GARDEN-RELATED OPPORTUNITIES

Whether it’s a career pathway or an engaging hobby, gardening can be a positive experience for you and your family.

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

SOUTHSIDE COMMUNITY LAND TRUST (SCLT)

Website: https://www.southsideclt.org

SCLT is a wonderful community resource for learning about and doing gardening and farming. Their mission is to provide access to land, education and other resources so people in RI can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways. To bring healthy food to people with the least access to it, SCLT trains gardeners and farmers to grow food for their families and neighbors and provides inexpensive land and agricultural resources to help them to do it. Below are some of the programs they offer.

Community Farms: SCLT own or support 52 community farms in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls. Individuals and families can rent space to garden at these farms. To see a map of SCLT community farms and sign up for on the wait list, go to: https://www.southsideclt.org/community-gardens/

Farmer Training Workshops: SCLT provides a variety of hands-on farmer training workshops and technical assistance for beginning vegetable farmers. Each year they publish a calendar of workshops.

On-farm apprenticeships: Apprentices train full-time at one of five host farms and are funded for seven months each season (spring through fall). The apprentice program combines in-depth farm skills from farm mentors with tours, classes and network-building opportunities. Apprentices complete the program with not only technical skills, but a broader understanding of farm conditions and connections to resources needed to begin a farming career.

Urban Agriculture support: In the spring, SCLT offers free seeds and organic compost to urban gardeners as well as a plant sale that includes vegetable plants.

For more information about these and other programs, see https://www.southsideclt.org

NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION (NOFA)

Website: www.organiclandcare.net

NOFA/RI is an organization of farmers, gardeners and consumers working to promote organic farming and organic land care practices. They offer educational workshops and advocacy.

  • Introductory Organic Lawn Care Certification Course: 1 day organic lawn care certificate course available online through Three Rivers Community College. For more information or questions email NOFA@threerivers.eduor call at (860) 215-9246. Cost: $150
  • Accreditation course in Organic Lawn Care: 5-day course for organic lawn care professionals. This training is for landscapers, lawn care pros, garden caretakers, park and land trust managers, landscape architects, and educators who are interested in learning how to care for properties without toxic materials. Cost: $550
  • Introductory Workshops for homeowners: coming soon, check NOFA website for updates.

NOFA also offers farm advisors, equipment sharing, bulk seeds orders and other resources for growers.

URI COOPERATIVE EXTENSION & MASTER GARDENER PROGRAM

Website: https://web.uri.edu/mastergardener/

The URI Master Gardener Core Training is a 14-week course exploring the science behind environmentally-sound gardening.  Graduates of the course serve as volunteer educators for residents, children, community gardeners and families. Classes are held in the evening at URI in Kingston and are taught by URI faculty and other experts. Register by November; classes begin in January. Cost: $475 A few partial scholarships are available.

Other workshops are also offered around the state. Sign up for their newsletter to learn about upcoming events at: https://web.uri.edu/coopext/newsletter-sign-up-form/ or visit their event website at: https://web.uri.edu/coopext/events/

URI also has online resources to help answer your gardening questions:

URI Gardening and Environmental Hotline is a free service that provides high-quality, science-based solutions to problems encountered by residential gardeners. It is staffed by trained URI Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners who will connect you to science-based horticultural information via phone, email or walk-in. You can directly email the URI Gardening Hotline at gardener@uri.edu or call (401) 874-4836 from March-October, Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 2 pm.

RI Native Plant Guide is a digital, interactive searchable database of plants native to Rhode Island.  https://web.uri.edu/rinativeplants/

Other resources including the RI Planting Calendar and Weed Identification sheets are located at https://web.uri.edu/mastergardener/gardening-resources/

RI BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION (RIBA)

Website: http://ribeekeeper.org/

RIBA is a membership organization that provides resources and training to beekeepers in RI. They offer a beginner beekeeping course four times a year beginning in January – February. Classes are 5 weeks long and cover everything the beginning beekeeper needs to know. Cost: $65 which includes membership in RIBA. For questions, email Betty Mencucci at bmencucci@verizon.net  or call 401-568-8449.

