Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts

Monday, December 26, 2022

Happy Holidays from Jen & the Veggie Project

Hello volunteers, Pantry staff and friends,

I hope this finds you with your feet up, staying warm and spending the weekend the way you want!  I whole heartedly thank all of you that voted for the Veggie Project and me for the Honey Dew awards. Unfortunately, we were not one of the top five.  The fact that it was one of the top ten nominations of over 100 candidates was huge.  I felt the awards opportunity with Honey Dew was a more transparent and sincere voting process and follow up than the Lowes grant that I asked you to vote on earlier this year.  Another plus is that Honey Dew let me know that we can be nominated and voted for next year!

What I do want you all to know is that the Pantry staff, its board of directors and other people and organizations that support the Pantry acknowledge your efforts.  That being said, these are the very people that gather information of the success of the Veggie Projects as well as the other successful Pantry programs. They are also the people that work very hard at obtaining grants for the Pantry and its endeavors , i.e. the Veggie Project.  So once again, your efforts were not done in vain!  The nomination and the comradery of all of you involved will be added to the Veggie Project's "resume".   

Some exciting facts:  
Our garden space expanded in 2022.  We continued to grow in 11 beds at the Franklin Community Garden, New England Chapel built a large raised planter bed behind their new home (the former Fico's building), St. Johns Episcopal Church allowed us to continue to grow in their garden beds, Farmer Mel expanded her garden plots which benefitted the Project and many Pantry clients and volunteers were given potted veggie plants to grow at home.  We surpassed our previous years grand totals.  This season, we grew 1,323.8 lbs!!!!  That's just the weight of what was harvested and distributed.  This weight doesn't include the dozens of flower arrangements we gave out and plants our clients grew at home.  We are hoping to continue our expansion by adding "movable" raised planter beds at the Pantry's new home this  coming Spring.  

PLEASE pass this information on to anyone that you asked to vote for us as well as those interested in getting involved.  We are looking forward to growing again in the upcoming season.

The Franklin Food Pantry and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, fun and loved filled holidays, and a healthy 2023.  

My best,

Community gardens in early in the growing season May 2022
Community gardens in early in the growing season May 2022

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Business Insider: "These 6 common vegetables are actually all the same plant"

Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) tweeted:
You may never have heard of the plant Brassica Oleracea, but six vegetables you can find in any grocery store and you eat on a regular basis are actually all from this one plant and they're all human made products of selective breeding [source, read more:]

 Shared from Twitter ->

Friday, September 9, 2022

What's happening at the Franklin Cultural Festival on Saturday? Download this 1 sheet guide

This one sheet PDF document combines the info you need to be aware on 
  • where to park
  • the schedule for the Main Stage 
  • the layout of the Cultural Festival on the Town Common

Fortunately, we have a beautiful weather forecast for Saturday. There is plenty to do and see for all ages as Franklin celebrates "Community Unity"

What's happening at the Franklin Cultural Festival on Saturday? Download this 1 sheet guide
What's happening at the Franklin Cultural Festival on Saturday? Download this 1 sheet guide

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Franklin Public Library Presents Herb Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens, Tuesday, June 14, 7:00 PM

Herb Gardening
Herb Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens

Let's face it....  store bought herbs, either fresh or dried, can really put a strain on your wallet.  Why not grow your own? This program is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit .

Franklin Public Library
118 Main Street
Franklin, MA 02038


Shared from the Town of Franklin page ->

Saturday, April 23, 2022

VFJ Renovations announces price reductions for garden beds and planters

Price Reduction! 

In an effort to combat inflation, as well as the stigma against mental illness, @vfjrenovations has reduced its pricing for 2022 from $320 to $295 for the raised garden bed and from $210 to $195 for the planter.

Quantities are limited, so purchase yours today and spread the word!

Did you know that in 2020, 1 of every 5 adults experienced mental illness? All profits will be donated to an organization that supports mental health awareness.

VFJ Renovations announces price reductions for garden beds and planters
VFJ Renovations announces price reductions for garden beds and planters

2021 recording: 
VFJ Renovations webpage and ordering process
Disclosure: I did purchase a 2.½ ‘x6’ garden bed in 2020. I am looking forward to using it again this year.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Empower your gardening with a new garden bed

VFJ Renovations' 3rd Annual #empowerwithgardening initiative is donating its 2022 profits to a non-profit dedicated to supporting those with mental health needs and helping to remove the stigma of mental illness.
Some mental health benefits of gardening include reducing stress, being present, developing a growth mindset, and practicing acceptance. Read about these benefits and more by visiting our website
We are offering Western Red Cedar planters and raised garden beds for purchase ($210 and $320 respectively). Both are made with 5/4” x 6” cedar decking material which has rot resistant properties! You can find more specifications about each and a link to the order form on our website.
Lastly, in order to donate more profit, we are looking for a few volunteers to help us build these planters and raised garden beds on Saturday, April 30. If interested, please contact Jessi at

