Waltham, MA

Written by Emily Edgerly, Outreach Coordinator, Team Massachusetts

A banner on the church read, “Climate Change is a Moral Issue.” After biking for forty miles, this banner was able to renew our tired and parched bodies. We continued on to the Christ Church Episcopal and met the hospitality of Reverend Sara Erwin.

We had a wonderful week in Waltham working with a wide breadth of environmental organizations. We began at the Waltham Community Day Center where Director Marilyn Lee-Tom grows her own produce around the center to provide food for people in need. Team Mass helped cook lunch and plant a second season for their garden. It was amazing to see how committed their staff was to providing the homeless with healthy local food, a daytime shelter, employment services and Internet access.

Planting tomatoes in the backyard of the Waltham Community Day Center

The team took a trip out to Waltham Community Farms where we built two large compost bins, weeded a greenhouse, and planted a hydroponic garden. Education and Volunteer Coordinator, Fan Watkinson, explained the philosophy of the community and the growth they’ve achieved since it’s establishment 15-years ago. They now have 500 CSA shareholders and donate 1,000 pounds of produce a week to local food banks and emergency food relief programs. Waltham Fields Community Farm truly blew us away. Their booming production is proof to the potential of community farms and wholesome education, awareness and accessibility to healthy local food community farms can generate.

Team Mass also had the chance to work with Director Judy Fallows of Healthy Waltham to plant a community garden behind a public housing development in town. The garden will hopefully foster an outlet for residents to get outside and harvest their own produce as well as gain knowledge about organically grown food.

One of the highlights of our week was working with a group of 30 high school and college students spending the week with the Interfaith Youth Initiative at Brandeis University. The group draws in youth whose religious affiliation calls them to take action in a social justice cause. Murtaza and I spoke with the youth on how their faith backgrounds have called us to take part in the climate action movement. Later in the week we joined their Peace Walk throughout Boston and were blown away by their visuals and skits on issues including; religious intolerence, environmental awarness, equality, and domestic abuse.

A few of the Interfaith Initiative Youth talking about religious intolerance on their walk throughout Boston

More than any other week, our time in Waltham showed us the diversity of climate action taking place in just one small town. Our experiences and relationships we were able to build were irrepacable. A big thank you to all the community members we met in Waltham and for all the hard work you are doing for the world.

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