From the Farmer – Week of October 10th, 2016
As we enter into the second week of October, transition is in the air on the Youth Farm. We have begun to pull crops, prepare beds for the winter months, and have started cleaning and organizing tools and supplies in preparation for storage. This is also the time of year when our composting bins get the kind of care and attention that we can’t afford to spend on them during the spring and summer push of sowing and harvest. Most of our 9 composting bins that we have been maintaining all season are ready for sifting and curing, and soon we will be applying the finished rich compost to our beds to replenish them after the long months of feeding our crops. The empty bins will then be filled with all of the crops that are coming out of the ground, starting the process all over again, and ensuring that we have another round of compost ready for spring application next season. Garlic bulbs have been ordered and will be planted in the coming weeks, beginning the 9 month journey until we will harvest and cure them next July. We will also be starting repairs around the farm, including a major makeover of Harriet the Hoophouse. Harriet is where we start 90% of the crops that we grow on the farm, and after 5 years of diligent service, she is in need of some new plastic. We were lucky to have our friends at New York Cares graciously purchase the expensive materials needed for Harriet’s facelift, and now we are all set to take on the task of removing the old plastic, and stretching and attaching the new. We are shooting for an early November volunteer day to get this project underway and you’re welcome to join in the fun!
With only 4 weeks left of our Urban Farming Training Program, our adult student farmers‘ attentions have begun to shift to the next steps needed to continue learning and developing themselves as farmers, educators, advocates, and business owners. One of the ways that we at the farm help to support our farmers after graduation is by putting together a career panel each year. Hosting our 3rd Annual Farming and Food Justice Career Panel last week, we invited 6 professionals to share their journey to securing a viable career in the food movement. We were lucky to have an excellent group of educators, urban and rural farmers, food justice advocates, and nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs grace our panel this year, and had an inspiring and motivating discussion about careers in the movement.
And finally, this week we say ‘see you next season’ to our wonderful flower CSA members. After 17 weeks of sharing our seasonal blooms with you, we thank you for the support you’ve shown the farm through your membership, and we hope that our flowers have brightened your days. Our urban flowers are important food sources for beneficial insects and honey bees, provide additional learning opportunities for our youth and adult farmers, and brighten our farm with their cheery, colorful faces. They also supply vital revenue to the farm through our CSA, restaurant, and occasional florist sales, which in turn directly supports all of our programing. So, thank you dear flower members, for playing such an important part in continuing to sustain The Youth Farm and thank you for being a part of our farmily this season. We hope you’ll join us again next season, and that you’ll consider coming out to the farm for one of our last few Farmers Markets, or for a volunteer day. We’d love to see you!