Eastie Farm FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is Eastie Farm about?
    • We’re about creating a food system where everyone can afford and access fresh, healthy, locally grown food. We do everything from saving seeds to building soil (with food and other organic “waste”), including growing, cooking, preserving, and sharing food. We do so while caring for people and the planet.
  2. What is special about Eastie Farm’s approach?
    • We’re here to satisfy the needs and respond to the aspirations of our community here and now. In the process, we sow the seeds of solutions to our longer term challenges such as climate change. In other words, our approach to solving today’s problems includes solving tomorrow’s problems.
  3. How can I support/contribute to Eastie Farm?
    1. Give time: eastiefarm.com/volunteer
    2. Give funds: eastiefarm.com/donate
    3. Subscribe to our CSA: eastiefarm.com/csa
  4. How does Eastie Farm’s approach tackle both today’s and tomorrow’s challenges?
    • Food insecurity is a challenge today. We bring fresh produce and healthy proteins to food insecure families in our community.
    • Access to communal growing space is scarce today. In our community with mostly foreign-born residents from agrarian civilizations with a penchant for growing food, there is little access to growing space. We provide 7 sites within East Boston where people can grow food as a community.
    • Both of the above are examples of us addressing today’s challenges. In addition, our approach builds community, models environmental stewardship, enables people to take small steps within their capacity to green their homes, grow food in window sills and side yards, and appreciate the biodiversity of our planet instead of insulating ourselves from nature as city-dwellers. As an example, we harvest mulberries from the many trees all over our neighborhood, and include that in our food boxes. This helps people understand the mulberry tree as a provider, as opposed to a sidewalk mess-maker.
    • We are increasing local consumption of locally grown food, by encouraging neighbors who can afford to buy market rate produce to buy our CSA. This leads to a stronger local economy, by hiring people in the community, which reduces their economic vulnerability (which leads to many other forms of insecurities including food and health).
    • Our CSA is sourced from farms in the state of Massachusetts. This helps
      • farmers in the state towards their own sustainability. Combined with the economic uplifting of low-income folks in the community mentioned above, this contributes towards economic resilience of the state overall.
      • reduce food miles, and therefore carbon emissions. Thus it helps mitigate climate change.
      • it helps people eat fresh produce in season. Thus it contributes towards individual health.
    • In our open spaces, people who otherwise don’t have access to open space relax. They harvest herbs, fruits, berries as healthy snacks for kids. They meet and work with neighbors from other walks of life. This helps people build bonds which will be useful at a time of need. That’s community resilience.
  5. What is the story of Eastie Farm?
    • Back in 2015, neighbors (such as Monica Leitner-Laserna, Kannan Thiruvengadam, and others) decided to transform a neglected city lot (294 Sumner Street) into green open community space. They made their case for such a space in the middle of an otherwise hemmed in urban block, and won community support, competing with other proposals.
    • The ad-hoc community organization that cleaned up the space with the temporary permit from the city became Eastie Farm, Inc, a 501c3 non-profit. In 2016, Eastie Farm won the mayor’s Greenovate award for Community Engagement.
    • We brought the harvest to East Boston Community Soup Kitchen, Crossroads Family shelter, Grace Church soup kitchen. When there was excess volunteers took home some of the harvest as well.
    • Eastie Farm proved itself by activating the streetscape, involving the neighbors, and bringing joy to the space through community events, music, and food, in addition to gardening and rainwater harvesting.
    • After a public process, the land was conveyed by the city to Eastie Farm.
    • Eastie Farm got involved with Boston Public schools to both do environmental education (based in food systems) and to revive school gardens.
    • Eastie Farm took over the management of Our Garden (293 Border Street), another city owned lot.
    • With funds from the city, Eastie Farm redesigned and developed both sites to eliminate abuse, make access safe, and bring an overall sense of spaces that are actively cared for.
    • Working solely as volunteers (in order to not burden our overworked teachers and school administrators), Eastie Farm transformed the Sam Adams garden and Donald McKay garden (and several other school gardens). One of the administrators really appreciated the transformation: “After a stressful day at school, I stepped into the garden, felt calm in its serenity and sheds tears of joy.”
    • In 2018, Eastie Farm started transforming another city owned lot (at 6 Chelsea Terrace).
    • At 6 Chelsea Terrace, now we have a geothermally heated and cooled greenhouse that will provide year round growing, community activities, food distribution, and education.
    • During the pandemic we worked with restaurants to help their business running and people fed at the same time. We also rescued healthy ingredients, cooked, and served people to stretch the donated dollars further (while reducing waste).
    • At present we
      • offer 7 community-growing spaces in East Boston
      • offer school term and summer education programs
      • provide earn-and-learn opportunities for high school teens
      • provide CSA (market rate, discounted, and free)
      • build rasied
  6. What are your various programs?
    • Farming
    • Food
    • Education
  7. What are your youth programs?
    • Climate Corps: High-school earn-to-learn program to support farm work, learn green job skills, and model climate action
    • Junior Farmers: Summer program for elementary schoolers
    • Climate NATURE: K-12 School term experiential environmental engagement
  8. How many sites do you have anyway?
  9. Can I meet the staff?
  10. Can I meet the board?
  11. What are the various food aid programs available to me?
    • They are all listed on our food aid page: eastiefarm.com/food
  12. How do I subscribe to your CSA?
  13. Do you sell seedlings?
    • Yes. In the Spring.
