Cambridge and Somerville Local First - 2011 Coupon Book - Shift Your Shopping to Local First

Keepin’ It Real: BLFF’s Success at Staying Authentically Local

Sep 14 10:58 am

(Originally posted on the Boston Local Food Festival 2011 blog)

By Danielle Kennedy

You may not realize it, but the local movement is at a critical moment in its development. As buying locally increases in popularity across the country, skeptics want to say it’s simply the next big passing thing in food. This is the point when a movement is in danger of losing its credibility by “selling out,” and that’s what can kill it. Will the buy local movement go the way of so many failed ideologies, and be written off as a mere cultural trend in the history books?


Local certainly doesn't have to small!

Not if the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston has anything to say about it! SBN’s Boston Local Food Festival, which is expected to attract as many as 50,000 attendees this year, is back to bring local values to the masses. However, the BLFF doesn’t mainstream it with a watered-down message. Never accepting corporate sponsorship or vendors, BLFF has become huge on the shoulders of only local, independent businesses and organizations. BLFF also ups the sustainable ante by aiming to be a Zero Waste event. I’ve been to “green” events that didn’t even have recycling receptacles!

Events like this are so important to the movement. When you work within a small organization like Somerville Local First, it’s reassuring to go to a big festival and see that our supporters number in the thousands. BLFF is successful at converting new locavores because it truly has something for everybody. At last year’s inaugural celebration, activities ranged from DIY chicken farming to Post Secret-esque community art project Stir a Memory. And with free admission and the sample plates costing a mere $5 at most, BLFF has concocted a great way to introduce the “it’s too expensive” naysayers to local food on the cheap.

How has the BLFF become such a wide-reaching event without giving in to corporate pressure? “It has not been easy, but so far we have managed to do so for our first 2 years,” says Nicola Williams, President of The Williams Agency and producer of BLFF. “The success of the event is also due to partnerships and relationships we have developed with local businesses, local media, and nonprofit partners who share our organization’s values. If we succeed, they succeed.” The key to a strong local economy is the connections made between businesses. When everyone has a stake in the outcome, they will do more to ensure it thrives.


Waste not, Want Local!

For a movement that is working its way from the bottom up in grassroots fashion, it would be so easy to give in and just take the money (and money is hard to come by for us small-scale nonprofits). The fact that a local festival like this one has grown into such a huge event without taking shortcuts shows that people are actually being to realize that our current consumption patterns are just not sustainable.

The media has been touting the local movement as a fad ever since it started to really gain prominence around 2007. But the movement is still going strong. Localism is not a new concept, and it is gaining prominence now because we have come to a point where we HAVE to change our ways. So, amidst the grand ol’ time you’ll inevitably have at BLFF on October 1, remember the festival is also an ample learning opportunity. Spread the knowledge and the fun, and stay local, folks!

Get your foodie self prepared for fall and spend the day at the Boston Local Food Festival on Oct. 1, 11am-5pm. Get your tickets to the craft beer tasting, then sign up as a festival volunteer and do your part for the local movement (or do it for the freebies!).


Somerville Live Music: Deep Heaven Now 4 Psych Rock Festival in Union Square

Aug 01 11:16 am

By Sam Coren

One of the best parts about living in Somerville is being in close proximity to some of the Boston area’s best live independent music venues. Who doesn’t love seeing up and coming talent for reasonably priced tickets in your own neighborhood? To give you a taste of what Somerville’s music scene has to offer I’ll be running a biweekly update with some of the most interesting music events playing in town:

August 3rd: Tribute to Blues Greats Robert Johnson & Mississippi John Hurt (Bloc 11 Cafe)
Aside making a well made cup of coffee, Bloc 11 in Union Square also serves as a good spot for blues, jazz, and singer-songwriter acts. Most of these music events are free, but you should definitely give the tip jar some love if you hear something you like. This Wednesday you can get over your hump day blues with musicians Craig Robertson and Zack Niman as they pay homage to Delta Blues legends Robert Johnson & Mississippi John Hurt. Show starts at 7pm.

