This past Saturday we had a fantastic showing for our annual Tour de Farms ride with around 30 riders ready for 40 miles of smiles, good feelings, and tasty treats. Led and organized with love by Mark , Jennifer, and Danielle, the ride helps showcase a variety of local community farms that all take diverse approaches to urban agriculture. From the larger fields of Allandale to Kate Canney’s backyard plots of The Neighborhood Farm everyone riding got a great perspective on how people are thinking and acting to grow and consume locally.
After starting off from the Franklin Park Zoo we made our way down the hill to Allandale Farm where we met the passionate Jim Buckle. Here he described how Boston’s last working farm has sustained itself while continuing to provide great produce at financially viable prices. With some history on the farm, it’s future prospects, and a delicious apple we were on our way.
Next stop – Newton Community Farm. We were met by Greg Maslowe who depicted what a group of dedicated people could could produce in a year on a small plot of land. It was truly incredible to see how they were able to squeeze every efficiency out of small acreage to create a wonderful and reproducible model for others to follow. If every neighborhood had a similar community farm we would all be much happier and more healthy people. With some fresh cucumber salad and an explanation of how they mix production between CSA shares and external sales we were back on the bikes and on to the next stop.
Perhaps the most innovative approach on our tour came from The Neighborhood Farm. Founded on the desire to grow countered by the lack of available space, founder Kate Canney thought outside of the farm. She approached private land owners, many with small yards, with the offer of available produce. Our host in Needham was one of the original land donors. Beyond the farm he offered warm hospitality including lemonade, iced tea and some lovely dogs; thanks!
The next stop along the ride and the final farm was Brookwood Community Farm which lies adjacent to the Blue Hills Reservation. The farm, which had been a part of a DCR conservation area, was returned to production in 2006. Since then it has been been using organic practices that promote happy soil and a balanced ecosystem. Through donating over $20K in produce to food pantries and supporting affordable markets in Mattapan Brookwood has become a great asset to the area.
The final stop arrived, and on time I might add (thank you Mark!), at the Roslindale Village Main Streets Farmers’ Market. Here we were able to catch up with Jim again as he was shelling out produce and catch our breath from a great ride. The full-sized oreo cookies were also a highlight.
Make sure to keep your eyes open next year for another ride, or two. With a success like this it would be hard to not keep it rolling.
Thank you everyone that rode, I had a great time and it sounded like everyone else involved did as well!