Farm Update 6.9.2020

With the world uprising in a movement for Black Lives, we are transplanting and cultivating the soil with humble hands, torn that we cannot actively be part of the resistance but grounded in that we know that our work – and this land – will help serve the people in the years to come!

 

Not quite ready to start a full orchard – with all of the research, upfront costs, and irrigation systems required for such a long-term investment – we still wanted to get a start.   So we started small scale, with just a few paw paw, Asian pear, hardy kiwi, and fig trees.   We will see how they do over the next few years and will be sure to expand on the cultivars that do well!

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These figs, the Chicago Hardy, can potentially survive in our climate but should be planted next to a south facing wall or building; but since we have plans for so much renovating and re-landscaping, felt it was safer to plant them in barrels for now.

The work of re-establishing a working farm is tremendous!  And last year the launch of the CSA only months after the sale of the property, prevented us from making big strides.   So this Spring we accomplished a few small projects – re-shelling our quahog driveway and establishing a parking area; improving our washing station with a better drainage system; building a small shelter to keep our bicycles and maybe a tractor implement or two in good shape.

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And after five years of rushing to close the greenhouse when the temperature drops, or having to pull off the highway and drive back to the house when the sun unexpectedly beams through parting clouds, we finally have a greenhouse with an automated ventilation system.    A thermostat control box kicks on circulation fans as soon as the temperature reaches 70F and rolls up the greenhouse sides and opens ventilation units when the temperature hits 83F.    Far more than reducing work and worry, this unit will keep prime growing conditions for the tomatoes, husk cherries, and cucumbers that we are growing this year!

 

A update from two of our partner organizations – PrYSM and AARW

Stepping up to address the spiraling crises that COVID-19 has had on communities of color – and on social justice organizations led by people of color – six Rhode Island organizations have come together to form the Rhode Island Solidarity Fund.   As movement organizations recalibrate EVERYTHING – from tactics, strategies, funding, capacities, safety protocols, launching food and finances programs, connecting existing campaigns to the protest movement, and figuring out how to navigate and work with the emergence of new groups and mutual aid associations – this fund is a way to make sure that the grassroots, anti-racist, direct action organizations that have, for years, laid the legal, political, community groundwork for police accountability organizing, are supported and lifted.   It’s also a way for donors, funders, philanthropists, and those who can afford to re-direct their tax returns directly to support the organizations behind the movement.   Consider reaching out to the fund or organizing an outdoor socially distanced dinner party this summer to raise awareness about this fund!

 

In Boston, groups such as Dorchester Not for Sale, the Asian American Resource Workshop, Black Lives Matter Boston, Showing Up for Racial Justice Boston, New England United for Justice, Dorchester Food Co-op, have banded together to form Dorchester Community Care.    Based in language justice, anti-racist organizing, and leadership by people of color, Dorchester Community Care pairs folks who have something to give or offer with folks who are looking for assistance or help.

 

BLM

Say their names:

 

George Floyd

 

Breonna Taylor

 

Ahmaud Arbery

 

Tony McDade.

 

Funding & 990 Public Disclosure

A big BIG thank you to three organizations who helped us on on journey to become a non-profit organization.

 

The Resist Foundation has generously agreed to serve as our fiscal sponsor.

 

The Rhode Island Foundation and the Meadows Fund awarded us our first two grants, ensuring our stability and growth, even during this pandemic!  Thank you for believing in us!

A copy of our 2019 990 Tax returns is available for public view here.

 

 

Visiting the Farm

Due to unforeseen patterns of global chaos and meltdown, only CSA members and our Movement Partner organizations are welcome to visit the farm this year.

Before your visit, it is important that you read these rules to prepare so that we can ensure the safety of farm workers, family members, and the viability of our farm during this pandemic.

