Hi, it’s Vicky. This is my second summer at the Youth Farm and my first year as a crew leader. The summer here seems to be flying by and we’re already three weeks in! People are becoming closer and building stronger bonds; it’s great. And there is so much smiling. Everyone has blessed me with hilarious conversations and so much laughter.
This week was a particularly great week at the farm; good weather (not too hot or cold), in-depth conversations and lots of laughing. Everyone on the farm did a lot of hard, fulfilling work this week and through it, we were smiling and getting very dirty. Just my crew alone seeded over twenty flats of basil, zucchini, and lettuce in one morning. Then as a whole group, we discussed the meaning of sustainable farming.
Wednesday was our weekly development session at LACS. We had two local leaders in the community, Kirby Edmonds and Jemila Sequira, come to speak to us. Kirby Edmonds, Dorothy Cotton Institute Fellow and Coordinator of Training for Change, led an informative discussion about structural poverty in Tompkins County. Kirby shared that the local employment/education/prison system gives children in poverty very few options for escaping poverty. Simply put, youth in poverty can end up with two options for employment: 2-3 minimum wage jobs or illegal activity such as selling drugs. Also, the public education system doesn't prepare youth to break out of this poverty cycle. This, on top of the fact that poverty can restrict access to capital to pursue higher education or to start a business. Kirby didn’t stop his talk at the hard to break cycle of poverty, but showed that public education, workforce training, and other types of social justice organizations have so much untapped potential to help us all attain ownership in the way we provide for ourselves, family, and community through living wage jobs, access to capital. Next, Jemila, Whole Community Project coordinator, shared how she became a leader in the local food justice movement and shared projects from the community.
The chef for this week was Shimels Damtew, owner of Shimel's Ethiopian Cuisine, a pop-up food stand, came and cooked some delicious beef tips, bean/carrot saute, and greens with us. I wish I knew how to describe this with more detail, but I do know that the food was amazing!
Thursday and Friday, we planted potatoes for four hours. It was a lot of potato planting but my crew had a lot of help from other crews so we got three rows done and after that, we stood and marveled at how quickly and efficiently something can get done if you have ten kids all setting their minds to it.
Written by Vicky, Summer 2014 Crew Leader, and Joseph.