|Happy March! Sawdayah here. Our youth are busy busy busy preparing their visuals and presentations for the Just Food Conference and Greenthumb’s GrowTogether Conference! YLC will represent The Youth Farm and HSPS (High School for Public Service) as they share their research on American school lunch programs and their experiences with vermiculture and managing their worm tower. The research process and sharing of their work has been an enlightening experience for the youth and myself. As individuals, we’ve had to move out of our comfort zones, confront issues of time management, fear, self esteem, and accountability to grow; the process is strengthening us as a group. Most of the group will graduate high school this year and our experiences together have me meditating on how Youth Farm activities help our students grow into well rounded, responsible, and thoughtful adults. By working on the farm, participating in inquiry based learning, and contributing to their community by sharing what they’ve learned and leading advocacy efforts they have to use and develop research skills, managing group dynamics, self & group reflection for improvement, and public speaking to name a few. They struggle to understand big issues that are part of complex systems. I am so proud of the intellectual and social work they undertake for themselves and our communities!
This varied and important work cannot be done without the help of a team. If you are interested in serving as a Program Intern for our youth programs with me I’d love to speak with you! Please check the intern description HERE.
Hi farmily, Erin here. This week I am excited to share an exciting project that has been in the works since last fall- our new partnership with New York Cares Farm to Pantry Initiative. We have been huge fans of New York Cares for years, and have been lucky recipients of much needed helping hands and funds through various volunteer days throughout the seasons. However, this year, we are becoming an official farm partner of a new initiative that seeks to connect volunteers and community stakeholders with New York City’s urban farmers and food assistance agencies. The goals of the Farm to Pantry initiative are 3 fold- to promote access to fresh, local produce in communities most in need; to foster the relationship between NYC community members and their food source; and to transform the urban landscape by revitalizing blighted properties with community farms supported by New York Cares, their partners, and local residents. With those goals, how could we say no?
With generous support from JCrew and a new Volunteer Generation Fund, 4 Youth Farm CSA shares have been purchased for the 2017 season to be distributed to clients at CAMBA- Beyond Hunger Food Pantry. As you may have heard us mention in previous newsletters, we love working with the great folks at CAMBA. They participate in our winter Food Security and and bread baking lesson each year and often bring their clients to the farm for tours and to redeem their Healthbucks at our market. We are excited to strengthen our relationship with this awesome organization and couldn’t be more excited to be sending the fruits of our labors to their clients each week this season!
The last piece of the Farm to Pantry puzzle is getting community members involved in the process. We hope that you’ll join us for one of our volunteer days this season, or consider lending a hand to CAMBA during one of their service days. Check out our website HERE for more info on farm open hours and volunteer days or contact Avi.Nocella@newyorkcares.org to find out how to get involved with CAMBA this season.
Hi everyone, Molly here! I’m just returned from a much needed break from city life, cell phone reception, and my laptop. After working away day after day at my desk since November, recurring back issues had begun to flare up and rebel, and tension had set in in all kinds of places I typically forget about during the business of the season: my neck, my wrists, my forearms… I have much compassion for folks who work every day behind a screen, and am reminded why having a job that gets me out and about, and blood flowing to my joints and through my muscles, is essential for my overall health. Having taken that much needed mental break, I am now ready for the swift oncoming tidal wave of the 2017 growing and teaching season: ready to wake up the farm from its long sleep, ready to greet new students and volunteers and interns, ready to dig into planning 2017 Youth Farm fundraisers, and super ready to welcome 11 new adult farming students on April 17th, who we will introduce you to soon!
As the spring equinox nears, I invite you all to check out our event calendar, and plan to come join us for a day or two this year to get your hands in the dirt! You’ll get to take home some fresh, nutritious food, and spend some time in the sunshine with a friend, sibling or child – all are welcome. The Youth Farm is here for you as a welcoming green space, where you can sit back and watch birds feed their young or butterflies dance along our perennial border, or work up a sweat turning soil and planting seedlings. You can feel free to meditate or do yoga, or simply walk and observe what’s happening. The farm should be as much for you to reap what you need as it is for structured learning, job training and growing food. See you soon!
Sawdayah, Erin, and Molly