 

Rules

  1. Fill out the Release of Liability Form – filling it out one time will suffice for the  year.
  2. Only come to the farm if you have scheduled your visit with us – schedule your visit by contacting a farm staff or by emailing movementgroundfarm@gmail.com
  3. Note that we only accept visits on certain days and we only accept a certain number of visitors at a time.   
  4. You may come to volunteer in the fields, picnic down by the water, or to just take a walk.
  5. Wear a mask with you at all times while on the farm.  Exceptions are for when someone is working alone in the field, or when two people from the same germ pool are working together far off in the fields.
  6. Visits by two or more people must be people from the same household unit and/or share the same “germ pool”.   By that we mean the people you live with such as family members and roommates whom you trust and whom share your personal safety plans.  During farm visits we will treat your group as one unit.   Your unit may be allowed to take your masks off ONLY when you are far away in the field.  As soon as a person not from your unit/germ pool, enters your space, please put your mask back on.  
  7. While at the farm, do not enter any buildings – the main house, the garage, tool shed, or greenhouses.   
  8. There is a port-o-potty, a hand washing station, drinking water, a first aid kit, and a shade structure that you can use while you are here.
  9. Sanitize all surfaces that you have touched, leaving the premise clean and sanitized for the next user.  Sanitation sprays are placed throughout the farm – there will be one at the washing station and one at the port-o-potty.

 

FOOD FOR THE PEOPLE!

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Movement Ground Farm’s response to COVID-19

March 19, 2020

 

We are not going to remind you to wash your hands! And we are not going to send you any links! But we are going to invite you to join us in growing food for the people, and we welcome any suggestions and ideas for how you think the farm can play a more impactful role.

During this pandemic, we will continue to support campaigns, organizations, and movements that are on the frontlines in the fight for racial & environmental justice, gender equality & queer liberation, the human rights of immigrants and refugees, and a global, human-centered, social justice approach to fighting climate change and future globalized threats to humanity.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic (and the fear that will be used as kindling to further inflame xenophobia, racism, and other systems of oppression) we resolve to:

  1. Grow more food by ramping up production and growing more intensively
    • be prepared to help the community in the event of food shortages and price inflation
    • provide free seedlings and transplants and encourage the growth of gardens in every home and on every rooftop
    • maximize produce donations to pantries, soup kitchens, and community-based organizations
    • become certified to accept EBT and collaborate with agencies to offer our CSAs at 50% off to those paying with SNAP & WIC
    • address the criminalization of those who apply for food stamps by offering CSA shares at 50% reduced price for immigrants and refugees who do not have food stamps

 

  1. Reduce avenues for the virus to enter the farm’s space
    • offer paid sick days to employees, understand everyone’s exposure levels, everyone take individual and collective steps to minimize exposure risk
    • switch from large group events to small group events, and be prepared to cancel all events
    • build an outdoor handwashing station with hot water and soap

 

  1. Guarantee safe, clean produce
    • before harvest – sanitize hands, clothes, harvest tools, and crates
    • limit the # of people doing the actual harvest and produce handling
    • sanitize food surface areas before washing and storing produce
    • sanitize CSA boxes, surface areas, and wear gloves while packaging
    • have safety protocols for delivery drivers and with CSA drop-off coordinators
    • have a plan and option in place for door-to-door delivery
    • use USDA-approved, food-safe sanitizing sprays appropriate for small-scale organic farm operations

 

  1. Survive as a farm and as an organization – ready to support families, communities, and organizations for the long-haul
    • have a plan for filling in for staff and worksharers who are on sick leave
    • prepare for farmer’s market cancellations and the resulting loss in revenue by identifying alternative avenues for sales, and ramping up our numbers for box CSA shares

 

  1. Keep the elderly parents safe
    • create separate zones and entryways to minimize parents’ exposure to workers, volunteers, and customers
    • integrate safety measures into the rhythm of the farm’s routines and chores

 

  1. When we can, offer the farm as a space for refuge, recreation, stress relief, and outdoor enjoyment for CSA members, partner organizations, and their family, by following safety protocols such as:
    • Registering and pre-screening visitors through an online survey intake form
    • Scheduling visits only during certain times and days of the week
    • Allowing only one group to visit the farm at a time
    • Making sure that one group only includes folks who live together in the same living unit
    • Capping the size of groups
    • Posting clear farm use rules
    • Making sure we have the necessary infrastructure – port-o-potty, hand washing station, sanitation supplies, etc…

 

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By responding aggressively to SARS-CoV-2, we can guarantee that:

  • Our food is safe! As a direct farm to customer market operation, we have reduced potential points of exposure, eliminated unnecessary produce handling, and we maintained control of the entire process with no involvement from third parties

 

  • You can access our produce without worry! From picking up your boxes at a site where there is minimal risk, to opting for your produce to be delivered right to your front door step

 

  • You can whip up nutritious, colorful, and inspiring meals to get you and your loved ones through the summer, fall and into the winter

 

 

  • You can afford your produce even during moments of disruptions in the global food supply and corresponding price inflations.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP!