  14. Do you sell plants?
    • Not yet. But if there is a plant we’re growing you’d like, come to one of our volunteer events and talk to us: eastiefarm.com/volunteer
  15. How can I reserve one of your sites for an event?
    • Send an email to info@eastiefarm.com with the following info
      • location
      • time
      • org requesting
      • contact info of individual requesting
      • is this part of funded program?
      • how much can you pay for the use? (If not in cash, can you pay in kind? can your group volunteer?)
    • note you have take your trash with you, leave the space as you find it.
  16. How can I volunteer with Eastie Farm?
  17. I’d like an Eastie Farm person to present or speak at our class/event. How do I go about setting that up?
    • First decide how much are you able to pay towards an honorarium or donate to the organization.
    • If you are an academic organization please send a note to heather@eastiefarm.com
    • Otherwise send a note to roberto@eastiefarm.com
  18. I’d like to speak to someone at Eastie Farm about the organization for my class/research work. How do I go about setting that up?
    • Send an email to info@eastiefarm.com providing context and the specifics of your need (timeline, content, etc.)
  19. Do you provide fresh local produce for free? When and where?
    • At present at 294 Sumner Street on Wednesdays starting between 1pm and 2pm until supplies run out
    • You can text 6172076545 with “food” or “comida” to get on the list to be notified when we have food or fish (or anything nutritious) to distribute
  20. How can I get on the list to be notified about free food availability?
    • Text 6172076545 with “food” or “comida”
  21. I’d like to arrange a fundraiser for Eastie Farm. Who should I speak with?
  22. I’d like a tour of Eastie Farm. How can I arrange it?
    • If specific to the greenhouse, contact will@eastiefarm.com
    • Otherwise contact roberto@eastiefarm.com.
  23. I’d like to bring a group for touring Eastie Farm. How can I arrange it?
    • If specific to the greenhouse, contact will@eastiefarm.com
    • Otherwise contact roberto@eastiefarm.com.
  24. I’d like a tour of your geothermal greenhouse. How can I arrange it?
    • Contact will@eastiefarm.com
  25. I heard you have comedy nights. When and where are they?
    • Thursdays at 7pm at 294 Sumner Street
    • You can get food in any of the nearby restaurants and eat it at Eastie Farm. Please take the trash with you.
  26. Do you help families set up raised beds and grow in their own homes?
    • We are currently not funded to do this work although we just completed a funded program that helped us create 3000 sf of raised beds in the community. Contact roberto@eastiefarm.com with your needs. We’ll let you know what we can do.
  27. I have some ideas I’d like to run by you for an event or series of events or a partnership program. Who should I speak with?
    1. With our director. Please contact him at kannan@eastiefarm.com. If you know you are going to need 15 minutes are longer, set up a time of your convenience using calendly.com/sillycilantro
  28. How can I stay up to date on everything that’s happening at the farm? Do you have a newsletter or something?
    1. Sign up to be a friend: Send an email to info@eastiefarm.com
  29. Which organizations have you supported as a fiscal sponsor?
    1. Mutual Aid Eastie: What started a program of Eastie Farm during the pandemic, became an organization that we incubated, and supported financially and administratively. Now Mutual Aid Eastie exists independent of us. How quickly they grow up!
    2. Movimiento Cosecha: Immigrant justice organization
    3. Harbor Arts Boston (specifically for the Harvest Mural project)
    4. Individual artists doing art work within food space
  30. How is Eastie Farm funded?
    1. We currently do not have an ongoing funding mechanism. We run our programming with several one-off grants from kind and generous donors, which includes community individuals, and family foundations.
    2. Our capital projects (revitalization of abandoned spaces and building a zero-emissions greenhouse) so far have been funded by city and state governments, and foundations like the Boston Foundation .
    3. Our operations so far have been funded by earned revenue and unrestricted funds or operations-designated funds from individuals and foundations such as the Boston Foundation, Four Lucky Dogs, Empower East Boston, and a number of family foundations.
  31. Who are Eastie Farm’s partners?
    1. Food
      1. City of Boston Office of Food Justice
      2. East Boston Community Soup Kitchen
      3. Grace Federation Church
      4. Crossroads Family Shelter
    1. Farming
      1. Urban Farming Institute
      2. The Food Project
      3. City of Boston’s Grow Boston office
      4. City of Boston Office of Housing
    2. Education
      1. Boston Public Schools
      2. Piers Park Sailing Center
    3. General
      1. Zumix
      2. City of Boston Environment Department
      3. City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Urban Mechanics
      4. City Councilor Gabriela Coletta
      5. State Representative Adrian Madaro
      6. State Senator Lydia Edwards