Seeds of Solidarity in Orange grows new education programs

  • Husband and wife Ricky Baruc and Deb Habib, of Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center in Orange. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • A Seeds of Solidarity greenhouse brimming with fresh greens for the farm stand and other local markets like Quabbin Harvest, New Salem General Store and Petersham Country Store. CONTIBUTED PHOTO

  • Crops grown with no-till methods at Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center in Orange. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2021 6:55:31 PM
Modified: 4/22/2021 3:32:15 PM

ORANGE — Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center plans to launch its season of programs on Earth Day weekend.

Founding farmers Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc expect to offer a one-hour, free outdoor presentation called “Seed the Future: Planting Tips” starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Afterward, visitors are welcome to use a new interpretive map created by local artist and Seeds of Solidarity board member Phyllis Labanowski to explore a short self-guided tour of the fields, greenhouses and energy-efficient buildings.

“We’re always looking to expand our reach to more sectors of our community,” Habib said. Masks and social distancing are required on the Seeds of Solidarity site at 165 Chestnut Hill Road.

Over the winter, neighbors helped Seeds of Solidarity create an expanded farm stand and coronavirus-safe outdoor teaching space featuring an 8 kilowatt-hour solar electric system and surrounded by no-till gardens, which do not disturb soil through tillage. Habib said the solar-powered farm stand will be stocked with tender salad and cooking greens from the farm, and will continue to be open during daylight hours. It will also feature various fresh products throughout the fall, culminating with garlic season.

“What inspired the expanded farm stand and teaching space was really the increased need and recognition (of it) around the pandemic,” Habib explained. “We really have to be providing more fresh food close to home within our communities and teaching people from all walks of life ... skills to become more food self-reliant.”

“Low-Cost Garden Basics,” another short, outdoor presentation, is scheduled for May 29.

Seeds of Solidarity is also planning several day-long, outdoor workshops throughout the season. There will be a sliding-scale fee and advance registration is required to limit group size. These workshops include “Grow Your Own Plant Medicine: CBD and Other Herbs” on May 15 and “No-Till for Everyone, Everywhere” on May 30 so attendees can learn methods for low-maintenance, climate-resilient, bountiful gardens and farms. “Craft Your Own Life” is a retreat day offered later in the summer for free to people ages 20 to 25.

Seeds of Solidarity is also launching a new initiative called Women Healing Women Healing Earth. Two free garden-based courses are currently available by registration to low- and moderate-income women living in the North Quabbin region who would benefit from a positive sense of community, skills for resilience and restorative time in nature. Applications are available at seedsofsolidarity.org. According to Habib, an additional series of cooking, wellness and creativity workshops will be released this summer.

This initiative is made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. Habib previously explained Women Healing Women Healing Earth will essentially be a series of classes and courses to help enrich women in the North Quabbin and greater North Quabbin region who have faced isolation, poverty, chronic health issues or racial injustice. Women benefiting from this program will include those affected by incarceration.

To register for Seeds of Solidarity’s programs, visit seedsofsolidarity.org.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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