“Your voice can be heard, and even if you’re big, small, old, young, it doesn’t really matter. You can still make a change in the world.” ~Mari Copeny, youth activist from Flint, MI
Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) team would like to recognize and give a huge thank you to siblings Bobby, Kate, and John Eleveld and Daisy Darby for their hard work and dedication volunteering at our Giving Garden at Marra Farm during the COVID-19 pandemic. This wonderful crew of youth volunteers has contributed a total of 162+ hours this season (so far)!
The Eleveld siblings were looking for something fun and safe to do this summer, as activities are limited these days due to the pandemic. Through a web search, their mother Julita discovered volunteer opportunities at Solid Ground’s Giving Garden at Marra Farm and shared with her teens. Kate invited her good friend Daisy to come along one day and volunteer with her and her brothers – and the rest is history!
Daisy expresses that this is her first time gardening/farming and found out that she really enjoys it! She really likes the whole process/cycle of growing vegetables and enjoys the satisfaction of being able to say, “I did that!” when finishing a weeding or planting project. She says she has learned how “intricate” growing food can be.
Daisy has learned about the importance of spacing different varieties of seeds when planting and how mindful you need to be with detailed weeding of sprouting veggies. She has discovered how vegetables come in all shapes and sizes, and that they look completely different and taste “a lot better” than produce she gets at the grocery store.
John says he has learned a lot about gardening/farming during his time at the farm. He isn’t afraid to ask questions when curious about different farming techniques or vegetables, which we love and encourage! John expresses that he has learned how to take care of plants and likes seeing “plants grow all the way up – from seed to veggie.”
During her time at the farm, Kate has learned how much she likes working with her hands and being outside. She says her family grows tomatoes, kale, and lettuce at home, but that most of the other vegetables grown at Marra Farm are new to her. She has enjoyed trying different edible weeds pointed out by Farmer Scott Behmer – like the sour candy-tasting sorrel!
Bobby, the oldest of the Eleveld siblings, says that he enjoys harvest days the most, where he can “see the fruits of his labor.” He has learned about different kinds of vegetables and how they grow, which has been interesting to him. Bobby has been such a joy at the farm and really cares about the work he is doing and the impact he is making.
The number of large volunteer groups the Giving Garden usually hosts every season dramatically decreased this year due to the pandemic. Despite the decrease, we have adapted and developed a special, welcoming community for individuals and families to safely socialize while getting their hands in the dirt and getting some fresh air.
John says he has enjoyed meeting new people at the farm. Kate says she enjoys the community and environment at the farm, as folks are “very chill and nice.” And Bobby adds that he enjoys knowing that what he is doing is helping someone in need in the South Park community.
It doesn’t feel right to end this post without giving a well-deserved shoutout to all of the other amazing folks like John, Kate, Bobby, and Daisy who have stepped up and made harvesting 2,000+ pounds of vegetables possible this growing season. To name a few, thank you to Angie, Flo, Mo, Katie, Bobby, Henry, Nate, Tavish, Nichole, Antonio, Hillary, Asha, Kieran, and Cindy for your continued hard work and dedication during these difficult times. We appreciate all of you.