August 4th: Mikael Mutti with Percussivo Mundo Novo  (Johnny D’s Uptown)

A world-class music prodigy makes a tour stop at our own Johnny D’s. Mikael Mutti’s fuses traditional Brazillian afrobeat rhythms with a dash of latin jazz and swirling synthesizers. Even cooler? Mutti’s featured all over the soundtrack for the 3D animated film Rio (2011) and he’s been known to make his own instruments out of various video game controllers.


August 5th & 6th:  Deep Heaven Now 4 - Union Square (PA’s Lounge and Precinct)

Dig trippy guitar solos and crazy video light shows? Hop down to Union Square for the Deep Heaven Now 4 Psych Rock fest on Friday August 5th and Saturday August 6th. 26 bands will be playing Precinct and PA’s Lounge. For the low price of $10 a day you get access to both venues and the set times are staggered between the two so you don’t have to miss a band. Some notable acts that are not to be missed include local shoegazers Endless Wave and the far out experimental folk of Portland’s Herbcraft. For more info visit the Deep Heaven Now 4 Facebook event page and don’t forget to check out the compilation featuring all the bands playing in the streaming player below:


August 11th: Kobie (Johnny D’s Uptown)

It takes a lot of chutzpah to be a singer in a Prince cover band. However, if there’s anyone who could pull that role off gracefully it would be the Boston by-way-of DC singer-songwriter Kobie. When he’s not performing in Lovesexy, a tribute to The Artist, he’s bringing his original brand of sweet, funky soul to venues all over New England.

August 12th: Dave Sammarco Band (Sally O’Brien’s)

Got a hankering for some country fried rock? For those of you who doubt Somerville’s ability to deliver the sounds of the south, pay Sally O’Brien’s a Friday visit and catch Arlington’s Dave Sammarco Band in action. Nothing gets the weekend going like a nice glass of whiskey and shuffling your feet to some twang.

Redbones Pig Pickin’ – Y’all can have the pig whole ‘n’ eat it too!

Jul 29 12:00 am

If the recent heat wave wasn’t enough to make you feel like you’d been transported à la Dorothy to the magical land of The Deep South, a jaunt to Chester St. this Monday at 6pm just may be enough to make you wish you had. The south sure knows how to do the summer barbecue right, but despair not Somervillians! You need not get swept away in a tornado to experience this festive, finger-lickin’ feast – our very own Redbones will be holding its 10th annual Pig Pickin’ and Fundraiser!

Redbones Pig Rig

The most crucial part of slow smoking the hog juuust right: waiting!

Vegetarians beware, as we walk you through a traditional pig pickin’ done right at Redbones. The art of the pig roast is a 24 hour affair, music to the ears of all you slow foodies. The pit master will light up the rig Sunday night before the event, slowly smoking the whole hogs before carving them up, so they retain all their natural savory flavor. The Southern pig roast is traditionally a very social event, one meant to assemble the entire community due to the time and effort that go into it. Keeping this in mind, Redbones slow roasts the hogs outside of the restaurant, from start to finish, so that passersby can engage in the process and meet the pit master. As people gather, the anticipation builds until the pinnacle moment when the smoker is at long last released, and the hogs emerge, smoked to perfection. Are your mouths watering yet?

Aside from the whole hogs, Redbones will be serving up all the fixin’s: slaw, corn on the cob, greens, corn bread, watermelon, your choice of beer, lemonade, or iced tea, as well as extra servings of your favorite parts – loins, butts, and bellies! And of course, what would a pig pickin’ be without some entertainment! This barbecue-gone-block party will feature Somerville’s very own New Orleans-style street band, The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, as well as other local acts.

Now, if ALL that doesn’t have you convinced this will be a rousing good time, come to support the cause – benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition, providing housing and supportive services to the area homeless population since 1985.

