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Om Nom Nom Locally First @ Harvest Fest 2010

Sep 14 11:38 am

by Joe Grafton

Of all the things that didn’t quite work at Harvest Fest 2009, food was at the top of the list.  Part of the issue was our promotion of the event (i.e. setting the wrong expectations).  Another challenge was the format of offering 1 restaurant at a time and passing the food.  We just, quite frankly, just didn’t expect that many people to be there!

So, we knew in planning this years event, we needed to do a better job with food.  And we think its a safe bet that we’ll deliver.

We are very fortunate to have the managers from new SLF Member Foundry on Elm managing our food program as a sponsor this year.  With their help, we’ll be recruiting 10 local restaurants and food producers for EACH Harvest Fest 2010 session, offering 1 bite/small serving to each of the first 350 guests.

So with no further ado, we are happy to announce our first group of confirmed food participants for Harvest Fest 2010.  Local Om Nom Noms for everyone!

Foundry on Elm (Both Sessions)

Thank you to our Food Sponsors - Foundry on Elm

A brasserie-tavern hybrid, Foundry on Elm transports the best of seasonal New England fare into the kitchen of 255 Elm Street and produces refined, fresh food while serving proper ale. Located in the heart of Somerville’s Davis Square, the restaurant will pay tribute to the modern day craft worker by celebrating the farmers, brewers and winemakers that created the products on the menu.

Eat at Jumbo’s (Both Sessions)

The Margherita Pizza @ Jumbo's

Offering more than just pizza, Eat at Jumbo’s is the go to place when dad wants a huge 100% Angus Beef Burger, Jenny wants a freshly prepared sandwich, Jimmy wants some flavorful Chicken Wings and mom is looking for one of those fancy Panini sandwiches  Our mission is to provide every guest with a remarkable experience every day by serving only great fresh food at a fair cost. It’s that simple.

Ronnarong Thai Tapas (Both Sessions)

Thai Basil Anyone???

Formerly the Great Thai Chef, Ronnarong Thai Tapas has reinvented itself over the past 2 years.  With a revamped menu with many small plate options, a remodeled interior and a new outdoor patio, Ronnarong Thai Tapas is an eatery on the rise.  But what really sets it apart is its offering of Tapas menu items.  Small plates of Thai specialties like Paradise Beef and Papaya Salad make Ronnarong a dining experience like few others.

Lions Share Foods (First Session)

Local Probiotic Foods FTW!!!

Christine Oliver, founder/owner of Lion’s Share Foods completed her Certification in Holistic Nutrition and Health Counseling at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC. She is a health conscious cook and avid locavore. Her goal is to provide healthy, affordable eating options for urban families. Lion’s Share Foods provides local alternatives  to probiotic foods such as Kimchee, Fresh Yogurt and Kefir, Cheeses, Breads, Teas, and other fermented vegetarian products. All of our ingredients are locally sourced and organic as often as possible. We want you to feel good about eating right!

the chocolate tarte (Second Session)

Desert from the chocolate tarte - the final Om Nom Nom of Harvest Fest 2010

the chocolate tarte believes in doing a few things very well.  They have spent countless hours perfecting each of these custom cakes, truffles and tartes, so that they offer a product that is fresh, all-natural, luscious, and decidedly one-of-a-kind.  They’ll be serving up a delicious desert after a day of local love at Harvest Fest 2010.

We think you should listen to your stomach, and buy your Harvest Fest tickets now!

(Unrelated side note:  this website makes me laugh every time I go there:

Filed under: Harvest Fest, Local First — SLF @ 11:38 am

SLF is Hiring - Business Development Manager

Sep 13 10:21 am

SLF is Hiring!

We’re pretty excited to announce a job opening at SLF.  While its not quite the job we’d like to offer (we still can’t afford to employ anything other than independent contractors, nor can we offer benefits), but we think its a tremendous opportunity for the right person.  It should be a good opportunity to develop valuable transferable skills and is a good earning opportunity for part time work.

Please note that one of the main drivers of opening up this opportunity is to build diversity in our network, so the right applicant MUST speak either Spanish or Portuguese, with both being a huge plus.

