Tag Archives: urban

Chicks in the Hood Pittsburgh Urban Chicken Coop Tour


We’re excited to participate in Chicks in the Hood :: PGH Chicken Coop Tour 2014! WE’LL HAVE TEAPOPS! THIS SUNDAY SUZY’LL BE SLINGIN’ CICLES!!

Come by on Sunday and visit our feathered friends. Suzy is looking forward to showing you the coop, introducing you to the gals, and offer you TeaPop refreshment!

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Tickets can be purchased the day of the tour at

  • Commonplace Voluto www.commonplacecoffee.com at 5467 Penn Avenue in Friendship/Garfield;
  • Tazza D’Oro  www.tazzadoro.com at 1125 North Highland Avenue in Highland Park;
  • Animal Nature  www.animalnature.net at 7610 Forbes Avenue in Regent Square;
  • Thompson 0.08 Acres at 1240 Resaca Place, Pittsburgh  15212;
  • Choderwood at 7665 Lock Way West, Pittsburgh 15206, located at the Highland Park Dam at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Allegheny River Boulevard.

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Filed under Events, market, Pittsburgh, Volunteer

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

It’s a Weed Walk! This Sunday MAY 18th – 3 to 5PM


Healcrest is hosting herb walks and classes with Michelle!

We’re kicking off our season:
this Sunday MAY 18th – 3 to 5PM
It’s a Weed Walk!
to learn about the plants poppin out NOW that its spring!

We’re going to walk and talk about what’s growing now and what it looks like. Curious about how to harvest burdock to get the most out of it? Or simply want to know what burdock is and looks like? We’ll talk about medicinal uses, cultivation techniques, wildcrafting habits, and whatever you want. There’s going to be a number of these kinds of classes this year where we can visit the same plants in different seasons and growing stages and identify and use them is a variety of ways.

the walk and talk is $10 and our rain date’s set for may 20, 4-6.

Register Here let us know if you have any questions, 615-804-0064 thanks! and happy spring,

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Filed under Events, Gardening, herbal medicine, Urban Farming

Composting in the City: How, What, Where, and Why!


Composting in the City: How, What, Where, and Why!

Where does all your food waste go? Would you rather have it be beneficial waste instead? In this workshop you will be introduced to a few easy methods for turning food scraps into soil, or composting, in dense spaces.

Whether you have a huge yard or none at all you will go home with a method or modified method that will work for you. We will explore bin, trench, and vermi-compost. You will also have the opportunity to take part in our Healcrest Compost program, where your waste is our treasure.

Dana Launius will share her experience and love of sustainable living in this fun and educational series. Simple techniques for a waste-resource lifestyle. Each participant will leave with some materials to get their compost started or enhanced! Bring water to drink and come prepared to get icky!

Join us at Healcrest Urban Farm Aug 20th – Tues 6:30 at 5200 Hillcrest St. Garfield. Register here at http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/classes.html or contact healcresturbanfarm@gmail.com. Cost: $10

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August 14, 2013 · 4:21 pm

New Bees Arrive Spring 2013

The Healcrest Apiary is Buzzing with Activity

We are so fortunate to have 3 groups of folks managing hives at Healcrest. It began last Spring 2012 with Jen and John, and the tradition has continued with Natalya and Dana with new hives this spring season.

Soon Meg will add her hives to the mix and the results will be amazingly delicious!

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April 8, 2013 · 5:22 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

Looking Forward to Sunnier Skies!!


SUN + WATER = LIFE

Our little hill in Garfield is in the perfect spot to soak up the glorious sun. On a clear day, you can see open skies and Pittsburgh’s East End for miles. With resources in abundance the natural forest and wild plant growth has taken over.

So it is our longtime desired project to begin some forest maintenance and tree felling. A daunting task when standing in the shadow of a century old Maple wondering how do you cut down something so HUGE.

We have several areas to work with in the long term and a few specific areas of immediate focus, small stands of Black Locust shading out the rowed herb garden, and the raised bed garden; and the BIGGEST shade producer, the Maple.

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Resources and connections blessedly show up when we need them most and with the help of Jason Boone of Urban Tree LLC, Josiah Leisher of Leisher Landscapes, and a little side support from G-Tech……..TIMMBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sustainable tree reclamation and land-use management, along with mutually beneficial collaborations will surely make for BRIGHT and SUNNIER skies this season!

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Moving forward


A beautiful late spring afternoon -warm thunderstorms and sunshine to encourage plantlings to grow and grow, and encouraging us to grow and grow in heart and mind. Almost to frost date here in Pittsburgh, so working daily preparing for planting. Resident farmer Ras Maisha Green has been so fruitful in blessing up the farm with his artwork. Here is a shot of him shining the image of his Majesty, Jah Rastafari, the Lion of Judah!, on the shed… and words of prayer and peace amongst our labors….

The greenhouse is in full swing, check out the plantlings – it was an adventurous day yesterday taking them from the science classroom at Fort Pitt and transporting 30 flats to Healcrest…all with babe on my back – look I tuckered him out that beautiful Binghi child.

I assembled myself the 80 gallon compost tumbler – we got it to provide direct incentive for volunteers and farmers to bring in their compost scraps and turn that tumbler, then we can generate compost more quickly. We will still do large piles with hopefully soon, scraps from market produce and coffee grounds, but for now we want to make sure WE are composting. Huh! By the way, the directions said, requires 2 people, and this mama here did it all by herself! She learned it from a Binghi man with building skills.

So as the rain comes down we are connecting with our blog followers to remind anyone interested to join us in this amazing process. Volunteers can committ 2 hours per week to get vegetables in return and your time will help feed hundreds of people. We will offering Farmers Market Nutrition program (FMNP) for WIC mothers and seniors and we hope to be at the East Liberty Farmers Market and hopefully the Pgh Public Market if we think produce is going to be sufficient. Help us out and we know it will!!

One Love People, always one beautiful peaceful fruitful Love

Jah Lives!

Nyabinghi Lion and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                one of his little cubs                                                                                                                                                                                                                   standing tall on the Farm!

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Filed under Pittsburgh, Rastafari, Uncategorized, Urban Farming