By Katinka Podmaniczky
Despite what you might see out your window, the calendar tells us it’s officially spring, and that means we’re gearing up for another great summer at the Serving Ourselves Farm, located on Long Island in Boston Harbor.
The 2.5-acre farm was founded in 1996 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and is run by BPHC’s Homeless Services Bureau. It serves as a vocational training program for homeless individuals who may have mental illness, a history of substance abuse, recent incarceration, or often a combination of these challenges. The farm offers them experience and job skills training, while providing fresh, organic food to the Long Island Homeless Shelter kitchen. In fact, we’re the only certified organic farm in the City of Boston.
One thing we’re excited about this spring is our new farm manager, Catalina Lopez-Ospina. Catalina served as assistant manager of the farm for the past two years, and took over as manager in January.
I got to ask her about some other new members of our farm community – 50 fluffy new chicks! Catalina told me they arrived at the farm when they were one day old, and that there are five different kinds – Pear-white Leghorn, Barred Rock, Red Star, Black Star, and Araucana American – which will produce white, brown, and blue eggs!
Since arriving, the chicks have been fed organic food, and will continue to “eat organic” throughout their life, mostly vegetable scraps from the farm. They are also free range all year, protected from predators by an electric fence. During the winter, they spend more time inside of the chicken coop. Our coop has heat and automatic doors operated by solar panel.
Catalina expects each one to lay two to four eggs a day the first year. She also admitted that she loves the chickens, and that she and the other folks who work on the island spoil them! How could you resist?
Want to support the farm? You can buy our produce and eggs at the Bowdoin-Geneva Farmer’s Market, or sign up for our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. To participate, contact Catalina at clospina at bphc dot org. And don’t forget, your business directly supports the vocational program and enables us to continue to provide high quality produce to our city’s most vulnerable populations.
You can also volunteer at the farm! We’re always looking for both individual and group volunteers. Click here for more information.
Katinka is the assistant director of communications.