So take a look at what’s below and contact us if you’re interested.  And if you know someone who might be a good fit, please share this article and job description.



Job Description – Development Manager

The Development Manager will be responsible growing membership in Somerville Local First , as well as to develop new sources of income from regional independent and locally owned businesses.  Under the primary supervision of the Executive Director, the Development Manager will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Engaging in research to identify new potential business members and event or organizational sponsors.
  • Maintaining and expanding SLF’s Member Prospect database.
  • Evaluating marketing options for SLF and developing marketing strategies and materials for multicultural communities.
  • Developing and improving SLF Sponsoring Membership category.
  • Creating and updating marketing materials; maintaining regular correspondence with prospective members and SLF staff.

Additional Qualifications:

The ideal applicant will have the following qualifications:

  • A passion for and familiarity with the SLF Mission.
  • A demonstrated ability to learn and problem solve.
  • At least 1-2 years of nonprofit fundraising/ sales / business development experience, preferably including cold call experience.
  • Fluent Spanish or Portuguese a must, both a big plus.
  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural communication skills; excellent oral communication skills.
  • Excellent written communication, research, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to develop and manage budgets and prepare financial reports.
  • Computer literacy, with experience with excel preferred.
  • Interest, enthusiasm, and affinity for business development and working with people.

Status: Independent Contractor

Compensation: At this time SLF cannot offer base compensation.  A generous

commission will be offered.  7-20k earning potential over the next 12


To apply: Email Resume & Cover Letter to [email protected]

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 10:21 am

The Fluff Festival Needs You!

Sep 10 12:27 pm

by Mimi Graney, Executive Director - Union Square Main Streets

Union Square Main Streets Needs Flufftastic Volunteers...Can You Help?

Love to eat Marshmallow Fluff but hate the guilty feeling it leaves you with? Come absolve that guilt (and have your Fluffernutter, too!) by volunteering at the fifth annual “What the Fluff?” Festival in Union Square, Somerville.

The Festival celebrates the invention of Marshmallow Fluff in 1917 in Union Square and serves to unite the diverse Somerville community around a common love of Marshmallowy craziness.

We’re expecting around 5,000 Fluff-hungry attendees to descend upon Union Square so we need lots of help. This free celebration of kitsch and community includes live music, games for kids and adults, a cooking contest, craft and food vendors and, of course, lots of Marshmallow Fluff! The festival is presented by Union Square Main Streets as part of the Somerville Arts Council’s ArtsUnion series.

This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved with Union Square Main Streets and to get to know and give back to the Union Square community. All are needed and welcome!

If you’re interested in taking a leadership or planning role for the Festival, we’d love to have your help! Please just mention your interest in your email.


  • Saturday, September 25 (rain date Sunday, September 26) from 3-7pm
  • Volunteer shifts run 2-3 hours long, beginning at 1:00 pm and ending at 8:30 pm
  • There will be a pre-volunteer rally/party on Tuesday, September 21 at 7pm at the Design Annex, upstairs from Precinct. Attendance is encouraged but not mandatory to volunteer.

Volunteer positions:

  • Run games for kids and adults alike
  • Welcome guests and distribute programs
  • Help backstage for musical and dancing performances
  • Set-up, decorate and clean-up

Perks of volunteering:

  • Meet other creative, quirky, Fluff-friendly volunteers
  • Eat lots of Fluff
  • Support the amazing Union Square community
  • Thank you gifts to volunteers
  • You’ll still have lots of time to enjoy all the Festival has to offer: live music, eating contests, craft and food vendors, crazy shenanigans!

How to get involved:

Email [email protected]

Include your name, times available, and whether you can attend the pre-volunteer rally on Tuesday, September 21 at 7pm.

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 12:27 pm

SLF Presents the First MySomerville Essay Contest

Sep 08 3:02 pm

Submit your Somerville Essay for a Chance to Win Great Prizes!


From Davis Square to Winter Hill, this city is defined by its local people, places, events, food, and attitude. The 2010 MySomerville Essay Contest is about what makes Somerville special to you. We invite you to share what Somerville means to you through words, pictures, or video. Past or present, this could be your favorite part of this city, a personal experience that took place here, basically anything that captures the local spirit.