So be sure to join the Redbones crew in front of the store on Chester St. on Monday, August 1 (rain date: August 8 ) from 6-9pm! $25 (only $5 for the kiddies under 10!) will get you a beverage, all the sides, and a healthy helping of slow-smoked pork right off the bone; no need to call ahead, just bring your self – hungry! Strengthening the Communities Within Our Community

Jul 21 12:00 am

RSVP to at Precinct - July 28!

RSVP to at Precinct - July 28!

Calling all Somerville creative enterprises, both established and burgeoning, for a swap meet of all things network-y at! This event run by the gang over at Union Square Main Streets through the Design Annex, their collaborative facility for design businesses, promises to be an evening of sharing with new friends, whether it be an exchange of industry information or a mutual sampling of the fare at fabulous host venue Precinct. Read below for more info (and how to RSVP!) or see the original post here, and keep an eye out for other awesome USMS events!

Design Annex launches, a new kind of networking event for design professionals in Somerville on July 28. At, we’re building a shop local movement for Somerville’s creative enterprises. Participants won’t just exchange their contact information; they’ll trade advice, referrals, and services to make each other’s businesses stronger. This event is the first of a quarterly series to bring together the city’s vibrant design community to grow this dynamic industry.

  • Join us for Thursday, July 28, 6-9 pm at Precinct. Free.
  • RSVP and don’t forget to bring your business cards!
Work Space at the Design Annex

While you likely know the big design players in Somerville such as ArrowstreetMoshe Safdie and Altitude, you may not know the literally hundreds of smaller scale creative businesses bustling here in Somerville and making their own bold mark. The Design Annex’s goal is to interconnect this community of people working at the intersection of commercial and creative and through the shared connections to thrive together. Somerville has been a quiet hub design and creative businesses and it’s time we made some noise, locally and nationally.

This event supports Union Square Main Streets’ efforts, through the Design Annex, to grow the creative economy in Somerville. The Design Annex provides the resources to grow creative businesses including shared office space and equipment, networking, and advocacy for industry needs. Since its founding just 18 months ago, 25 small creative businesses have used the Annex’s resources and community to help grow their enterprises.

The networking series is our first big step towards accomplishing our goal of a tightly networked, strong design community in Somerville. Please join us and other creative business professionals to relax, share ideas, and share some drinks on Thursday, July 28, 6-9 pm at Precinct. RSVP to [email protected], and don’t forget to bring your business cards!

Share the flyer for the event.

Fitness on the Avenue: A Bootcamp Block Party!

Jul 18 2:43 pm

We here at SLF love the class offerings (no membership required for all the commitaphobes out there) and personalized instruction methods over at The Training Room, and it’s apparent that all you other Somervillians do too, as the health and fitness hotspot will be ringing in another year this Saturday. Read below for The Training Room’s write up of the 2nd annual Fitness on the Avenue anniversary extravaganza! Click here for the event schedule.

Enjoy the benefits of an outdoor and instructor-led workout all at once!


The Training Room plans to celebrate its second-year anniversary with a “block party” event on Saturday, July 23rd from 12 PM to 4 PM.  The event will be held along the Somerville Ave./Elm St. parking corridor, located in front of the facility at 691A Somerville Avenue.

Attendees will be encouraged to take advantage of the free fitness classes, demonstrations and screenings that will be offered by The Training Room staff and Physical Therapists, Lorna Brown and Keith Foley from the Cambridge Spaulding Center for Rehabilitation.

Live music provided by Felix Brown will keep an upbeat tempo for the two 45-minute outdoor bootcamps, intended to take place outside the facility weather pending.  In addition to bootcamps, The Training Room will have free: yoga and cycling classes, foam rolling demos, functional movement screening and running gait analysis.***

Training Room co-owners Heidi Brown and Maren Kravitz hope to continue their efforts in helping the City of Somerville to stay among the fittest cities in America.

