A Slice of Italy in Allston

by Megan Maisano

It’s the end of the semester. Motivation for cooking and weekly meal prep is low. Are you yearning for some Italian comfort fare, but don’t want to make the trek to North End? Fear not. This hidden gem will fill your heart and your belly.

As soon as I walked into the restaurant, I felt at home and part of la famiglia. Packed in tightly among 12 tables were families and friends, hunched over their meals in conversation, accompanied by glasses of wine and fresh bruschetta. The small room was filled with stories, laughter, and the smell of warm tomato sauce. I turned to my husband, Andrew, and got a nod of approval. It was our first time at Carlo’s Cucina in Allston.

Snuggled between a Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant on Brighton Ave, Carlo’s Cucina (pronounced coo-CHEE-nah) was nearly full on a Tuesday night. We snagged a table next to the kitchen in the back, with optimal views of the place in action. Paintings of the Italian countryside covered the walls and wisps of white painted clouds dotted the blue ceiling. Servers scooted between tables, waiting their turn to walk through the narrow passes, cracking jokes in Italian with regulars along the way.

The restaurant itself offers a no-frills dining experience. The table is set with paper placemats and napkins, and not much space for elbow room. While the ambience at Carlo’s Cucina may not compare to the gusto of dining in Boston’s North End Italian restaurants, the food will keep us coming back.

As someone who married into an Italian family and once took a cooking class in Tuscany, I like to believe I have developed a taste for authentic Italian food. But just to be sure my taste was true, I invited Andrew along for a second opinion. And let me tell you, we experienced some anguish when deciding what to order – we wanted to try it all! In addition to the usual spread of antipasti (appetizers), primi (pasta dishes) and secondi piatti (protein dishes), there was also a Specialità della Casa section.

While we examined the menu, our server brought us complimentary toasted bread, pimento stuffed olives, and olive oil. We did our best not to overindulge before our meal, but it was hard to pass up the aroma of freshly baked bread and olive oil.

For our antipasti, we ordered the fried eggplant, Melanzane Ripiene ($10). Laid over a large plate was eight inches of crisp eggplant rolled up with ricotta that oozed out of its sides, and topped with marinara sauce and broiled mozzarella that stuck to our forks. It was heavenly. In a rare act of self-control, we asked for a box to save half of this God-sent dish for later.

We decided to skip the primi piatti: with their generous portion sizes, I can’t imagine ordering more than one course here again. For the secondi piatti, we ordered off the specialty menu. I chose the Pollo Gerardo ($20), a chicken Marsala dish with tomatoes, peppers, and olives. Andrew chose the Vitello Carlo ($23), a popular Yelp pick of veal stuffed with artichokes, prosciutto and Fontina cheese, and topped with tomato sauce, mushrooms and sautéed onions.

I’m a sucker for a good Marsala sauce, so the Pollo Gerardo hit the spot. The dish had an appropriately oversized piece of chicken, lightly battered and pounded thin. The Marsala sauce was reduced to a thick texture and while it tasted just fine with the toppings, I missed the earthy sautéed mushrooms that traditionally accompanied it. Perhaps next time I’ll stick with the traditional Pollo Marsala dish ($20). Andrew picked the Vitello Carlo because of his love for artichokes. This dish had a lot going on, in a good way. The combination of flavors from the tender veal, plum tomato sauce, artichokes, and creamy Fontina kept us picking at it long after we had our fill. And while we planned to get desert, our stomachs begged for mercy. Next time, Cannoli… Next time.

Pollo Gerardo and remnants of the Melanzane Ripiene. Photo: Megan Maisano

Pollo Gerardo and remnants of the Melanzane Ripiene. Photo: Megan Maisano

By the end of the night, we had sung happy birthday twice to strangers, clapped, and raised our glasses to their fortune. It felt like we were a part of a large family gathering, spread across tables in a dining room, enjoying home-style comfort foods from our very own kitchen.

If you’re looking for authentic Italian dishes without making the arduous trip to the North End, Carlo’s Cucina is your spot. Make reservations, come hungry, and leave a part of la famiglia.

Carlo’s Cucina Italiana
131 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617.254.9759, http://carloscucinaitaliana.com/

Megan Maisano is a second-year Nutrition Communications student, an RD-to-be, and is generally disappointed by small portion sizes. After traveling and eating her way through 24 countries, Italian cuisine remains her personal favorite.


