Groundwork Somerville brings food and music together again

On September 23, 2009, in Community/Arts, by The News Staff

The Kane family
enjoys an appropriate location for the festival.
Members of
Groundwork Somerville join together singing, "The Maple Syrup Song." ~Photos by

Halani Moss

On Saturday, September 19th,
Groundwork Somerville hosted its Third Annual "Local Roots, Food, and Music
Festival," at the Growing Center on Vinal Street. It was the quintessential
community fundraiser, replete with comfort filled fixins' from Redbones, potent
musical performances by White Shoe, Brown Shoe and Avi and Celia, further
punctuated by the share of words and feelings among attendees throughout the

For those who know little about Groundwork Somerville, read on
carefully because this notable cause is truly worth

Groundwork originated in the UK in the late 1970's as an
effort to develop unused and far too often downright, neglected land on the
urban outskirts — the "no-man's land" if you will. By 1981, with the incoming
British Environment Minister and first Groundwork Trust, the initial seeds of
this organization displayed signs of germination. As it continued to grow
throughout the UK, it was a matter of time before it reached this side of the
Atlantic. Now tackling more than just derelict land, this effort takes on any
location that can be reclaimed for the purpose of resourceful redevelopment.

Groundwork Somerville is one of over 20 Groundwork organizations in the
US. 2010 will mark Groundwork Somerville's 10th year in action.

If you
think this organization is simply involved in the sustainability and
beautification of the land, think again. With partnerships including Somerville
Community Corporation, Somerville Community Health Agenda, and Somerville
Transportation Equity Partnership, Groundwork Somerville is making great strides
toward the overall improvement in our quality of life. This point couldn't be
emphasized enough throughout the evening: the collective and tireless effort of
all involved.

This was also found in the environmentally conscious and
energetic presence of the "Green Team." Comprised of local high school students
interested in contributing to the places and people around them, they represent
the future. In preparation for that, they spent this summer tackling projects
across New England, from two angles: landscape architecture and urban

When asked about a highlight from this experience, Green
Team Co-Coordinator Sal Islam replied, "A third grader. See, sometimes when we
build these gardens, kids come and ruin them after. But this one time, a third
grader stood up for the garden and made them stop."

This is the perfect
metaphor for what Groundwork Somerville stands for: reclaiming and protecting
the land. Why? Because how we interact with the land we live on has a direct
influence on our lives; not just environmentally but as a collective, social
whole. Simply think back on the classic American song written by Woody Guthrie,
"This Land Is Your Land."

Most importantly and aptly expressed by
Jennifer Lawrence, the Executive Director of Groundwork Somerville, "If you're
interested in a greener, sustainable future, then join us!"

Somerville can be found online at and by phone at

Groundwork Somerville is an affiliate of Groundwork USA, a
network of organizations that fall under the umbrella of the National Park


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