If you would like more information about this event, call 617-284-6088 or e-mail The Training Room at [email protected]

***Advance signup is recommended for bootcamps, yoga, cycling and foam rolling demos, as space is limited.

Follow the link and RESERVE YOUR SPACE NOW



12:00pm – 1:00pm / vinaysa yoga

12:30pm- 1:15pm / outdoor bootcamp with music from Felix Brown

1:30pm – 2:00pm / 30-minute indoor cycling

2:30pm – 2:45pm / indoor foam rolling demo

2:45pm – 3:00pm / indoor foam rolling demo

3:00pm – 3:45pm / outdoor bootcamp with music from Felix Brown

12:00pm – 3:00pm  / Functional Movement Screening (FMS) with Jason Pak

Put simply, the FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. By screening these patterns, the FMS readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries. These are issues that can reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness.”

12:00pm – 4:00pm / Running Gait Analysis with Physical Therapists Lorna Brown and Keith Foley

Have a trained professional take a closer look at your running / walking gate and provide you with some knowledge about the importance of proper footwear and body mechanics.

Going Global Locally with Ball Square Fine Wines

Jul 17 7:51 pm

So, what are you doing this Monday night? Why, you’re planning an exhilarating evening of laundry and bad television, you say? Enticing as that sounds, might we humbly suggest another option? Shake up the beginning-of-the-week routine with a taste of fine wining and dining presented by the folks over at Ball Square Fine Wines.

Ah, wining in Somerville at dusk...

As a participant in Boston’s “Rogue for Riesling” Summer Fest 2011, BSFW is joining the 31 Days of Riesling July event spree (see this article for more area events). Riesling is traditionally celebrated as a German wine, but BSFW has decided to open our eyes to the myriad of other options in what could only be called “A Global Riesling Fracas.” BSFW says:

This Monday, July 18, from 5-7pm we’ll have five select Rieslings from around the world open for a comparative taste-off. It will be an interactive tasting to demonstrate the unique typicity of each selection.

Of course, our ever-expanding Gourmet Department wanted in on the fun. They will have an assortment of gourmet hor’dourves to pair with the wines.

The event is FREE and open to all 21+ years of age


So much potential!

For more offerings from this specialty shop, check out more of their enlightening events (there’s plenty of options for craft brew and spirits lovers, too!), or get a hankering for the holiday season with last year’s gourmet pairings post by BSFW Gourmet Foods Buyer Joe Ferraro to get a taste of BSFW’s seasonal expertise.

6 Reasons You Should Clear Your Weekend for ArtBeat

Jul 14 4:01 pm



ArtBeat 2011: Red - This one's gonna be a scorcher!

ArtBeat 2011: Red - This one's gonna be a scorcher!

It’s that time of year again on the Somerville Arts Council calendar: ArtBeat! This annual festival held in Davis Square celebrates the innovative and inspired minds in just about every creative capacity of the dynamic Somerville arts scene. This year, SAC isn’t trying to (art!)beat that mid-July heat of the northeast, but is instead embracing it, with this year’s theme: RED. Alas, due to scheduling conflicts, SLF won’t be attending this year, but here are six reasons why you should:

  • Support local artists by buying a one-of-a-kind piece from one (or several!) of the 100+ craft vendors: Impress your Chihuly-crazed friends with a piece by a local glass artist
  • It’s fun for the whole family! Forgive us for the cliché, but it’s true – there are tons of kid-friendly events from storytelling to a puppet show
  • Catch up and coming folk/indie rock quartet Mean Creek: Recently deemed “Best Act in Boston” in the Boston Phoenix, these guys are going places, so see them while you can – for free!
  • Experience the diverse range of performance pieces and exhibits that the festival has to offer – there’s something for everyone!
  • Everyone loves a parade, so be sure to watch the Red Menace parade throughout the festival. Grab a red flag and join in if you like!
  • Engage in one of the many crafty interactive activities offered by local organizations. Even become a part of the festival by designing a scale for the traffic island Dragon Sculpture!