We are going to need all sanitized hands on board to help ready the farm to step up to the plate!   Here are a few ways you can help:

  1. We need to survive financially – please sign up for a CSA share soon (payment plans are available) AND/OR spread the word, especially about our “soil amendment special” $10 off sale that ends midnight on March 21.   Not close to us physically? Please support your local farm!

 

  1. In light of the Trump administration’s criminalization of even legal noncitizens who dare to sign-up for supplemental food programs, we will be offering shares at 50% off to immigrant families that are struggling and do not have food stamps.   When you sign-up for a share, please opt to donate money for this purpose. If you are not signing up for a share, but want to donate, you can Venmo us @movementgroundfarm, and write “donation” in the message.

 

  1. Join our Sars-cov-2 Response Team on What’s App – we will be asking folks (who already have a connection to the farm) to help us remotely with things such as: researching and securing a port-o-potty before they run out, finding and securing donated items. Later in the year as we focus on harvesting, this team will be useful for coordinating surplus food donations, finding volunteers to cover for staff or workshare members who are on sick leave or in quarantine.

 

  1. We are looking for donated items in order to make sure we can set up two separate zones, with a barrier between the family’s living quarters and the workers and worksharers who will need to be here everyday running the farm operation. We are looking for the following items:

 

  • Coffee maker
  • Electric hot water kettle
  • Microwave
  • Rice cooker
  • Cubby holes or lockers to store personal items

 

  1. Last, we will be looking for 7 amazing workshare hero/ines – drivers offering farm-to-door delivery and folks who are skilled and efficient in weeding, seeding, planting, and cultivating. We will especially be looking for individuals who have a clear plan in place to limit their exposure and risk factors to covid19 and/or can work within our own safety guidelines for ensuring a safer farm environment.   Workshare applications will be sent out within a week and posted on our website and facebook page.

 

  1. Comments, suggestions, ideas for collaboration? E-mail us at movementgroundfarm@gmail.com

“To Be or Not To Be”… a 501c3

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Good morning!
Thanks for being part of my journey, and now our journey, into building a community-driven movement farm.   I wanted to take this opportunity to share our progress in transitioning the farm into a non-profit organization.
  • Why are we becoming a non-profit?  Especially at a time when so much of our movement work is structurally embedded in a system that prevents us from connecting our campaigns and our bases from the movement work happening electorally?   Why file for a 501c3 when we know that the chase for money leads to mission-drift, increased administrative work and spending, and makes us dependent on corporate profits and the wealthy class?
  • The decision was not taken lightly – and we are still in discussion of exploring a few other alternative formations.   But in a nutshell, the primary reason is to bring in more funds in order to do more than just run a farm –  that means bringing in additional staff lines to support programming that can advance grassroots movement work.
  • We will work towards a different model of foundation funding – by working with a select few funders and donors who want to create a partnership and agree to give multi-year grants, and we will also limit the amount of funding we need to bring in each year
  • We will be taking proactive measures to support and not out-price small farms that do not have the same access to funding.  We will build in a small farms solidarity line item in our budget and support small farms by purchasing their produce to add to our CSA.  And we will be conscious of not directly competing for funding with movement organizations that we are working with.
  • We will have a greater level of autonomy than most non-profit organizations that we know of, in that we will always be generating between 50- 70% of our income on our own through produce sales
  • This past year, the Transplant Committee has been hard at work drafting by-laws, seeking legal consultation, revising our vision and mission, and exploring funding options
  • We are honored that one of the most important foundations supporting radical social change in the United States – Resist Inc. – has agreed to serve as our fiscal sponsor!
  • We will be recruiting folks to serve officially on our board of directors over the course of the next two months!   If you’ve got what it takes to churn out work through a collaborative process and now is the right time for you – please consider the opportunity to serve as a founding board member!   Please email me at movementgroundfarm@gmail.com

Stay tuned for more announcements about hiring, our 2020 CSA program, and opportunities to join our 2020 Work Share team!

And one more thing, THANKS RESIST!!

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