2019 Somerville Urban Agriculture Ambassador Application
SPONSORED BY THE CITY OF SOMERVILLE and stemming from the passage of Somerville’s Urban Agriculture Ordinance, the first of its kind in New England, the Urban Ag Ambassador (UAA) program trains Somerville residents in urban agriculture in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer service in the community. The course is FREE of charge for accepted applicants. The intention of the UAA program is to provide Somerville residents with tools to grow food successfully and safely in an urban environment which has the potential to lead to a healthier population. This program also helps support the work of community-based non-profits.

DETAILS & DATES

Applications Due: March 8th, 2019
UAAP acceptance notification: March 15th, 2019
Program start date: March 30th, 2019

The 4 saturday workshop sessions will meet on the following dates:

Sat March 30
Sat April 27
Sat May 25
Sat June 22

Sessions are from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Green City Growers offices at 600 Windsor Place in Somerville.

Topics include, but are not limited to, the following: building a raised bed, planting, harvesting, pest control, season extension, leadership development, Somerville urban ag ordinances and an introduction to bee and chicken keeping.

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WORKSHOP SERIES TOPICS:

GETTING STARTED: Light, soil viability, locating your ideal garden space, containers vs. raised-beds vs. in-ground, small and intensive techniques
INSTALLING A GARDEN: Raised-bed construction, soil selection, watering and irrigation
PLANTING: Picking priorities for your space, choosing plant varieties, seeds vs. starts, finding good seed and plant suppliers, creating a crop map, plant spacing, cool vs. warm weather crops, perennials and annuals
ORGANIC GARDEN MAINTENANCE: maintaining healthy and fertile soil, organic fertilization methods, micronutrients, soil testing, spacing and thinning, transplanting, watering schedules, trellising, mulching, pest and fungal management, pruning, harvesting for maximum yield, winterizing the garden
SEASON EXTENSION: Cold Frames, hoop houses, plant selection for winter growing, winter maintenance
BEYOND THE GARDEN: Intro in to how to get involved with bee keeping and chickens (based off the City’s Urban Agriculture initiatives), cooking with your produce + preservation
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP: Learn more about the robust urban agriculture scene in Somerville along with tools and resources to be an ambassador in the community, including but not limited to: teaching others, how to lead a group, community organizing, and utilizing city resources.

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PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

All accepted applicants must be available to attend all four Saturday training sessions.

All applicants must be residents of Somerville and be willing to commit to performing 30 volunteer hours by the end of 2019. The bulk of the volunteer hours will happen during the main growing season, May-September. Several opportunities with the local organizations listed below will be available, or participants may organize their own special projects with confirmation from the UAA Program Coordinator.

Purchasing the course text book, "The Urban Bounty: How to Grow Fresh Food, Anywhere" for $36 at the first session is recommended, but not required. Copies of the book will be available at the Somerville library during the course.

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ORGANIZATIONS WITH VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

THE MOBILE FARMERS MARKET sells fresh, local produce in Somerville, MA. Together, with the help of partnerships with other community organizations and local farms, Shape Up Somerville and Groundwork Somerville run The Somerville Mobile Farmers’ Market.

Volunteer Opportunity:
The 2018 Urban Ag Ambassador volunteered weekly at Council on Aging / SCALE site by assisting customers with their shopping and providing insight into how to use unfamiliar vegetables. Including set-up and break-down time, our ambassador volunteered 3 hours a week almost each week of the 15 week season, fulfilling entirely the 30 hour volunteer requirement. The Somerville Mobile Farmers’ Market would like to host another ambassador weekly during the market season (mid-July through mid-October) to assist at the Council on Aging / SCALE site (1030AM-130PM).

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THE GROWING CENTER is a model for urban land use and collaboration between city government and local nonprofit and community agencies.

Volunteer Opportunity:
The Growing Center will take three UAA participants to join their work in replanting the Center post the completion of the contracted portion of the renovation, including assisting with setting up the renovated annual growing area, demonstration native plantings including edibles, and other perennial and herb areas.

