Fresh News from Grow Pittsburgh

Fresh News from our Friends at Grow Pittsburgh

Celebrating Black History Month in the Garden

TaRay and Raynise Kelly of Soil Sisters with their summer seedlings!

As we continue to celebrate black history year round, we still love to use this month to learn about the black farmers and growers contributing to the food justice / regenerative agriculture movements. There are so many projects to highlight here – we’ll share a few of our local partners bringing food access and education to their communities in Pittsburgh:

Soil Sisters Plant Nursery: Grow Pittsburgh’s Garden Resource manager Raynise Kelly (some of you school gardeners may remember Farmer Ray from her garden educator days!) along with her sister TaRay Kelly opened a local nursery and plant shop in Beltzhoover during the pandemic. Read about their work here and stop by their store House of Plants to bask in greenery this winter.

Oasis Farm & Fishery: Managed by Tacumba Turner, Oasis is a black-owned and led bio-market garden in Homewood. Using an aquaponic greenhouse and their outdoor fields, they grow fresh produce for the neighborhood and teach urban farming to growers of all ages. Check out their Allegheny Front spotlight.

Sankofa Village Community Garden: Founded in 2015 by Ayanna Jones, Sankofa grows hundreds of pounds of food a year and has been a leader in food justice and organic growing education. They host summer camps, youth employment opportunities, and programming for folks of all ages to gather and learn together.

Food for the Soul Community Garden: Started by a group of neighbors in Manchester early in 2021, this community growing space brings so much of joy and nourishment to its corner of the city. To connect with them in the winter (or anytime throughout the year), one of the garden co-founders, Ebony Lunsford-Evans, runs a business, Farmer Girl Eb, selling fresh food and plant medicine in the West End.

Read more about these and other projects around town:

2023  Pre-Apprentice Applications

The pre-apprenticeship is a program in partnership with Pasa Sustainable Agriculture for those who have little or no growing experience but are interested in exploring a farming career.  This is a two-year program, where participants will volunteer four hours per week on our farm sites doing a variety of farm tasks and receive a share of vegetables as well as free admission to relevant workshops and conferences. 

Community Garden Sustainability Fund

Are you a member of a community food garden? Could your garden use some support to become more sustainable? Apply to the Community Garden Sustainability Fund for materials like compost, fencing, tools, or other garden supplies and infrastructure.

Applications are open now through March 15 for the spring round. Find a recorded Information Session and FAQ with helpful application tips on our website.

Celebration of Seeds: 11th Annual Seed Swap

Swap seeds at the library! Bring your untreated, non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds to share or just pick up seeds donated by local gardeners, farmers and seed companies! A new batch of seeds will be released every hour, on the hour. Any guest bringing seeds will be eligible to enter a prize of fun items from Phipps Conservatory, Grow Pittsburgh and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Grower’s Spotlight: Tamara O’Brien

This Grower’s Spotlight features Tamara O’Brien, a lifelong gardener looking to support growers of western PA to share seeds and grow native gardens. As the founder/director of a nonprofit for pollinator awareness, Plant it Further, and president of the Western PA Wild Ones chapter, Tamara is connecting gardeners to the plants that grow here natively and support pollinators.

Grow Pittsburgh: Why do you like to save seeds and share them with others?

Tamara: Plants want to share their seeds. Every single seed produces a plant that gives sometimes 100+ seeds. They produce those seeds to continue giving life, sharing with us their plant wisdom and gifts. It is our duty and honor to make sure those seeds and plants continue sharing their wisdom. Seeds create food for pollinators, for us and for other wildlife. Seed saving and sharing gives us the ability to create sustainable food systems, honor our ancestors with heirloom seeds and to preserve life for continued generations. Plants tell stories and sharing seeds helps humans share the plant’s story. Seeds can also help us tell our ancestors stories to future generations. 

We’re Hiring: Come Grow with Us!

We are hiring a Braddock Farm Stand Coordinator for the 2023 Growing season! Check out the job description and apply today!

Workshops & educational Events from our Event Calendar

Backyard Farm School: Maple Sugaring
February 21 | 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Garden Dreams
In this workshop, attendees will learn tree identification, how to tap trees and the proper time of year when the sap flows. We will also discuss how to cook with maple sap and of course how to boil it down for syrup.
How to Start a Community Garden Series
Feb 21 | Feb 28 | March 21 | March 28 | Zoom | 6:00-7:00pm | $5 per session, free if needed
Our “How to Start a Community Garden” workshop, useful for both new and experienced community gardeners, is now available in 4 short online sessions
School Gardens Teacher Workshop | Mar. 2 | 4:30 pm | Virtual
In this workshop, you’ll learn: what a pollinator is, about how important pollination is in our school gardens, how to plant to attract pollinators and activities and lessons about pollination to do with your students.
Garden Resource Center Opening Day | March 18
Mark your calendar for the opening day of our Garden Resource Center (GRC) on March 18th. We will be open from 9am-3pm so stop by to renew your membership for the year or grab some supplies to get your garden started this year!