Posts Tagged ‘EcoRI News’

Photo: Leigh Vincola, ecoRI News
David Kuma, left, is learning to farm under the tutelage of Ben Torpey.

In this story from Leigh Vincola, an ecoRI News contributor, several good things are happening simultaneously.

“David Kuma set out to grow more of his own food as he learned about industrial agriculture and all of its poisons. His father, a biologist, always had a garden growing up, so an innate knowledge of plants followed his curiosity.

“Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., raised partially in rural Illinois and then in Attleboro, Mass., Kuma understands urban, rural and suburban lifestyles and how plants can fit into each.

“Today, Kuma is one of three participants in the Southside Community Land Trust’s (SCLT) farm apprentice program …  Acknowledging that it has been historically difficult for minority populations to enter into commercial growing, the program’s mission is to provide organic farming experience and education to those who are interested.

“Kuma is partnered with Ben Torpey at Scratch Farm, a small-scale, chemical-free operation at Urban Edge Farm. Urban Edge is a state-owned, 50-acre piece of land managed by SCLT, where seven separate farms grow and share resources. The farm was established to give new farmers access to land and a community to learn from. As part of his paid apprenticeship, Kuma spends a full day on the farm two days a week and is learning a lot quickly. …

“From transplanting and cover crops to solarizing and low-till cultivation, Kuma is learning what it takes to run a small-scale farm naturally. His eyes have been opened to the importance of soil health.

“ ‘There’s a lot more to it than putting seeds in the ground,’ he said.

“For Torpey, having an apprentice is rewarding.

“ ‘Dave comes with a intuitive sense of plant biology and his curiosity reminds me that what we’re doing is fun,’ Torpey said. ‘It encourages me to experiment with new things.’ ” More here.

Don’t they both look happy? Nature can do that to you.

Photo: Scratch Farm


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Tara Mitchell writes at EcoRI News, about the many virtues of compost. It’s a timely topic for gardeners starting to think about spring and what to order from the seed catalogs that arrive this time of year.

Mitchell reports from Wrentham (MA), “John Engwer, owner of Groundscapes Express Inc., and Butch Goodwin, operations manager, recently led Ecological Landscaping Alliance (ELA) participants on a tour of the company’s composting facility, explaining how compost is made and discussing its many benefits and uses. …

“With the recent implementation of the Massachusetts ban on food waste being buried or incinerated, food scrap from hospitals, restaurants and supermarkets have become another component in the composting process. Food scrap from a local hospital is now incorporated into Groundscapes’ composting operation. …

“Goodwin said the material takes about four months to decompose and is then left to cure for another two months. It’s then screened. The finished product, dark brown, moist, light and crumbly, smelling of earth and full of microbes, is then ready to be delivered. …

“Engwer emphasized the importance of using, reusing and retaining existing wood, stumps, brush and other natural material on site so that organic matter can remain part of the cycle of growth, death, decomposition and renewal.”

You can find more on the how-to here.

Photo: Ecological Landscaping Association
The first step in the Groundscapes Express composting process is mixing the raw materials. 

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