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GROUNDWORK SOMERVILLE strives to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment through the development of community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.

Volunteer Opportunities:

GWS: SCHOOL GARDEN MAINTENANCE (8 ambassadors)
Groundwork supports eight school gardens. These gardens provide essential hands-on and outdoor learning opportunities for Somerville students. School gardens range in size from 4 - 30 garden beds. All sites grow a mix of edible and educational plants, including vegetables from around the world, pollinator plants, and more.

Ambassadors serving at school gardens help to care for the growing space 1-2 hours/ week. Tasks include watering, weeding, planting, fertilizing, and other basic garden work. If an ambassador has specific interest/skill in supporting an additional project at their site, this can occasionally be arranged as well (example, helping to design our pollinator garden, compost systems, world crops project, etc).

Ambassadors may complete their service at schools on weekdays or weekends (with the exception of one site, which requires weekday service due to building access). Service spans May- early September, 1- 2 hours / week. Time of day for service is generally flexible, during daylight hours. Groundwork staff will provide training in basic garden care. We also host 2x/ month group work days for additional learning and collaboration (optional, but highly encouraged). Ambassadors will be in weekly contact with a supervisor, and use task list systems to know what needs to be completed at their site.

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GWS: GARDEN AND EDUCATION (2 ambassadors) ** service concentrated in April - June **
Groundwork supports eight school gardens. These gardens provide essential hands-on and outdoor learning opportunities for Somerville students. School gardens range in size from 4 - 30 garden beds. All sites grow a mix of edible and educational plants, including vegetables from around the world, pollinator plants, and more.

Ambassadors serving in this “Garden and Education” role must be interested in focusing their service during school hours, and between April - June. These ambassadors will help to care for the garden 1 hr/ week. Tasks include watering, weeding, planting, fertilizing, and other basic garden work. They will also support Groundwork educational programs as an assistant teacher for our garden clubs and classes, including after school garden clubs (April - June), “Salad Days” lessons (April-May) and “Seed to Taste” lessons (May-June).

Garden AND Education Ambassadors must have regular availability on weekdays (usually Tues, Weds, Thurs), between 9am-12pm. Service spans April - June, 1- 4 hours / week. Ambassadors will have a chance to choose the lessons that they wish to sign up to join. Groundwork staff will provide training in basic garden care. We also host 2x/ month group work days for additional learning and collaboration (optional, but highly encouraged). Ambassadors will be in weekly contact with a supervisor, and use task list systems to know what needs to be completed at their site.

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GWS: ARTFARM (2 ambassadors)
ArtFarm is Somerville’s newest urban farm space, with a large greenhouse and 1000 sq ft raised garden bed. The ArtFarm garden bed is a key growing space for Groundwork’s World Crops Project. Mentor Farmers from five different countries of origin are paid by Groundwork to help us grow culturally relevant crops for Somerville’s vibrant immigrant community, which are sold at the Somerville Mobile Market. At ArtFarm, the Groundwork farm manager works with 2-3 of these mentor farmers to create a planting and maintenance plan for crops such as calaloo, lau gourd, lalo, and more.

Ambassadors serving at ArtFarm help to care for the growing space 1-3 hours/ week. Tasks include watering, weeding, planting, fertilizing, and other basic urban farm work. Ambassadors may complete their service at ArtFarm on weekdays or weekends. Service spans May- early September, 1- 2 hours / week. Time of day for service is flexible, within daylight hours. Groundwork staff will provide training in basic farm care. We also host 2x/ month group work days for additional learning and collaboration (optional, but highly encouraged). Ambassadors will be in weekly contact with a supervisor, and use task list systems to know what needs to be completed at their site.

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GWS: SOUTH STREET FARM (4 ambassadors)
South Street Farm was built and is now maintained by the Groundwork Somerville Green Team, a youth leadership and job program for underserved teenagers in Somerville. Each year, nearly 2000 pounds of produce grown on South Street Farm is distributed at accessible prices at the Somerville Mobile Market. The farm spans ¼ acre, across two sites, with 5000 sq ft of growing space. With the support of mentor farmers from around the world, we focus on growing culturally relevant produce that can meet the needs of Somerville’s immigrant community.