Bonus Reason: Food! C’mon, did you really need any other reason?

So, y’all best be there this weekend! Check out the website or Facebook page for more info, and make sure you tell us all about your ArtBeat shenanigans in the comments section below!

Somerville Climate Action: Take the 350 Actions Challenge!

Jun 13 4:38 pm

On Monday, June 13th, Somerville Climate Action will set-up shop in Union Square at Somerville Community Access Television (SCAT) to kick off our new campaign- the 350 Actions Challenge. We are looking for residents and businesses to take a total of 350 NEW actions that help make Somerville a cleaner, greener, healthier place to live. Have you been thinking of putting solar panels on your home but don’t know where to start? SunBug Solar will be on hand to help you sort through all the details and what will work for YOUR home. We have a goal of signing up 20 homes to get solar as part of the challenge! Learn about Beekeeping and the food that is made possible by bees. Witness a pile of ripped up asphalt from one of your neighbors who is liberating their soil! Taste honey dripping treats! Not sure what your ACTION will be? Stop by and we’ll help you figure out what’s best for you!

Somerville Climate Action encourages you to ACT!

Somerville Climate Action encourages you to ACT!

350 Actions Challenge KICK OFF PARTY!

Come See What the Buzz is About

Monday, June 13 4-9pm

at SCAT in Union Square

Joing us for an evening of festivities, fun and film as we kick off our new campaign to get 350 NEW actions to make Somerville a cleaner, greener, healtier place to live!

4-7pm: Kick off Party in Union Square

Find out more about the 350 Challenge and how you can take action!

7-9pm: Reception and Film Screening at SCAT

Join us to celebrate the kick-off of our campaign with locally made refreshments and Mead!

Vanishing of the Bees

Filming across the US, Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the realtionship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indivate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definite answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

SPONSORED BY: Somerville Climate Action, Somerville Community Growing Center, Rep. Denise Provost, SCAT, SunBug Solar, ReCover Green Roofs

For more information: email [email protected]

SomerFUN: A Rundown of Awesome-ness

Jun 07 12:53 pm

SomerFun is just a few days away (and the forecast looks great this year…YAY!), and we have lined up quite the day of fun for the community.  Here’s a lengthy rundown of all the fun (and mostly free) things to do at the event.  Needless to say, there’s something here for just about everyone!

And SLF would like to extend a VERY warm thank you to our event sponsors The Somerville Arts Council and ArtsUnion…you can thank them too at their table at the event!

See you THIS Saturday in Union Square Plaza from 3-7 pm

See you THIS Saturday in Union Square Plaza from 3-7 pm

Games, Activities & Demonstrations

A Tiki Hut with samples from Sponsor Polar Beverages

DUNK TANK - with our Executive Director, Joe Grafton, a special guest in a Gorilla Suit, Independent Bartenders and some surprises.

SomerMutt -  A Mixed Breed Dog Show with a guess the breed contest, sponsored by Riverdog, Canis Major Herbals and SomDog

Groundwork Somerville - butter churning, the food miles relay race, and the giant somerville puzzle map.

Mystic River Watershed Association - fish-based artwork - drawing

Mass Metta Massage - Free Chair Massage

Open Space Community Acupuncture - Community acupuncture demos

The Growing Center - An urban homesteading workshop

Shobu Akido - 20′ x 20′ demonstration area and a table with information about classes

OPENAIR Circus - Stilters rambling about the event


Abbie Barrett & the Last Date

Reverend Busker & Friends

Tall Enough

Riki Rocksteady


Balliro Vocal Studio - I will be promoting private vocal instruction with a video of various performances and instruction examples.

Beantown Franks ‘n Spuds - Gourmet Hot Dogs & Baked Potatoes

Canis major Herbals - Information on holistic dog health; herbal products for dogs will be available for sale, such as natural tick spray, herbal Lyme preventive, remedies for separation anxiety, etc.

