March 17, 2015 · 11:58 am
noun: aquaponics, a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.
Like so many other projects and businesses, Healcrest Urban Farm has enjoyed growth opportunities through the connection and collaboration with others. From bees to mulch and more Healcrest ‘s expansion has been supported and sometimes catalyzed by outside organizations.
The most recent expansion is brought on through a collaboration between Seed Aquaponics LLC. An organization whose mission is to build aquaponics systems worldwide while creating collaborative opportunities between students and community leaders to implement sustainable, social and economic development solutions.
Last October, a
utumn 2014, Maria and Dana began conversations with Colleen Beck of Seed Aquaponics. In need of an additional test site for an aquaponics system, Colleen looked to Healcrest Urban Farm and the high tunnel greenhouse as a possible space. After some conversations about concepts Colleen and her crew of volunteers and interns set to work. In cold Western PA winter the crew broke ground in early December and labored throughout the winter.
Now with spring right around the corner and the cold winter seems to have passed, we are ready to fill the tank! Last Saturday, March 14, the team assembled for some of the final stages in the building process and happily filled the tank. This water tank will soon to be home to tilapia and perch.
Some of the advantages of an aquaponics system, and some that the ladies or Healcrest are hoping will lean in their favor, are the creation of rich nutrients for plant to thrive as well as a more gentle and maintained environment from that of outdoor growing. The relationship between pants and fish create a lovely habitat for plant to live an grow.
Used widely in Healcrest products, Dana and Maria cultivate chamomile and red clover flowers which struggle in the Pittsburgh climate. With this indoor aquaponics system the ladies are hoping to achieve greater yields from some of those more delicate plants.
Only a few final steps to go and the system will be complete. Colleen and the Seed crew have done their jobs of building and Dana and Maria will take over in their job of stewardship. Another collaborative relationship cultivating amazing experiences and growing beneficial structures.
February 2, 2015 · 10:49 am
This weekend the women of Healcrest are headed to State College for the 24th Annual PASA Conference!
PASA is the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. If you want to know something about sustainable agriculture in Pennsylvania, they are your people!
The Farming for the Future Conference is a wonderful gathering of farmers, farming advocates, lobbyists, and generally interested parties.
As usual there are wonderful, inspiring keynote speakers. This year I am very excited to hear Frances Moore Lappe speak. She is the author of Diet for a Small Planet among other books examining and discussing our food system.
We have participated in the conference before but this will be the first year that Healcrest as gone as vendors as well. This year we are taking our delicious Tea, Tisane, and Herbal Ice-Pops to share with conference participants.
This event is so inspiring and a great place to connect with others of like minds. If you’ve never gone to this conference but you love sustainable agriculture I encourage you to go some time.The weekend is full of wonderful workshops from soil health to law & policy; from cover-cropping to creating an urban buying club. There is something for everyone at this conference!
We are looking forward to it and I know we will come back with wonderful things to share and grow from!
Filed under Events, Sustainable Living
Tagged as "herbal teas", "tea", "urban farming", #HealcrestUFarm, agriculture, community, Conference, education, farming, future, Herbal Ice-Pops, PASA, Pennsylvania, State College, sustainable, sustainable living, vending, Winter
December 1, 2014 · 12:04 pm
It’s nice to be back on the Blog after a little Harvest Hiatus.
As winter is certainly upon us we are excited to announce that Monthly CSA Pick-Up will be at 52nd Street Market at 601 52nd St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, beginning today Monday Dec 1. 5-7pm.
We’re sure you’re going to enjoy the harvest classics we’re bringing you today!
Dora and Dierdre of 52nd Street Market are sharing their cozy, warm market with us once a month so we can offer a comfortable space for our CSA members to pick-up their goodies.
In months to come, along with market directors, we will bring you samples, extra goodies, and more!
Today Dana will have some extra goodies for CSA members available for purchase and we invite anyone to come out and shop for individual Tea Boxes, Packs of Pops, and Harvest Apple and Pear Lavender Butters!!
See You at the Market!