Ambassadors serving at South Street farm help to care for the farm on weekends and Mondays, when the Green Team is not available to support the space. Tasks include watering, weeding, planting, fertilizing, and other basic urban farm work. If an ambassador has a specific interest/skill in supporting an additional project at the farm, this can occasionally be arranged as well (ex: helping to design our pollinator garden, compost systems, world crops project, etc).

South Street Farm Ambassadors must have weekly availability on Saturdays, Sundays and / or Mondays (a couple absences due to conflicting plans / vacation can be accomodated). Service spans May- early September, 1- 2 hours / week. Time of day for service is flexible, within daylight hours. Groundwork staff will provide training in basic farm care. We also host 2x/ month group work days for additional learning and collaboration (optional, but highly encouraged). Ambassadors will be in weekly contact with a supervisor, and use task list systems to know what needs to be completed at their site.

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****All Groundwork Somerville ambassadors are asked to complete at least 2 hours of their service in helping to spread the word about our agricultural sites to the wider community, by representing Groundwork at fun community events, and sharing more about your experience working at our sites.****

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OTHER PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS:

Participants will be asked to communicate regularly with the Coordinator to check-in about the volunteer part of the program, and to submit one written or photo journal entry about the project.

Open to ages 16 and up and all skill-levels. The workshops are designed for beginning to intermediate gardeners. We may ask very experienced applicants to act as mentors/resources for ambassadors.

Course will be taught in English but speakers of other languages and bilingual residents are encouraged to apply.

PLEASE FILL OUT THE APPLICATION BELOW:

(if applying by paper, please mail applications to: UAA Program Coordinator c/o Green City Growers, 600 Windsor Place, Somerville, MA 02143)

First Name *
Your answer
Last Name: *
Your answer
Address: *
Your answer
City: *
Your answer
Zip Code: *
Your answer
E-mail address: *
Your answer
Phone number: *
Your answer
What is your gardening experience (this includes any kind of gardening)? *
Which range below includes your age? *
Did you apply to the Urban Ag Ambassador program in previous years? *
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What languages do you speak fluently? (Please select all that apply.) *
Required
The Urban Ag workshops are conducted in English. We are hoping to offer interpretation for those with English as a second language. Do you need interpretation services or any kind of accommodation with language or learning style. If so, please explain. *
Please briefly explain what accommodations you might need.
Your answer
Would you be willing to use your own language skills to interpret for a fellow Ambassador if needed?
Will you be in the Somerville area for the bulk of the growing season, ie: May-September? *
Are you involved in a religious, community or school group that might benefit from your urban agriculture training? Check all that apply. *
Required
How do you hope to use the urban agriculture training you receive? *
Your answer
Please briefly tell us about your experience engaging with your community, for example: volunteering, teaching, or other community-based work. *
Your answer
In becoming a Somerville Urban Ag Ambassador you make the commitment to pay-forward your training with 30 hours of community volunteer work. Please be sure that your schedule allows for meeting this important obligation. Please let us know your availability below:
Never Available
Sometimes Available
Usually Available
Weekdays during the day
Weekday evenings
Weekends
Out of the organizations with volunteer opportunities listed, which two interest you most? *
Required
Why are these opportunities most interesting to you?
Your answer
Are you able to commit to the day/time requirements (if listed) for the opportunities that most interest you?
Do you have a special urban ag project in mind that you would like to work on as part of this program? Tell us about it. *
Your answer
What specific strengths or interests would you bring to the Ambassador team? (Please also let us know if there is a specific neighborhood or project you have in mind where you feel your strengths could be applied.) *
Your answer
Is there any other information you'd like to share with us as part of your application?
Your answer
Thank you applying to the Somerville Urban Ag Ambassador program!
Please contact urbanagambassadors@gmail.com if you have any questions.
Applications are due March 8th. Acceptance notices will go out beginning March 15.
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