Mill City Grows

Mill City Grows, you’ve heard us talking about them nonstop and here’s why. Mill City Grows (MCG) is one of our first partners who have helped us in making the Farm Share Program. If you are a member of the Farm Share Program, all of your delicious vegetables that you receive on a weekly is grown and harvested by Mill City Grows. MCG harvests all of the produce in the Farm Share bins either the morning of or night before deliveries. They are dedicated to providing our Farm Share members with fresh locally grown produce that was grown using sustainable practices.

Mission and Values

Mill City Grows is a non-profit organization that fosters food justice by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education.  MCG utilizes four locations throughout the city: the UML Urban Agriculture Greenhouse on East Campus, the Rooftop Garden at UCrossing, the Mill No. 5 Urban Farm on Middlesex Street and the ‘Big Farm’ by the Cross Rivers Building off Pawktucket Blvd.

“We envision that Lowell will be known for its innovative approach to food production and food justice where residents are engaged actors in creating a food secure community that promotes the ability to grow, consume, and distribute healthy, locally produced food on land that is seen as a vital resource for the community and is protected for food production” – Mill City Grows

What They Do

In addition to providing fresh produce for the Farm Share program, Mill City Grows also runs daily Mobile Markets around the city of Lowell. The goal of Mobile Markets is to increase food access to Lowell community members including access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, they run the School Garden program which partners with Lowell public school to create and support gardens across the city of Lowell. Since 2013, they have built and created 14 working school gardens around Lowell. MCG also have a multitude of educational programs such as The Gardener Training Program, Farm to Table cooking classes and Summer Youth Food Justice Squad Program. MCG truly is an amazing organization that has aided in food justice around the city. We are very lucky to be partnered with such committed and experienced MCG staff.

Click here to visit their website to learn more and to gather information on their events!

Farmer’s Market Magic

All we can say is, what a success! On Thursday, August 8th, we had our first mini farmer’s market event, Peas Bring Your Friends, in the Salem Lot located outside of University Crossing. The event consisted of having our local partners gather together to share their products with the UMass Lowell and Lowell Community along with education on what their missions are within their businesses.

Honey jars

Our partners who attended were Mill City Grows, New England Beekeeping, Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen and Olympos Bakery. Both UMass Lowell and Lowell community members joined us in a fun and engaging day full of free samples, education from local vendors and the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables along with different flavors of honey! Everyone who attended the event had to opportunity to sample three different flavored jams from Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen, different flavors of honey from New England Beekeeping and bread and oil from Olympos Bakery.

Why We Support Local Vendors

We wanted to highlight the importance of utilizing local vendors around the Lowell area to enhance localized community support. Each of our local vendors has a story tied into our mission, sustainable practices and community building. There are many benefits related to increasing awareness of utilizing local vendors. Reasons to support local vendors are for public benefits, keeping jobs and wages within the community, highlighting localized customer needs, and our favorite, environmental sustainability. You may be asking, why does supporting local vendors affect environmental sustainability?

Olympos Bakery Bread

Often times, local vendors are in either walking distance or just a short drive down the road decreasing the carbon footprint (vehicle gas) used to get there. Most large chain stores have to ship their items across states, the country or even overseas therefore using tons of fossil fuels which increase pollution. We hope to increase the use of local vendors to help our mission community building and the promotion of sustainable practices!

What’s Next?

We are hoping to have Farm Share pick-ups in conjunction with our mini Famer’s Markets in the future. As we partner with more local vendors, we are hoping that the markets will be even bigger and better as the season continues. There are a lot of exciting things coming to our Farm Share Program, stay tuned to what is coming next!

Please join us for our next pick-up event: Jamin’ Out on Thursday, September 19th!

Jammin’ Out: Farm-to-Kitchen Style

We asked ourselves, what is better than farm fresh jam? We honestly couldn’t come up with anything… that’s why we partnered with Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen out of Haverhill, MA! Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen is a local small business centered around creating farm to table foods, especially their famous jams! Carolyn, the owner of the business, bakes all of her products out of a quaint wholesale kitchen on her home property which is city & state licensed. Her husband built this kitchen for her to pursue her passion for baking and discovering new farm fresh recipes. Carolyn’s products include various jams such as strawberry-rhubarb, apple pie, wild blueberry, apricot and more! She also creates delicious mixes such as biscuits and cornbread mixes, granolas, and baked goods such as scones and pound cakes. Her products are featured at multiple local farms and farmers markets. Check out all her delicious products here!

Jam in a basket

“Farm cooking is about celebrating the season, sourcing local farm foods, creativity and continued education in the kitchen, and keeping it all simple along the way!” – Carolyn

Carolyn’s Passion

Carolyn has a rather impressive story that highlights her passion and dedication to her farm cooking. Carolyn is a 1990 Culinary School graduate and has a multitude of professional experiences including a restaurant cook and carter, corporate chef, private chef, production kitchen manager, start-up bakery owner, recipe developer and culinary instructor. Carolyn currently spends most of her time focusing on her self-made business, Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen. She also serves as an independent farm bakery consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture. Carolyn enjoys teaching her own private group cooking/baking classes as well! Her cooking classes are for all level cooks and feature full-length hands-on classes, farm harvest cooking workshops, and chef demonstrations. The classes are designed to provide a fun, educational, and inspirational culinary experience for all. “Our cooking class themes celebrate the growing seasons in New England and feature signature menus highlighting the foods and flavors found at local farms, wineries, cheese makers, and craft producers”. Carolyn enjoys to cook by the seasons by creating new and exciting seasonal treats year round! We are beyond excited to be partnered with such a passionate woman who loves what she does and it shows in the flavor of her foods!

Check out Carolyn’s website to find products, her cooking class schedule and what farmers markets she will be at! Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen

Are You Bready for This?!

