Green Fingers, Green Living: Sustainable Farming on your Doorstep
By: Jenni Pitwell
Sustainable farming has long been a part of New England life and with the increase in consumer awareness about the relationship between diet and health, many new exciting projects are being introduced to this grass roots region of the U.S. With the worrying statistics about obesity across a nation of fast food lovers, more and more people are turning to their local farmers, as they want to bring honest, nutritious food to the table for all the family to enjoy. Eating local, fresh produce isn’t as difficult as you might think.
New England Initiatives
Organizations such as Historic New England are promoting sustainability with energy efficiency around the state, and preserving old buildings while they do so. Case studies include the weatherization project at the Lyman estate in Massachusetts, which looks at reducing energy costs by half. Sustainable agriculture is also important to the organization, which is working on a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Casey Farm and working with communities to document farming in Rhode Island.
CSA was introduced to bring people together to help sustain local farming and since it was introduced in the 1980s, it has been gaining popularity. The idea comes from Switzerland and Japan, where it has been working successfully since the 1960s, and people have been making partnerships to ensure the market is stable for crops. There are over 400 CSA farms throughout the U.S now, promoting the idea of community farms in urban areas and New England is a popular region for this type of project. The aim of these farms is to produce organic, quality food such as fruit, vegetables, herbs, dairy, meat and often firewood too.
Sustainable agriculture is at the heart of healthy living. Diversity of farmers markets and crops being produced makes this a very dynamic and buoyant idea that's now spreading through the U.S. Consumers are demanding more local produce and are wanting to become involved in the process, from farm to table. In 2006, New England’s farms rose to 27,950, with the average size being 143 acres. Local, fresh dairy produce has been the main contributor, with more of an emphasis now on cows being fed quality grass. Local farming starts with the roots and works its way up; organic produce means that only natural, nutrient rich ingredients make their way from the farm to the home.
Farm to Table
Consumers are enthusiastic about the farm to table idea in New England. There are now plenty of pick your own farms with a plethora of seasonal fruits and veggies to enjoy, from apples, peaches, cherry tomatoes, raspberries and pumpkins, depending on the time of year. There are paw-paws, blueberries, watermelons and cantaloupes to be had too, on the farms of Rhode Island. The best thing about this experience, apart from it being the perfect way to bring the family and friends together in the great outdoors this spring, is that you know exactly what you are bringing to your table.
Picking your own or shopping for produce that is locally sourced is easily done and is a trend that is growing fast. Farmers markets are an ideal way of making sure that you are choosing the best in local foods and these are held regularly throughout New England. Notable markets include Maine’s Portland Farmer’s Market, Waitsfield Market in Vermont, Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market in Connecticut and Coastal Grower’s Market in Rhode Island. Coastal Grower’s market sells produce from Casey Farm, alongside plenty of other vendors and you can visit the market on Saturday mornings between May and October. Eating seasonal, fresh produce means that you are not only supporting the community’s farms but you are also providing your family with the best choice of food and you know exactly where it’s from. There is such a diversity of New England produce to choose from and experimenting with new ingredients in your home cooking is both rewarding and beneficial for your family.
New England’s open markets are renowned for their variety and there are plenty to choose from throughout the region, providing consumers with fresh dairy, veggies, fruit, herb and meat products from only the local farms in the area. By shopping local, you are supporting sustainable agriculture and benefiting from the quality produce on offer.


