Today we saw a short YouTube click on the Holyoke, Massachusetts farm Nuestras Raíces. The goal of watching the clip was to show the young farmers what another community is doing as far as taking responsibility literally in their own hands, to grow healthy and organic food to feed their community. This is important because it shows that you have the power to take control of making a better lifestyle choice for you, neighborhood, and town. After watching this inspiring clip Ann set up a hunger banquet. It truly was a humbling experience as we ate food assigned to us depending on what country we were assigned. People assigned to a first world country ate pizza, salad, and drank lemonade. The people assigned to a second world country ate rice and beans. They also drank water, while those assigned to a third world country ate just rice and drank water. It was a success as it hit home for all of us. Then we all ate some pizza and had a group discussion about the hunger banquet.
This Tuesday kicked off our first full week working at the farm! As of friday last week we assembled into five crews in order to assign each crew to different tasks on the farm and also to provide a close setting where crew leaders could provide instruction/feedback on what people are doing awesome on and what they could work on. For me, Joseph Amsili, working with so many youth has been an amazing experience. The comparison from working before the program began to now working with almost 20 youth has been incredible. The work goes much quicker, it's much more fun, and I'm getting to know awesome new people. This week we prepped numerous beds, weeded/scuffle hoed/mulched many pathways, and we planted a considerable amount of vegetables: 2 beds of winterbor kale, a bed of carrots, beans, 5 rows of pumpkins, and more. On Wednesday we spent the day at the Lehman Alternative Community School to do our development session, an opportunity to learn about the context of the work on the farm. This Wednesday we began with the umbrella concepts: Social Justice, Sustainable Agriculture, Health, and youth involvement in the food movement using selected scenes from the film DIRT. The film begins with a geologic/reverential story of soil, and then we transitioned to industrial agriculture and its effects on the natural world and communities worldwide, and then we transitioned to the way people are addressing these grave injustices through their unique approaches of what sustainability means to them. Three of those leaders featured were Wes Jackson, Majora Carter, and Vandana Shiva. An interesting activity we did as a segway from the clip that said good soil-->good food we did a taste test of berries from Westhaven and Walmart. After the morning discussion we headed into the kitchen to be mentored by Katie Church in cooking a gourmet meal with many components. Crews split up to tackle each component of the meal: A Summer Pasta dish with squash and swiss chard, pork that had been raised at Three Swallows years before, boiled garlic scapes, and an amazing salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. What an amazing week!
On Tuesday, 6/28, 22 youth gathered at Three Swallows/Youth Farm for an orientation to summer employment at the Youth Farm. During the first day everyone got to learn each others names. Everyone also had the opportunity to write their favorite word on the chalk board and share why it was important for them. Later in the day we worked on weeding the garlic and harvesting one wheel barrow full of garlic scapes. For Wednesday and Thursday of this week the Youth Farm Program participated in the Youth Grow Summit at Cornell where we were fortunate to learn lots. In addition we were able to hear inspiring stories from our neighbors in New York State. e.g. East New York Farms in Brooklyn and Mass. ave. in Buffalo