale, sage, thyme, and parsley.

At the beginning of June we added a new raised bed to our garden. Called the 'Mega-Bed' it measures 8 feet by 8 feet, and the back half is two feet tall. We don't have enough compost to fill the entire (giant!) space right now. We emptied our compost bins into the bed and planted potatoes into the organic matter. As more composted material becomes available we will add it on top of the growing potato plants.

We are growing over 45 crops in the garden this year, including three varieties of cucumbers. The pickle variety above will create a teepee of cucumber plants by the end of the summer. This morning I saw the first cucumber fruit!

Despite the hot, dry weather, our five pumpkin plants have been growing like crazy. They seem to grow a foot overnight! Last year many of our pumpkins were picked and smashed on the neighbors driveway. We're hoping that won't happen again this year.

A few cool-weather crops, including arugula, radishes and spinach, all bolted early this season. It was a shame we didn't get to eat some of these crops, however we are letting the flower stalks produce seeds which we will save for next season. Above are crimson clover seeds, a parsley flower, a carrot flower and radish flowers and seed pods. 

How is your garden growing this June?