ReVision Urban Farm: Kicking off the 2019 growing season!

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Guest Blog by Todd Sandstrum, Senior Grower, Victory Programs’ ReVision Urban Farm

Nestled among the triple-deckers, just off of Blue Hill Avenue, is a hidden farm that is one of Victory Program’s secret gems. A place you can sit and smell the flowers, watch the hard working bees, and taste the best of life without leaving the city limits. Revision Urban Farm is entering its 19th year with new staff, all of whom have the Spring itch and are ready to dive into the dirt. Revision Farm consists of two sites in Dorchester, the original farm resides on Fabyan Street and the newer site sits on Tucker Street, across Blue Hill Ave. Currently, the two sites are being restructured into an “Urban Farm Market Model.” This is a very exact model that looks at two factors; plant rotations and square foot production.  When you go to the farm, it’s going to be both high functioning and aesthetically pleasing.

Although smaller in size due to its urban location, ReVision Urban Farm’s production ability is impressive. Fabyan Street consists of about 2,863 linear feet of bed production, and Tucker Street has 3,428 linear feet.  All beds are 24 inches wide, which gives ReVision a total of 9,719 square feet of bed production. If you are wondering what these numbers mean or why they matter, here’s the breakdown: the farm has 100 foot beds where crops are planted in succession.  As soon as one crop is harvested from a bed, staff and volunteers replant the bed and start the next round of crop. A 100 foot bed of lettuce will yield 80 pounds from each planting. That bed can be replanted with lettuce 4 times in the season, which would yield a total of 320 pounds.  The average family of four uses about 40 pounds of lettuce a growing season, so one bed can produce enough lettuce for 8 families. ReVision Urban Farm generally plants six to eight beds of lettuce at a time, yielding a whopping 1,920-2,560 pounds of greens, fresh picked their peak for the highest nutritional value.

ReVision Urban Farm also provides a wonderful learning opportunity for community members and residents of Boston. Everyone eats food, and it is important to understand how the food we consume is grown and harvested. Farm staff have a mission to share knowledge and teach community members how to grow fruits and vegetables. Anyone can learn, that’s the great thing about farming! At one point, small farms dotted the country with Victory Gardens. At the peak of Victory Gardens popularity, two-thirds of Americans were able to produce 40% of our country’s vegetable needs. Today, we see the return of small-scale farming with what has been dubbed ‘Urban Agriculture.’

If you have the willingness to learn or just want to visit the farm, everyone is welcome. For more information on what’s happening on the farm, please follow them on Facebook, twitter or Instagram.

Meet the team:

 

Senior Grower

Todd Sandstrum  joins the Victory Programs’ Revision Urban Farm team with over 20 years in the agricultural industry. He is the former President of Southeastern Mass Agricultural Partnership and current Chairman of the Town of Easton Agricultural Commission.

He’s consulted for many farm operations across the northeast with different specialties and sizes, from as large as 3,000 acres to as small as half an acre. His goal is to help Revision move into the next stage of its growth by maximizing production and operations and by educating the public about sound agricultural practices for small scale farming.

When not at work, Todd enjoys time with his family as well as his horses, chickens, bunnies, cats, and dog. In the Fall, you may also find him paddling a giant pumpkin, a hobby that he holds two past records in for “longest distance paddling a pumpkin.”

Grower

Conor Brosnan spent the past 14 years working in the education field where he enjoyed being part of a community and having the ability to make a positive impact on his students. From a young age, he also had a strong interest in gardening and farming, holding various jobs at local farms and creating his own organic garden at home.

ReVision Urban Farm offered a chance to combine two of his passions, agriculture and helping others. The farm’s mission to bring fresh and nutritious food to those in the local Dorchester and Mattapan communities was what really drew him to the organization. When not at the farm, he enjoys listening to music, reading, running and hiking with his dog, Bodie.

Assistant Grower

Nicolas Saintmard is a young farmer with a background in Agronomic Engineering. He hails from Lamorteau, a small rural village in the South of Belgium. His exposure to sustainable farming and gardening techniques started from a very young age. After spending hours working in a lab during his Ph.D. studies, he realized that he strongly prefers working in nature.

In December 2018, he moved to Boston. Nicolas saw ReVision Urban Farm as an opportunity to garden with and for his new community and a way to share his love for  plant physiology knowledge. He is passionate about natural sciences, new agronomic practices, and working on DIY projects utilizing salvaged/recycled materials.

His hobbies include hiking, watching cactus seeds sprout, debating on cynicism with his military wife, and indulging his cat’s wildest cravings. Nicolas joins the Victory Programs’ Revision Urban Farm team with a strong passion for agriculture and the belief that to make a positive and sustainable change we must grow our food.

If you have the willingness to learn or just want to visit the farm, everyone is welcome! For more information on what’s happening on the farm, please follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also give online to support the farm or check out the seedling sale and CSA!

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