Even though the weather has been all over the place this spring - snow to heat and sun to never-ending rain - things have been progressing steadily at LEAF! Over the past few months, the staff has been focused on recruiting and hiring the crew of youth interns who will being their experience this summer in June, and the youth have been working hard to prepare the farm and themselves for a great season!
Since 2014, LEAF has had some very important clients - and they’re all 2-5 years old.
After several weeks of hard work throughout August, September, and October, the Fall Crew is over. Five youth worked twice a week on the farm and in the kitchen, preparing meals for our Kits program and doing projects large and small on the farm as part of our Ventures Crew. In the fall, there is still produce to be harvested and cultivated, while we also shift our focus to preparing the farm for the following season...
Incredibly, it is already the end of August! The final three weeks of the summer program were fast, filled with activity, and fun. The crew came together to take what they had learned throughout their summer and share it with the community, both in telling their personal stories and teaching others their newfound skills.
As we cross into the second half of the program, the LEAF crews have been hard at work both on the farm and in the community. The team has really come together in these first few weeks, and now they are directing some of that energy into showing people what young people are truly capable of.
The past two weeks at LEAF have been filled with some amazing stuff! In an incredibly short amount of time, our new crew has built many new skills, both in the farm and in the kitchen. The leadership team - Crew Leaders, Assistant Crew Leaders, and Level 2 Crew - has also been fortifying and practicing their skills as they lead tasks each day.
Unbelievably, the first week of LEAF is complete! Twelve new individuals started their first experience with LEAF last Thursday, with two days of orientation. Our leadership team (composed of our Crew Leaders, Assistant Crew Leaders, and Level 2 Crew) was fully prepared for their arrival after spending Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in workshops and farm tasks meant to equip them with the necessary skills for the entire summer.
There has been plenty going on in the last two weeks on the farm! LEAF is kicking into high gear for the summer season, getting ready to start our eight week internship next week. All the staff are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the youth crew that will make the 2017 season unique and meaningful.
Even though it feels like it just began, our spring internships are already coming to a close! This week is the last week of both our ventures crew, and our leadership series. The youth who have worked with us have done a tremendous amount on the farm since starting in mid April, including planting what feels like and entire farm’s worth of salad greens!
A couple weeks ago, we shared with everyone a little bit about our new greenhouse project. Beyond getting the site cleared and level for construction, there are now posts in the ground that will serve as the foundation for the structure. This project has been in the making for a long time. Last year, when I (Mackenzie, Program Coordinator) was still a student at Dickinson, had the great opportunity to work with LEAF on a grant writing project as a part of a class. The purpose was two fold - my two classmates and I would be able to learn through the process the ins and outs of writing grants (or as much as one can in a few short months!)...
Before our Leadership crew arrived at work on Sunday, we were forewarned about a gaping hole on the farm. While initially confusing, this meant that the land was beginning to be prepared for our new greenhouse! The project will take some time to complete, but will eventually have in ground beds that LEAF can use to continue to grow produce into the fall, and start growing earlier in the spring. This new addition will help LEAF youth busy with meaningful work during some colder months!
This past Tuesday, April 18, marked an important day in the LEAF 2017 year - our spring crew started! Having youth back on the farm provides a sense of excitement about all the work that will be done throughout the season, and the way in which the farm - and the youth - will transform to create something unique and amazing.
LEAF Kits are an exciting new project launching this fall! The aim is to make cooking together with local ingredients quick and easy for any family. For all those out there who wrestle to get dinner on the table in addition to a busy work, school, and extracurricular schedule, we're sure you can understand this struggle!
This week's blog post is all about our youth CSA experience! Each week, every member in the crew receives a share of produce from the LEAF farm that they helped to grow and harvest. With their bag of produce they must then create a meal for their families and them to enjoy. Check out some of their awesome creations.