Order Form: 

my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020
my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Indoor Seed Starting with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens - Mar 8 at 7 PM

Indoor Seed Starting with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens

Tuesday, March 8, 7:00 PM

Indoor Seed Starting
Indoor Seed Starting with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens

There are so many more varieties of vegetables than what the garden centers offer!  We'll show you everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed. This program is in-person, free, and open to the public. For more information about Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens, please visit .

Shared from Library page ->

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

"Empower with Gardening" initiative returns for VFJ Renovations; order your garden bed now

"VFJ Renovations is once again planning to build cedar raised garden beds this spring for their Empower With Gardening initiative. Garden beds are made in two styles - a 21”x21” planter for $210, and a 2'x 6' bed for $320. Garden beds and planters are made with 5/4" western red cedar. We are also taking orders for and selling Empower With Gardening signs for $25. 

The planters and beds will be constructed during the spring, in time for the growing season. A 50% deposit is required for all planters and garden beds. Limited number of signs are available and total is due upon ordering.  All purchases incur a 3% service fee if paid by credit card. If stock becomes unavailable, deposits will be returned. Please read below about our initiative. All profits will once again be donated to a non-profit."
Continue reading about the Empower with Gardening 2022 initiative

my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020
my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020

Monday, December 13, 2021

#ThinkFranklinFirst: VFJ Renovations is now taking orders for planters, raised garden beds

"Give the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season!

VFJ Renovations is now taking orders for planters, raised garden beds, and Empower with Gardening signs! Read all about what we do and why we do it at A limited quantity of signs are available now, and all planters and garden beds will be built in the spring.

As in the past, all profits will be donated to a non-profit organization."

Listen to the audio recording from Apr 2021 as they prepared for the seasonal build

my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020
my garden bed from the Fanuele's early in the growing season 2020

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Franklin Food Pantry: Time for a nibble!

Franklin Food Pantry
Time for a nibble!

Happy Summer Days!
As a much-appreciated donor, we want you to see how contribution has supported some particular programs for our neighbors in the recent months.

This first ever distribution was a huge hit with our neighbors, their families and our staff. We distributed over 175 bags of items for a summer feast, including hot dogs, hamburgers, rolls, chips, condiments and cotton candy. Fun Bags of chalk, bubbles, footballs, American flags and more brought smiles to many faces. It was a brutally hot day but so worth it. Given the immense success, we hope to secure funding to permanently add July 4th Bags to our Holiday Distributions for Thanksgiving and Winter.
We have incredible volunteers led by Jen Kuse who care for our 11 beds at the Community Garden on King Street. We also are lucky enough to receive fresh produce from local churches who grow fresh produce on their own premises. Your funding supports the costs for this vital program, including purchasing seeds, plants and equipment; renting and maintaining the beds; packaging the produce, and more. Below you will catch a glimpse of the amazing fresh herbs and vegetables - and wild flowers - that are grown, harvested and distributed to neighbors each week!
Thank you for your continued support of the Franklin Food Pantry! We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and we will see you in the fall as we kick off two our largest fundraising events of the year: the annual Turkey Trot and our popular food elves program!

Franklin Food Pantry | 43 WEST CENTRAL STREET, Franklin, MA 02038

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Sustainable Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens - June 2

Sustainable Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens

Sustainable Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens - June 2
Sustainable Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens - June 2

Wednesday, June 2, 7:00 p.m.

Become a more efficient gardener by learning how to elongate your growing season and maximize your output, all while preserving resources.

To register, please visit .


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day Project at the Franklin Community Gardens

Please join us to learn about the Franklin Community Gardens and the Franklin Food Pantry Veggie Garden Project.  There will be an introduction of the gardens and information on how the Project, our volunteers and partners are working together helping create community and awareness of food insecurities.  This Project has many opportunities throughout the growing season including garden maintenance of the garden beds, harvesting Tuesday and Friday mornings and bringing produce to the Pantry. 

On Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 9 AM - 12 we will be building new garden beds for growing vegetables and flowers for the clients of the Franklin Food Pantry.  There will be other tasks including cleaning and weeding existing beds and the surrounding area.  No experience required, but carpentry skills are a plus!   Please bring gloves and any of your favorite garden tools. There will be garden tools on sight, however we are looking for the use of battery operated drills and bits.    