RI TREE COUNCIL

Website: https://www.ritree.org/

RITree is a non-profit citizens group dedicated to improving Rhode Island’s tree resources.

The Tree Steward Education Course teaches Rhode Islanders about the life, the needs, and the importance of trees. They learn how to become guardians and advocates for the welfare of trees in their communities. Rhode Island Tree Stewards are planting and pruning trees, sharing their knowledge and skills, and working in their communities to build sustainable urban and rural forests for future generations. Class graduates must perform 30 hours of community service to become certified Tree Stewards.

The Tree Steward Education Course is held twice a year, spring and fall, each time in a different community. Classes meet eight times over six weeks: one night a week from 6:30-9pm, and two Saturday morning outdoor workshops. Topics include Tree identification, Tree biology, Benefits of trees, Tree planting and pruning, Tree care and maintenance, Pests and diseases, Inventory techniques, and Planning for community trees. Registration fee: $75.

The Growing Fruit Trees Program provides comprehensive instruction for the backyard cultivation of fruit. Learn at your own pace, 6 educational sessions per year. Key topics include Introduction to Fruit Science, Proper Plant Selection & Planting, Plant Training Methods, Integrated Pest Management, and Fruit Harvest & Storage Registration fee: $75.

PROVIDENCE NEIGHBORHOOD PLANTING PROGRAM (PNPP)

Website: https://pnpp.org/ | Phone: (401) 368-5380 | Email: info@pnpp.org

The Providence Neighborhood Planting Program is a street tree planting partnership with a mission to plant, steward, and advocate for trees in Providence. They do this by providing free street trees to Providence residents through the Neighborhood Street Tree Planting Awards, by training and empowering people to become Providence Community Tree Keepers, and by fostering engagement with our Urban Forest.

The Providence Community Tree Keepers program provides technical training on pruning and stewarding of young trees to residents who already have a basic understanding of gardening/plant biology or who have participated in tree planting/stewardship efforts before. It is a terrific opportunity to engage further with our urban forest and become a leader in the Providence tree community! Volunteers who complete the program are authorized to prune and maintain young city street & park trees, in accordance with PCTK policies and guidelines.

RHODE ISLAND WILD PLANT SOCIETY (RIWPS)

Website: https://riwps.org | Phone: (401) 789-7497

The Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, Inc. is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Rhode Island’s native plants and their habitats. They provide educational workshops, hold native plant sales for the public, and offer free walks in a variety of natural settings to learn about native plants in the state. Check their website for upcoming programs and events.

FARMACY HERBS

Website: https://www.farmacyherbs.com/

Location: 28 Cemetery St. Providence, RI, 02904 | Phone: (401) 270-5223

Farmacy Herbs offers herbal programs founded in the core belief that we all hold the ability to heal ourselves, our families and our communities through natural means, if we have the know-how, confidence and support to do so. They have programs for folks who just want to learn a few things about herbs and health, and programs for folks who want to become clinical herbalists. Sliding scale and work trade options are available.

They offer a number of programs including the Herbal Internship Program and Level 1 and Level 2 Herbal Education and Training Programs. They have a retail store in Providence.

SERVICES

UMASS SOIL & PLANT NUTRIENT TESTING LAB

Websitehttps://ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory

The Soil & Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory at UMASS Amherst offers soil testing for nutrients, pH levels, and soil contamination and more.

To submit a sample to the lab, download the form from their website and follow the sample collection guidelines. Complete the submission form and mail to the lab. There is information on the website about how to choose which test you need, how to collect soil samples, and how to interpret the test results.

The Routine Soil Analysis includes nutrients, pH and lead levels and costs $20 per sample (with organic matter levels an additional $6). If you are considering growing in urban soils or potentially contaminated soils, you should also get the Total Sorbed Metals Test, a comprehensive heavy metals test that costs $70 per sample.

