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!), and we would also be able to provide LEAF with some support in writing the grant. The process is very collaborative, and requires a good amount of guidance from the grant writer that is part of the organization. For us, that was Shane, LEAF's assistant director, culinary program director, and general renaissance man. At the end of the process, the Partnership for Better Health awarded LEAF with the grant to build the greenhouse. The Partnership has been crucial to LEAF's success from its very first year through their funding and support.
We are grateful and excited for all of the opportunities this greenhouse will offer us. The produce we will grow there in the cooler months can become ingredients for LEAF Kits, or be sold to area restaurants and preschools. The most impactful part of this is that LEAF will be able to provide the youth we employ with meaningful work opportunities to raise this produce excellently, deliver it excellently, or cook it excellently. Beyond being convenient for our production, this greenhouse is a truly missional development.
Otherwise, things are progressing on the farm! The weather has been all over the place, and this week it transitioned from cold (almost 30 degrees one night!) to very hot (currently 90!). This means two things for us and our crew: first, we have been able to plant some crops suited to warmer temperatures, like tomatoes and peppers, and second, we have had to be very careful about making sure all of our transplants get into the ground safely without getting burnt! Our ventures crew did a great job on Tuesday creating safe homes for all the little guys!
We will be bringing some of our tomato and pepper seedlings to Harrisburg this Saturday as part of the Odd Ones Bizarre at the Millworks. This craft fair will feature all different local artisans, from candlemakers to ceramicists to photographers, selling their wares from 11 to 5. You'll be sure to find some interesting pieces there, including a unique variety of pepper or tomato from LEAF! We've got purple bell peppers, black cherry tomatoes, and more!
If you'd like to be able to receive meals from LEAF or our produce this summer, make sure you check out our LEAF store! Everything is going fast!