Clover Brings CSA Farm Shares to East Cambridge

Published on February 6, 2012, by in Clover, CSA.
What if picking up your CSA farm share meant stopping by a retail location on
your own schedule instead of meeting a truc in a parking lot during a 3-hour pick-up window?
That’s the idea behind a new experiment in “CSA retail” launched today by Clover Food Lab
(www.cloverfoodlab.com), a chain of fast-food restaurants and food trucks in Boston and
Cambridge founded by MIT alum Ayr Muir.
In community-supported agriculture (CSA), customers subscribe to a farm and pay a sum of money
(usually $500-$600) in the winter; farmers use the cash to plan, buy seeds, hire employees, and
grow food. As the harvest comes in from June to October, farmers divide up the produce weekly
among their shareholders.
“The problem with CSAs in urban areas is that they’re sort of hard to find out about and
inconvenient to pick up,” Clover president Ayr Muir says. CSA members in the Boston area often
need to drive to the farms or pick up their shares from the back of a delivery truck in parking lots or
behind grocery stores during very limited time windows (for example, Wednesdays from 4-6pm).
Muir wants to use Clover to spotlight CSAs front and center. He believes that if successful this pilot
program could pave the way for CSAs to enter the mainstream. Clover believes the market for CSA
membership could number in the tens of thousands in the Boston area providing vital support to
area farms.
This February, Clover HUB, the 7,000-square-foot facility at 1075 Cambridge Street, will be
transformed into a pop-up CSA sign-up space. Customers can read information about five different
CSAs and sign up for whichever farm appeals to them the most or fits into their schedule best. The
pilot program will include Marshall Farm, The Food Project, Lindentree Farm, Drumlin Farm, and
Red Fire Farm, each dropping off on a different day of the week.
Once the growing season starts in June, shareholders will return to Clover HUB on a specific day
each week to pick up their box of vegetables.
Clover will host a public CSA Night at Clover HUB, 1075 Cambridge Street, from 7pm-9pm on
Friday, February 24. At the event, which is open to the public, customers can talk to the CSA
farmers, sign up for any remaining shares, and tour the area of Clover HUB where CSAs will be
picked up come harvest time.
Muir sees several benefits to customers who sign up. Customers will be able to stop by during
normal store hours, so they won’t lose out on their share because traffic or bad weather made
them a few minutes late to a pickup. Muir believes farmers will benefit from the increased visibility
and ease of drop-off. An indoor pickup area means that farmers will not have to wait around after
they drop off the shares. Clover will offer the service free to farms.
Clover expects customers to consider a variety of factors when picking their farm. Some customers
might pick a CSA with a Monday drop-off to have food for the week, or Fridays to have food for the
weekend. Others might select a CSA because they’ve seen the farm at a neighborhood farmers’
market (Drumlin Farm), because it is certified organic (Lindentree Farm, Red Fire Farm),
empowers local teens (The Food Project), or provides little gifts throughout the season (Marshall
Farm).
Shares are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Some farms have many shares available;
others have sliding scales for payment from low-income customers; and one, Lindentree Farm, is
launching its first-ever Boston drop-off, creating 10 special shares just for Clover customers.
The CSA program fits into Clover’s long-term goals: to improve customers’ health over time; bring
money to local farmers, and make fresh food accessible to many people. On a busy day, Clover
serves nearly 20,000 people at two restaurants and four food trucks parked at MIT, Longwood
Medical Area, Boston University, and South Station. “If this experiment works, in a few years, we
could introduce CSAs to thousands of new customers and funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars
to local farmers,” Muir says. “The hardest part for us is going to be waiting for the crops to grow.”
CSA Night
Friday, February 24, 7pm-9pm
Clover HUB (1075 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA)
Open to the public
Schedule and Location of Clover CSA Pickups (June—October)
Clover HUB (1075 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA)
Monday: Marshall’s Farm (Gloucester, Mass)
Tuesday: The Food Project (Lincoln, Mass)
Wednesday: Lindentree Farm (Lincoln, Mass)
Thursday: Drumlin Farm (Lincoln, Mass)
Friday: Red Fire Farm (Granby, Mass)
More information:
http://www.cloverfoodlab.com/?p=8750
http://www.cloverfoodlab.com/?p=7727
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml
 

Untitled

Published on February 1, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

Empty or inactive store fronts are a problem in every business district.  That is why the ECBA focus’s alot of our effort towards creating an atmosphere that is attractive to new business, and builds relationships with landlords to help attract new and responsible business.