Entries can be in the form of:

  • Video (up to 3 minutes)
  • Essay (up to 500 words)
  • Photo or series of photos (with caption)

Winning entries will be chosen based on originality and ability to capture the local spirit of Somerville.


1st place
-Choice of either 2 tickets to Harvest Fest or a $25 gift certificate to Taza Chocolate
-Opportunity to contribute to the Somerville Local First blog.

2nd place
-Somerville Local First merchandise
-Somerville Local First Shift & Save Coupon.

3rd place
-Somerville Local First merchandise

Contest Deadline

Entries must be submitted by e-mail to [email protected] by September 25th.

Photo Courtesy: Georgy Cohen - flickr

Filed under: Contests, Local First — Tags: , — SLF @ 3:02 pm

No need to Whine, The Second Glass Has You Covered

Sep 01 12:19 pm

One of the improvements at Harvest Fest 2010 that we’re really excited about is our enhanced Local Wines presence.  This year, The Second Glass, your unpretentious, badass source for baller wine information, will be sampling wine from Massachusetts and Cider from New Hampshire.  And this is no Proximity over Quality choice either.

President and Co-Founder of The Second Glass, Tyler Balliet says:

“Every single state in the US now makes wine and there are some really good vineyards in some surprising places. Here in New England we have some totally kickass wineries making fantastic wine! Dollar for dollar, the wines you’ll taste at Harvest Fest 2010 are good enough to compare with anything France or California can offer.”

The Second Glass to bring their love of local wine and penchant for partying to Harvest Fest 2010

So with no further ado, here’s what’s in-store for the wine booth at Harvest Fest 2010:

Wesport Rivers

A family owned winery in Westport MA specializes in sparkling wines that rival those from all over the globe. They also make a variety of still wines that are crisp, delicious and reflect the New England lands on which they were grown. It started with Bob and Caroll Russel who bought an old dairy farm and built a winery, their sons Rob and Bill carry on the tradition to this day with an array of wines that are both local and delicious!

Farnum Hill Wines

A small apple orchard in MA that specializes in rare apple species made for cider, cooking and eating. Planted on an old dairy farm their ciders are refreshing, made from all MA apples and fermented on site!

Travessia Winery

Marco Montez is the man behind the wine, using all local produce they create a variety of well crafted white wines (and a rose!). Marco hopes to one day own his own land, that he might himself grow the grapes somewhere in Southeastern New England. “In a very short period of time I’ve learned that winemaking presents tremendous risks and enormous challenges.  It’s farming, it’s chemistry, it’s marketing, it’s sales… And I’ve only scratched the surface. But the world of wine and winemaking is also extremely exciting and rewarding in its own unique way.”

90+ Cellars

90+ is taking advantage of the current economic conditions by purchasing high quality and highly rated finished wines direct from wineries at a discount and then passing the savings on to you. Price and availability aren’t the only selection criteria.  The wines we purchase must have a pedigree of 90 or higher ratings, best buy or gold medal accolades from a respected wine authority or publication meaning 90+ sells high quality wine to you at a discount.

Tickets are starting to move fast, get yours today before you miss out on all the local love!

(Editors Note:  This story originally referenced  ”ALL Massachusetts wine”.  We have updated the post to more accurately reflect our tasting, which will be from all Massachusetts wine companies, but not all produced within Massachusetts.  We’ve also added a clarification that Farnum Hills Cider is from New Hampshire.  We’re the first ones to call out others for mis-representing local, so we made these corrections as soon as they were brought to our attention.)

Filed under: Harvest Fest, Local First — SLF @ 12:19 pm

Contest - Give advice to incoming students for $20 @ Sherman Market

Aug 30 10:54 am

Well, the moving trucks are here and that means that students from all around the country are once again decending on Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and the like.  One of the challenges that students often face when coming into a new community is:  Where do I go to get what I need?

The SLF Interns created a mini guide to local businesses for incoming Freshmen this year

In many cases, it takes years for students to become acclimated in a community and to explore the local businesses that make our neighborhoods unique and awesome.  So we thought we’d try to help by offering you a prize to help them out.

