The older I get, the more clear it becomes to me that I don’t want to live in a city for the rest of my life. Our new house has helped; we traded a 900 square foot condo on a crowded (but lovely) street for an 1,800 square foot house with a small yard and a giant park across the street. We have few close neighbors, and I got that little bit of country I craved.
But I still want more. Our stay in Sonoma County was pure heaven for me. I love being able to see a thousand stars at night and hearing chickens in the morning. Coffee with mountain views and hummingbirds isn’t just something I want on vacation. I feel like it’s a way of life that would make my heart so happy.
While we work toward that someday country life, I have been falling in love with gardening at our own home, and this past weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to help out at an urban farm with The Food Project. You may remember the Whole Farm Dinner I went to at Alden & Harlow a few weeks ago. I became intrigued by The Food Project, and when I learned they had a farm in Dorchester where I live, I couldn’t wait to volunteer.
There’s more information about The Food Project at the end of this post.
I headed over this past Saturday morning to volunteer from 9:30 – 12:30, and after introductions, we were put into crews to get started working. I was amazed at the size of the farm and variety growing. It’s so cool to see so much agriculture happening right in such an urban area.
Our crew leaders were high school kids from the area who work at the farm, and they were some of the greatest kids I have met. They were confident and articulate far beyond their years, and they knew what they were doing around that farm!
My first job was weeding lettuce beds, and I got to chat with the leaders and other volunteers as we pulled purselane. The sun was super hot, it was dusty, and not long in, my face and body were covered in dirt. I loved it.
My second job was picking and bundling scallions to go in CSA shares. These scallions were enormous! They were fun to pick because they come out so easily, and the smell was incredible. Everyone who passed our area mentioned it. Once in bundles, we cut the tops and roots and made sure they looked neat and tidy.
At the end, we all grabbed gloves and cleaned up trash from the perimeter of he farm. If there is one thing I HATE, it is littering, and unfortunately there are a lot of people who have no respect for property or the earth. Luckily these kids are leading the way to a better city and a better future. I plan on going back as many Saturdays as possible throughout the fall to help with harvest and other tasks and then starting up again in spring.
I always think fall is more of a new year than actual New Year’s, and volunteering more and attending more networking and professional development events are two of my goals for this new year. And I need to exercise more, so there’s that.
Do you have any goals now that school is back in session?
About The Food Project
Young People at the Lynn FarmSince 1991, The Food Project has built a national model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. Each year, we work with over 150 teenagers and thousands of volunteers to farm on 40 acres in eastern Massachusetts in the towns and cities of Beverly, Boston, Lincoln, and Lynn. We consider our hallmark to be our focus on identifying and transforming a new generation of leaders by placing teens in increasingly responsible roles, with deeply meaningful work.
Food from our farms is distributed through our community supported agriculture programs and farmers’ markets, and donated to local hunger relief organizations. The young people working in our programs participate in all of these distribution streams, giving them valuable job experiences and a personal connection to our food system and issues of food justice.