Happy World Heritage Day!

With maybe the last fall of snow of the winter, spring is just around the corner. With either tears of joy or sadness, the snow hanging around the front and back of your houses, apartments, schools and more will slowly begin to melt. The skies will be gleaming with a bright blue, the plants will be blossoming, and the trees will be looking more lively and green. We are now moving onto the month of April which is filled with many celebrations including Earth day, April’s Fools day, Easter, and more. One exciting holiday that is coming up is World Heritage Day.

World Heritage Day will be celebrated on April 18. When you think of heritage, what pops up in your mind? Are you thinking of the Heritage farm ice cream stand on Pawtucket street? Or maybe culture? Heritage can be both tangible and intangible objects that we have inherited. It could be traditions that we have or historical buildings that are significant to us from our past. We all have different traditions and customs based on our ethnicities or where we have come from, making up our heritages.

Culture is significant in everyone’s life. It is also what makes Lowell so vibrant and unique today. Lowell is full of rich history and screams bold and different. With brick buildings located along the sides of many streets, nine neighborhoods carrying a diverse population of 108,861 people, and a sense of community lurking in the air, this is what makes Lowell a very interesting city. We do not need new tall glass skyscrapers to enjoy the beauty of Lowell. The old and rustic brick buildings alone are enough. Lowell became a city on April 1, 1826 after being founded by Francis Cabot Lowell. It was one of the major industrial cities in the country when it became the place for cotton textile manufacturing. Lowell became more known and popular when the mills began to hire women and girls who were commonly from rural communities which coined the name that we now use to refer to these girls as: the Lowell mill girls.

In the middle of the 20th century, Lowell began to decline until the Tsongas center and Lowell National Historical Park was built, regaining attention and popularity. Many buildings were being demolished and were vacant. There was then an influx of immigrants, primarily refugees from Cambodia that traveled to Lowell, making a large impact on what Lowell is today. Currently, Lowell is filled with many museums and historical buildings. Art is a prominent aspect of Lowell with many newly built studio spaces occupying the once vacant and ruined mills. Lowell is filled with many local artists and musicians. A tradition that Lowell has is hosting a folk festival every year. The Lowell Folk Festival is the second largest free folk festival in the US. With all of the influences from the past, Lowell has now become a place of comfort and of cultural diversity. Along the cobblestone streets of Downtown Lowell, we now see an array of organizations, eateries with cultural influences, and overall a busy place filled with people still walking when the lamps go dim and the skies become pitch black. This specific place which goes back to many decades ago where many once destroyed and vacant mills were occupied after Lowell was in the state of decline has now become a prominent location where people go to, to grab a quick lunch or enjoy a shopping spree. As a way of celebrating World Heritage Day, we should all take the time to appreciate the culture behind the vibrant place in which we live in and learn about its rich history. Happy World Heritage Day!

An Autumn Walk in Lowell

Take a walk in Lowell and reimagine history
to connect the path ahead of our great
community with the cultural vitality of the past.
It’s amazing!

Autumn is a beautiful place to be - this season is adorned with cool mornings and a colorful palette. Mornings like today I let my feet wander and wonder of the many untapped places one can discover in Lowell. I really love creating celebrations in places that are less explored. Lowell has the beauty, peacefulness and friendliness that makes this community home to so many impressive people. There are still many places I've yet to discover here and ambitiously hope to find myself there soon.

Very recently I received the opportunity to lead Made In Lowell into our next phase of development. Our former President and CEO, Tobias Marx, had a compelling vision for our community and with his support and encouragement he readied me to continue building upon this foundation upon his resignation.

My personal vision for this organization is to continue strengthening our partnerships, celebrating community achievements together, nurturing new ideas, fostering community traditions, and further investing in the City of Lowell as an advocate for all that live, learn, work, play and achieve greatness in this community. Simply - I love Lowell and have found my home here. This City has the character and liveliness that continue to inspire me to give more, do more, and become more. 

I see our potential. Each of us have a pretty cool opportunity to continue developing dynamic leaders, engaging new people in efforts, and fulfilling our capacity to envision a greater Lowell together. This Lowell is our Lowell and Made In Lowell strives to align with the unified mission of a collective community. I want to see us succeed and promise to dedicate myself to our success. Yet, all of this is only possible with each of us investing in the potential of Lowell's tomorrow. 

With the ideas, support and engagement from our community members - Made In Lowell will bring more incredible opportunities, capture more of what Lowell is, and strive to enrich the heart of Lowell with more creative and abundant moments that increase the livability of our City. This is our City - make Lowell the city we all want it to become!

