The family first came to Marra Farm in April, when they volunteered with Boeing employees and their families to celebrate Earth Day. Terry Barbe, an employee at Boeing, brought a list of potential volunteer opportunities home to show her husband and sons. Fortunately, Marra Farm was the option that appealed to everyone, because when David, Alexander, and Simon learned that volunteers were needed to regularly maintain the compost, they took on the project immediately.
Once each month from April to November, the Barbes made the trip from Kenmore to South Park to maintain and monitor the compost piles. As David observed, “While great effort had been put into creating some good bins, they were not being used effectively.” But he, Alexander, and Simon quickly turned things around and by their fifth visit, they were already sifting finished compost onto the beds. In less than a year, they’ve worked their way through about a third of previously accumulated plant material, while keeping up with what was produced this year.
They also agree that being able to work on the compost together made it an ideal family volunteering project. Both Alexander and Simon were able to count hours spent at Marra Farm towards their schools’ community service and service-learning requirements. For other families, they recommend looking for an activity that is fun no matter how many other volunteers show up.
And though they enjoyed the physical nature of their project, Alexander is quick to point out that there are other options on the farm: “There’s always work…you don’t have to lift hundred-pound wheelbarrows.” Each task on the farm contributes to the harvest, something David recognizes: When you learn about the Lettuce Link’s mission and how much production increases each year, he says, “you feel like you’re part of a winning team.”