ECBA faces a challenge of covering a very large, mostly linear, area.  At the time ECBA was establishing, the blocks between the tracks and 6th St were pitted with vacancies, but business owners recognized the potential.  Three years later we are proud to see how these spaces have evolved.

We have welcomed  Threla, which specializes in hand made beauty products, Two Little Owls Day Care, one of 3 new daycares in East Cambridge, a massuese, the New England Tango Academy, and Cafe Kafofo (we finally have a coffee shop).  One of our greatest accomplishment has come in the form of the Pop-Theatre, a Pet Shop, and Music School.

The Blue Building on the corner of 7th had long been vacant and many hoped something, anything would open there.  The first business to apply for licenseing there was a Subway Sandwich Shop.  Suddently the ECBA was faced with its first delemia as an organization.  While vacant store fronts were not good for anyone, a national fast food chain threatened to take root in what has been a small independantly owned business district (not to mention one that was alread served by a number of local indepedant sandwich shops).  After a long process the application for a zoning variance that would have paved the way was denied.  During the process ECBA maintained a relationship with the landlord, who had concerns about how long he may remain vacant, but we maintained that the right tenant would present itself.

Very shortly,

 

PopUp Cafe Info Session

Published on January 24, 2012, by in Outdoor Seating.
Pop-up Café
Information Session
Date:              Tuesday February 7th
Time:             9:00 am
Location:       License Commission
                        831 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Since being introduced in Cambridge (2006), outdoor dining has been successful in increasing street life, creating a vibrant street atmosphere, making the sidewalk more interesting for pedestrians, supporting local businesses and enhancing sidewalk plantings.  Annually 42 establishments participate in the program; 18 serving alcohol.

Pop-up Cafés are an opportunity to build on the success of the outdoor dining program by using on-street parking spaces for additional café space.  This space can be combined with sidewalk seating to provide a larger seating area than previously permitted, or may allow outdoor dining in areas not previously permitted, due to limited sidewalk width.  Pop-up Cafés have been popular in Europe and have recently been established in California, Pennsylvania, Canada and New York City. 
 

East Cambridge Planning Team meeting at 7pm

Tonight at 7pm the Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM) will be at the East Cambridge Planning Team meeting at the East End House.

DCAM will be briefing residents on the process of putting the Edward J. Sullivan Court house out to bid and how the building could be reused.

The future use of the building will certainly have an impact on the neighborhood so do take some time to tell them what you would like to see happen there.

DCAM was very responsive to some ECBA suggestions after our meeting and did respond to the requests to better maintain the vegetation and clean up the trash that seems to collect in the area.

 

The Little Engine That Could! – Cambridge Symphony Orchestra

Cynthia Woods, Music Director

presents

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD!

Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 4:00 PM
Somerville Theatre
55 Davis Square
Somerville, MA

Internet Symphony No. 1 (Eroica) … Tan Dun
The Little Engine that Could … Allen Feinstein (book by Watty Piper)
Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major … Joseph Haydn

Tickets are:
Adults: $10 (advance), $15 (door)
Seniors/Students: $8 (advance), $12 (door)
Children Under 12: $5 (all times)

Tickets can be purchased online through http://www.cambridgesymphony.org/

 

January Monthly Meeting Update

At the January 3rd ECBA monthly meeting hosted by Vinfen, ECBA members were joined by John Pelletier of the City of Cambridge’s CitySmart Program and representatives from the State’s Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM).

CitySmart is a program designed to encourage the use of more sustainable transportation for all kinds of trips. It was a three year grant funded program and just finished up in East Cambridge. John shared the results of the surveys and the information gathered during his time working within the East Cambridge neighborhood.  This is the third year of the program and by far showed the most successful results.  The survey reached 17% of East Cambridge households and showed that residents are very in tune with the transportation options around us. John will be posting the full report on their web page in the coming days. 

Some interesting information for ECBA to consider is that the most popular events participants would most likely attend in their neighborhood are; themed walks (63%), support local business events (47%), Park/neighborhood cleanups (44%), community meeting on neighborhood improvements (39%) or transportation improvements (38%), and general neighborhood walks or themed bike rides (both 34%).  We have already hosted  many of the mentioned events, so its encouraging to see a strong desire to have the continue and hopefully evolve into larger neighborhood events.

The Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM) approached the ECBA in order to reach the business community and solicit feedback on the future of the Sullivan Courthouse.  We were joined by Commissioner Carole Cornelison and Acting Deputy Commissioner Dana Harrell who explained the process currently underway.  Having no interest in reuse of the building in state or local government , DCAM is seeking requests for proposals for the property.  They stated that world wide interest has been shown in the building due to the proximity to Kendall Square. DCAM has hosted three tours of the building and a full list of interested parties having taken a tour is posted on their website.

