(This post was written by Olivia Migliori, a crew leader working with LEAF this summer)
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.
On a spectacularly sunny Saturday, we hosted an Open Farm day and were thrilled by all of the friends, family, and members of the LEAF community that were able to come see what the LEAF farm is actually like. Our interns led farm tours, gave culinary demonstrations, and cooked and sold fresh food, also taking some time to dance along to live music by the Flat Wheels too! Our smallest guests were able to get their hands dirty and harvest potatoes (affectionately known as “tatitos” by one particularly enthusiastic three-year-old!). Perhaps we’ll see some of them come back to work for LEAF in the future!
During our fifth week we received a special visit from the Carlisle Early Education Center’s (CEEC) preschool and summer camp program. LEAF provides fresh veggies for CEEC and Little Lights Learning Center, so this was an awesome opportunity both the preschoolers to enjoy a day on the farm to see where their food comes from and for our interns to meet the little mouths they help to feed. Our interns helped them pick beans and potatoes that they would be going to CEEC later that day, draw vegetables and scenes of the farm, and play water games to cool off from the hot weather.
Our crews ventured to Spiral Path Farm, where Will Brownback gave them a small glimpse into their not-so-small venture. Although Will described Spiral Path as a medium sized organic vegetable farm, the crews were in awe of the vast 255-acre farm and how fast their workers completed their tasks. Our faithful van braved the dirt roads that lead all over the property, and after the bumpy ride our crews got to the task of weeding onions and lettuce. Will explained some of the differences between the farming styles used at LEAF and Spiral Path, such as a special technique to trellis tomatoes that got some interns thinking about inventing new ways to farm at LEAF!
Each of the crews had the opportunity to prepare and serve a meal at the Salvation Army, and are already excited to go back! On Tuesday morning both crews start out in Carlisle High School’s kitchen to work on preparing a delicious meal to be served later in the day. During our first couple of visits our interns were able to cook for themselves, and they are now cooking for others! They were guided by our very own Shane Kaplan (aka Chef Shanay) and this week by Chef John Reis of the Harrisburg Hilton hotel. Chef Reis instructed us in how to make pesto pasta and chicken, potato kale soup with chorizo, and a salad with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. In the afternoon the Sick Beets made some zucchini bread for dessert, and then packed all of the food up to take to the Salvation Army. It was a great way for crews to come together as a group to have a first-hand impact on the lives of the people in their community.