My name is Rayna Joyce and I am a sophomore at LACS. This summer was my first year working at the Youth Farm Project. I first became interested in working on the farm, while working with a group at LACS called Localvores. Localvores is a group of about 20 high school students, run by the amazing Dan Flerlage, that works to bring fresh vegetables that come from the Youth Farm into our school lunch program. During last school year we made pesto, jam, salsa and many other delicious items from fresh produce and served them as part of school lunch for the entire school. It has been great to work on the other end of things this summer, to actually produce the food that is then used by groups like Localvores and the BJM Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program.
This was an exciting and eventful week on the farm! On Wednesday we all took a field trip to visit the Good Life Farm in Interlaken. The Good Life Farm is a beautiful 69 acre, organic farm run by Melissa Madden and Garrett Miller. With its rolling hills and view of Cayuga Lake it is simply breathtaking. We were lucky enough to get a tour of the farm and a brief look into the unique, sustainable practices that Melissa and Garrett use. After the tour we helped to mulch two beds of purple cabbage. This opportunity to see some of the wonderful things other farmers in our area are doing was really special to me. It inspired me and left me excited to learn more. If you would like to see more about the Good Life Farm, I would encourage you to check out their website: http://www.thegoodlifefarm.org/. From the farm we headed to Taughannock park for a fun and relaxing picnic.
We were joined this summer by Zac and Satira who were working on the educational portion of the YFP. With them they brought us a whole little house full of chickens! Throughout the summer we watched these chickens grow. The hens in fact just started to lay some of their first eggs recently! This Thursday we were able to bring the experience of raising the chickens to a close with the slaughter of three of our roosters. On Thursday morning we were given the opportunity to watch the killing of the roosters. Many of us chose to watch and participate in the processing of the chickens, helping to pluck, gut and remove the meat from the chickens. This felt like such an important step in really understanding exactly where our food is coming from, and the process of turning a live animal into the packaged meat we are used to buying at the store. After the slaughter we had a powerful discussion on the impact this experience had on us. A big shout out to Zac and Satira for the amazing work they are doing. We are so lucky to have them working with us and teaching us this summer!
As the week came to a close on Friday we visited a neighboring farm in Danby, where our friend Farmer Harry is raising cows. He gave us a tour of his farm and we helped him to turn a large pile of compost, and remove some stones from one of his fields so that he could mow it. Back at our own lovely farm we got a taste of the chicken meat from the roosters we slaughtered and processed on Thursday. It has been a week full of amazing experiences and learning.