Filed under CSA Subscription, Pittsburgh, Sustainable Living
Tagged as "herbal teas", "tea", #HealcrestUFarm, 52nd Street Market, apple butter, artisanal, Autumn, CSA, harvest foods, market, pumpkin chai
August 7, 2014 · 2:38 pm
On September 7th 2014 at Healcrest Urban Farm located in Garfield, Blue Collar will host its first ever participatory dinner in Pittsburgh.
The idea is simple. An all volunteer driven dinner to raise funds for groups trying to further the values of independence and hard work held so dearly by the denizens of our magnificent city. The dinner will be a three course dinner with drinks provided. Each guest will be provided 4 tokens representing 25% of their total donation. During the ev
ent each group will give an in depth performance showcasing their mission in Pittsburgh. At the end of the dinner the guests will give their tokens to the groups that they value the most. The chef for this particular dinner is chef de cuisine Curtis gamble of grit and grace and former executive chef at bread and wine in Chicago IL..
HEALCREST URBAN FARM – Healcrest Urban Farm is a women-owned urban farm and social enterprise business. Through nurturing abandoned urban land we empower all people to reclaim, restore and sustain our collective knowledge and health. We grow culinary and medicinal herbs, creating an oasis of wild and cultivated plants, using our platform in the community to offer education on food, health, and healing. We hand blend our herbs with local seasonal fruit creating supportive tea blends and delicious ice pops that we call Tea Pops, a vehicle to open everyone to the power of herbal medicine. Healcrest is a place of healing- both the land and ourselves.
GIRLS ROCK PGH -Girls rock pgh -Girls Rock! Pittsburgh is an empowerment program for female youths of all definitions, abilities and backgrounds. Girls Rock! Pittsburgh utilizes the process of making music to instill tools for amplifying self-confidence, creative expression, independent thinking, mutual respect and cooperation, while cultivating a supportive and inclusive community of peers and mentors. Girls Rock! Pittsburgh is committed to community awareness and social agency, fostering a network of role models for the endeavors of girls and women that promote social change amongst its diverse participants. Girls can play any kind of music they want. Creative voices of girls and women need to be amplified to create social change. Girls need positive role models and support for their creative endeavors. We can build a community where girls support each other rather than tear each other down. We can empower girls to recognize, understand, and respond to discrimination. “Girls Rock” is more than just a slogan.
HOMESTEAD BOYS CHOIR
– AAMI Boys’ Choir, a positive community-based alternative, enables its members to experience
the richness and excitement of creative expression. The benefits gained by the youth are discipline, confidence, motivation and the continual building of their self-esteem. Additionally, the choir prepares members to be productive individuals allowing them to believe in themselves and their potential. They learn the value of friendship and the importance of respecting self and others.
Founded in 1986, Just Harvest works in Allegheny County to change the unjust public policies that create hunger and poverty. Just Harvest is a membership-based non-profit organization that is mobilizing our community, connecting people to public benefits, and advocating for a stronger anti-poverty safety net, with the aim of economic justice for all.
You can register & choose your level of giving, for the
Late Summer Dinner@ Healcrest Urban Farm
by heading to our events page
Filed under Events, local food, Pittsburgh, Sustainable Living, Volunteer
Tagged as "urban farming", artisanal, community, farm dinners, food, fundraiser, garden, garden party, garden party fundraiser, Girls Rock PGH, Grit & Grace, Healcrest Urban Farm, Homestead Boys Choir, local, local food, locally-grown, natural, organic, Pittsburgh, summer, teapops, urban farm, urban garden
July 31, 2014 · 5:28 pm
We have a very busy weekend ahead and we are excited to see all of you at one or more of our five events!
Maria, Savi, Justice, and Suzy along are traveling North for the Annual Regatta at Lake Arthur. We were invited to join this event as a first time vendor in their Natural Vendor’s Village and we are excited to try a new market in a beautiful setting! Read More Here.
Friday night Dana will be enjoying herself as usual and serving TeaPops and Tea at the First Friday Garfield Night Market. Always a great time full of delicious food, local arts, and good company as always with your friendly local neighborhood vendors.
On Saturday visit Meg in the Strip District at another exciting new market, Farmers at the Firehouse. We love our weekly farmers markets, where our resident farmers get to talk with patrons, and where we bring out some of our other products and service. Keep an eye out for bouquets, herb bundles, apothecary items, classes at the farm, and sign ups for our Fall/Winter herbal CSA!
