Today was another rainy one, which is nice for the farm but unfortunate for us. We were supposed to go on a field trip to a permaculture farm but weren't able to. Instead, we watched Dirt! The Movie (trailer below) which was a very informative film about the importance of keeping dirt healthy.
After the movie, Yoshiko Hogg and Mari Snyder came in to teach us about Asian agriculture, specifically rice cultivation. They also taught us how to make rice balls. What a delicious treat!
Our chef today helped a few of the teens make chicken stuffed with ricotta cheese, spices, and kale; mashed carrots with parsley; and string beans with garlic, almonds, and butter. It was great! I think most people really enjoyed this meal.
On Fridays, we always start off with a discussion of how things have been going and what needs to change. We decided it would be best to switch up the work groups every two weeks.
Our first set of speakers for the development session today were Liz Falk and Talia from CCE who came to talk to us about composting. They spoke to us about how compost works and why it’s important to do, especially on a farm. Then we talked about how composting is going to work at Southside specifically. We decided to have a bucket next to each trash can at Congo Square Market, as well as one in the kitchen, as long as we know someone is going to be able to remove the waste each week. Two people volunteered to have signage made for next Friday.
Our second speaker was a Cornell professor named Jackie Sayegh-Birch who gave a presentation on the culture of African foods. In her presentation, she described a bunch of festivals in different African countries that are focused around celebrating food. She came back from Wegmans after her presentation and gave us some samosas, a traditional food from Liberia, her native country.
After the presentations, Kirtrina Baxter helped a group prepare a meal for the rest of us which included some lemon parsley chicken, spinach linguini with garlic sauce, sauteed collards, and zucchini. I’m hoping that more and more people will be interested in eating the vegetables that are cooked for them. As of now, there are a few people that are hesitant to branch out from the foods that they’re used to. However, most of the group thoroughly enjoyed this lovely meal.
Today was our first development session day. We started out with some team-building activities and then discussed how the workweek went for everyone and what things could be improved for next week.
Next, Karl Grahm joined us to talk about the advantages of having both a checking and savings account and fill us in on some money-management techniques. After that, Ann led a discussion on sustainable agriculture, including a history of farming that has led to the mass-producing monoculture that dominates our food system. Partway through the discussion, some of the teens met up with a cook from GreenStar who taught them how to make a delicious meal made from local ingredients.
Afterwards, the whole group came back together and enjoyed our lunch of quinoa and beans, cucumber, onion and tomato salad, fruit salad, and kale with onions, zucchini, and summer squash. Most thought it was incredible; however, some people were hesitant to try the food and a few people declined from eating it. I’m curious to see how the attitude towards this food changes as we move forward at the farm. There were many others that were as impressed with the meal as I was. A couple people were surprised at how full they were after this meal because they didn’t expect veggies to be very filling. During the meal, the chef explained where all the ingredients had come from. One interesting tidbit we learned is that the Amish are always the first to have tomatoes in the area, but GreenStar has to go pick up the crops themselves because the Amish don’t drive cars.