To Be Able to Introduce Healthy and Economical Agricultural to a New and Lost Generation
With the assistance of the grant we were able to go into different farming areas, which allow us to see and experience projects in agriculture we would not have had the opportunity to do. We began early in the season to search out extra land to begin the project. There were five acres adjacent to our land that we were able to lease as well as another five acres. Having an active relationship with the community through the Run-away-Buckers camp we had a resource of youth and families to begin with the project, “Reaching the New and Lost Generation” as an alternative CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture). Once having the fields plowed and disked we began to instruct the youth in planting which involved the setting of roles and proper sapcing of plants and seeds. As the season went on we began to seek a market place to help distribute the fruits and vegetables. The youth were instructed on how important it is to have a market for the produce as well as the health benefits of raising organic fruits and vegetables. We went through a basic supply and demand concept with the youth. We help them understand how to look at how many people there are in their families and what different types of vegetables the family members would like. This gave them the guideline of what vegetables to grow. We began to plant the seeds and found out there was a need for a water system on the adjacent leased land. We installed a water system that will be used in times to come to irrigate the fields. We lost many plants and seeds without the water system, but we were able to harvest enough vegetables to assist in the project.
When the youth began to see the harvest of the surviving plants it brought them a sense of pride and accomplishment. The lesson of not having an adequate watering system helped them to understand the importance of proper irrigation. With the help of the youth and their families we were able to continue to work and cultivate the fields to help produce many products. The families began to see the progress from their hard work, and from being able to participate in an alternative CSA program. We learned we can’t plant too early because of the weather and that it is important to have an adequate water system.
We are looking to begin early in the season starting with our own seedlings and trays. With the use of a greenhouse we will be able to save some of the plants that we start early and not have to depend on the weather. This would allow us to start earlier in the season without a great chance of loss. Unlike this year when we lost plants due to the change in weather, with the greenhouse we will be able to produce a greater variety of our own starter plants. The ultimate plan is to reach more youth and families with the program. This alternative CSA will allow more families to be aware of a healthier and more economical way of life. As we serve the community we will be teaching basic farming needs and the important role farming plays in society today (environmental as well as economical).
We began by sharing information through handouts (pamphlets) and different farmers markets. We also shared information with other Pembroke farm and family members. We were unable to do an actual field day this year, but we are looking to do an open field day as well as other demonstrations. We will also continue to provide handouts and pass information along through the farmers markets.