URI COOPERATIVE EXTENSION 

Website: https://web.uri.edu/coopext/services/

URI also has online resources to help answer your gardening questions:

URI Gardening and Environmental Hotline is a free service that provides high-quality, science-based solutions to problems encountered by residential gardeners. It is staffed by trained URI Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners who will connect you to science-based horticultural information via phone, email or walk-in. You can directly email the URI Gardening Hotline at gardener@uri.edu or call (401) 874-4836 from March-October, Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 2 pm.

RI Native Plant Guide is a digital, interactive searchable database of plants native to Rhode Island.  https://web.uri.edu/rinativeplants/

Other resources including the RI Planting Calendar and Weed Identification sheets are located at https://web.uri.edu/mastergardener/gardening-resources/

See full listing under Classes & Workshops.

VOLUNTEERING TO LEARN

There are also opportunities to volunteer with nonprofit organizations working in gardening and farming operations. Volunteering is a good way to build your resume as well as learn more about gardening and farming. Some of these volunteer opportunities are listed below.

FARM FRESH RI

Website: https://www.farmfreshri.org

Phone: 401-312-4250

Farm Fresh RI’s mission is to grow a local food system that values the environment, health, and quality of life of the farmers and eaters in our region. They support farmers and farmers’ markets, nutrition education in schools and senior centers, and culinary training program for youth. They offer a variety of volunteer opportunities at farmers’ markets; in the youth culinary training program; with Market Mobile helping pack up local food for restaurants, schools, and other institutions; and general office support.

To register as a volunteer online, go to https://www.farmfreshri.org/support/volunteer/

HOPE'S HARVEST RI

Website: https://hopesharvest.org/

Hope’s Harvest volunteers rescue food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to local hunger relief agencies such as food pantries and soup kitchens. Last year volunteers harvested over 36,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no required time commitment. You only go on trips that fit your schedule.

To register as a volunteer online, go to https://hopesharvest.org/ and click on ‘volunteer’.

WHAT CHEER FLOWER FARM

Website: https://www.whatcheerfarm.org/

Phone: 401-830-0454

What Cheer grows and gives away flowers to hospital patients, seniors, homeless and families of victims, among other charities. The flower farm is located in Olneyville on the site of an old mill building. Volunteers work at the farm with weeding, planting, harvesting and field clean-up and also help with flower delivers if you have your own vehicle.

To register as a volunteer online, fill out the volunteer form at: https://www.whatcheerfarm.org/volunteer

SOUTHSIDE COMMUNITY LAND TRUST (SCLT)

Website: https://www.southsideclt.org

SCLT  has frequent volunteer opportunities.

See full listing under Classes & Workshops.

JOINING A COMMUNITY GARDEN

A community garden is a place often in a park or on public land where people can grow food together.  Typically the garden is divided into plots and each gardener is assigned their own plot. Gardeners are responsible for taking care of their own plot and are able to make their own decisions about what to grow. Usually there is some number of workdays that gardeners are required to attend. Generally there is an  annual charge for the plot but many gardens offer a sliding scale for fees.

Like its name suggests, a community garden offers gardeners the chance to grow in collaboration with other people. Experienced gardeners can share their knowledge with new gardeners. Many gardens plan potlucks together or offer other opportunities to gather. It can be a rewarding experience.

These RI organizations keep online lists of community gardens so you can learn what is available in your neighborhood and find out who to contact:

Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT): https://www.southsideclt.org/community-gardens/ (gardens listed for Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls)

Farm Fresh Rhode Island (FFRI): https://guide.farmfreshri.org/food/communitygardens.php?zip=02906  (gardens listed for Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts)

Garden Time can also assist with this search. Contact us at info@gardentime.us.

GARDEN TIME CAN HELP

We can help you connect to garden-related opportunities or any of the resources found in this guide. Contact us at info@gardentime.us or (401) 996-4922.

 

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