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Natural Awakenings Boston

March 2013 Publisher Letter

Feb 26, 2013 12:22PM

When blistery cold February days “roar like a lion”, thoughts of March “going out like a lamb” spark renewed enthusiasm for the freshness of sunny spring mornings waiting just around the corner. I hardly think there’s another time of year that stirs up such feelings of excitement than this particular change of seasons. For me, seeing each new issue of Natural Awakenings come to life brings similar excitement.

As the publisher of a healthy living / healthy planet magazine, I’m daily deluged with new information from our national headquarters, local contributors, reader feedback and social media that is worthy of consideration. I’m not high on traditional media but still it’s hard to ignore the bombardment of campaigns telling us what’s good for us, or not. It’s enough to make one’s head spin and some kind of workable filter helps.

As a niche publication, we work hard to share information with readers that is important, positive, widely applicable and carries helpful insights and practical tools geared to enhance our individual and collective quality of life in more natural ways. This month, I’m particularly excited about our feature article from the husband-and-wife team of John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, “Urban Gardening Takes Root.” Boston’s skyline landscape offers nearly unlimited opportunities for local, sustainable urban rooftop and other kinds of pocket gardens.

Such a project is underway on a grand scale atop the Boston Design Center thanks to Higher Ground Farm ( and Recover Green Roofs ( With 60,000 square feet of rooftop as a base, the space is being converted into Boston’s largest (and first) commercial roof farm, with plans for more than 40,000 square feet of cultivation. The project is expected to yield upwards of 100,000 pounds of fresh produce during the 2013 growing season according to founding farmers Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard, the farm’s visionaries. Once completed this spring, it will be the second largest openair roof farm in the world—right here in our own backyard.

I have modest personal gardening plans underway this year, as well, starting up a few small organic raised beds for produce in our backyard. It will be my first attempt at testing my green thumb and is sure to teach a few life lessons I couldn’t learn by reading alone. I have high hopes for harvesting home-grown organic tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chili peppers, zucchini and summer squash, plus maybe a few favorite herbs to liven things up even more.

I hope you join in gardening, but whatever your springtime plans—your friends at Natural Awakenings wish you a bounty of all that’s best for you.

To your health,

Maisie Raftery Natural Awakenings

Maisie Raftery, Publisher

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