UMass in the city – training new gardeners

UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture professor Dr. Frank Mangan and graduate student, Zoraia Barros, conducted a gardening clinic at the East Boston Wellness Community Garden on May 31.

There were about 40 gardeners, including “future gardeners” (kids).  Two were native Portuguese speakers, two native English speakers, and the rest were native Spanish speakers.  Frank did a presentation on soil fertility and pest management in Spanish and then they both worked with the gardeners on specific questions related to their garden plots.

Frank speaking on plant care in Spanish

The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture donated about 400 transplants of vegetables popular in Latino and Brazilian cuisine to the gardeners.  Fact sheets for five of the crops were developed by Dr. Mangan’s students considering language, culture and horticultural levels/skills of the target audience.


Some of the factors considered were:

  • they wanted to put together fact sheets that would be appropriate for multiple audiences, including staff who work for the gardeners
  •  the use of color pictures, in particular since there are many names in multiple languages for these crops
  • the literacy levels of the gardeners, which in the case of the gardeners at this community garden ranges dramatically
Zoraia working with the gardeners

The gardeners were extremely attentive and appreciative of the efforts of the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture to bring gardening expertise to the city.

See more information on Dr. Mangan, and please check out this short video on Raising Ethnic Vegetables in Massachusetts.