Farm Updates: Busy Around Here, CSA Update and Mentoring
Skilled Older Folk - Showing Up Out of The Wood Works (so to speak)
Things are hopping around here as you might imagine. New, skilled 'older ' folks have joined the team and I'd like you to hear about Warren. He saw the TV shoot that Channel 12 did the end of July and immediately emailed us asking if his wood working skills might be used around here. Seriously? Of the many projects on the list for Warren, his first project was to build things to organize other things - like work benches and these super cool shelving units to neatly stack the lumber Michael gets (if not free) at least 75% off at Home Depot.
Chicken Tractors (maybe Warren will teach a workshop soon)
I first started dreaming about chicken tractors in 2007 when I saw The Garden Girl construct one she used to place over her raised bed. She used the tractor at the end of season for her chickens to dig and hunt and work.
My dream has become a reality as Warren whipped 3 together (I am talking him into doing a class). These chicken tractors fit neatly on top of each 4' wide raised bed - we put a few hens inside so they do the "work" of scratching around, eating naughty bugs and partnering with us to prep the beds for fall planting.
Volunteers Orientation Morning
Another thing that is happening is all the new volunteers. So many so that we're needing to restructure how we add volunteers with (soon to be scheduled) a TSF Volunteer Orientation. It's important that all our farm volunteers HOW we do WHAT we do and WHY we do it. Our GAP farm manuel is in process (Good Ag Practices) and will be implemented on every level.
We had close to 60 volunteers during the months of July and August. SIXTY!!! One of the benefits of being our farm's volunteers is a party (of sorts). Invitations are out to our third Volunteer Pot Luck - Alfresco (we'll be using the new farm tables Warren is building).
Seeding, Growing and Planting
Years ago, we seeded most of our own starts. We are doing that again. One reason, is that I am a seed addict. I love seed catalogs and to be honest - seeding seeds in little pots can be theraputic when you're sitting around with some other women getting your hands dirty.
Planning and Mapping Out CSA Production
Every raised bed and more will be taken over with our CSA production. For some reason, I believe we need to plant a ton of broccoli, kale, sorrel and parsley - as well as our beets, radishes, carrots and other wonderful fall produce.
The Opening of Our CSA Shares will Be Soon
If you didn't know it we have CLOSED our farm completely and transitioned into an "educational farm" with an emphasis on our farm/home/garden workshops AND to CSA members only. Our recent Press Release is here.
The market and French cafe is no more (I know it's sad - but a necessary business decision).
Invitation to our private home and farm is as a registered workshop student or if you are picking up your CSA share on Thursday mornings (and 3-6 pm Thursday afternoons).
I have been inundated with emails - most ask if there is still room on the CSA list and others ask if they can send a check in to secure a spot. On the one side this interest is totally thrilling - on the other side - it's tough to say, "Nope - don't send a check." "Nope - we haven't even started the list." Wait - we will post soon.
Last season - our first - all our CSA spots went within the first 3 hours. Read here how it will work.
Mentoring/Discipling - Basic Life Skills - Workshops/Classes
The last few years, we've observed and experienced (here at our farm) a desire/longing of the "younger crowd" to learn some of those basic life skills (wood working, welding, how to use/work a ham radio and the cooking skills and the gardening/farm skills). We've seen them slowly move away from the "tecky" stuff to things of the "earthy" nature. It seems as if there is a soul longing to use their hands (getting them dirty), use their body and their minds (all at once - inclusive of sweating) in community with others - working and sweating along side others.
Because mentoring/discipling (means to be a trained one) is core to the heart of who Michael and I are - one direction we've intentionally been stepping toward is mentoring/discipling in basic life skill sets. We have been watching how (quite organically and Providentially) "older" folk with some of those basic skills are finding our farm. They are skilled in wood working, welding, butchering, knife skills, cooking, canning, gardening, using herbs, making medicinal tinctures, making cheese, goat husbandry, chicken keeping, fermentation, etc. etc The list is getting longer. We will continue to add these and more to our workshops and classes. Here's what we have so far.
As part of the mentoring/discipling plan of our farm -we have always had our mind to have Farm Stay Interns. These interns would commit to a period of time and learn everything they can about how a farm runs, how to grow, compost, build, make cheese, run CSA's and everything else we do. We believe we're almost set up to open up our Intern Applications up.
What a great time to spend 3-6 months in the Phoenix Valley, right?
Lastly, after such a long update - Michael and I wish we could thank each one personally for their support and care toward Scottsdale's Suburban farm. The neighbors and our city have shown a ton of love and we can't thank you enough.