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Wednesday August 24, 2022
10:00am– 1:00pm
221 Bay Street Springfield, Massachusetts 01109

Join the youth and families of Tapley Court Apartments Garden (known affectionately as Tapley Garden) for an in-person educational event.

Soil Health, Food Security, Food Justice and Community Building intersect to create food access for families at Tapley Court Apartments in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Join the youth leaders and local families to explore gardening techniques that improve the health of urban soils, increase production of culturally appropriate crops and discuss some basic food preservation techniques. This half-day workshop is geared toward urban backyard growers, community gardeners and anyone working to grow healthy food in urban areas.

Throughout the day we will:

  • Show you how to use basic gardening techniques to address soil fertility problems.
  • Show you how community gardening at public facilities increases access to getting healthy foods in communities that struggle with food access.
  • Discuss the importance of engaging communities and youth in food security and soil health matters.

After the event you will have a better understanding of:

  • How soil health, plant health and human health are related – (i.e. healthy soil and healthy plants equal healthy food and healthy people.)
  • What the youth leaders are learning from NOFA/Mass concerning healthy soils. A few of the youth members may perform soil health tests for us.


10:00am – Arrival and meet and greet
10:15am – Introduction of The Home City Housing Youth and a grounding exercise
10:30am – Soil Health Assessment Demonstration with Sister Anna, NOFA/Mass’s Food Access Director, and the Youth Leaders
11:00am – The makeup of soil (or soil microbes) with Ruben Parrilla, NOFA/Mass’s Soil Technical Assistance Coordinator
11:30am – Easy salsa making with the Youth Leaders
12:00pm – Wrap Up & Thank You

About the Instructors:

Sister Anna Gilbert-Muhammad 

Sister Anna currently serves as the Equity Co-Director and Food Access Director for NOFA/Mass. Anna graduated from NOFA/Mass’s Beginner Farmer Program in 2015 and began working with the organization in 2016. The programs that Anna works with in Springfield are the Youth Agricultural Scientist Program at Home City Housing, The Open Pantry Community Garden Project and smaller projects in the Boston and Springfield Area. Anna and her husband Keith Muhammad live in Springfield, MA and they are market gardeners in the Mason Area of Springfield.

Ruben Parrilla

Ruben works as the Soil Technical Coordinator for NOFA/Mass where he is responsible for implementing and performing field sampling protocols. He has 15 years of experience in the Environmental Laboratory Industry and is currently pursuing microscopy certification through Dr. Elaine’s™ Soil Food Web School. He also works as a field crew member for a farm that practices organic and minimal till techniques. Ruben believes in the guiding principles of land stewardship and that we all share this responsibility. When he is not actively working the land, Ruben enjoys gathering forest medicine, fermentation and home gardening to name a few. Finalmente, Rubén es bilingüe y quiere saber de usted.

Refund/Inclement Weather Policy:

For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.


Contact Dora Miller, NOFA/Mass Educational Event Coordinator at Dora@nofamass.org


This event supported by an Agricultural Soil Health grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) in partnership with American Farmland Trust.




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