Well, the farm is put to bed and plans are in the works for next year. Every year has brought different challenges and rewards. This year was no exception. We scaled down, but had a better quality in many of our veggies especially the lettuce.
Thanks to our summer school kids and their awesome teacher, Jeff Boyd, we had a bumper crop of lettuce and carrots, were able to fallow an acre of the field and keep the weeds at bay with the tractor and each student was able to become competent with the tiller. The summer school ag education program was given chickens and the students were really great at keeping them healthy and happy.
If you didn't see the wonderful tall raised bed and wheelchair sidewalk that was built by local concrete companies, then you missed out. Thanks to Central PreMix, Spokane Rock Products, Cook Forms, and Wm. Winkler Co. for their wonderful donation of their expertise and products. The bed was a lovely home for the veggies and flowers for the Special Ed. students from EVHS. Those kids did such a great job and their teachers went above and beyond to create a memorable teaching experience for them.
Our wheat harvest for this year was not what we hoped, but the great guys from Crop Production Services have already planted winter wheat and it is already coming up! Fred Flemming from Shepherd's Grain has been really great at helping our wheat program grow.
This was a great year for the hot peppers that the kids from our Construction/Ag Program grew. The students are so good at coming all through the summer and watering. I have yet to even smell one of the peppers let alone put one to my lips; too hot for me! Our Teen Parent Program came and picked carrots, broccoli and beans. They cooked the veggies and made baby food. Lucky babies!
At the Trent Harvest Fair, attendees got to try brownies made from wheat and beets grown at the farm. Only one person could tell there were beets in the chocolate brownies. The carrot cake made with carrots and wheat from the farm was also a real hit. Two pumpkins grown at the farm were given away to the people who guessed the correct weight of the pumpkins. There were some really good guesses.
At the close of the season the farm produced 1145 pounds for Second Harvest and 275 pounds for the school district. Next year will be better! We had 80 volunteers this year, but need even more for next year. If you want to volunteer next year, please contact me. The farm welcomes all volunteers; individuals, families, company employees...anyone willing to help out.
Everyone have a great winter and we will see you in the spring!
See you at The Farm!
This week was a complete mixed bag of emotion and activity at the Farm. Many of you are aware of the vandalism that the Farm received, but trust me when I say, the vandalism has been overshadowed by an outpouring of concern, compassion and generosity.
In the very early hours of Wednesday morning, at least three young people were caught at Plantes Ferry Park after vandalizing East Valley’s farm sheds and Plantes Ferry Park outbuildings. Spokane Valley Police did a great job in apprehending the youth responsible. According to the investigating officer, none of the vandals were enrolled in East Valley Schools.
The damage to the sheds could have been much worse. In addition to the very thorough graffiti, the man doors on the sheds were kicked in rendering them useless. None of the equipment or tools were stolen or damaged, the greatest damage being done to the exterior of the sheds and the doors.
The worst part about this crime was seeing the look on the faces of the Construction Program students when they arrived at the Farm. To see all of their hard work and countless hours defaced and disregarded in such a senseless way was overwhelming for them. Several Construction students were eager to get the sheds secured for the night and so with the help of my husband, were able to ease that worry and got the sheds secured.
After taking a day to process, organize and secure the sheds, Wednesday saw a tremendous outpouring of compassion. By late morning, neighbors had stopped by to offer assistance. One gentleman stopped by to lend his experience as a heavy-duty mechanic to inspect the tractor. Another gentleman stopped by to order one of the custom made sheds from the Construction Program. Home Depot donated a portion of the paint and supplies to paint the two unfinished sheds, Lowe’s sent two experts out to survey the damage and make a list of everything we would need to clean or paint over the graffiti on the finished shed, and LNS Building Cleaning Supplies dropped off a case of cleaners.
Construction students got to work and by day’s end, all the graffiti was cleaned off or covered up. By day’s end, I mean 7pm. Three young men from the construction class didn’t like the looks of the decking on the porch of the “show shed” and so came back later Thursday afternoon with their own high pressure washer. After running out of the most effective solvent they spent their own money to buy more. The porch looks like nothing ever happened to it!
There is still more work to be done: door jams need replacing, and the remainder of the sheds need to be painted. With the help of a great community and the determination of the Construction Program students and teachers, we are on our way to making the sheds beautiful once more.
The lessons learned varied from person to person, but I can almost guarantee that no student involved in building the sheds will ever be a participant in vandalism. I am also fairly certain that many kids were able to feel some measure of compassion for the vandals. Some students voiced how proud they felt about their work and how ashamed they felt that another teenager could show such disregard for another’s efforts.
Judging from the reactions of not only students, but community members as well, there are a great deal of people that care about the Farm and it’s participants. What a blessing.
See you at the Farm,
Here is an update just so you are all aware of what we are up to at the farm. All the raised beds have been tilled (thanks to the middle school CTE kids) and the field has been plowed and disced. I still need to harrow the field and then we will spray the field with roundup to start getting a handle on the quack grass situation. Once that is done, we will lay out the family plot area in the field and ya'll can start planting. I am aiming for all of this work to be completed by May 12th. I know you are chomping at the bit to get in the dirt, but there are several people involved in doing this work, so between all of our schedules and the weather, I think May 12th is going to have to be good enough for the field work. If you have a raised bed, you are free to garden at will, but keep in mind that the wive's tale is to wait til there is no snow on Mica Peak. Thanks for your patience; it is going to be a great year at the farm!
In preparation for Saturday's plowing, students from EV High School and EV Middle School picked rocks, wood and trash out of the field all day Friday. They were all such good sports as fresh cow manure had been spread the day before! What a great day we had Saturday plowing the field. The Inland Empire Gas and Steam Buffs were so generous with their time and tractors to plow our field! With five tractors and plows the field was plowed in no time at all and the weather couldn't have been better. The farm could not exist without the wonderful service from the men in the tractor club. Thank you, Thank you! I even got in on some of the tractor fun by discing up our wheat field with the Massey Ferguson 135 that was bought last year with funds donated by Spokane Valley Kiwanis. Thanks to Eldon Jons for the tractor -driving lesson, I didn't run into anything important and the tractor is still functioning! Look for a story about Saturday in the Inlander.
All bed assignments have been made and there are still more plots available in the raised beds. Contact me to make a reservation. The beds will be tilled this week and planting can start as soon as you dare. The field plots will be ready by the beginning of May; I'll let you know when they are staked out and ready to be claimed. Again, if you desire to grow corn, you must get your corn seed from Reta at the High School's front desk.
Last but certainly not least a new raised bed for our Special Ed. kids is almost complete. Thanks to Debbie Strehlou, our district maintenance crew, Central Premix, Spokane Rock Product and Cook Forms the bed has been made out of concrete and is awaiting the wheelchair ramp that will be laid by Wm. Winkler Company. What a great community we have. You should have seen the kids putting their handprints and names in the wet concrete. What a special day for a really sweet group of kids.
If you have any questions about your bed or plot assignments, give me a call or shoot me an email! And please visit our facebook page for photos of all the recent happenings. I can't wait to see you all at the farm!
See you soon!
Come to Plow Day at the Farm on April 14th at 10am! We have got some great things in the works and have really incorporated our students on a huge level this year. We have a whole construction program that have built three sheds for the farm and consequently are now making and selling them at the request of community members. A new wheelchair ramp and wheelchair friendly raised bed is in the works. We have two other programs that are growing and/or selling their products. We are in partnership with Shepherd's Grain to grow their wheat and will be growing the wheat for our district's whole wheat flour needs. Of course we will be donating produce to Second Harvest and our district kitchens. I'm excited for the new season!
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