Ten Spots to Try Next Time You Forget Your Lunch

by Erin Child

Forgot your lunch? Too busy to cook? Consider grabbing a friend (or five) and trying out one of these ten eateries near campus. Compiled from a quick survey (a big thanks to the fifteen students who responded!), I’ve got recommendations for holes-in-the-wall that you’ve probably walked by already, hidden gems, and local & national chains with healthy lunch options. Though numbered, this list isn’t meant to be a ranking. Walking times are measured from Jaharis. Cheers & happy eating!

  1. My Thai Vegan Café

3 Beach St. (4 min walk)

My Thai Vegan Café is a popular spot with students. With ample food and bubble tea options, it’s a fun place to come with a friend. Their lunch special runs from noon to 3pm, and for $8 you get the soup-of-the-day, plus either one fried spring roll or two fried dumplings, hot Jasmine tea, and your entrée. One Friedman student surveyed recommended the Mango Curry (it has great coconut flavor!).

  1. The Little Kitchen

22 Kneeland St (2 min walk)

I recently experienced The Little Kitchen for the first time, and boy is it delicious and filling! Pretty much everything costs less than $10 and the portions provide more than enough for lunch and then another meal. Students love their steamed lotus leaf options, highly recommending the chicken and mushroom option.  One student likes that they have a selection of food that they “haven’t seen in other restaurants around Chinatown.” As it’s basically across the street from school, it’s a must to check out.

  1. Clover Food Lab

160 Federal St (11 min walk)

Clover is a local chain that has many food trucks and storefront locations throughout the greater Boston area. Clover is a vegetarian/vegan joint that tries to source their ingredients as locally as possible. They’ve also recently started serving the Impossible Burger at the Harvard Square location and hopefully it will come downtown soon. Lunch there generally costs between $8-$11. Personally, I am mildly obsessed with their chickpea fritter platters. Clover is slightly further away than other options, but worth the walk!

  1. Gourmet Dumpling House

52 Beach St (4 min walk)

I have it on good authority that Gourmet Dumpling House is a wonderful place to bring a bunch of friends, order a ton of food and stuff yourself with savory dumplings and other Chinese dishes. The prices are great, and the food is delicious. If you’re looking for a dumpling fix, one student recommends the mini juicy pork dumplings and Szechuan dumplings, which will “run you about $12.”

  1. Irashi

8 Kneeland St (3 min walk)

Irashi is a sushi and teriyaki restaurant with a great lunch deal. From 11am-4pm, you can buy miso soup, salad and two sushi rolls for under $14. They offer many different combinations of rolls, so there are plenty of options to choose from! If you’re a sushi lover, other places to check out include Avana Sushi (42 Beach St) or Whole Foods (348 Harrison Ave)—the Hirsch Library in the Sackler building recently started serving sushi, but reviews are mixed.

  1. sweetgreen

354 Harrison Ave (7 min walk)

sweetgreen is a national salad & grain bowl chain beloved by many Friedman students. Their bowls are always chock full of veggies, so you get a guaranteed healthy lunch. They easily accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, so it’s a stress-free stop for many. Lunch starts at about $9, and can increase to $15+ depending on the bowl you choose and what toppings you add (for example, avocado is an extra $2). Students recommend the ‘The Shroomami Bowl’, ‘Harvest Salad’, and ‘My special salad’ (not actually on the menu, and sadly that student did not give us their special ingredient combination).

  1. Chinatown Café

262 Harrison Ave (3 min walk)

Next time you’re thinking of walking down to the Ink Block complex (home to sweetgreen and Whole Foods), consider stopping into the Chinatown Café (it’s that restaurant with the kitchen right on Harrison with hanging ducks in the window). Students say that they have great BBQ, and you get a lot of food for the price. They take cash only, but lunch won’t cost much more than $8 when you get one their rice, meat and veggie combo plates.

  1. 163 Vietnamese Sandwich

66 Harrison Ave (3 min walk)

The banh mi at 163 Vietnamese Sandwich are reportedly delicious, come with vegetarian and meat options, and cost less than $5 each (cash only). The restaurant has seats, but it’s almost always crowded, so you’re better off grabbing a sandwich, or a noodle or rice meal (under $10) to go. Like many spots in Chinatown, they also have bubble tea (yum!).

