One of the most beloved and storied locations in Boston, Fenway Park is becoming a city leader in green initiatives with their massive rooftop garden, Fenway Farms. Project Bread recently brought groups from Head Start and Boston Latin Schools Youth CAN for a private tour of Fenway Farms with Green City Growers owner and farm manager, Jessie Banhazl, who is heading up the project.
On each tour, Jessie illustrated how an unused rooftop space has been transformed into a working farm—a farm supplying the ballpark’s EMC Club with hyper-local and fresh produce… grown only 50 feet away! Jessie tells us that, when people walk past the farm, they’re better able to make the connection between how their food grows, and the daily effort that goes into it. For both of our groups, touring Fenway Farms gave them a sense of the potential of their own learning gardens. For Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox, the Farm is an opportunity for them to share in the message that fresh and local is important—and that we should all know where our food comes from!
Since January 2015, Project Bread’s Chef Nick has worked with 300 Head Start and Early Head Start students (ages 2 to 5) at Dimock Health Center in Roxbury as part of our Chefs in Head Start program. With the understanding that children develop their taste preferences for salt, fat and sugar at a young age, the Chefs in Head Start program exposes very young children to the appeal of delicious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy through fun activities, simple food preparation and food tastings. Head Start parents also learn how to prepare healthy foods on a budget through monthly cooking workshops taught by Chef Nick.
In the summer of 2016, Nick also worked alongside young people in Dimock’s children’s garden, where students had the opportunity to plant vegetables and participate in garden-centric lessons throughout the growing season.
Boston Latin School’s Youth Climate Action Network (Youth CAN) club purchased a hydroponic farm from Freight Farms with prize money received through the $75,000 Global Green School Makeover competition offered by an environmental nonprofit. BLS students now plant and grow fresh produce in the BLS Freight Farm, and have recently established a CSA through which they will sell the fruits and vegetables they harvest.
The BLS Freight Farm is especially eager to have their locally grown produce used in BPS’ school meals. Project Bread is providing BLS with one of our chefs to support their efforts—ensuring that the healthy meals made with the Freight-fresh produce will offer maximum appeal for the students that will enjoy them.
Beyond the BLS campus, the students also recently hosted their annual Youth Summit on Climate and Sustainability at MIT, where more than 200 students from over 50 schools enjoyed a full day of speakers, workshops, exhibitors, activities and youth networking related to climate change and sustainability.
For all their hard work and ingenuity, the BLS Youth CAN was recently made the proud recipient of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Greenovate Boston Award.