From the Farmer – Week of October 17th, 2016
Fall is officially underway, indicated not only in the crisp temperatures but in cover crops replacing veggies and garlic bulbs soon to populate the soil.
Our Youth Farmers are becoming further acquainted with their farm through crop and grounds maintenance in Farm Club and Go Green! and planning the upcoming annual Harvest Festival happening on the last market day of the season, Wed. October 26! They’re looking forward to their peers and community partaking in Autumn-themed games like sack races and a workshop on fiber spinning, among so many other activities. We hope you can join us between 3pm and 7pm for activities for all ages, Fall treats prepared by our students (proceeds will fund their future projects, workshops, and educational field trips), and the last of the season produce. We’ve also forayed into the history of agriculture in our neighborhood in our Go Green! class; students have been encouraged to meditate on how the past agricultural narratives of the Lenape, the Dutch, residents of Pigtown, and Weeksville influence our current relationship to the land they go to school and live on.
Another exciting development is the culmination of Youth Farm teen ideas from all of our programs into a tangible proposal we call the Seed-to-Table Indoor Growing Project and Health Initiative. Our Farm Club, Go Green!, Youth Farm Leadership Council (YLC), and Summer Youth students have all expressed the desire to learn how to grow plants indoors, year round, using different growing methods and using those plants to provide their peers with healthy snacks in the school store and hone entrepreneurial skills. Farm Club has already successfully grown greens and herbs in an upcycled hydroponics system and YLC marketed, prepared and gave out salad cups, and conducted peer satisfaction surveys last year. I have been so inspired by their passion to learn more about horticulture and botany and segue into other disciplines that we have sought out and applied for funding to grow indoors using hydroponics, aquaponics, and grow lights! While we are hoping our project appeals to funders we are also planning for students to continue growing in Harriet the Hoophouse and in new cold frames under construction by our adult students. Our worm bin, built by YLC last year, will be used for waste management where the home for our seeds is built in rich, fertile compost. On a macro level, this project aids our students to see how we as humans are a part of webs of interconnected ecosystems and can affect the health of those ecosystems for the better or worse. On the micro, students can partake in sharing what they learn about health & nutrition, food preparation, marketing & PR, plant cycles, engineering, soil fertility, and even compost with their peers and faculty through what they produce and use their revenue to fund field trips to conferences and materials needed for lessons and projects. We’re looking forward to this project strengthening intergenerational relationships in our schools and across disciplines!
Thank you for an incredible growing season and we hope to see you all for the end of the season celebration, our Harvest Festival, on Wednesday, Oct. 26!
Peace and Blessings,