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!
The leadership series crew has been hard at work too. Last Sunday, this included preparing beds and laying down black plastic for what is now home to our squash, cucumbers, and some green beans. After working, the group got together to talk about different personality types, and how they may influence approaches to leadership. Each person took a short evaluation to determine which personality type most accurately suited them, and then discussed how they fit or did not fit that description. This workshop allowed folks to understand how they operate a little better, so that they may have a clearer idea of how they work in a group. The crew had some valuable insights that they’ll be able to apply in future group settings.
The spring season winding down means that soon, the LEAF summer will begin! We’ve been getting ready by planning orientation for our leadership team, coordinating our visits to partner farms, and continuing to plan for LEAF kits. During the summer, the crews visit our partner farms each week. These visits involve learning about the farm and the farmer, and also helping out with some work. It gives our youth interns a more ample idea of what farming in South Central Pennsylvania is actually like, given that LEAF only raises vegetables, and introduces them to some of the leaders in agriculture in the region. You can learn more about all our partner farmers here on our website! We’ve also been hearing from some of our LEAF kits customers from last fall about how excited they are that this product is coming back. The recipes we use are designed to source as many local ingredients as possible. They are often recognizable dishes that kids might like - lasagna, for instance - with a twist, such as zucchini noodles instead of regular ones. It’s amazing to watch the youth interns work together to create the different parts of these meals, knowing that they’ll go to families in the community who will enjoy them.
Aside from the work in the field, all of LEAF’s projects are continuing as well! Our ventures crew worked to start organizing our materials in the new storage area by our post-harvest room, which will be next to receive an upgrade. The bows of the greenhouse are planned to go up this Sunday, which is the next step in creating the frame. It has been great to have youth involved in the different steps of these projects. Their insights and participation in the behind the scenes of LEAF makes our youth interns feel like a much more integral part of our work, adding significant meaning to what we do. Everyone is excited and looking forward to welcoming a new crew to the farm soon! Stay tuned for more updates on what LEAF is doing and opportunities to get involved!