Winter on the Farm Starts Next Week

 

pizzaWinter on the Farm is next week! With all the recent snow days you may have exhausted your inside entertainment, but we have the perfect opportunity for your 4th-7th grader. Winter on the Farm is held February 21-24, 8:30am-2:30pm at 37 Wheeler Road in Grafton. Sign up is by the day, so you can pick exactly which ones work in your schedule (or all 4!). Each day we do activities that focus on exposure to new food prepared in different ways, hands-on cooking, science, and the environment. Here’s what we have in store:

On Tuesday we will be highlight stems and leaves. We’ll discuss the roles stems and leaves perform for plants, and then do a leaf tasting. From there we will make kale chips and learn the basics of salad dressing before we launch into our salad dressing lab where each camper will create their own dressing. Even though many trees are without leaves, the conifers around the farm are still nice and green. We’ll learn about conifers then go on a hike to try to identify some. Next the kids will be plant detectives. We’ll learn a few ways to identify problems with plants, then diagnose some ailing house plants. We’ll finish off the day by learning about how greenhouses work and building our own from recycled materials.

Wednesday is all about seeds. 2 special guests and registered dieticians will stop by to make no-bake protein balls. We’ll look at a variety of seeds and their characteristics and then have a seed tasting. Two seeds will be focused on to make seed dips. For our daily outdoor activity we will be learning about seed dispersal and going for a hunt for seeds outside (you’d be surprised what we can find, even now!). In the afternoon we will be learning about complete proteins (many plant based ones come from seeds) and making seed packs.

On Thursday we move underground to root of the plants. We will do our daily tasting with all roots, then talk about the importance of breakfast and make some pancakes with a surprising root vegetable ingredient. We’ll head outside to do some animal tracking then come back in for lunch. Learning about go, slow, and whoa foods will be followed by a creative endeavor featuring some great “go” foods….root vegetables!

For our last day we will learn about flowers and pollinators. We’ll making dumplings with flowers and then spend some time outside. In the afternoon we’ll create feeders for a special pollinator, the hummingbird!

There are still a few spots left in Winter on the Farm! Register by the day for $50/each, or for all 4 days for $190. You child is sure to be kept busy and entertained throughout the days, all while learning about ways to customize nutritious foods, experiencing the great outdoors, and making new friends. Register here , and for more information email tori@community-harvest.org.

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Where Are Our Interns Now? Part II

interns-iiWe got such great feedback last month about our article on our Summer Internship Program that we figured we would continue to focus on the power of that program.  While winter seems as though it would be a quiet period here at the farm we are knee deep in planning for our 2017 Season.  A key piece of that process is to recruit for our Summer Internship Program with our college partners near and far.  There is time spent at local college recruitment events and on communication with students inquiring about spending their summer here at the farm.  Believe it or not by the end of March most students have their summer commitments in place so the next couple of weeks will be critical for our Internship Program.

We are extremely proud of the work that our interns engage in here at the farm and are even more excited when the seeds that we plant with them grow into great ideas and work after they leave us.  We thought that we would check in with a few more of our former interns and ask how the internship experience impacted them in making future decisions and updating us on what they are doing now.  The emails that we received speak for themselves and we are really proud of all of the students that we have been able to work with over the years.  We are also very proud of our ability to share the great resources of our farms to impact students, their understanding of non-profit work and how they use this learning in to make career decisions.  If you know of a college student looking for an opportunity for this summer please let them know that CHP is an option!  

Matt Moore, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy, CHP Intern Class of 2015
Interning at CHP rounded out my food and agricultural education at graduate school by providing me with hands-on experience. Whether you’re trying to effect policy change or help someone eat healthier, it’s extremely important to consider all perspectives on food-related (or any field) issues. As an intern, I had the opportunity to plant vegetables, meet politicians, and engage with staff and volunteers from many different backgrounds. Food brings so many people together, and interning at CHP reinforced how integral it is to people’s lives, but also that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to policy or nutritional questions. CHP certainly helped to prepare me for future work in the fields of food and nutrition. And of course, being able to literally see the fruits of your labor provides incredible motivation.

Claire Weston, Holy Cross, CHP Intern Class of 2015/2016
I am the Outreach Coordinator at a small non-profit (deja vu) called the Community Science Institute (CSI), that enlists volunteers to monitor water quality in nine different watersheds, including those that feed into Cayuga and Seneca Lake. I manage volunteers, coordinate events, create educational presentations and displays, and dabble in fundraising. From that description you can probably tell that working at CHP strongly guided my interests and influenced my projected career path. I’ve found that I have a strong desire to engage with the community in a meaningful way and I can say that, without a doubt, interning at CHP helped to cultivate that passion. Furthermore, CHP provided me with the skills needed to work effectively with large groups of volunteers and the awareness needed to guide and inspire them. As any CHP staff member can testify to, engaging the community and utilizing the passion and drive of volunteers is hard work but incredibly rewarding and of paramount importance. Finally, CHP prepared me for, and instilled in me, the desire to play an integral role as part of a small staff. I don’t fade into the background at CSI and interning at CHP made me really appreciate that. I felt valued at CHP, and so, moving forward, I have made it a point to maintain that sense of pride and importance in my work.   

