Yesterday I went to the farm again. This time I harvested kale, chard, and lettuce. These I could recognize without being directed because the vegetables grow above ground. An interesting thing about organic gardens is that they don’t use pesticides. I know this is kind of obvious, but it’s more obvious when you’re out there picking the vegetables and seeing the aphids, spiders, bees, and various other bugs all over the food. We picked the veggies and automatically bundled them together. Then they go over to these commercial sinks and tubs where they are dunked and rinsed to remove aforementioned bugs and dirt. It was fun and kind of cool. Kale plants look like mini trees, and you pick it by snapping off the largest and lowest leaves. The part of the plant that remains growing has a stem that looks similar to a palm tree. The things I never would have seen staying in Colorado.
Some people have asked what I’m doing this project for and what I’m studying. Well, I’m not totally sure yet. We’re looking at the local food movement as a site for learning. I’m investigating this particular organization to identify its goals and understand how it goes about meeting the goals and if the program leaders feel they are effective in meeting the goals. I’m also interested in the students who work with the program. Do their personal or their family food practices change as a result of their working here? What is common about the families who say yes and no? What have the students learned about eating practices here that influence the decisions they make about what foods they eat?
There was an interesting dynamic this week when a large van full of about 10 kids showed up. They’re apparently from an after school program, and part of the program is to come help at this farm. Their behavior, interactions, and questions were significantly different from those who are employed by the program. I’m interested in this. Were these differences simply because of lack of training or familiarity? Was it because this was an after school program for them rather than a job? Are they influenced at all by their interactions with this organization, or is it just something different to do after school?