We finished last week from our cozy desks in Plainville, MA at Crystal Spring, our home for the last 8 years – and started this week in a brand new office in Providence. We’re beyond excited for this next chapter of RT – but first things first, the important stuff to share with you:
As of Monday March 9th we are now located at:
50 Sims Avenue Suite 2, Providence, RI 02909.
Our phone number will stay the same (508-316-3494), but extensions will change.
If you have trouble reaching us during this transition time, please call our cellphones.
Behold: our (eventual) new home with Farm Fresh RI!
If you’re asking, “why Providence?” – this is why. Last year, we were presented with the opportunity to relocate into the brand new Farm Fresh RI Food Hub, and it was really a no-brainer. The synergies to be had between our organizations are seemingly endless: the work we do is similar in many ways, and our core missions even more so. But it’s the key differences between RT and Farm Fresh that will be most mutually beneficial: new opportunities and access to resources, and very different kinds of expertise to share.
The new Food Hub will be a 60,000 sq ft building housing Farm Fresh RI programs, a year-round farmers market, and food- & farm-related businesses. The site is located in the Woonasquatucket River Valley, an area of Providence that was an industrial stronghold until the latter half of the 20th century. After years of disinvestment and abandonment, the neighborhood is repositioning itself based on key strategies set forth in a major economic development plan for the state’s food economy. Because of its scale and purpose, the Farm Fresh RI Food Hub is considered a major catalyst in this revitalization effort.
The Farm Fresh RI Food Hub will be a vibrant center for local food & agriculture, expand access to locally grown food for underserved communities and strengthen regional food system infrastructure. Until the new building is finished (expected late 2020), we’re set up in a temporary office right next door to the new site.
We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this project and form a partnership with Farm Fresh RI. As a team of fewer than 10 employees, the prospect of a bustling office with other food activists and like-minded thinkers sounds like a dream! As Angel settles fully into his role of Executive Director, he’ll be charting the course for RT’s future, and you’ll be hearing more about what this new journey might bring.
Read more about the Farm Fresh RI Food Hub here.
A goodbye & thank you to Crystal Spring
Along with the joy of starting a new and promising chapter, we feel the weight of a chapter ending. This move really can’t be characterized as relocating an office, but more like moving out of a beloved home. For the past 8 years, that home has been the classroom wing of a beautiful old New England farmhouse and former school in Plainville, MA, owned by the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
Surrounded by 40 acres of woods and a burbling spring, the land has been lovingly cared for and maintained as a spiritual and environmental education center by a small group of remarkable Dominican sisters: Chris Loughlin, Barb Harrington and until a few years ago, Carol Rossi. Coming to work each day into the presence of the sisters’ deep wisdom and longtime commitment to a new story of earth-centered justice and hope, and looking out our office windows at gardens, meadow and woods has fed our work and our souls.
And now, change is in motion. The Dominican organization, here as elsewhere, is no longer able to maintain all of their properties and is shepherding a transition to new uses and visions. Crystal Spring woodlands will become a community land trust, and the house and outbuildings, if all goes as planned, will become the home for a local artist family and a community arts center. For now, Barb and Chris will continue their ministry in the area.
At our last annual Board and Staff retreat at Crystal Spring at the end of February, Michael closed our expression of gratitude to the sisters with these words that capture something of what we’ve learned from them, from favorite poet Wendell Berry:
No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
The seeds of possibility nurtured by our time at Crystal Spring will continue to grow. Come visit us in our new home!