COA gardens, Farmer’s Market spotlighted

On August 30, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Secretary Hartein, DTA Commissioner Curley, Rachael Plitch, Lisa Damon.

On Thursday, August 23, Ann Hartstein Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs taped two of her shows, Senior Scene, a program for and about Massachusetts seniors at Ralph & Jenny Center and at Holland Street Center.

The Ralph & Jenny Center segment highlighted the COA’s Intergenerational Gardening Project where seniors and children in the community have planted and cared for two garden boxes. Secretary Hartstein was joined by Executive Director of the COA, Cindy Hickey, Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Lisa Heyison, Outreach Coordinator.

Mayor Curtatone making his mother’s Basil and Tomato Salad.

Holland Street Secretary Hartstein was joined by Dan Curley, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Lisa Damon, from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Cindy Hickey, Executive Director of the Somerville Council on Aging and Janine Lotti project manager for the Ralph & Jenny Intergenerational Gardening Project, and Rachael Plitch who organized our Farmer’s Market. The Somerville COA is one of the only Farmer’s Markets in the state located at a senior center.The day began at Ralph & Jenny Center where we read the book Tops and Bottoms, made our depiction of a top and a bottom photo, then all joined in to weed and pick our crop.  The Mayor surprised everyone with his culinary skills in sharing his mom’s basil and tomato salad. He made a convert when Grace Lotti expressed delight in how good it was, as she also shared that she really didn’t like tomatoes before this. Everyone  then visited the Holland Street Farmer’s Market where Andrea Libertni, of Somerville Cambridge Elder Services, shared some healthy recipes for muffins and a red, white, and blue fruit salad with us. Lee Dwyer of Groundworks was there, selling the produce grown at our schools, as well as Rachael Plitch, who organized getting our Farmer’s Market here.

The Farmer’s Market at Holland Street is open Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Items for sale are half price for seniors 55+.


Grace Lotti and Vivien Santos-Smith.



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