Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Farm (Stanford) Gleaners at The Free Farm!

GCETP grad Sophie sent this report and photos of yesterday’s workday at The Free Farm:

This week at The Free Farm, there was a myriad of activity. Two vans of Stanford University students taking Page's service-learning class came to volunteer at the Free Farm. Many had previously interned with the Free Farm this past summer and were very excited to return to the Free Farm. With them, they brought 90 pounds of lemons and oranges gleaned from trees on Stanford's campus. Steven, a bee keeper from the East Bay, also stopped by to check out the bees at the Free Farm.

Among the 29 different volunteers at the Free Farm this Saturday, there were a lot of different projects going on. Some of the volunteers worked on painting one of the tool sheds and installing windows into another. As usual, there was also a lot of harvesting going on. Volunteers gathered bunches of chard, favas, lettuce, a few hot red peppers and some tree collards. Along with the lemons and oranges and the crops harvested at the Free Farm we were also able to give out loaves of bread to some of the farm stand customers.

Keeping with the lively atmosphere of Saturday’s workday, there were a huge amount of customers at the farm stand. This could have been due to the fact that we moved the stand out onto the sidewalk or just because it was a beautiful day. The 35 customers were overjoyed to see the lemons and oranges at the farm stand. They were also very excited to see the huge amount of favas we were offering. Needless to say, there was a lot of cooking methods being passed around.

One really cool aspect of being able to volunteer at the farm stand is seeing the customers become inspired to help out at the Free Farm. One passerby took some of the chard and favas for a salad he was planning to make later. He told us that he was at the park across the street every Saturday taking part in a Gung Fu class. After leaving on his bike to go home we saw him pass by again. He said that he had decided that he really wanted to volunteer at the Free Farm. I sent him down to the labyrinth to see if he could help out. Later, as I turned back to see what everyone was doing I saw him happily working with many of the other volunteers at the Free Farm. I think that this whole experience demonstrates what the Free Farm stands for, inviting community members to participate in the process of growing food while also having the opportunity to take some home. Its like I said in a previous blog post, “Give a man a fish, feed him for I day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a life.”

So in the upcoming Saturdays if you need something to do I encourage you to come grow with us. -Sophie

Busy bees

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