  1. Boston Kitchen Pizza

1 Stuart St (4 min walk)

Have four minutes to spare and four dollars in your pocket? Run over to Boston Kitchen Pizza for a quick slice. One student recommended the Spinach & Roasted Garlic slice, which will run you less than $4 and sounds delicious! (If you’re looking for cheap eats and not interested in Pizza, The Dumping King at 42 Beach St is another great option.)

  1. Pho Pasteur

682 Washington St (4 min walk)

Pho Pastuer, a Vietnamese restaurant, is but one pho spot in a neighborhood of many (Pho Hoa at 17 Beach St. was also recommended by another student), but it’s been a favorite of mine since I moved to Boston five years ago. Their pho portions are GIANT, cost from $8-$9.50, and is simply the best food on a rainy and cold November day. They have a large menu that offers more than just pho (if that’s not your thing), and offer both take out and sit-down service.

*Bonus Reminder*


145 Harrison Ave (30 second walk)

You forgot your lunch, you literally have no time and you’re looking for a cheap, healthy fix? Seriously consider the salad bar on the 4th floor of the Sackler Library. A small salad will run you $5 and they cram the container full of veggies. Sometimes the best option is right in front of you.

Erin Child is a second year NICBC student in the dual MS-DPD program. Up until now, if she ran out of time to pack a lunch she would stubbornly & hangrily wait until she was home to eat. After writing this list she’s been inspired to try new things. Erin is thrilled to be joining the Sprout team as the social media editor this year, and is looking forward to your great articles!

Opportunities for Exploring Fall in Boston

by Dani Bradley

New to Boston? Now is the time to get outside before winter arrives (and appears to never leave)!

Fall is the perfect time of year to get outside, it’s not too cold, not too hot, and the air is crisp and refreshing. Not to mention, getting outside is a great way to spend those well-deserved breaks from work or studying.

Here are some ideas for taking advantage of the beautiful weather and foliage in the greater Boston area! (Ordered in increasing distance from Tufts’ Boston campus.)

The Esplanade

The Charles River Esplanade is a public park that runs along the Charles River in downtown Boston. It offers everything from running and biking routes to kayaking and paddle boarding. There is even an outdoor exercise area between the entrances from Mass Ave and Boston University. Check out a map of the park to plan a great running route or just pick a place to have a picnic and view the foliage!


Instagram: dani_bradley

Castle Island

In South Boston, Castle Island is a fantastic area to get outdoors and go for a walk or run. This map indicates the amenities and trails available here. And it’s only about three miles from the Tufts Boston campus!


Emerald Necklace

Boston also offers a series of about seven parks and green spaces, which are called the ‘Emerald Necklace’. Use these maps and see if you can check off all of the amazing parks before winter comes!


Chestnut Hill Reservoir

This reservoir, located near Boston College and accessible from the end of the green line’s B and C branches, offers a fantastic one and a half mile running or walking loop. Get out there early in the morning and you will see tons of local residents and Boston College students enjoying the sunrise behind the iconic Boston skyline!

Instagram: dani_bradley

Instagram: dani_bradley

Brookline Reservoir

The Brookline Reservoir is another great option for a walking or running path. This one-mile loop is a perfect place to visit if you want to get out of the city but don’t have the transportation to get too far. It is under five miles from the Tufts Boston campus and accessible by the green D line! From here you can see the Boston skyline peeking out behind the trees from the far end of this reservoir!

Instagram: dani_bradley

Instagram: dani_bradley

Larz Anderson Park

This next park is quite different from the typical outdoorsy or green parks. While it offers all the greatness a park should (green space, picnic tables, ball parks, and walking paths), this park also houses a car museum on its premises. This park is only open between April and October, so be sure to check it out before it is too late!


Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

The Arboretum, located just past Jamaica Plain, is another amazing green space offered by the city of Boston. It is a ‘living museum’ operated by Harvard University and dedicated to the study of plants. Its many walking, running, and biking paths become even more beautiful during peak foliage season in Boston.