Also on Saturday you can find Michelle holding it down at the Bloomfield Saturday Farmers Market. Stroll along the market this week and enjoy live music with BeLove, food and wellness demos, and always delicious food. Come to the Healcrest PopUp for Hot & Iced Tea, TeaPops, and check out Cutting Root Apothecary products. Talk to Michelle about all the wonderful benefits of herbal wellness support.
Filed under Events, market, Pittsburgh, Tea-pop Shop, Uncategorized
Tagged as "urban farming", #RALA2014, Bloomfield Farmers Market, community, events, Farmers @ the Firehouse, farmers market, Healcrest Urban Farm, health, herbal medicine, herbalist, herbs, local, local food, natural health, naturally sweet, Pittsburgh, Regatta at Lake Arthur, summer
July 31, 2014 · 11:17 am
We are VERY excited to bring our artisanal TeaPops to the East End Food Coop! Now you can enjoy individual pops for your immediate refreshment needs, as well as, take home a variety pack of 3 different flavors.
Enjoy our Tea Favorites variety pack complete with two each Nettle Vanilla Ice, Bergamot Creme, and PGH’s favorite, Coconut Chai. Also enjoy our Summer Season Variety Pack including 2 each Cherry Calendula, Nectarine + Tulsi (holy Basil), and Cucumber Cilantro Lime. All deliciously refreshing and comforting whatever the mood or weather.
This new market is a BIG one for us! Many of us shop at, have volunteered, or been employed by the coop for years. We have a long personal relationship with the Coop and its members and it is such a pleasure and a personal achievement to experience OUR OWN products on Coop shelves.
We’re inviting all of our regular patrons to go to the Coop and make TeaPop purchases. Show your support for the Coop as they support us in our growing business!
Join us at the Coop this Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, from 11-2pm for a delicious sampling event. Come visit Meg as she shares a large variety of our mini sample pops. Enjoy!
One block around the corner of Penn & Braddock, 7516 Meade Street Pittsburgh, PA 15208 is the wonderful little market and cafe of the East End Food Coop. If you’ve never been, be sure to visit for a great collection of local and organic goods and products.
VISIT THESE OTHER GREAT RETAIL LOCATIONS
- Biddle’s Escape 401 Biddle Avenue 15221 (Regent Square)
Filed under Events, local food, market, Pittsburgh, Tea-pop Shop
Tagged as Coop, East End, East End Food Coop, food, grocery, Healcrest Urban Farm, local, market, natural, organic, Penn avenue, Pittsburgh, summer, tea-pop, teapops
July 22, 2014 · 12:33 pm
Community Supported Agriculture allows farmers to remain financially sustainable while connecting members to the bounty of seasonal, local food. Members buy a share of the year’s harvest at the beginning of the season and receive weekly boxes of in-season produce. Healcrest Farm is building upon the CSA model to offer herbal medicines and healing products on a monthly schedule. Our Community Supported Apothecary invites you to explore medicinal plants, learning as you heal. Register Here
How does it work?
CSA membership is a great way to build a home supply of herbal medicines, learn more about how to use local plants, and explore new ways of being in control of our own health.
Each month for six months you’ll receive organically grown herbs and artisanal herbal products. Our CSA gives you the opportunity to try medicinal natural healing products you’ve been curious about and gain knowledge as you learn how your body heals. You’ll be able to pick your share up each month, warming you through the winter, and meeting with the women who grow and make all the products.
What is in a share?
Each share supplies you with seasonally appropriate medicines and products. Some herbal preparations you can expect to receive this season from October to March are:
~ Herbal Honeys
~ Nourishing Tea Blends
~Infused Healing Oils
~ Elixirs: general well being & immune boosting
~ …And More
You will receive educational information every month about the plants included in your share products, and suggestions on how to use them.
When you purchase a share, it helps support the work we do revitalizing the land, growing and processing the herbs into useful natural medicines that nourish the body and enhance vitality. In return, you will receive a variety of herbs that support good health and the health of the environment, while also preserving the agricultural character of our wonderful community.
Join Up Here!