Comment here with your suggestion for students on where they can buy student stuff locally.  Multiple items appreciated, but only 1 suggestion is necessary to enter.  Suggestions must be locally owned and independent businesses in or near Somerville and fill a need that students have.  Comments posted by 11:30 AM tomorrow (8/31) are eligible for a $20 Shift & Save coupon to Sherman Market where you can explore and enjoy some of the best New England food products out there.

Help incoming students buy local and get a chance for a $20 Gift Certificate to Sherman Market

Helping new residents go local  + a chance for free local food = Win.  Go!

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 10:54 am

How Local Food is advancing the Local Movement

Aug 28 3:55 pm

by Joe Grafton

Note: This post was written in conjunciton with the Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts blogathon, organized by the author of In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens.  This week long blogging effort is intended to raise awareness about locally produced food and further strengthen the local food movement.  We encourage our readers to donate to Mass Farmers Markets as this effort runs in conjunction with Farmers Market Week.

Local:  It seems like that word is popping up everywhere these days.  From food to finance, energy to retail, there is a growing cultural meme around local.  Frankly, I’m not surprised.  Local just makes sense and as time goes on, more and more economic impact studies prove the case that  Local Works.

Being on the ground in the movement, I feel I have an inside perspective on how the movment has evolved and is evolving.  That’s why Local Washing and its main perpetrators is of GRAVE concern to me.  That’s why I believe that the groundswell around Local First efforts will soon lead to substantive funding from government and foundations.  And that’s why I know that the movement owes a great deal of gratitude to Local Food advocates.

It seems to me that, of all the industries and aspects of Local, food is the one that is leading the way.  I think in large part, this has to do with the amazing work done by pioneers like Michael Pollan, our own JJ Gonson and the creators of Food, Inc.  I think it has to do with the way  in which Big Agribusiness works, and how that makes people feel.  I think it has to do with the way we feel about farmers.

But what I think it has to do with most is community.  That’s ultimately what local is all about.  Bringing us back together to do the things that worked for people in the past, but to do them in new ways that can last into the future.

And one of the hallmarks of community is coming together to eat.  When people are buying, preparing and eating local food, they tend to feel better about the purchase because the feel connected to the food system and they tend to enjoy it more because it is fresher and it tastes better.

But let’s not just make a case based on warm fuzzy feelings.  The truth is that if you look at the data, local food is exploding in our communities.  Farmers Markets are growing at a staggering rate.  Local food oriented businesses are springing up and expanding (Sherman Market, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, The Dairy Bar).  The Boston Local Food Festival is coming in October, and is going to be HUGE.  Heck, even Restaurant Week got into the act, offering a Local option through numerous participating restaurants.

Local Food has its challenges.  Prices can be high.  People don’t know how to cook and prepare food like they used to.  (Note:  both of those inhibit my personal consumption of local food). There are still a vast number of people who don’t ‘get it’ or are unaware of ‘it’ at all.  But this much is clear to me…local food and its advocates, suppliers and pioneers are out in front.  And I say to all of you early adopters out there:  Thanks for leading the way, and get ready to make more room at the Local table because we’re coming in force behind you.

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 3:55 pm

The Local Movement: Starting a Revolution

Aug 27 1:19 pm

by Jen Lawrence

Everyone is talking about green jobs now. Some people are vocally against the idea that green jobs can pull us out of poverty, slow the crush of climate change, create local economies. Others are touting green jobs as the only way that the world will stand upright again. At Groundwork Somerville, we believe that there are MANY things that must be addressed in order to create a truly sustainable community, and yes green jobs is one of those things. Also included is valuing our collective community voice, buying locally, banking with community banks, supporting neighborhoods, getting out of cars and on to bikes, and more.

GWS Jobs bring "Green" understanding to youth

I think that one of our youth employees said it best at a recent community meeting: “We need a revolution!” And we do. We can’t create a revolution, however, without youth voice. We have to resolve as a community to engage our youth members in action – in creating that revolution. And what revolution do we need, you ask?

We need to move back to our roots as communities and focus around our neighborhoods. We need to walk and bike to work. We need to actually KNOW the owner of the bakery down the street. We need to be on a first-name basis with our banker. We need to depend upon one another. Now what does this have to do with green jobs and youth revolution?