If you are looking to get a little further from the city…

Blue Hills Reservation

Blue Hills Reservation is located in Canton, MA and is only a 20-minute drive from the Tufts Boston campus. It offers beautiful paths for walking, running and hiking, and when you make it to the top you will be rewarded with stunning views of the city. The trails are no more than five miles long and the hiking is only moderately difficult. This is a great option for a weekend outing with friends!


Walden Pond – Concord, MA

Walden Pond is a located a bit further from the city, but it’s well worth the scenic half-hour drive if you can get your hands on a car (keep in mind there is a small parking fee)! Once you arrive you will have access to a walking path around the lake that measures to be a bit less than two miles. This park may be especially enjoyable for all of you literature geeks; you can see Henry David Thoreau’s’ cabin! And don’t worry history nerds, there’s something for you too! After you’ve spent some time at Walden Pond, take the quick five-minute drive to downtown Concord where you can walk Main Street, grab lunch, and view the historic architecture that dates back to the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Google Maps route from Walden Pond to Concord Center

Google Maps route from Walden Pond to Concord Center

These are only a few ideas for getting outside and staying active during Boston’s peak foliage time. Enjoy!

Dani Bradley is a MPH/FPAN dual degree student. She began at the School of Medicine in January 2016 and is currently in her first semester at the Friedman School. In her free time, she serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the organization Girls on the Run and loves spending time outside.

Summer, Sandwiches and Sticking Around: Interning in Boston

by Krissy Scommegna

Making the conscious effort to stick around Boston and be a part of the community isn’t necessarily what every Friedman student is looking for. Some see their time in Boston/Somerville/Cambridge as a stop on the way to their next big thing. However, taking the time early on to invest and become rooted here can open doors to incredible opportunities. Krissy Scommegna talks about how a class at Friedman led to finding an internship and eventually to her appointment as the Director of the Somerville Backpack Program

It’s a typical Friday morning during the school year and at 5:45 am, my phone is gently reminding me that it is time to get up, down a few mugs of coffee, and jump on the orange line to East Somerville to make a few hundred sandwiches. Not what you expected as the classic graduate student experience? Me neither. Shockingly, graduate school is not all grabbing evening beers and having deep discussions about Farm Bill appropriations (sorry, first years!).

The truth is, I wouldn’t be getting up at such an unsightly hour on a day I didn’t have class if it weren’t for Food Justice, an Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) class I took last fall that is cross-registered with the Friedman School. I fell hard and fast for the mission of the two organizations myself and five other students were assigned to work with that semester. My experiences working with Food For Free and the Somerville Backpack Program have considerably shaped my time in Boston, making it clear that Friedman was the right choice for me. Not only did the class help me secure a great internship, I landed a really incredible job.

Food For Free is a Cambridge-based food rescue organization that takes food that would otherwise be wasted and redistributes it to over 100 food programs and agencies throughout Boston’s emergency food system. As a group, we helped Food For Free develop the framework for an Emergency Meal Program for feeding students in crisis.

As the semester drew to a close, I knew I wasn’t ready to be done with this work. I asked Ross Richmond, Food For Free’s Community Partnership Manager, if I could stick around and work with him on the program for my Friedman internship. He obliged and from January to August, we piloted the Family Meals Program at Food For Free, taking leftover prepared foods from Harvard and Tufts dining halls, repacking the food into individual meals, and distributing the meals to people in need. Ross and I spent countless hours in a kitchen smashing up frozen blocks of rice with hammers, prying apart pieces of frozen roasted chicken with crow bars, and agonizing over the most appealing way to package and label the Family meals. Together, we produced somewhere close to 8,000 meals.

In looking for communities that would benefit most from ready-to-eat frozen meals, Food For Free became part of the Feastworthy coalition. This meant our Family Meals would go to feeding homeless families living in the State’s motel shelter system in Brighton. Feastworthy was made possible by the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative, Action for Boston Community Development’s Neighborhood Opportunity Center and their Motel Support Services, and Charlesview Inc. Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program also administered a study that tracked the health outcomes associated with program participation. Working with these different organizations was an incredible learning experience and I was able to understand just how difficult, but rewarding, it is to accomplish a task while staying true to the missions of five different stakeholders.