Getting Back to Basics - The Benefits of Agricultural Living by Jenni Pitwell

Getting Back to Basics - The Benefits of Agricultural Living

by Jenni Pitwell

The dawning of the digital age has improved modern life in countless ways. However, it has also meant that sedentary living has become more prevalent as a result. With the ability to communicate, shop and educate ourselves all at the press of a button, many people find that they spend more of their time indoors than ever before. Whilst convenient, the increasing dominance of technology in our lives has meant that many of us have become disconnected from our environment, and the natural world around us. This can be especially true of the younger generation, and those who have grown up in more urbanized areas, who may have had little opportunity to spend time in nature. Such children may never have had the chance to visit a working farm and might have only seen animals like cows and sheep in books, or on television, and whilst much can be learnt this way, there is nothing that quite compares with experiencing all the wonders of the natural world first hand.
Healthy Living
Sadly, it seems that one of the consequences of spending less time in nature is that people are getting less exercise and paying less care and attention to the nutritional value of the food that they eat. Our country's 'fast-food culture' has meant that many of us have little, or no knowledge of the processes involved with food getting from the farm to our plates. This means that it can become it can be all too easy to become disconnected from what we eat, and forget the importance of a healthy diet. That's why spending time on a working farm can be such an educational experience, for both adults and children alike. It teaches people about the processes involved in meat and dairy production, and highlights the importance of knowing exactly what you're eating and where it comes from. It also teaches children about the importance of treating animals with care and respect. When children begin to understand that the way the animals are treated has a direct effect on their quality of life, and therefore of the food they produce, it can help them to better understand the relationship between how they treat themselves, and the effect it can have on their own health. Promoting the importance of eating a healthy, balanced and varied diet at an early age could help prevent problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and perhaps even help lessen the increasing strain on our nation's health system.
Reconnecting with Nature
Spending time on a working farm also gives children the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and away from television and computer screens. Children become far more responsive and enthusiastic when they're out of doors, and they're actually able to get involved with tending to the animals and helping crops to grow. The fresh, unpolluted oxygen gets the synapses firing and physical exercise gets the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing. Adrenaline is known to increase motivation and energy levels, which can help improve reflex speed, concentration levels, and memory function, and so it could even help children to improve their grades in school. Being out in nature and engaging in physical activity also stimulates endorphin release, which are the body's very own 'feel-good' chemicals, and are known to promote a sense of happiness and emotional wellbeing.
Work, Rest & Play
Farm life also teaches children about the value and rewards of hard work. Agricultural living is largely dictated by the seasons; they determine which jobs are done and at what time, and these natural cycles of work, rest and play must be honored in order for any farm to function efficiently. When children see that there's a natural time for everything, they can then better understand the importance of maintaining the same balance of work, rest and play in their own lives, which can help them to become more active and productive as adults.
Whether you live in the countryside or the city, giving children the opportunity to spend time in nature can be beneficial on so many levels, and therefore it's crucial that we engage them and nurture their love of nature from an early age. Experiencing life on a working farm is a fantastic way of showing children just how much can be achieved when communities unite together in a common cause, and can become a vital tool in improving their health, education and even cognitive development. By teaching our children about the importance of preserving our environment, and getting them excited about the simple pleasures of pastoral living, we are not only ensuring the survival of our country's agricultural heritage, but we are also inspiring the next generation of farmers to come.


Back to School Granola Bars

The kids are going back to school. Are you looking for some healthy snacks to throw in for lunch?
Granola bars are simple, fast, and delicious!

Back to School Granola Bars


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


Our youth program at Galego Court has had an exciting summer so far. Check out photos and stories on our Facebook album here!


Container Gardening Tips

Do you live in an apartment but still wish to garden? Watch Emily from New Urban Farmers on The Rhode Show. She talks about container gardening and tips for growing herbs, produce, and flowers inside and out!


New Urban Farmers in Providence Monthly

 Check out the New Urban Farmers in the current addition of Providence Monthly! Check it out online here: http://www.providenceonline.com. Also don't miss the photo gallery! Thanks Rebecca Remillard and James Jones for this wonderful article.

Growing Together

New Urban Farmers create sustainable agriculture in a concrete jungle


Spring Spring Newsletter

Check out our Spring Spring Newsletter! Check out our Spring Newsletter! Learn about NUF's markets, programming, and our newest members of our farm family, honey bees! Take a look at our feature recipe from the NUF Farmily Cookbook!  
New Urban Farmers' Spring News - http://eepurl.com/moSxv


Making radish and root kimchi!

Check out health benefits of radishes here-- http://www.naturalnews.com/031944_radishes_health_benefits.html

Traditional preservation of food was done without freezers or canning machines, through the process of lacto-fermentation. In this process, the sea salt and/or whey inhibits the growth of putrefying bacteria until enough lactic acid is produced to preserve the vegetables for many months. But, the lactobaccili which produce the lactic acid to preserve the vegetables do much more! They enhance the digestibility of the vegetables, increase vitamin levels, produce enzymes, offer antibiotic and anticarcionogenic substances, and support the growth of healthy flora in our intestines. from-- http://gnowfglins.com/2009/06/03/lacto-fermented-naturally-pickled-turnips-and-beets/#


Fresh veggies galore!

The Slater Park Farmers Market just opened in Pawtucket this past week. Come out and support the New Urban Farmers at one of our 2 markets, or both!--Slater Park and Rumford. We have exciting produce planned through-out the season! For details, visit our journal calendar: http://newurbanfarmersri.blogspot.com/p/calendar.html

Chemical free, Pawtucket and Seekonk grown

June 2012- 
         Greens-- Arugula, cabbage, mustard, celery,      kale, spinach, radish, sorrel
         Herbs --- Cilantro, sage, tyme, chives
         Mushrooms-- shiitakes
         Other-- Radishes, fava beans, sweet peas

July 2012
- Greens-- Arugula, cabbage, mustard, celery, kale,   mild mix
         Herbs --- Cilantro, tyme, lavender, chives
        Onions, squash, beans, garlic, carrots, strawberries
        Mushrooms- oyster, shiitake, shiitake mushroom blocks
        Flowers- edible, decorative

Slater Park Farmers' Market

Where: The By the Tennis Courts (Armistice Blvd entrance)
Slater Park Pawtucket, RI
When:  July 8 to October 23, 2012
Tuesday: 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Rumford Farmers' Market 

The Rumford Center

20 Newman Ave. Rumford, RI
When: May 15 to October 23, 2012
Tuesday: 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM

you can pick up NUF produce and books through out the week at--

Fertile Underground!
1577 Westminster St. 
8 am- 7pm Monday- Saturday
8am - 3pm Sunday

For more information, please visit: http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets.php and http://www.newurbanfarmers.org