Our Garden On Cape Cod by Amanda N.

As an aspiring environmental scientist and policy maker, nature has always held a strong hold in my day to day life in one way or another. Ever since before I could walk, my parents have had a house on Cape in the town of Yarmouth which further cemented the roots of my love for the outdoors. We are a three minute lengths’ walk to the beach, and a ten minute drive to the local park and bike trail, allowing my childhood to have been filled with ‘the best of both worlds’. As you may imagine I was very ecstatic when I discovered the course Garden Memoirs here at Merrimack College seeing as it incorporated two main things that I love: gardens and reading! My mother and father have always made a point to tend to our gardens in both the front and back yards of our summer home. Over the years we have planted fairy roses, hydrangeas, ‘butterfly plants’ which attract Monarch’s to our garden every year, geraniums, and inpatients. As a kid and still to this day I’ve always enjoyed watching the butterflies flutter around the mini ecosystem we created while sitting on the grass in the sun. 

Though gardening can be viewed as an individual activity in some ways, I’ve found through both my own personal experiences as well as through reading Farm City that it does in fact also possess an element of community and ‘socialness’. At our local Mahoney’s, which is essentially a gardening shop with plants galore, my mom and I always run into fellow neighbors and gardeners alike on our trips there. Another instance would be on sunny, summer days when people walk past our home on their way to the beach many people in our association stop by and talk to my parents about our front yard garden and its aesthetic. 

Gardening of all kinds is a great way to spend time with your family and friends outdoors, as well as a great way to give back to your landscape. By creating a garden of flowers and or vegetables, you start to notice different types of insects and creatures that find comfort and homes within the mini world you’ve handmade. We notice a lot of baby bunnies sleeping in the shade of our rose bushes, butterflies as I previously mentioned, and plenty of pollinators such as bumblebees that spend their days bouncing from petal to petal all within the confines of our very own front yard. When I have a home of my own, I fully intend on having a garden like the one my parents have as it has provided me with so much more than just a pretty, aesthetic view.

A Holistic Life

Written and Illustrations by Aleda Collins

Holistic medicine aims to treat the entire body, mind, and soul as opposed to strictly treating symptoms. Holistic philosophies are centered around the idea that everything is interconnected. With these two definitions alone, it can be argued that holistic beliefs are those that are beneficial to the entirety of a situation. And if that’s the case, a holistic approach to life might be worth a shot.

The difference between a holistic philosophy and a holistic lifestyle is only the matter of taking action based on the ideas about everything in the Earth and Universe being connected. As humans, I believe that we long for connection. With people, pets, passions, whatever the case may be; we want this interconnectedness with the Earth so that we are able to feel purpose, and I want that connection to be a good one.

Aside from eating less meat and using less plastic, the opportunities to live a holistic lifestyle are overflowing in your backyard. That’s right, a single plot of land can offer its nutrients to supply ingredients for holistic remedies, household cleaners, perfume, and of course snacks. This is a great tool for people that want to have a positive connection with their environment, but can’t separate from meat products just yet. There are so many simple recipes that make such a huge difference to the health of our planet and ourselves. Here is one of my favorites for an all-purpose household cleaner that not only kills germs safely, but smells amazing:

Illustration by Aleda Collins
  • One part white vinegar
  • One part water
  • Lemon (or other citrus) rinds
  • Rosemary

Combine these ingredients and let rest for about a week before using on kitchen counters, glass, sinks, garbage cans. Tip: avoid using on granite

Seed Savers Exchange

Written By: Joshua Dennehy

Seed savers Exchange is an organization from Decorah Iowa that connects thousands of home gardeners, farmers and many more through the worlds largest exchange open to all. Seed Savers Exchange collect, store and regenerate rare heirloom seeds. These seeds are collected so that they can be preserved and grown the right way. With proper education Seed Savers Exchange want everyone to have the same option to grow rare heirloom seeds. While doing so, this is to help educate all types or famers or gardeners, then distribute to gardeners everywhere. Everyone from all over will be able to grow such rare seeds.

Photo from “Seed Savers Exchange”

Organizations that are here to educate young and eager gardeners are such a big part of society. Without true education people would not know how to plant and harvest rare seeds. Seed Savers Exchange is crucial to all gardeners because they inform you about how to preserve and seed save. Not wasting seeds is what will help the environment. The youth need to understand the right way to plant a seed then when the crops are ready harvest while saving seeds as well. Programs like these want to help exchange many types off seeds for everyone to use. Teaching not only kids but young adults, will help change the outlook on seed saving.