So what does this have to do with making sandwiches? Well, along with working at Food For Free, Ross Richmond founded the Somerville Backpack Program (SBP) in 2014, a program that provides students in need in Somerville with breakfast, lunch, and snacks on the weekend so that they are able to return to school at the start of the week ready to learn. I started volunteering each week with SBP, packing up bags of food, making too many sandwiches to count (actually – we did count and volunteers made 7,485 sandwiches over the whole school year), and connecting with parents and members of the Somerville community.

Students that participate in SBP are kids who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs and have difficulty getting enough to eat on the weekend. Each week, these students are sent home with a bag containing yogurt, oatmeal, two sandwiches, cheese sticks, applesauce, and two pieces of fruit. Last year SBP served an average of 131 kids a week at eight Somerville schools. At the end of the school year, SBP provided food for upwards of 171 students. Over the 2015-2016 school year, 5,260 bags of weekend food were sent home with kids.

There is something meditative about spending an hour or two after a long week of school putting two slices of turkey and a piece of cheese between wheat bread two hundred times in a row. That is what the Somerville Backpack Program became for me—a way to become a part of Somerville’s food assistance community and get outside of my graduate student bubble and mindset.

Ross and I became close friends, and when he and his wife were asked to relocate to Los Angeles for her job, he looked to me to continue his program. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So… I’m excited to say that I am the new Director of the Somerville Backpack Program. I really couldn’t be more thrilled about this new adventure and getting the chance to provide food for kids that really need it.

This year, we hope to expand our reach and provide food to 300 students in all elementary and middle schools in Somerville. In the fall, students from the Food Justice course will be working with SBP to develop an assessment tool to analyze food insecurity, specifically at the individual school level, to see if we are appropriately addressing need and proposing additional ways to help provide food for Somerville families. I hope to engage students here at Friedman, too; I’ll be organizing a sandwich-making afternoon one Thursday a month (details forthcoming).

Making sandwiches for Somerville students and putting together Family Meals are a bit different from my previous life of working as a chef in Northern California where I spent my evenings rolling out sheets of fresh pasta and plating up shrimp salpićon. Though it all boils down to one point. I’m realizing more and more that my passion is feeding people in any way I can. With one year at Friedman behind me and one more ahead, I’m finding a myriad of ways to make this happen.

Friedman has this incredible way of connecting you with opportunities and experiences you didn’t realize you needed or wanted. I came to school to move away from kitchen work, but the reality is that cooking is what I love and will always be a part of the work that I do. While I hope it becomes a secondary pursuit to a future in agriculture policy, I know my desire to cook for others will never leave me.

So if you have a free Friday morning, stop by Connexion at 149 Broadway in East Somerville (close to the Sullivan Square Orange Line Stop) from 8:45 am till 10:30 am and make some sandwiches, pack up bags, and help feed students at Somerville Public Schools. If you know me, you know there will be some great dance music to get your day started.

Krissy Scommegna is a second year AFE student who struggles to cook for less than 10 at a time. She is constantly thinking about food and if she hasn’t already, will probably try and convince you to volunteer at the Somerville Backpack Program or Food For Free in the near future.

Gaining a Sense of Home in Chinatown

by Danielle Ngo

A little more than a year ago, I moved to Boston after a lifetime in California. I moved here by myself, without knowing any friends or family or tangential acquaintances to speak of. I’m a dual-degree UEP/AFE student and just completed my first year out of three over in Medford/Somerville. Now in my “first year” at Friedman, I’m feeling déjà vu. “Where are you from?” “How long have you been in Boston?” “Where do you live?” All the answers to these questions deceive my self-imposed, overly-complicated place-based identity.


At CPA’s Block Party, an elder pauses in the middle of a watermelon eating contest to size up his opponents.

After a year at UEP, I spent my summer down the street, interning at the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). On paper, I interned at CPA to support the Chinatown Community Land Trust (CCLT) as a Tisch Summer and CORE Fellow. I worked on affordable housing issues through historic preservation and tax incentive programs. In hindsight, what I gained most from interning at CPA was the sense of family that I longed for and huge sense of respect towards the Chinatown community. In the process of doing some pretty dry research for the CCLT, I soaked up some oral history of Chinatown through conversations with CPA staff and members.

