On Tuesday, we had a dinner for our families. All day, we cooked. We made grilled corn and bok choy, salad and homemade salad dressing, tibs (a traditional Ethiopian beef and vegetable dish), thai stir fry with vegetables and chicken, pesto pasta, cucumber mint water, and currant soda. For dessert we prepared delicious zucchini chocolate chip muffins and shortcake with peaches and whipped cream. Each crew took on a dish or two, and cooked up a storm! Most of the ingredients were fresh from the farm, so the meal was grown, cooked, and eaten at the Youth Farm Project. Food tastes so much better when you have a hand in making it. The barn was decorated with fairy lights and flowers, and everyone went home to wait for dinnertime.
The time came, and we all came back with our families. First, there was a tour of the farm, during which each crew presented their field and crew members described what we had been doing in them all summer. Our parents finally got to see what we had been up to. Then, once everyone was hungry from the walk around the farm, we went back to the barn to eat. It was satisfying to share the culmination of all our efforts with friends and family.
On Wednesday, we had a tour of the Good Life Farm and drove down to Taughannock Park for a barbecue. The Good Life Farm is horse powered, and has two cute dogs, turkeys, fruit trees, grass fed beef, and greenhouses full of ginger. When we went on this tour last year, there was a cider house under construction. This year, the cider house is fully fledged and looks beautiful. At the end of the tour, we found doughnut peaches on the windshields of the cars. Yum! At Taughannock Park, Frank, head chef at North Star came down and grilled chicken and vegetables with us. We also made Panzanella, a dish with bread, tomatoes, basil, vinegar and oil. My favorite part of the day, though, was a barefoot soccer game on the grass.
Thursday was a regular workday. Friday, we worked in the fields in the morning and after lunch we filled out an evaluation reflecting on the summer. Finally, we ended the day with the tunnel of love. Two lines face each other, and create a tunnel by meeting hands in the middle. Then, people walk through one at a time and everyone says nice things about them.
It gives me hope to think of the long term effects of our activities this summer. Maybe some of the other young people will grow up and start local farms, inspired by the farms we visited over the summer. Maybe some of the young people will major in sustainable agriculture, inspired by what we learned about food deserts. Maybe some of the kids will spread the love that they felt in the tunnel of love. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” The work we did this summer pushed that curve towards food justice, and I have hope that we will continue to head in that direction.
-Thea Clarkberg, 2015 Crew Leader