2015-01-06 14.46.06

As the days get shorter and the temps get cooler, Grow Pittsburgh staffers tend to get the same question: “What do you guys do in the winter?” Here are your answers! To keep up with our winters at Grow Pittsburgh, just look for the hashtag #winteratGP.

Across Programs
Everyone is hiring! From interns to new positions to apprentices, winter is a hiring season of sorts. In the span of a few months, Grow Pittsburgh hired or will hire an Office and Membership Manager, a Community Garden Coordinator, an Urban Farm Apprentice Coordinator, four apprentices, and four interns. Many staff who are usually out of the office during their busiest seasons (spring and summer) are in the office more often to do their prep and planning, and hold meetings. The kitchen table is full with staff at lunch time!

Community Garden Programs
Jessica, Marisa and Rayden attend a lot of meetings in the winter. As Marisa put it, “meetings meetings meetings meetings meetings.” Some of those meetings are with community garden organizers to create plans for spring garden builds, and some are with city officials to address concerns relating to challenges related to growing food in the city. They attend meetings to build bridges (like this winter, between refugee service providers and the local food and agriculture movement). Ray also spends time organizing tools and supplies, or tallying up the impressive numbers collected over the year, like pounds of produce grown or volunteer hours worked.

Education Programs
The entire Education team – Courtney, Jake, Jim, Maria and Molly – is quite busy in the winter! The Garden Educators (Courtney, Jim and Molly) are busy teaching cooking classes in Flagship schools. By saving food from students’ fall gardens, the Educators have been making some of the students’ favorite recipes including Groundnut Stew, Rice Noodle Salad, Tabbouleh and Butternut Squash Soup. Maria, ESY Program Manager, is doing lots of prep including ordering seeds and other materials for next season’s school garden programming. The ESY Pittsburgh staff are also focused on reading books and articles about social justice education and inspire their work. Jake is planning and teaching our A Garden Primer series, and planning general workshops for the year.

Farm and Production Sites
The Production team may not be in the hot sun, but they are both busy! Cassandra, manager at the Frick Greenhouse and Shiloh Farm, has a year-round growing season at the Frick, so she’s still planting, weeding, harvesting, and selling vegetables (primarily leafy greens and herbs). She’s also planning for the next outdoor growing season, and for the seedling sale. Marshall at Braddock Farms takes inventory of seeds, tools, and supplies. He makes repairs and the Farm and sharpens tools, and also cleans and reorganizes the shed. Susanna is busy planning! She coordinates seed orders between programs and has check-ins with Cassandra and Marshall. She occasionally visits frigid Braddock Farms or the tropical greenhouse at The Frick.

Administration and Operations
For Executive Director Julie, there is a lot of strategic and program planning as well as fundraising that takes place at the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next. For Julie, winter is busier than the summer, when everything is in full swing for the year. She also points out that many people forget that our growing season runs well into November and we are starting seedlings in February, so there actually isn’t a lot of “winter” to relax in! Kate, Director of Operations, is busiest in the fall and winter as she finalizes events and fundraisers, helps to plan the end-of-the-year retreat  and gathers stats for the annual report. Kate also visited Craig Marcus Studio to check out our new conference room table, custom-built by Craig. We’ll use the steel pan in the middle to grow plants…what should we grow?