Category Archives: organic gardening

Healcrest is on Hatch!


Dear Fans of Healcrest Urban Farm!

This year has been an amazing year for local, healthy food and urban farming! Maybe you have seen the buzz on our TeaPops in Pittsburgh Magazine here & here or seen us out in the Pittsburgh region and tried one of our sophisticated artisanal TeaPops at these amazing spaces! As you may know, the TeaPops have led us into a fast-paced start-up phase as a local, natural food producer and social enterprise. This also means we must grow with the demand of our buzz and this is what we are doing! In March this year we successfully funded a KivaZip crowd-sourced loan in 2 days flat! Our supporters are amazing. As we continue to raise startup money to expand and speed-up our TeaPop and boxed tea production – we ask you, our friends, colleagues and family to join us as contributors!
Hatch
The money we raise will help get us into our own commercial kitchen space and increase productivity through high-tech ice pop equipment purchases. With startup support through Idea Foundry, our growth is being supported, tracked and led by an experienced team!
If you did not get a chance to contribute to us through Kiva, now is your chance to focus your contribution to Healcrest through a Pittsburgh-based crowd-sourced platform called Hatch! What is great about Hatch is that it supports amazing local businesses like us and it functions similar to Kickstarter, where you get swag for your contribution!
Our campaign just opened today, and we are inviting friends and family to join us now as a private, even anonymous, contributor to Healcrest Urban Farm! You can contribute funds – as little as $5 – and you get in return some serious Healcrest Urban Farm swag, including a TeaPop punch card, dry-ice TeaPop shipments and a Healcrest Urban Farm TShirt depending the level of giving!
Here is the link to contribute now @ Hatchhttps://hatch.pdcdc.org/healcrest-urban-farm–2
Thank You so Much for Your Continued Support!

The Team of Healcrest Urban Farm!

Maria Graziani, CEO/Founder
Dana Launius, Markets and Marketing/Partner
Meg Graham, Farm Manager/Partner
Michelle Soto, Farm Co-Manager and Resident Herbalist/Partner
Suzanne South, Community Relations/Partner
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Filed under organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized, Urban Farming

A Rainy Day Photo Shoot!


By Michelle Soto

Meg and I thought we could use this rainy day to our advantage and show some photos of our muscle powered tools that we use to create the gardens.  As we were planning and budgeting to create new gardens and revitalize more green spaces at Healcrest, we made a decision to not rent heavy gas powered machinery and to invest in quality earth moving tools that we can use for years to come.

We still use lawn mowers for grass cutting, but pretty much everything else up at the farm is a hand tool.  This definitely increases the time and energy it takes to build a garden bed, but the finished products are high quality beds that will be around for years to come, completely free of knotweed roots, rocks, and anything else that might impede the growing process.

We’ve found that the beds that we built last year have needed a few wheelbarrows of compost of them and some leaf mulch in the aisles, but are free of invasive weeds.  The hard pan clay that is just right under our top soil was turned with compost last year and has matured into a dark rich layer of soil, perfect for growing.

Planting into these beds will continue for a few more weeks! Official volunteer days are on Sundays from 11-4.  We won’t make you jump on a broad fork for you can help some baby seedlings find a good home!

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Michelle loves to use the little digging fork to turn earth

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Meg attacks knotweed, clearing a new path through the woods

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Michelle jumps on the broad fork, using all her body weight!

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Meg is shifting soil with the brand new shifter that Suzy built or the farm

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Filed under Events, Gardening, organic farming, organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Sustainable Living, Urban Farming, Volunteer

Herbal Energetics Class


at Healcrest Urban Farm
Thursday, May 29 from 6-8 pm

We’re going to learn about recognizing the six tissue states in the body and the corresponding categories of herbs. I’m pulling knowledge from Ayurvedic medicine as well as Southern US Folk Herbalism. Hopefully you’ll leave knowing more about specific indications and what herbs will work well for your constitution and body type.