Many ECBA members expressed concerns about how the building will blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, how parking would be handled by new owners, and overall building appearance.  DCAM felt that an active ground floor use could be achieved through the sale process and by working with the City and city’s zoning  process.  It was also noted that a complimentary use to that of the nearby Multicultural Arts Center may be beneficial as well as a desire to see the building’s outer skin upgraded to something more attractive.

RFP’s are due at the beginning of February and a proposal should be selected some time in June.

ECBA will continue to monitor this project and hopes to communicate concerns and ideas with DCAM.  We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments with us as we can relay them to DCAM for consideration.
 

 

I [heart} East Cambridge Tshirts – Just in time for the holidays

Looking for a last minute gift or stocking stuffer?  The oh so popular “I [heart] East Cambridge” Tshirts are here to save the day and save you some shopping time and stress
Very conveniently for sale at the Multicultural Arts Center at 41 Second St. for $15. It’s the perfect gift.
Stop by the Multicultural Art Center and visit their bizarre on the first floor for a number of unique gifts for the holidays.
As always, your support goes a long way in helping the ECBA help East Cambridge.
Happy Holidays!
 

Welcome to the new ECBA Board of Directors and Officers

Published on December 13, 2011, by in Uncategorized.

November brings the yearly elections for ECBA and this year we had some changes in both the board and officer positions.  Firstly, the board, in an effort to foster more involvement from members voted to expand the number of board positions from 7 to 9.

Elected to the 2 new spots were Mark Rogers (3 year term) of Rogers Funeral Home and Stephen LaMaster (2 year term) of Vinfen.
Re-elected to the board for another 3 year term were Teodora Silva of Alegria Dental and Andrew Montone of Cambridge Art and Frame.
Diane Swierczynski was elected to finish the term of Bob Salines who has stepped down after the sale of Pug’s Bar and Grill
Bob has played a significant role in establishing the ECBA and keeping things moving during the first three years.  Bob is also responsible for  the original Rib Fest, which was an annually June BBQ on Fulkerson Street. Bob was also the first to bring outdoor seating to Cambridge St. at Pug’s Bar and Grill. A big thanks to Bob for the work that he has done with the ECBA and for always putting the East Cambridge neighborhood at the forefront of many business decisions.

Finally, Carl Fantasia of New Deal Fish Market has stepped down as president (don’t worry, we made him the treasurer so he is still around).  The work that Carl has put into the ECBA has been immeasurable.  Carl has always recognized the positve impact the business communtiy can play in making a neighbohood great and the things we have accomplished working together has exceeded all expectation.
So thanks to Carl for his service, and …
..c ongratualtion to Patrick Magee of Atwood’s Tavern who has been elected to take over the reigns as president and is eager to keep ECBA moving in a positve direction.

 

Shop Inman by Moonlight

Thursday, December 8th ENJOY LOCAL holiday shopping for a change! Escape the malls and journey to Inman Square to buy holiday gifts from our unique and locally-owned shops. In addition, shoppers may see holiday carolers, live mannequins, take part in a scavenger hunt, experience art and music, or relax and enjoy a meal at one of the Square’s twenty-plus restaurants.
For event updates, visit www.InmanSquare.com or check out the event on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/inman-on-fb

 

Grand Junction Commuter Rail Feasibility Study — Public Meeting

This is a notice from MassDOT on an upcoming public meeting regarding the Grand Junction Railroad.  The results of this study could have significant impact on the East Cambridge Community and Business Cooridor.  Hope to see you there. 
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce a community meeting to discuss progress on the Grand Junction Commuter Rail Feasibility Study.
This meeting will be held:
Thursday, December 8, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Kennedy-Longfellow School – Auditorium
158 Spring Street, Cambridge
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss an ongoing study of the potential use of the Grand Junction Railroad for supplemental MBTA Commuter Rail service to Cambridge and North Station. At this meeting, MassDOT staff members will discuss results of a ridership analysis and traffic impact analysis, as well as overall study findings, and next steps. This meeting follows up on a community meeting held last June. For more information on prior meetings, see out study website at: http://massdot.state.ma.us/planning/GrandJunctionTransportationStudy.aspx.
All are welcome at the meeting, and please feel free to share this notice. For more information, or to request alternative language or other special accommodations, please contact Matthew Ciborowski at matthew.ciborowski@state.ma.us, or (617) 973-7180.
Please join us on December 8th!
Matthew Ciborowski | Office of Transportation Planning
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Room 4150, Boston, MA 02116
phone 617.973.7180 | email matthew.ciborowski@state.ma.us
 
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