Day 2 started off by waking up promptly at 9 am to start our day off with breakfast. We then made sandwiches before heading off to our first site at Jean’s Farm. At the gate we were greeted by Farmer Jeff, a leader for Rising Stone Farms. Jeans’s Farm is not only home to Rising Stone Farms, but also other groups dedicated to educating school children on food and sustainability. After learning a bit about what Rising Stone does from Farmer Jeff, we broke up into a three different groups focused on weeding, picking tomatoes, and cutting down corn plants. Everyone had an opportunity to get down and dirty, so to speak. We wrapped up our work and gathered with Farmer Jeff for a bit to reflect upon the work we had done. Farmer Jeff expressed his gratitude of our presence and sent us off on a positive note with a greater understanding and appreciation of his and Rising Stone’s mission and work. We then hopped in the vans and headed to Zenger Farms. Upon our arrival, we were excitedly greeted by Laura, an employee of Zenger Farms. Laura guided us on a tour of the farm, starting off with the turkeys. We learned that at the farm, they wisely use turkeys and chickens to fertilize and aerate the soil by moving them around the farm. As the tour proceeded, we saw and tasted various plants including beets, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. The tour concluded by weeding one of the education gardens on the property and seeing the building in construction which will in-house a commercial kitchen as well as rooms for educating the public. Finally we tried one final selection from Zenger Farms and headed back to the church. We quickly dropped off our belongings and picked up others before heading back to our respective dorms and houses to shower. After showering we all headed to Shelley’s house where we enjoyed a dinner of pasta and kale. While the food settled we did a bit of reflecting and headed back to the church to wind down and watch a documentary called Fresh.
Both farms were excellent sites to learn about issues dealing with food justice hands on. Jean’s Farm and Zenger Farms are examples of CSAs or community sustainable agriculture. This model of farm focuses on giving back to the community. At the beginning of the harvest, members give money and in return get produce throughout the year. Many farms also donate a lot of the produce grown to food banks and to those in need. Zenger farms even reserves half of their member spots to those with Oregon Trail Cards. This way, low-income individuals can still have a way of buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Both farms were a different experience for the group as well. It was great getting to go to these places in person. At Jean’s farm we got down in the dirt and got to do more hands on stuff. At Zenger farm we learned more about the mechanics behind these farms and how they focus on sustainability. It was definitely an awesome experience for all of us.
“If you gobble at a male turkey, their head might turn blue.”