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.
There are two different kinds of crews this spring. The ventures crew works two afternoons a week after school doing anything and everything that can be done on the farm. With their help, the LEAF farm will not only be ready for the summer crew, but will have plenty of crops already being harvested. During their first shift with us, the crew worked to prepare a block (that's 10 beds, 40 ft. each) for planting. They have to shovel out the aisles in between the beds, and then use a variety of hand tools to perfect the shape and surface of each bed. The LEAF farm isn't very large, so making the most of the land we have and doing our absolute best is essential to our success.
The second crew makes up our Leadership Series. This entails six days during the spring, where nine youth who have worked with LEAF before spend half of their time working, and half of their time in workshops or activities to develop their leadership skills even further. This past week's session was centered on reconnecting (for those youth who haven't seen each other since the fall or summer) and developing goals for the spring LEAF community. Over the next six weeks, these young folks will learn the ways that they can be leaders in any situation, whether mentoring peers, as presidents of school clubs, as members of sports teams, or as part of the leadership team with LEAF this summer.
There are countless new projects happening on the farm right now. In addition to converting our education space/prop house into a greenhouse and preparing to build another greenhouse, LEAF is building new storage spaces for our farm equipment and tilling even more fields than last year! As the staff finishes interviews for this year's youth crew and begins to form the team, a clearer vision of what the year will look like is coming together.
Each week, our blog will feature a little bit more information about what is going on at LEAF, the youth we are working with, and ways to get involved. As we approach the summer season, our website is being updated frequently with more information about some of the best ways to access our products - like through a produce share or a LEAF kit subscription!