Regrouping Expectations

Every day is different at Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, and that’s one of the many things that I really love about it.  Some days, we start at our main site at 15th and 28th in Phillips, and then bike over to Dale and Lafond in Frogtown to check up on our kale and potatoes that are growing strong over there.  Some days, we weed beets for hours and hours, and other days, we build a fence and work on fixing the Big White Truck that we bought with the funds we raised with our Kickstarter. 

When Anna and I are not helping the 6 partners keep up with the day to day tasks of keeping up 16 urban farm plots, feeding 71 CSA shareholders, and supplying a bountiful spread at two farmers markets, we work on camp.  It is here that reality has profoundly deviated, even diverted, from our original plan.  We had a community partnership with the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood Freedom School, a federally funded program to help a struggling school (based on income and test scores) through afterschool and summer programming.  Our plan was to house Stone’s Throw Youth Grow in their summer programming as enrichment for their summer camp.  Unfortunately, not enough kids signed up for their camp, and they told us the day of Orientation for their program, that there was no longer space for us.

We were super disappointed.  We were excited to work with this population of kids, teaching them about sustainable agriculture in their own neighborhood.  We were excited to learn about their neighborhood, where we are only guests, from people who have grown up there.  We had planned a 7 week curriculum with long and short term projects, to fit the needs of this group, and so it was disorienting, at least for me, to imagine camp without it.

That very day, we started calling the Rec centers, the library, and neighborhood groups in the area to find a new group of kids.  We are so, so excited to say that camp is finally starting this Wednesday with the Minnehaha Rec center, only a short walk from our sites on Dale and Lafond, right off of University.

We’ve taught a class at a pre-school in Richfield, and this Thursday, students from Skyline Towers are coming to volunteer.  A few weeks ago, some exchange students from Iraq came to help out on the farm, and we learned so much from working with people our own age, who had such different life experiences! 

We’ve had to regroup some of our expectations, widen our goals to think about including more people, instead of a more long-term, holisitic education experience for a smaller group.  It was easy to think, going into the summer, that we had absolutely everything perfectly in line, but that could never have been true, because there are so many variables when dealing with schools, rec centers, and of course, the small business Stone’s Throw.  

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