CPA is a minute (really!) walk from the doors of Jaharis, on the first floor of the Metropolitan Building, sitting atop Parcel C, at the corner of Ash and Nassau. In 1993, the New England Medical Center made an offer to the City of Boston over Parcel C, with the plans of building an eight-story parking garage. In what is noted as an environmental justice and community organizing victory, that plan for Parcel C was cancelled. Instead, the Metropolitan was built and provides 284 units of market-rate and affordable housing, underground parking, and office space for community-based organizations, such as CPA.

CPA, as an organization, started much earlier. In 1977, Suzanne Lee founded CPA while organizing Chinatown parents during the city-wide busing struggle, a time when Boston assigned students to schools outside of their neighborhoods in an attempt to desegregate the public schools. Since then, CPA has organized and accomplished many victories for the Chinatown community across housing, labor, language access, voter turnout, youth engagement, and more.


A mural piece in ACDC’s office depicting some historic organizing struggles.

CPA’s office is bursting with such stories about community history, struggles, and victory, making my internship all the more immersing in Chinatown. Back home, I grew up in the suburbs of San Diego, and I was unfamiliar with the unique characteristics a Chinatown could have. Here, there are family associations run through traditional family clans that double as benevolent associations, community organizations, and landowners. There are many Chinese dialects spoken, primarily Cantonese, Mandarin, and Toisanese. Many of the Chinese elders used to work in Boston’s garment factories and restaurants. Josiah Quincy School offers classes in English and Mandarin for a full immersive bilingual education.

With such a vibrant character, I am glad there are organizations like CPA that provide a space for residents and community members to address their concerns. Chinatown is fairly well connected to transportation, but at the same time, they face environmental justice concerns from the air pollution generated from I-93. With the 2016 presidential election in mind, it’s reassuring to know CPA campaigned for Governor Patrick to sign into law the Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots through Boston home rule petition. Over the summer, CPA’s Worker Center successfully aided 236 home care workers employed by Medical Resources to unionize, the first union in their industry in the nation.

I am trying my best to share these stories and take them for more than referential knowledge. I want to use these stories to contextualize my own experience in Boston, and hopefully help my peers at Friedman do so in their own way. To many people and at many times, I am merely a Friedman student, and yet another temporary visitor feeding upon Boston’s academic capital. However, I am working on consciously and intentionally being a solid community member to Chinatown and other neighborhoods I live in (eat, work, sleep, play). In this past summer alone, I reached the basic level of familiarity to its history, present day, and people, enough to feel a second home in this pocket of Boston.


View from the Metropolitan, onlooking the historic row houses in the foreground, affordable housing complex Tai Tung Village in the middle, and I-90 in the background.

I don’t mean to say that I belong in Chinatown, but I do mean to say that Chinatown reminds me of home, and I want others to feel the same way, in their own way. I want my peers at Friedman to step outside of the so-New England brick walls and eat at a local restaurant. My top favorites are a bánh mì from New Saigon, super cheap ($4.99!) lunch special from Jade Garden, or box of rolled rice noodles from May’s Bakery (once they’re done with construction!). I want my peers at Friedman to know that Chinatown is much more than Tufts’ “Downtown Boston” campus, and that two-thirds of the land is still a vibrant community for grandparents, working adults, and youth (aside: May we please say that our campus is in Chinatown, not Downtown Boston? It’s very squarely in Chinatown). I want my peers at Friedman to feel like Chinatown can be a second home of sorts to them, as well. Whether if you’re coming from similarly far distances like me, plus or minus the rest of Earth’s circumference, I invite you to join me in appreciating Chinatown, its history, its present day, and its people.

Danielle Ngo is a second-year UEP/AFE student from Escondido, CA. In her spare time, she enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and watching endless amounts of YouTube videos.

Join Tufts’ Multicultural Local Food Movement!

by Buki Owoputiworldpeas

How many times in the last year have you eaten a fruit and/or a vegetable? Hundreds? Thousands? (We Freidman students sure do love our fruits and veggies!) How many times in the last year did you eat a fruit or a veggie grown on a local farm? If you are like most of us, it is not nearly as often. In an increasingly globalized conventional food system, there is a huge disconnect between local food production and local eaters. That’s where New Entry Sustainable Farming Project comes in!