Esoterica/ Smileybaby Hats - Handmade jewelry and baby hats.

ideaka - I am selling t-shirts, wallets, soap & maybe some lights. I have a pop up tent with a minimal display.

JoJo - Handmade design and one of a kind pieces that are seasonally appropriate. For the summer I have sundresses, skirts/pants, halter tops and one piece jumpsuits, lightweight cape-like tops plus some housewares like table runners and napkins, totes.
Mike’s Automotive - Information and swag from your local mechanic right across the street.

Monkey Chow - Irreverent illustrations rendered in bright popping colors and injected with heartfelt emotion.

Mystic River Watershed Association - Booth Set-up includes a map (on an easel if possible), reports, newsletters.

Picture Renewal - Sample books to view and 3-4 pairs of larger, framed samples and Swag:

Proxy Apparel - radical,  ethical fashion and accessories. With a raffle and fashion giveaways.

Swellr - The table will have a variety of individual activities designed to interest the public in Swellr. We will be handing out flyers and talking with the Somerville community and asking them about their favorite businesses and causes.

Rebecca J. D’Antonio - Handmade high quality one of a kind and limited edition jewelry. From now to the end of September, $1 from every sale will be donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank. I also offer “Creation Station” where people can pick beads to have custom pieces made

RESPOND, Inc - Brochures, trifolds presentations, people to answer questions.

RiverDog LLC - pet supplies for dogs and cats information on sevices and samples

Taza Chocolate - We have a sign to hang up behind us, as well as a 4″ table with chocolate samples and some pictures of our chocolate.

Thalia Tringo & Assoicates Real Estate, Inc. - We will display some marketing materials and Q&A on taking care of a home, buy v. rent, etc. We’ll give away some swag.

Two Little Monkeys - 1-2 rolling racks of childrens clothing, as well as a small selection of toys and books.

Truly Good - Info about my design business, as well as a few promo items from a few of our clients.

The Welcome Project - YUM restaurant cards and talking with people about our programs and volunteer opportunities.


Why come to SomerFun on June 11th? Why WOULDN’T you?

May 26 11:00 am

By SLF Community Board Member E. John Feig

Come join Somerville Local First, the ArtsUnion and us at the second annual street fair and festival, SomerFun: A Romp for Independents, in Union Squre, Somerville on June 11th 3-7pm for some open-air activities.

Something fun for Everyone!

Something fun for Everyone!

The theme of the event is local independents and we are pleased to welcome a new sponsor this year, Polar Beverages. Polar is locally owned and operated in Worcester, MA and has been for over 125 years.  That’s our kind of sponsor!

This year we are welcoming the participation of Somerville Dog owners and pet enthusiasts, with SomDog, Riverdog and Canis Major Herbals all confirmed participants. SomerFun will feature live music, the SomerMutt Showcase (Sign up YOUR dog here) and a Guess-the-Breed contest. This event is a showcase of local mutts who will strut their stuff across the main stage, prizes will be awarded to the cutest dogs, the weirdest breed combination, and the dog/owner couple that looks the most alike. Attendees will be able to enter a competition as a spectator to “guess the breed”. The most right answers will win a prize from SLF.

SLF has also lined up an eclectic mix of local musicians to entertain us at the event. Expected to perform are Abby Barrett a folk band, Riki Rocksteady a local reggae singer/songwriter, Tall Enough a rock band and a jazz band or two.

Along with the main activities, there will be lots of family activities at SomerFun this year. There will be face painting, a dunk tank and other activities that kids will enjoy. For the dunk tank, we are working hard to put some people in it that you will want to dunk. There will be a canning workshop by Green City Growers, food justice games with Groundwork Somerville and a martial arts session with Shobu Aikido.

We hope to see you and your family at SomerFun in Union Square on June 11th at 3pm.

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