18 High School Students worked for Groundwork this Summer

It’s about rebuilding our communities so that they can sustain themselves. We don’t just need people to build solar panels, and farm locally, and re-insulate homes (although these are very necessary jobs!). We need to think about our neighborhoods differently and rebuild a local economy that is not dependent upon oil from the gulf or from economic trends in NYC. That is what this vision is about – rebuilding how we think about our communities in order to create self-sustaining communities – utilizing the full force of our amazing youth community members.

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 1:19 pm

How We Know Where to Go: Somerville on the World Wide Web

Aug 26 12:47 pm

by Maggie Kaiser & Louis Epstein

In a bustling city like Somerville, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do. The challenge lies in determining what’s out there so you can make an informed choice. We often learn about events while strolling around, stopping to read posters on telephone polls or in store windows. But our strolls (and dog-walking excursions) are sometimes limited to a relatively small geographical area which can limit our awareness of city life. That’s why we rely on virtual strolls through Somerville’s online streets to keep abreast of all the excitement that abounds in our 4.2 square miles of goodness.

Our first stop is - you guessed it - Somerville Local First! By following SLF’s updates on Facebook, we were some of the first people to capitalize on the Sherman Market Shift & Save coupon offered a few weeks ago. And the post on this very blog about the Ice Cream Showdown was instrumental in bringing us to GRAND & poor little rich girl on Saturday to try 8 different vendors’ sweet, frozen treats.

When we want to know what’s going on in our favorite squares, we mosey on over to the Davis Square LiveJournal and Union Square Main Streets. We also benefit from a constant drip of tweets and facebook updates from some of our favorite local businesses and organizations, including Sherman Cafe & Market, Taza Chocolate, The Center for Arts at the Armory, the Somerville Public Library and the Somerville Arts Council.

Rock n Roll Yard Sale, Union Square

Our Facebook friends alerted us to the totally fun Rock-n-Roll Yard Sale in Union Square

To always stay in the know, we check out the Somerville Scout, the Somerville Journal, and the City of Somerville’s own website where we’ve signed up for email alerts about snow emergencies and community meetings. And we are always on the lookout for new sites and feeds to stoke our Somerville obsession. If you have a favorite, we hope you’ll let us know! And if you’re new to online Somerville, welcome to the community and happy exploring!

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 12:47 pm

Moving the Ball Forward: What I Learned Interning with SLF

Aug 25 1:01 pm

by Karrie Larsson

When I first heard that my internship with Somerville Local First was to be dominated by working on this website and blog, I was a little skeptical. To be honest, I had an underlying fear that the new SLF site would end up kind of like the last one: lost in the black hole that is the Internet.

Luckily, this was the not case. Over the past several months, I’ve been able to see ideas and sketches materialize into a fully functioning website that is helping spread the message of the local movement. Community members cannot only use this website as a resource for information on the benefits of buying locally, but also as place to connect. Everything from the blog, to the Shift and Save Coupons, to the Member Directory is helping reinforce the growing network of people and businesses associated with SLF.  The fact that I was a part of making this possible has definitely made my time with SLF a gratifying experience.

SLF Interns Helping us Move the Movement Forward

It has also been a valuable one from which I will take away an important lesson. When first explaining how things work at SLF to me, my boss/mentor/sensei Joe Grafton said, “We are always moving the ball forward.” Over the summer, I dropped my procrastinating tendencies as I learned exactly what he meant: When pursuing an idea, act on it. If something does not work, understand why it didn’t, and then move on. Constantly outreach and interact- don’t let things rest idle. For example, this mindset was really essential for my work on the blog. Scheduling posts required advance planning and ongoing communication with contributors. I had to be on my toes when editing content and familiarizing myself with the blog world. Where as previously I would have kept delaying and dragging along the work, I was now forced to be active and diligent in my approach. Otherwise, this site would have most certainly entered that dreaded black hole.

I now realize that it is this philosophy of keeping the ball rolling that has enabled the success of the website, and the success of SLF as an organization. The people and businesses behind SLF are always asking the question “what next?” And I encourage you to do the same.

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 1:01 pm
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