Sproutin’ Sprouts

The past three weeks have astounded me with their beauty and bounty. I have been in New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, and finally here. Today marks one week of being back in the Cities. My knees are covered in soil and my fingernails are ragged and dirty.
My Live It! project is to work with Stone’s Throw Urban Farm as an intern, providing high quality locally grown produce to CSA shareholders, farmer’s market customers, and select restaurants. Anna French, my friend and co-Live It! Recipient and intern are piloting a Stone’s Throw daycamp called Stone’s Throw Youth Grow. Simultaneously, we are installing community lending libraries on farm sites to help community members and shareholders alike build community through exchanging information. We have spent the week ironing out our lesson plans. Being back here, biking around the 14 farm sites and working on curriculum has made this project seem so real.
It seems real because it is. To me, there is nothing more real than the radishes I just pulled out of the ground, or the shareholder’s smile when I hand them a bag of arugula that I harvested that morning, or the kids, when camp finally starts, planting their first seeds.
Last Friday was my first harvest day. I got to the first site in Minneapolis at 7:30 in the morning, and harvested spinach, salad turnips, and baby field greens, until it was time to bike to the main site. We washed the harvest and weighed it to set some aside for CSA and the rest for market.
At this point in the post, I should probably explain what a CSA is. The letters stand for Community Supported Agriculture, the idea being that individuals or families “buy into” a farm, and then receive a share of whatever the farm produces in weekly installments. CSA day is Friday, when all of the shareholders come to pick up their veggies. The community aspect is what brought me to and keeps me in this kind of work. When my body hurts from hauling compost, or it is 150 degrees out, all I have to do is think of the families we are feeding, and the potential for community growth when we share food.
Hopefully this summer, I’ll be planning shareholder gatherings, potluck meet ‘n greet kinds of things so that they can get to know each other, interact with the libraries, and become more invested in the farm with volunteer opportunities and fundraisers. This is all part of my project, folding community even more into agriculture.
We start camp in a few weeks. In the mean time, those onions in Frogtown are looking mighty weedy!

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