Photo from “Seed Savers Exchange”

Seed Savers Exchange program can develop such education in farm towns that needs it. Anyone who looks into there website to gather information on how to plant seeds the right way or even save seeds will learn valuable information. Information that can help the environment and especially creating healthier crops. Seed Savers Exchange is another organization that wants to educate and help many communities.

Check “Seed Savers Exchange” website below to learn more.


Love and Carrots

Written By: Joseph Jorgenson

Love and Carrots is an organization located in Washington D.C that provides, installs, and teaches people how to tend to Gardens. It is a non-profit organization that helps less fortunate communities in many ways. One of them is growing their own produce in a healthy and natural way so that people don’t have to buy it from a grocery store. Another way “Love and Carrots” helps to better the community is it aims to keep kids off the streets and gives them a hands on learning experience that will teach them valuable skills to better themselves and their community.

Photo From: “Love and Carrots website”

Programs like “Love and Carrots” are so crucial for spreading knowledge of gardening while also helping less fortunate youth population. These programs are so crucial to inner-city neighborhoods because of the lack of “green space” in cities as well as the stereotype of inner-city behavior of these kids. It is so important to find these kids meaningful and healthy activities to participate in. By giving valuable lessons on how to tend to these gardens, it spreads loves and distracts inner-city kids from the troubling world around them.

From “Love and Carrots” website

Non-profit urban gardening companies are vital to the development of healthy foods as well as healthy behaviors in the community. If everyone had a garden to tend to it would help the community in varies ways. “Love and Carrots” is just one of many companies looking to better the community and the future.


Above is the website for “Love and Carrots”. Give it a look.

Food Preservation, Family Traditions, and Delicious Pie

Written by Eliza Whitfield

Pies are a type of food preservation that my family has utilized for years. Pasty has been a much-loved meat-based pie that originated in Cornwall, England. Pasty is an affordable, long-lasting meal that was originally used by miners and their families. In the past, pasties were served in the shape of a semi-circle for the convenience of a handheld meal that could be easily taken into the mines. Pasty usually consists of a small portion of meat or beans and a variety of vegetable choices that can easily be grown in a home garden: potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, etc. 

My family has passed a pasty recipe down for more than five generations. We make the pasty in a pie tin as opposed to a traditional semi-circle. I cannot count the number of times I made pasty with my grandma and my mom. We would spend all day making dough and slicing vegetables, then sit around the table to share the delicious meal. On occasion, we would drive to my uncle’s house and deliver him a pie or two for his family. It is a tradition that brings my family together and provides happy memories that we all cherish.  

My family’s recipe: 

  • ½ lbs meat — usually beef
  • 5-6 potatoes — cut into thin slices
  • 2-3 carrots — shredded
  • 1 onion — diced, then mixed with the meat
  • Pie crust:
    • 2 cups flour
    • ½ cup shortening or butter
    • Pinch of salt
    • Enough water to make paste

To make the pie crust, combine the ingredients in a bowl, using the water to make the dry ingredients stick together. Once the ingredients are mixed, place the dough in the refrigerator to rest while slicing the vegetables and browning the meat. The meat should be cooked, before being placed into the pie to ensure the pie will not contain raw meat, as well as a way to drain excess grease. 

Once all the ingredients are ready, separate the dough in half. Roll both halves of the dough into a circle and place one half in a nine-inch pie tin. Then layer the vegetables and meat repeatedly until the pie is rounded at the top (potatoes, carrots, meat, potatoes, carrots, meat). Finally, place the remaining dough on top of the pie, crimp the edges, and slice 2-3 air holes atop the pie. 

Cook the pie at 350* for roughly 45 minutes.

This pie, if sliced moderately, can provide multiple meals a day for 2-3 days. Pasty tastes delicious when it is eaten both hot and cold. 