For additional information please contact: 

checking on the progress of a food pantry bed at the Community Garden last year
checking on the progress of a food pantry bed at the Community Garden last year

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Raised garden beds from VFJrenovations again this year

My father and I are building raised garden beds again this year with the profits going to the Franklin Food Pantry. 

We are only able to make about 35 planters this year and have 2 design options. We've written a letter on our website and was hoping you might be able to publish it on Franklin Matters for us?


Thank you,
Vinny Fanuele & Jessi Fanuele

617.510.4006 (Vinny)
617.448.7237 (Jessi)

Listen to the audio interview we conducted last year

my Raised garden bed as initially set up last year
my Raised garden bed as initially set up last year

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Franklin, MA: Finance Committee - Agenda - Jan 13, 2021

Finance Committee meeting - Jan 13, 2021 - 5:00 PM

1. Call to Order
2. Public Comments
3. Approval of Minutes
a. December 15, 2020
4. Stormwater Presentation
a. Stormwater Management Plan
b. Stormwater Brochures
5. COVID-19 Update
a. Vaccination Schedule
6. Future Agenda Items
7. Adjourn

Please find the agenda and links for the upcoming Finance Committee Meeting posted here  

Shared from Twitter:

rain garden at Parmenter, one of many examples of stormwater mitigation that can be found around Franklin
rain garden at Parmenter, one of many examples of stormwater mitigation that can be found around Franklin

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Franklin Community Garden: Maintenance Day - Nov 11

We are planning on having a maintenance day on November 11th from 9am-12. By then all garden beds should be cleaned out and if you are planning on renting next year that would be a great day to amend your soil.  With beautiful weather in the forecast for the next week, we really need to spend a few minutes cleaning out the beds.  It's also a good time to plant garlic for next year as well.  

What will be doing on that day? You can care for your garden by cleaning it out and then we need help moving the picnic tables and covering them, washing the tools (important so that when we use them next year if there were any disease on the tools it will not be transferred to someone's garden), cut the grass one last time, stack all the tomato cages in the back of the shed so they don't blow away, put the hoses away, put down some clover and clean out the shed. After November 11th the water will be shut off.

It's time to clean out your garden beds of all fallen produce, perennials that do not belong (strawberries, raspberry bushes, corn stalks and mint.)  If you would like to grow mint then you need to put it in a plastic pot and then plant the pot in the garden.  This way it does not multiply throughout the whole garden.  If you ever decide not to use that garden space and the mint had been growing then it would be a big deal to remove it and this holds true for the strawberries and the bushes.

The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension offers these free one hour LEARN AT HOME webinars.  This one is perfect for us: "Putting  the Garden to Bed: Tips and Tricks for Success Next Year" .  There are others and once you visit their website you can choose whatever seems to be of interest to you.

Lastly, I want to thank all our volunteers for their hard work keeping the Community Garden going so smoothly.  Deb Schwab has really stepped up to be our liaison from the Recreation Dept to all of you.  She has been behind the scenes organizing all the eagle scout projects, managing the volunteers for the maintenance days and I can't thank her enough.  Teresa Triana, Jen Kuse (Franklin Food Pantry), Melanie Hamblen and all our eagle scouts.  This has been our best year by far and it's because of all of these individuals.  Thank you letters will be going out to our eagle scouts today.

We will open up registration to all returning gardeners for 2021 on Monday, February 1st, 8:30am. 

Jen Kuse and Lynn Calling viewing the garden beds that the Franklin Food Pantry used this year
Jen Kuse and Lynn Calling viewing the garden beds that the Franklin Food Pantry used this year

Thursday, August 20, 2020

FM #332 Franklin Food Pantry Community Garden - 8/13/20 (audio)

 FM #332 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 332 in the series. 

This session shares my conversation with Jen Kuse, volunteer coordinator of the Franklin Food Pantry beds at the Community Garden. We are also joined by Lynn Calling, Executive Director of the Franklin Food Pantry. Our conversation was conducted at the Community Garden, outdoor, and adhering to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

In this conversation, we learn about Jen’s green thumb (sometimes brown and dirty) as she coordinates the efforts of several local churches and many volunteers to provide fresh produce to the Food Pantry’s clients. The Tuesday of the week we recorded this, they delivered 50 pounds of produce, with likely another 50 pounds scheduled for Friday for the Food Pantry.

This is a great story to share. You can help in any number of ways. Contact Jen to volunteer with the regular maintenance, or a maintenance day, or financially.

As we listened to the recording, we found a few minor corrections. Jen never actually answers Lynn’s question on how many garden beds the volunteers are gardening and harvesting from; it currently is 12. The listing of the organizations who have helped is in the show notes below. Jen also mentions Deb's name (volunteer from The BFCCS), and says her correct name (Deb Schwab) the first time, and then refers to her as Deb Benjamin the second time. Oops, we got you covered Jen (and Deb!)