Have you heard the news? The Farm Share Program just partnered with Olympos Bakery, a local bakery located on Broadway Street in Lowell, MA. Olympos Bakery is known around the city for their delicious homemade food. Olympos has been making homemade fresh baked goods for over a century! The bakery sells traditional Greek and Italian pastries, along with sandwiches, salads, calzones and beach-style pizzas. They deliver, cater or you can come down to the shop and dine in. Olympos is known as the “best-ever-homemade-lunch-‘n’-dessert-crankin’-out-place there is.”

Olympos Bakery Sign

A Century of Homemade Recipes

Olympos opened in downtown Lowell over a century ago in 1915. Alethia Papanastassiou, the current owner of Olympos, has taken over the bakery from her great-grandfather who opened and ran the shop in 1915. Alethia stated, “makes me feel good knowing this is something my great-grandfather opened and I’m keeping it going.” The shop and delicious recipes have been within Papanastassiou’s family for decades. The recipes used for their breads are the same recipes used and created by her great-grandmother. Olympos Bakery is an old school bakery with traditional family recipes that everyone who eats there falls in love with.

Olympos Bakery is located on 214 Broadway Street, Lowell, MA, 01854. They are open Monday-Saturday! Please click here to find out more information on bakery hours and to check out their menu!

What’s the Buzz?

Did you know, honey bees must gather nectar from 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey?! On top of that, honey bees are a female dominated society with 95% of bees being female. Local honey is packed with nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial to health. As a rule of thumb, the darker the honey, the higher the antioxidants!

Jars of honey on shelf

New Partnerships

The UMass Lowell Sustainability Farm Share team is excited to start it’s partnership with Carlisle Honey and New England Beekeeping. Carlisle Honey and New England Beekeeping recently moved to their new location located in Tyngsboro, MA which they call The Colony.

In the early 1700’s, the land of where the Colony is now located, was used for farming by the Thompson family. The Richardson Dairy Farm operated on the property from the 1940’s until the 1980’s. Now, the land area has a beautiful facility, The Colony, which has numerous bee hives used for extraction and bee pollination. The Colony also has a store for purchasing all different flavors of honey along with beekeeping equipment.

It is the start of an amazing partnership with new plans ahead!

How the Magic Happens

Honeybees are located on the grounds of The Colony along with 60 other locations in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Now let’s talk about how they make their delicious honey. We asked Rick Reault, owner of Carlisle Honey, about the process. Rick stated, “honey supers are removed from their hives starting in mid June through October. The honey is then extracted from the comb at our home facility which we call ‘The Colony’”. They also produce mead, an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, at The Colony. Rick then went on to state, “mead is a type of honey wine produced by putting honey water and yeast in a fermentation tank for 4 weeks then aged in oak barrels.” The Colony produces cyser, a blend of apple cider and mead, as well!

To keep things fun and interesting, seasonal flavors of honey are produced and available year round!

Sustainable Practices

The Colony has 124 solar panels on their roof top to power their operation. Their long-term goals include not only continuing to expand and form partnerships, but also create a walking path on their property and community that is lined with 50 different types of plants for their bees to pollinate. Carlisle Honey and New England Beekeeping is committed to sustainability and shares our understanding of the importance of bees in a healthy environment. This makes them a great partner for UMass Lowell Sustainability. There’s more to come, stay tuned!

The Colony is located on 7 Locust Ave, Tyngsboro, MA, 01879. They are open 7 days a week! Please click here to find out more information and store hours!

Farm Share Recipes

Love the Farm Share but don’t know how to cook your veggies? Don’t want to cook the same recipes over and over?

3 Tips to Utilizing Your Farm Share Contents

  1. Make juice for smoothies
    Don’t always know what to do with your veggies? Hate beets but love their nutrients? Juice em’! Juicing is an effective way to extract nutrients from veggies without having to make a dish with the vegetable. Add your juice to a smoothie or drink straight to utilize your veggies quickly!.
  2. Experiment with veggie noodles
    Veggie noodles are easy to make and taste delicious! Try spiraling your zucchinis with a spiraling tool to make your pasta dishes lighter and more nutritious. Spiraling tools are simple and don’t have to be expensive. I got my hand held spiral tool for under $5.
  3. Add veggies to simple dishes
    Adding veggies to dishes you wouldn’t normally is the key to using them all. Add extra scallions to an omelette, or to guacamole. Add your leafy greens to a smoothie. Make salsa, and more!

Discover a variety on our recipes page.


Welcome to the blog for the UMass Lowell & Mill City Grows Farm Share Program!

UMass Lowell is committed to climate neutrality as an institution and is a leader in sustainable education, research and innovation. Sustainability is a core commitment in the University’s comprehensive strategy to manage growth and respond to societal needs. As a result, UMass Lowell has seen a dramatic transformation that has generated impressive results and woven sustainability into every aspect of campus life.

Mill City Grows is a non-profit organization that fosters food justice by improving physical health, economic independence, and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education.

Together we have formed the UMass Lowell & Mill City Grows Farm Share Program. Our program aims to provide the UMass Lowell community with locally-grown, farm-fresh produce that promotes sustainable urban agriculture food systems and ensures community benefit. As a result, the UMass Lowell community will have the opportunity to receive a variety of organically-grown produce weekly that is packed with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber while supporting urban food systems.

By combining our expertise, it qualifies our on campus Urban Agriculture site to be designated as a working farm and allows us to start over 40,000 seedlings in the campus greenhouse per year. Our partnership not only provides food for not only the Farm Share, but also to the community of Lowell.

Here we will be posting healthy recipes that use the produce members receive in their bins, photos of events throughout the season, weekly veg posts, farm updates, and more!

Learn more on the UMass Lowell Office of Sustainability Website.