Pasty Collage

A Fresh Start

Written By Drew MacInnis

This summer I was lucky enough to meet a coworker named Layne with an incredible little farm at his home. Layne and his family had moved to New Hampshire a few years ago all the way from Oklahoma. Living in a more rural area of New Hampshire with an abundance of land they realized the wonderful opportunity they had to start raising animals. There was already a barn on their new property and with a preexisting love for horses and horseback riding, horses had to be the first animals in their new chapter. Instead of going out and purchasing young foals they decided to go and rescue two adult horses to give them a fresh start at life. 

Tesla (left) and Champ (right) eating some hay.

Horses if you didn’t already know eat a lot. Whether it be vegetables or loads and loads of hay they eat, and this is where Layne steps in. He is the oldest of all his siblings and takes on a lot of responsibility when it comes to caring for the horses. He is often the one making trips to go pick of hay bales and other resources for them.

Boaz (black and white) and Xerxes (brown) enjoying a pumpkin treat.

After having the horses for a while an opportunity presented itself for the family to also rescue two ponies, one of which lost an eye. After seeing the beautiful ponies, they knew they had to have them. In order to do so they had to build a separate enclosure for them as they couldn’t be housed with the horses, which Layne had a big part in building. Once this was finished they added the two ponies to their family.

Rebah in the chicken coop.

It doesn’t stop there though, as there was another addition to their growing animal family. A little farm surely wouldn’t be complete without some chickens. This too required some more building for Layne as a chicken coop needed to be made. Once this was completed it was time to add some more rescued animals into the picture. At the current moment they have 17 chickens in which they harvest the eggs from. They do not harvest the chickens for meat, as they truly love animals and just want to give them a happy life for however long they have left. It is great to see the difference Layne and his family have made in the lives of animals who at one time had no hope and no sense of belonging.

Beautiful Blooms

Written by Hannah Gibbs

When I was younger, my favorite sign of spring was when the crocus flowers would start to sprout in my parents garden. This is when my love for flowers began. It brought me so much excitement to know the spring and summer months were upon us. It also meant the peonies and lilacs would start to bloom and eventually our hydrangea bushes, which were all right in my backyard. 

Around three years ago, I got the opportunity to work for a local, established flower shop in Andover, MA that also specializes in indoor and outdoor plants. My knowledge of flowers, herbs, house plants, and more has greatly increased over the past few years. From the numerous flowers we use in our arrangements, to the multiple varieties of each flower and their flowering season, I’ve been able to learn so much. Through this job, the meaning of flowers has changed for me. I have been able to appreciate that floral design is a form of art and a creative outlet for the designers that can portray a strong message to others. Flowers can be used for many occasions: weddings, baby showers, funerals, birthdays, as well as just to make someone’s day a little bit brighter. I am always on the lookout for flowers blooming around me, and I love to share tips and tricks on how to care for them with others. 

Local floral gardens are places I enjoy visiting and supporting. One in particular, Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA, has the most beautiful dahlias in the late summer and early fall months. The Steven Coolidge Estate in North Andover, MA has gorgeous floral cutting gardens where my mom and I enjoy picking our own bouquets of flowers. 

Flowers are very universal and everyone can find joy in them. When I really think about it, it amazes me how the earth grows and provides us with such beautiful blooms to appreciate. Flowers are nature’s artwork. I am very grateful for my experience of getting to work with flowers, and I hope others can see how special they truly are.

Dahlia from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA.
Flower Garden at the Steven Coolidge Estate in North Andover, MA.
Peony off the coast of Maine.

Nessralla’s Farm of Marshfield Massachusetts

Nessralla’s Farm 1979

Nessralla’s Farm of Marshfield Massachusetts has been a family owned and operated business since 1979. The farm was originally owned and operated by Nacklie Nessralla with the help of his son Paul, until Nacklie’s death in July of 2016. The farm is now run entirely by Paul Nessralla. Opened all year round the farm and garden center specializes in a variety of different plants, vegetables, shrubs, christmas trees, firewood, seasonal items, and so much more. The farm and garden center is known along the south shore for its vibrant and eye catching annuals and perennials. Although there is definitely a booming business all year round, the busiest time of the year for Nessralla’s Farm starts Easter weekend and lasts until Memorial Day weekend. The farm accumulates on average about 40-50 percent of their annual profits during this time period. Another huge part of their profits come from selling USDA certified kiln dried firewood due to their location on the south shore. This location has allowed for a booming firewood industry all year long because of the cold New England winter months, and because of the many beaches that allow for summer fire pits when it’s warm.