We’ll spend the first hour tasting plants from the garden and recognizing the movement within our bodies and the second talking about the different energetic systems across the world.

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Filed under Events, herbal medicine, organic gardening, Workshops

Family Time on the Farm


By Michelle Soto

This past week my family came into town ready to work on the farm!  Many of my memories of childhood involve helping my dad in the yard and in the garden.  Every spring we’d get a load of wood mulch delivered to the house and I would use my child sized shovel and wheelbarrow to mulch the rose bushes and the edges of garden beds.  I loved the smell of the mulch.  It smelled woody and alive and signaled that spring was here.  My dad’s biggest hobby was working in the yard, he’d come home every day after work, take a power nap, change into work clothes and spend the rest of the afternoon outside.  He’s the type of guy who only has ONE kind of grass in his yard, and absolutely no weeds.  Anywhere.

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It was reminiscent of these afternoons to spend some days with him at Healcrest.  His assignment: tree stump removal.  And not just any tree stump.  A 50 year old black locust (he counted those rings during a break one day) which was in the middle of our newest garden.  While my dad worked on the stump, my mom and aunt weeded our garlic patch, which had mulched itself with garlic mustard plants.  They caught them all before they went to flower, and the garlic patch is vibrant and sending up what soon will be delicious garlic scapes.
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Other areas of the garden are quickly growing as the days and nights are warming up.  The mints: lemon balm, peppermint, horehound, catnip, catmint, and chocolate mint are providing us with new herbs to harvest every week.  About half of our seedlings are moved into the greenhouse and awaiting transplant.  And of course, the lovely wild cherry trees are going to burst into bloom any day this week.
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Till next time,
Michelle and the Farm Team

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Filed under Gardening, organic farming, organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Urban Farming

Spring Has Sprung at Healcrest Urban Farm!


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Whew! Spring has sprung and we are seeing the evidence of that all over the farm!

The daffodils are in full bloom, the forsythia has one whole garden in a wash of yellow, the hawthorns are budding out the cutest little leaves, and our perennials are coming back from the intense winter hibernation we were all in.

046Meg and Michelle have been busy tilling the ground in several gardens to get beds ready for the hundreds of plants we have started inside.  Many herblings are more delicate than vegetable starts so we’ll wait till after the last frost to plant outside.

IMG_2791We are orienting garden beds differently this year in one garden and are breaking ground the what we used to call “the knotweed field”.  Although it does have medicinal qualities: the knotweed root contains high amounts of resveratrol- the feel good chemical in red wine, we are striving to eradicate our pristine piece of land from this invasive creature.  Slowly, but surely.

IMG_2789Suzy has built a rain barrel system to catch rainwater off the roof of our shed so that we can water everything grown on the farm with water collected from the farm.

 

 

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As usual, the chickens have the run of a garden during the day to dust bathe and sun themselves.

 

We will post soon about upcoming classes and volunteer days!  Here’s to spring!

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Filed under Gardening, organic farming, organic gardening, Sustainable Living, Urban Farming


Farm-to-Freezer: Locally Made Popsicles Popping Up Around Pittsburgh

We ‘re pleased and grateful to be featured on The Allegheny Front! Thanks to Hal B Klein and Kara Holsopple for visiting with us.
Farm-to-Freezer: Locally Made Popsicles Popping Up Around Pittsburgh

You’ve probably heard of farm-to-table by now, but what about farm-to-freezer? There is a Pittsburgh farmer who’s helping pioneer that movement by taking a familiar summer treat in an unexpected direction. Read more…

See more Healcrest NEWS here

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August 26, 2013 · 11:42 am

Orchards and Flowers Budding::Happy Earth Day


Orchards and Flowers Budding::Happy Earth Day

Healcrest is literally Springing to Life! Thanks to help of dedicated helping hands who love getting their hands a little dirty and tending to the soil and plants.

Buds, Bees, Birds, Blossoms! We’re lovin’ life, enjoying the spring showers of rain, help, motivation, creativity, and abundance! More Here http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/

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April 22, 2013 · 7:06 pm

Gettin’ Organized!!