The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) is an initiative of the Friedman School based in Lowell, Massachusetts whose mission is “to improve local and regional food systems by training the next generation of farmers to produce food that is sustainable, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate.” New Entry trains aspiring farmers by providing opportunities for advancement and business training, access to farm equipment and farmland, technical assistance training on organic farming practices, and marketing assistance.

The World PEAS (People Enhancing Agricultural Sustainability) Food Hub, a program of New Entry, works to empower farmers to obtain long-term economic self-reliance and success by helping beginning, immigrant and refugee farmers sell their produce. By providing year-round marketing assistance, World PEAS connects farmers to customers in the greater Boston area through the World PEAS CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and other institutional/wholesale sales. As a result, World PEAS is a valuable tool for limited-resource farmers who benefit from a broader, more diverse customer base and increased farm incomes.

Many farmers trained by New Entry are immigrants or refugees with aspirations to make a living and support their families through careers in agriculture. These farmers often have limited English-speaking skills, and limited knowledge, time, or available transportation to thrive in local food markets on their own. The World PEAS Food Hub actively markets multicultural crop varieties grown by these farmers, ensuring that growers can sell healthy foods representative of their distinct cultures (i.e., Amaranth: a grain similar in taste and texture to Quinoa that is popular in certain West African countries).

Take it from one of our farmers, Seona Ban Ngufor. Seona emigrated from Cameroon and wished to farm in the U.S. as she had done in her native country. However, she faced numerous challenges like finding affordable, arable farmland and learning to grow produce in the New England climate. Seona credits New Entry with helping her to become a successful farmer.

New Entry helped her with crop planning, business planning, and marketing. Seona graduated from New Entry’s Farm Business Planning Course in 2007, farmed on our incubator farm site for several years, and now leases farmland in Stowe, MA. She sells her produce to World PEAS, to immigrant communities in Lowell, and at farmer’s markets in Lowell, Lynn, and Mattapan. She grows a variety of produce including amaranth, sweet potatoes, greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cabbage. She continues to participate in the World PEAS program because she enjoys supplying her healthy, organic produce to the community.

The World PEAS CSA is the largest sales outlet for our farmers, accounting for 75% of gross revenue in 2014. Started in 2005, the World PEAS CSA is a community of individuals who support World PEAS farmers by pledging in advance to cover farm operation costs. In return, these shareholders receive fresh produce throughout the season.

Although CSAs are a popular outlet to connect to local farmers and the local food movement, World PEAS is not just any CSA program. World PEAS also increases availability of fresh fruits and veggies to those at risk for food insecurity through its Share-a-Share Program. The Share-a-Share program offers low-cost fruits and vegetables to low-income communities around Boston. World PEAS partners with community groups to provide reduced-cost CSA shares and bulk produce to families, seniors, school-aged children, and other at-risk groups. By making produce affordable in low-income communities, World PEAS increases food access in limited-resource communities while helping our farmers earn extra income in broader and more diverse markets.

The World PEAS program offers yummy local fruit and veggie farm shares from mid-June through October to communities in the Boston area, including the Tufts’ Medford and Boston campuses. If you are interested in purchasing a share this summer or helping to cover the cost for shares in low-income communities, contact the World PEAS Food Hub and Food Access Coordinator Mary Alice Reilly at mreilly@commteam.org or 978-654-6745. Or, if you simply want to learn more about New Entry or World PEAS, visit the website at http://nesfp.org/. Happy Eating!

Buki Owoputi is a first year FPAN and MPH-Epi/Bio student. She is currently a World PEAS intern, and in her spare time she likes to invent new recipes.

New weekly meditation group on campus provides chance to enhance mindfulness, lower stress

by Matt Moore

Nutrition and fitness now have company as components of wellness at Friedman. Students and staff have a brand new opportunity to practice meditation and improve their mindfulness skills at weekly sessions facilitated by Kurtis Morrish (FPAN ‘16) and Micaela Karlsen (PhD, NEPI ‘17).

Although the stress of finals may be a distant memory (or looming dread) for some, the life of a Friedman student rarely slows down. Those who would like a break from their busy schedules can meet for meditation and reflection every Wednesday morning at 9:30 am in Sackler 854.