We aspire to provide a platform where our collective stories and ambition can create the Lowell we all desire by becoming more community driven and entirely community oriented. We're all part of the Lowell experience. Thank you for welcoming me into the community, encouraging and supporting me in this spectacular transition, and becoming part of my experience in Lowell. 

With all my kindness,

Gabby Davis, President & Director of Operations

 

Change in Leadership

A personal letter from our Founder Tobias Marx!

Starting a letter like this is not always an easy task. It is no different for me at this point.

I started Made In Lowell just over 2 years ago with the ambitious vision to bring people together and create an innovative approach to economic development.

The support I have received across the board could not have been more loving and caring. Without the great community of Lowell, Made In Lowell would not be where it is today.

There are an entire group of people, way to many to list here, but please know, that I appreciate you, and I care for you all deeply.

Together, we have created something incredible.

It is time for me to make room for a more talented and gifted leader than I could ever be, and I have decided to hand over the scepter of Made In Lowell to Gabby Davis. Many of you know Gabby as my partner in this adventure and my right hand. And those who really know me, know that Gabby was the one who kept me organized and kept Made In Lowell moving forward.

It is with great excitement that I am resigning as President and CEO of Made In Lowell. As of August 2016 I am clearing the way for Gabby to take Made In Lowell to incredible places. 

I am still part of the board of directors, and you will see me from time to time.

Thank you so much for making Made In Lowell what it is, and please join me in welcoming Gabby!

In Gratitude.

Tobias Marx 

Mill City Grows offers delicious, affordable organic food at The Lowell Food and Wine Festival

Mill City Grows will be selling local products from their mobile farmer’s market at The Grand Tasting during The Lowell Food and Wine Festival, as a way to educate people about the benefits of eating locally, while providing delicious farm-fresh food. According to Mobile Market Manager 4 Nichols, they will be selling seasonal vegetables, fruit, honey and maple syrup like last year, but have added local eggs, meat and cheese to this year’s menu. The company has existed for five years, and has worked to build community in Lowell while increasing access to fresh food, by partnering with residents, restaurants, schools, hospitals and other organizations.

            At The Grand Tasting, the fruit and vegetables for sale

will come from the two community gardens in Lowell owned by Mill City Grows, while the eggs, cheese, sausages and ground beef will be purchased from nearby farms. The company’s best-selling tomatoes will be sold at the festival, along with cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peppers, leafy greens, Asian greens and eggplants. At last year’s festival, Nichols “loved seeing the revival of the city of Lowell,” as more people learned about all the fun things to do here. He also said it was different from any other event because of “how concentrated it was,” with so many people filling up Lowell’s small downtown block. This makes it easier for vendors to make connections with their customers, and people can get to know each other.

            Mill City Grows has participated in the Summer Kickoff

Weekend, festivals in the North Common, fundraisers at UTEC and UMass Lowell’s Earth Day festivities, along with hosting the Harvest Festival in Lowell. The Lowell Food and Wine Festival is the largest event they attend, and is a great way to spread the word about Mill City Grows and educate people about the importance of local farming.

            One of the company’s main goals is to reach out to a

diverse audience, and educate people about ways to make local, organic food more affordable. All market locations accept SNAP/EBT benefits, WIC and Senior Farmer’s Market Coupons, as well as the Market Bucks program which allows for up to 50% matching funds to residents who receive benefits. Support from Harvard Pilgrim and the USDA Farmer’s Market Promotion Program make all of this possible, and these benefits and coupons will be offered at the Lowell Food and Wine Festival. According to Nichols, the company understands that local food can be more expensive, which is why they have developed these programs to make “quality food more affordable.”

            Mill City Grows also reaches out to children by partnering

with local schools to incorporate gardening into their curriculum. Staff members and volunteers will build a garden on school property so farming can be part of the kids’ education. Nichols said learning how the food is grown “makes it more real,” and these kids will then be more likely to appreciate local farming.

            Last year Mill City Grows donated 20% of their food to The

Transitional Center, and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, as a way to give back to the community that supports them and to ensure no excess food goes to waste.

            This is currently the busiest time of year for the company,

from June to October, as they prepare for TLFWF, while still attending The Farmer’s Market and selling from the mobile market every week. Nichols said his favorite part of the festival was “creating pleasant memories with the customers,” since everyone “is happy and eager to learn more about the vendors,” and he can’t wait to see what this year’s festival brings.