Gettin' Organized!!

We have a great crew this season! It is wonderful to have several dedicated and miipassioned interns and partners.

Our little collective is getting a lot accomplished and getting everything ready for an abundant 2013!

WELCOME Cat, Rachel, Michelle, Meg, Dana, Natalya, Buggy, and welcome back Jen and John for another great season!

With even more people contacting us with interest, we are excited for this new surge in energy…synergy!

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April 8, 2013 · 10:36 pm

ANNOUNCING! The Healcrest Urban Farm Tea-pop Shop!


ANNOUNCING! The Healcrest Tea-pop Shop!

ImageLast year Maria Graziani had an inspired idea, what if we combine tea, herbs, fruit, berries, and delicious sweetness in a frozen treat. After some tasty and not-so tasty experimentation Healcrest tea-pops were created. With growing interest in healthy treats, artisanal food, and locally grown produce, things we love in great quantities at Healcrest, we thought what a wonderful novelty item for Pittsburghers to enjoy this coming summer.

Well, WE DID IT!

ImageWe are ecstatic and elated to announce the arrival of the Healcrest Urban Farm cold-plate push cart! With the help from friends and supporters at Awesome Pittsburgh, CatapultPGH and KivaZip Micro-Lending, we made the BIG acquisition. You will recognize it as your standard ice cream or Italian ice cart, locate us by umbrella at your favorite event!

Try all of our seasonal flavors!

Please follow more of this story and watch Healcrest in the NEWS on Pittsburgh’s KDKA and in The Bloomfield-Garfield Bulletin

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Filed under Events, Gardening, local food, organic farming, organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Urban Farming

Kick Starting the Fall Season!!


Ok Peeps! We are super excited over here at Healcrest Urban Farm!

We have brought back to a stronghold, Ms Dana Launius, formerly of Pittsburgh, a women goddess of world travel, sustainable project manager extraordinaire, food systems analyst and well, amazing bellydancer. She has arrived back to us via Portland, Oregon (our sister city) and is offering Burghers a Devi Dancing workshop.

Join us for beautiful breezy late summer Sundays at Healcrest as we dance in the grove under the old apple tree learning the ancient art of Devi dancing, yoga and goddess mythology! Light refreshments are served and you will see the summer sunset as we finish our time. Small tours will be offered if you want to know more about the farm as well.

You have the option of purchasing single classes or the full workshop. The final sunday, September 25th we will have an ending celebration, dancing and food – and hopefully a special performance by Dana herself – to inspire us to continue our beautiful goddess movements.

So here is an easy quick button if you would like to purchase online. Secure payments made though paypal and go directly to support the work of Healcrest Urban Farm!

Devi Dancing
Workshop 1, Sept. 4 $10.00
Workshop 2, Sept. 11 $10.00
Workshop 3, Sept. 18 $10.00
Workshop 4, Sept 25 w/celebration $12.00
Full Series $35.00
Full Series (student price) $30.00

**You can add a special message to let us know which workshop you are taking… Thank you!

Ok and even bigger news!!!

We are starting a Kickstarter Campaign on September 19th! Kickstarter is an online forum to match creative projects with angel investors! We are building a processing facility and classroom at Healcrest and your donation will be key.

PLEASE READ AND CONSIDER:

  1. We must reach our goal of $20,000 to receive any funding
  2. You can donate anything between $1-$20,000
  3. We can exceed our goal!
  4. You must pledge your support within timeframe/deadline
  5. Supporting begins on September 19th
  6. We will let you know when funding begins and give you the link directly to back us! There will be a great video on our project, pictures, images of our construction and site, etc…everything to show you the outcomes of our project

All backers funding over $100 will receive gifts for their support!

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Filed under Belly Dancing, Devi dancing, Gardening, kickstarter, local food, organic farming, organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Urban Farming, Women of Color, yoga