July 22, 2014 · 10:18 am
We’ll be slinging TeaPops at the Wigle Distillery! Come get all kinds of great street food and participate in a curiously named event! See you Friday in the Strip!!!It’s that time of year again. Join us for our third annual Tar & Feather Party–our biggest event of the year! Help us celebrate the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, read more…
Filed under Events, local food, market, Pittsburgh, Tea-pop Shop
Tagged as "urban farming", artisanal, City Events, distillery, events, Healcrest Urban Farm, herbs, local food, locally-grown, Nightlife, Pittsburgh, summer, teapop shop, teapops, tisane, whiskey, Wigle Whiskey, women in farming
July 18, 2014 · 10:03 am
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
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!
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!
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 $5 – and you get in return some serious Healcrest Urban Farm swag, including a TeaPop punch card, dry-ice TeaPop shipments and a Healcrest Urban Farm TShirt depending the level of giving!
Thank You so Much for Your Continued Support!
The Team of Healcrest Urban Farm!
Maria Graziani, CEO/Founder
Dana Launius, Markets and Marketing/Partner
Meg Graham, Farm Manager/Partner
Michelle Soto, Farm Co-Manager and Resident Herbalist/Partner
Suzanne South, Community Relations/Partner
First summer harvest of herbs
The berry/herb garden…lavender, rasberries, blackberries, sage, Greek oregano…
Filed under organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized, Urban Farming
Tagged as "urban farming", artisanal, capital development, community, farming, fundraising, Hatch campaign, Healcrest Urban Farm, herbal medicine, investment, natural, organic, Pittsburgh, summer, urban farm, women in farming
July 16, 2014 · 10:59 am
Sundays in August Join us At the Farm for Volunteer Days 11-4pm, followed by Farm Tours 4-5pm
August 6th, Wednesday 6pm – The Mighty Sourdough Starters
Learn how to make sourdough bread, crepes, tortillas, and pancakes with sourdough starters. Half a cup of Austrian Sourdough is complementary, so bring a jar with you! 1.5-2 hours (rain date: August 20th) Healcrest Urban Farm is located in Garfield at the intersection of Hillcrest and Pacific. Street Parking is available. Cost of each show, tell, and taste session is 25$ per person. Please register one week ahead of each workshop at http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/events.html. Classes will be cancelled if enrollment is below eight participants. Contact Natalya at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-319-7377 if you have any
questions about the workshops.
August 11th, Monday 6pm – Old-Style Pickles, Salsas, Hot Sauces and Chutneys
Venture into the endless possibilities of flavor and learn how to stock up your fridge with delicious condiments and compliments to your everyday staples while the farmer’s markets are still bustling with delicious veggies. 1.5-2 hours (rain date: August 18th) Healcrest Urban Farm is located in Garfield at the intersection of Hillcrest and Pacific. Street Parking is available. Cost of each show, tell, and taste session is 25$ per person. Please register one week ahead of each workshop at http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/events. Classes will be cancelled if enrollment is below eight participants. Contact Natalya at email@example.com or 804-319-7377 if you have any questions about the workshops.
Sunday August 17, 10-12, Medicine Making, Tinctures and Elixirs.
We will discuss the advantages to making tinctures and even more delicious elixirs using herbs that you can grow, wild harvest, or buy. We’ll take a talk around the garden to learn about harvesting and processing techniques, how to make the best extractions from different plants and of course, do the entire process! Everyone will leave with a sample. Please register in advance at http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/events so we can have enough supplies for everyone. Contact Michelle at 615-804-0064 or firstname.lastname@example.org with question about registration.
Sunday August 31, 10-12, Farm Tour, Late Summer Apothecary.
As asters take over our fields and gardens, come learn to identify the common plants of the late summer and how to look for what coming ahead. We’ll talk about identification, sustainable growing and harvesting practices, and the medicinal properties of many herbs. Contact Michelle at 615-804-0064 or email@example.com with question about registration. RSVP at http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/events
Filed under herbal medicine, local food, natural skincare, Pittsburgh, Workshops
Tagged as artisanal, classes, diy, events, farm, Fermentation, Healcrest Urban Farm, health, herbal medicine, herbalist, local food, locally-grown, medicine, natural, natural health, organic, Pittsburgh, summer, urban farming, women in farming, workshops