Cady and Nacklie Nessralla are pictured sorting the fruits and vegetables.

I personally have been around Nessralla’s Farm for almost 10 years now. Growing up I was and still am very close to the Nessralla family. Working around an environment like this has taught me a lot about gardening and how to run a business in an atmosphere such as this one, and I am very grateful for that. Cady Nessralla, the daughter of Paul, has been a sister to me. In talking to her about her experience at the farm and growing up around gardening, she decided to share her favorite memory; “My favorite memory of the farm was when I was a little kid. I have been going to the farm ever since I was born. My mom would bring me down when I was only a few months old, because all of the regular customers were so excited to meet me, because I was the first grandchild, and daughter within this family run business. When I started to become a little older (probably around 6) I would go to the farm with my dad and grandfather during my February break. I always loved going, because I was a daddy’s girl and anything my dad did was something I wanted to do. I got to spend all day planting flowers and vegetables, and I would listen to stories from when they were my age, and how they were doing the exact same thing. I loved going to the farm all year round but I especially enjoyed it during planting season. I used to love planting seeds and watching them grow over the next few months because as a little kid it would always be so cool to come back and see how much your hard work had paid off. I continued to do this over the course of the next 12 years until I left for college. Now that I am at college full time in Florida,  my favorite time of year at the farm is Christmas season. It gives me the chance to help out my dad during one of the busiest times of the year. And although my grandfather passed away a few years ago I know his presence is always with us when we are at the farm whether it is during planting season, Chrisrmas time, or all the days in between.”

If you would like to visit Nessralla’s Farm of Marshfield they are located at 1200 Ocean Street, Marshfield MA and are open Monday through Sunday 9 AM – 6 PM.

Written By: Jillian Dunn

The Benefits of Urban Farming

A gardening topic that I find very interesting and want to learn more about is the benefits of farming in the city. I find this topic really interesting because farming in the city is very different from farming in the country, and I feel as though it isn’t talked about enough. Farming in the city has another term which it is best known as: urban farming. One benefit of urban farming is the proximity. Since cities are more populated, the local crops that are grown are easily accessed by more people. Also, urban farmers don’t have to worry about paying to transfer their goods because it is all sold to the people who live around them. Another benefit of urban farming is it is accessible to anyone. This means that people of low income have the opportunity to have access to nutritious food that is also at a low price. One of my favorite advantages of urban farming is its ability to build a sense of community. It does this by offering an experience for people to gather together and it benefits all. Urban farming is also very adaptable, meaning that the setting can vary. For instance, one can set up an urban farm in a backyard, on a porch, on a rooftop, etc. It also can vary on the number of people it needs to run an urban farm. An urban farm can be run by a whole group of urban farmers or even just one person. Urban farming also tends to be low risk because urban farmers can just cultivate a garden in their own space instead of having the financial burden of buying new land. Also, there is a huge demand for locally grown food. Many people prefer locally grown food and local urban farmers know the wants and needs of their community that they live in. Overall, urban farming has many benefits that make the city a more healthy and happier place. 

Written by Hannah Brennan


Another urban farm adds so much color to city!
Urban farm community!
Urban farming adding color to the gloomy city!

Exploring Merrimack College

By: Gordon Pham

These are some pictures I taken when I was at Merrimack College and in my home town. The first picture shows that there is still snow on campus and that the pond is still frozen. What I would like to know about the pond is if any fish or other species are swimming in the frozen pond?

The second picture is show a tree with green fungus growing on the side of a large tree. I researched that the green algae growing on the tree is not dangerous or harmful to the tree. Algae and moss can be a food source and provides energy for the fungus during photosynthesis. During one of my ecology labs, the lab groups wanted to take a nature walk near the woods. This was interesting to me because I thought it was dangerous to touch.

The last picture is a memory last spring when the weather was still warm and I grew small pepper plants in my garage. I had a memory when I would leave the pepper plants out in the sun and adding fertilizer to add nutrients to the plants. Every few hours I would go outside and add water to the pots. I knew that they were ready to eat after the peppers would grow a little bigger and the colors were a dark orange or red color. These are Asian peppers that are very spicy. These peppers are usually used to make Korean Kimchi and they go best with almost any meal.

Merrimack College
Ecology Nature Walk
Growing Pepper Trees