“I see meditation as a tool to get in touch with your true self and to let go of whatever barriers might be in the way of expressing yourself fully in the world. Most of the students at Friedman have long-term goals, missions, or specific paths to follow, so meditation can support a person’s ability to be effective in following their path. Sitting in silence allows you to get a break from your thoughts, which are unhelpful in many situations,” said Karlsen, who has over a decade of experience with meditation.

She and Morrish were inspired to bring meditation to Friedman after meeting at meditation classes taught by Dr. David Arond at the Tufts School of Public Health. While Dr. Arond has since taken a sabbatical, Karlson and Morrish decided to continue meeting and create a new community.

In contrast to the formal classes at the School of Public Health, Morrish explained that the sessions in Sackler would be less of a commitment for interested participants. People can come once a week, once a month, or once a year.

At a typical session, the first 20 minutes are devoted to meditation, which can be loosely guided, more closely directed to develop concentration, completely silent, or done while walking, which is Morrish’s favorite format.

“We really have a perfect little space. People are invited to remove their shoes as a way to help literally ground themselves, but it’s not required. There are no rules: they can sit in a chair, lie down, stand, or sit on the floor. It is primarily a venue for people to get together and enjoy meditation,” he said.

Following the meditation, in the democratic spirit of the group, attendees can choose how to spend their remaining time together. Possibilities include listening to guided meditations and readings for reflection or discussing their meditation that day, what the experience was like, and any challenges they encountered.

Like Karlsen, Morrish believes that participation in mediation can help Friedman students with not only their day-to-day lives but also in preparation for their post-graduate careers. He attributed improved focus, clarity, and mindfulness to practicing meditation over time.

“Meditation develops people’s ability to be more present and better understand who they are, how they interact with one another, and be more mindful. Mindfulness skills can then be applied by any healthcare professional. What you’re doing when you shut your eyes is not just self-serving—it helps the people you are helping,” he said.

Not only could mindfulness help professionals interact with their clients, patients, and colleagues, but recent studies have suggested benefits like pain-relief, improved social skills and cognition in elementary school students, and decreased stress among diabetes and heart disease patients.

Morrish and Karlsen are encouraged by the interest generated at the first two sessions, and they are enthusiastic about the future. They eventually hope to welcome guest speakers, and Dr. Arond has already expressed interest in leading a session.

For those who are curious or might be hesitant about giving meditation a try, Morrish explained that the majority of participants have been beginners and arrive hoping for guidance. “All you need to start meditating is curiosity and an open mind,” he said.

“The practice of meditation, I think, is a response to an impulse to listen to your inner voice. [The sessions are] an opportunity if people feel drawn to it. If anyone knows they want to be part of a meditation group, or if a person keeps remembering the email invitation and wonders about it, feels curious to try it, or feels sorry to have missed it, any of those are good reasons to come at least once and check it out,” added Karlsen.

Karlsen and Morrish were once brand new to meditation themselves. While they met through Dr. Arond’s classes, they have very different backgrounds.

In 2004, Karlsen began a three-year personal growth program at Light on the Hill Retreat Center in Van Etten, New York. The center’s mission is “to provide a place where individuals and groups can find solace from their everyday pursuits and space for reflection,” and Karlsen explained that meditation is a core part of the program.

Since then, she has gone on multiple silent meditation retreats there that have lasted from two to ten days. She is still involved with the retreat center and belongs to a meditation group for graduates of the program. The group meets five times per year, and each member has committed to individual meditation practice between meetings.

Morrish started out by practicing yoga, but he found classes to “not even scratch the surface of the practice’s mental impacts.” He was drawn to meditation as a means of improving and better applying his mindfulness skills.

While working in Zambia in 2013, he tried Brahma Kumaris mediation, a spiritual practice that emphasized reflection on the soul rather than the body. He personally preferred a more secular experience, and while he stopped practicing after returning home to Canada, the desire to meditate remained in the back of his mind. After learning about Dr. Arond’s classes upon arriving at Friedman, Morrish jumped at the chance for more formal experience.

Now, both Karlsen and Morrish hope to share their experience at Friedman. “It’s nice to have a community of fellow meditators. It supports your commitment to yourself. There’s also something better about meditating in a group compared to by yourself—it’s just a different experience,” said Karlsen.

Matt Moore is a first-year AFE student and is still dismayed about the Royal Rumble. Instead of watching the Super Bowl, he is counting down to Spring Training.