The recording runs just about 18 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Jen and Lynn. Audio file =


  • The Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School

  • Franklin Federated Church

  • St. John's Episcopal Church

  • Franklin United Methodist Church

  • New England Chapel

Jen also considers the Town of Franklin Recreations Dept and the Franklin Agway ( as partners in support and supplies.

Jen Kuse 

Lynn Calling, Executive Director, Franklin Food Pantry 

Franklin Food Pantry = 

Photos of the garden beds at the Community garden


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

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Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

Jen Kuse showing one of the garden beds to Lynn Calling
Jen Kuse showing one of the garden beds to Lynn Calling

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Franklin Community Garden: Maintenance Day - June 28

MAINTENANCE DAY! Sunday, June 28 from 9-12
The plan is to: Paint the shed (thinking the same color that the wood guardrail at King Street is painted), paint the picnic benches with clear polyurethane, grass will need to be mowed again, and Bed 53 will need to be filled with soil.
That will be it for Maintenance Day/Build Days until the fall! So, please turn up!

  1. Please drain hoses when done watering your garden bed. When draining, fill the water can that is at that spigot. This way the water is not wasted.
  2. Throw away all veggie id tags in the garbage and not on the ground.
  3. Please help in filling bed 53 with soil.
  4. Please help in spreading the soil next to bed 52 where the demo bed was.
  5. If anyone hasn't planted in their bed and have decided not to use the bed this year, kindly contact the Rec Department.
my garden bed is growing nicely this year
my garden bed is growing nicely this year

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Community Garden (OPENING - Today) - Parks opening next week (with restrictions)

Good Morning,

Tomorrow (Weds, May 20) is the first day the Community garden will be open.  Water should be turned on this week.  Barricades should be moved from the entrance to the inside the park to block only the playground/ball field area.  For now, parks and playgrounds still remain closed, although we are making the Community garden available to you folks.  

Next Monday, we will be removing all barricades around Town and opening parks with restrictions in place.  I wanted to make sure you all received the attachment I provided last week, so I'm including it in the body of the email.  Have fun and please be safe.
Franklin Community Gardening during COVID-19
Franklin Community Gardens offer many benefits which include socialization, exercise, and the production and consumption of nutritious, fresh and locally grown herbs and vegetables.  Beginning Wednesday, May 20, we will open the Community Garden to one member per garden bed for their maintenance. 
Garden access will be restricted to no more than 5 gardeners at one time.  It is important to understand the state guidelines ( regarding social distancing and proper hygiene.  (These regulations also are subject to change amid fluid developments.)
This guide offers ideas and guidance on:
  • Best practices for community garden management during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Additional cleaning/sanitation precautions to utilize in the Franklin community gardens
  • Recommendations on being a safe, responsible visitor at the Franklin community garden.
Following these recommendations, along with the use of common sense and caution, can increase the likelihood that our community garden will remain accessible.
In such a public setting, the Centers for Disease Control now recommends wearing cloth face coverings. For a guide on how to create your own cloth face coverings, visit the CDC website ( 
Best Practices for Community Garden Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Franklin Community Garden is considered an essential space; garden members should immediately implement the following practices:
  • Garden members must wear masks or cloth covering at all times, along with gloves.
  • DO not visit the garden if you feel ill, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks or have had known contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks
  • Leave garden gates open during hours of operation to avoid frequent contact.  No need to keep opening and closing gates, unless you are the last one to leave later in the day.
  • Avoid use of public benches or picnic tables
  • Limit the size of work groups to 5 people or fewer inside the fenced area
  • If folks cannot police this themselves, we may be forced to stagger times for arrival and availability to reduce crowds
  • Social distancing guidelines of remaining at least 6 feet apart at all times
  • If members have them, please bring your own tools or make certain you wear gloves while using.  We will have cleaning supplies in the shed and we expect anyone that uses a tool will sanitize before and after use.
  • We would appreciate folks helping with the following.
    • Regular cleaning of contact surfaces (doors, padlocks, water spigots, gates, wheelbarrows, etc.)
    • Hand-washing or hand-sanitizing regularly 
Ryan Jette
Director of Recreation
Franklin Recreation Department
275 Beaver Street
Franklin, MA 02038
Office: (508) 613-1667
Mobile:(508) 400-4099
"just for the fun of it"
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Prior notification on the Community Garden opening

Community Garden (OPENING - Today) - Parks opening next week (with restrictions)
Community Garden (OPENING - Today) - Parks opening next week (with restrictions)