Leta Branham, Clark University, CHP Intern Class of 2016 (currently studying in Senegal)
Interning at Community Harvest Project has really inspired what I want to focus my academics on. I’ve become very interested in food security and food justice, along with agriculture and issues of race. Studying in Dakar Senegal for the semester provides the perfect backdrop for all these interests to come together. While here, I’m taking classes in environment and development as well as history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Additionally, I hope to learn about agricultural practices are here and how that relates to food justice, especially in a country where water is very scarce and expensive.

Stephanie McCulloch, Ithaca College, CHP Intern Class of 2015
During my junior year of college, I was offered an internship at two different nonprofit organizations, one of them being Community Harvest Project. At the time, I had become extremely passionate about food justice issues, and I was looking to learn more about how sustainable farming could play a role in remediating these issues.  Looking back, I know that I accepted the internship with CHP because I would truly be a part of their mission statement.

When I first started working for CHP, I did not know a lot about farming. However, within two and a half months, not only did I learn how to do everything to keep the land productive, but I became much more aware of how CHP’s work benefited the community. I believe it is CHP’s success in providing food to so many people in need that influenced me to continue on to graduate school. CHP has found a way to incorporate sustainable practices into its system while providing people with healthy food. It is the idea that all efforts to produce this food are not to make a profit, but to make a difference in a person’s life by promoting health that convinces me my efforts at Tufts can help me do the same. The incredible feelings of love, empowerment, and joy I had during my time at CHP, I hope to have again when I assist in making agriculture policy changes that benefit the health of people and the environment.

I owe a great deal to Community Harvest Project for giving me the bulk of my farming knowledge because without it, I would not understand the work involved in producing food. If I did not have this farming and educational experience, then I believe I would not be as prepared to determine what changes to the food system need to be made, from the soil plants are grown in and how the food is distributed. I have so much more to learn to make my career goals a reality, but interning for Community Harvest Project convinced me that working hard in this next life chapter will be worth it.

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Winter at Prospect Hill Orchard

Orchard Pruning_Resized.jpgThe winter months at the orchard are busy ones.  We began pruning our roughly 3000 apples trees in the first week of January and will continue through the end of March.  It can be a daunting task but is a very satisfying one.  There is something gratifying about approaching a tree that has grown vigorously throughout the last season and carefully shaping and cutting the branches with the thought of the good fruit that is to come from your efforts.

Annual pruning is one of the most important cultural practices in apple growing for many reasons.   Probably the most obvious reason is to reduce tree size for its allotted space in the orchard. It is important to keep the aisles open for orchard equipment and easier harvesting.  We remove any large limbs first with a chainsaw.  Pruning is also used to form a strong framework that will support a heavy fruit load.  Broken, dead or diseased branches should always be removed, but the most important reason for pruning is thinning the branches so light penetrates throughout the tree.  Sunlight helps produce high quality fruit and the buds the fruit are grown from.

We have been very fortunate to have a few dedicated volunteers helping us prune.  These folks range from people who have a small orchard on their property to apples enthusiast and those who just enjoy working outdoors and wanted to learn a new skill.   If you are interested in helping us prune, we will be hosting an open volunteer day on Saturday, February  25th from 9am-12.  No experience is necessary but you will need to bring your own saw and loppers.  Click here for more information!

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February 2017 – Recipe of the Month: Collards

collards_resizedDid you know that collard greens were among our last crops of the 2016 season? These hardy greens can survive cold temperatures, and we harvested ours right into December. Not only do we love their long growing season and versatility, but we also love the health benefits of collards – they’re high in dietary fiber and vitamins B9, C, A, and K. So this month, to ward against winter colds, we’re giving creamed collards a try!

Creamed Collard Greens

Adapted from Nourished Kitchen

  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches of collard greens, stems removed and leaves chopped into ribbons
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and nutmeg, to taste

Melt butter in a skillet on moderate heat until it froths, then toss in the sliced yellow onion, frying in melted butter until caramelized on the edges. Add chopped collard greens to the skillet and stir until slightly wilted, about two minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the cup of heavy cream. Simmer for five to six minutes, until the cream is largely reduced. Season with nutmeg and salt to taste, and serve hot.

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