Thank you to everyone who has supported this program over the last few months.
The Vegetables in Community program is a community effort- a true partnership.
It’s a privilege to serve with you all, and the contributions you make to this program make it successful.
Thanks to our wonderful advisors who have seemingly endless patience; who trusted us to work independently; and provided us with expertise, support, and guidance when we needed it.
To the staff at West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, the Community Gardeners, and the produce donors, who support the program with their boots on the ground, literally, cultivating crops and growing the community.
To our volunteers, who have stepped in and supported us when our energy is low and our time is pressed. Your work has been so helpful and we appreciate your flexibility.
To our wonderful sponsors, Easton Hospital and Capitol Blue Cross for their partnership that helps fund the Veggie Van and who provide us with nutritional information about the produce. Our partners, the Kellyn Foundation, who support our mission and are serving the community on Thursday Nights at the Easton Area Community Center.
To Lafayette College and the City of Easton, for providing us with infrastructure to develop and operate this program.
And most of all, to all of our customers and neighbors who have been wonderful patrons the last five weeks at the Veggie Van.
National Night Out, a day in which communities come together and show the strength of their neighborhoods, occurred in neighborhoods all-around Easton and around the country on Tuesday August 5. I enjoyed breaking bread with neighbors and community members at the Potluck taking place at the 10th & Pine Community Garden!
I spoke with some police officers about some of the ways Easton has changed over the last decade, learning about the impact WWNP has had in the community. I chatted with another officer about farming and his experience with backyard gardening. I ate dinner with some faces that were new to me, and shared desserts with Sophia, Lynn, and Lexy, who were all present that evening, helping to organize the event and reveling in the success of the event. It was a pleasure getting to join everyone, and I want to express my sincerest gratitude to WWNP for organizing the event and bringing so many wonderful people together with good music and some awesome food!
This night highlighted the power of a community space and knowing your neighbors. The garden and the surrounding gravel parking lot transformed to a place for people to gather, share stories, and play in puddles from rain earlier in the evening. It was great to see that a community can come together over food and a beautiful summer night. All I did was show up with some mac & cheese, and I got to spend a few hours meeting new people and enjoying being a part of the community.
For pictures and more information about the event, check out the links below:
What I’ve been reading:
We had a great night on Thursday! The mild weather made for a great week of harvesting produce and was perfect for a night spent with community members at the garden. At the Easton Urban farm on Thursday morning, we harvested plentiful amounts of squash, three types of onions, kale, beets, and more. The day before, Yvonne from the Friends & Family Garden on Walnut Street donated a few coolers full of collard greens, which helped us create a colorful display of vegetables. Many thanks to the Nurture Nature Center, as well, who donated produce grown in their Urban Recycle Garden on Pine St. Many thanks to Ken Jones, Mercantile Home, and the Lynn St Gardeners for allowing us to harvest this week at their plot. We helped ourselves to the yellow (wax) beans, a little bit of basil, and a couple of the large squash. Your peppers are looking great and hopefully we will be able to harvest a few next week!
We featured some great recipes this week, which we will have available again next Thursday. Our recipes are now also available for download on our website: http://sites.lafayette.edu/vic/recipes/. Thank you to Esther Guzman, who helped with the translations of these recipes into Spanish, and made valuable contributions to some of our other promotional materials.
Next Thursday, we are looking forward to working with our partners from Easton Hospital. They will be hosting a cooking demonstration next to the 10th & Pine Community Garden, using some of the same produce we are featuring at the Farm Stand.
Thank you as well to The Morning Call photographer, Michael Kubel, for coming out to document our Farm Stand. You can see more of the pictures from Thursday night at the link below.
Pictures: Easton’s Veggie Van. July 17, 2014. Michael Kubel, The Morning Call. http://www.mcall.com/news/local/easton/mc-pictures-eastons-veggie-van-20140717,0,1793655.photogallery
“The most satisfying thing is not buying, but giving” (McKnight and Block).
Last week’s farm stand was both enjoyable and empowering, but also exhausting!
I have so much respect for farmers who do this work daily or even weekly. There are so many little details to attend to in preparation for the farm stand, and I am so proud that we were able to get everything together in time for Thursday night. It could not have been accomplished without the support from everyone present throughout the week. Thank you!
I think we did well with developing educational resources last week, so in the next couple weeks, I’m looking forward to developing and implementing more supplemental activities for the farm stand. If we can bring a little joy through a portable speaker and some music, we will be able to liven the mood and hopefully help promote some of the community building we are hoping to see throughout the summer.
What I’m Reading:
The Abundant Community by John McKnight and Peter Block
Neighborhood and Community in Building Developmental Assets Scales et. al. (2001). Journal of Community Psychology
Our van is packed with harvest baskets, coolers, and tables for our farm stand this Thursday night! We are almost ready for our first farm stand distribution. Thanks to all those who have helped us get to this point, including our advisors, Sophia Feller and LaFarm, and Sarah Edmonds and WWNP.
We are looking forward to partnering with those providing the Vegetables In Community program with generous support and donations of produce including: Easton Hospital, Capitol Blue Cross, City of Easton, Kellyn Foundation, Crayola Gardens, Wegman’s, Giant, Ken Jones and the Lynn St. Garden, Yvonne Tugya, Lafayette College, CACLV, and WWNP.
Our plot at the farm is looking great, and we will have a lot of summer squash and zucchini, from the Urban Farm, for Thursday. For a complete list of vegetables available this week and for more information about the farm stand, please see the link below: http://sites.lafayette.edu/vic/veggie-van/
See you at the S. 10th and Pine Garden!
At the presentation of their Final Report in December 2013, community leaders rallied in support behind the students’ ideas and hard work over the last year. We heard accounts that the Veggie Van helps parents to provide healthy meals for their children by providing vegetables in their neighborhood at no cost. We learned that, through the Veggie Van, children are able to connect lessons about nutrition, learned in school and at after-school care, with their home life and their diet. Community leaders explained that members of our community are eagerly waiting for next summer, when the Veggie Van would return again to the West Ward.
This program charges participants to solve injustice and improve public health by providing produce to the West Ward neighborhood of Easton. This vision, set by participants in the Tech Clinic program, is ambitious. It will require participants to be motivated to learn and apply new knowledge and information quickly. Participants will need to be adept at problem solving and creating innovative solutions. When I was asked to join the project team last winter, I knew that I wanted to be involved, even through I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into. That’s the power of a strong vision- it inspires and excites by shining a light on the unknown. Their vision empowered me to make a commitment to serving with my community and helped me to work through early logistical hurdles with our advisors and my peers on this project, Rachel and Alexa.
I’m excited about the progress we have had at LaFarm and I am looking forward to continuing the successes from last year’s pilot Veggie Van. Expectations are high and I am hoping that our team shares a strong common purpose that will help get us through the summer.
What I’ve been Reading:
Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning
Creating a Company Vision
We are currently growing several varieties of vegetables at LaFarm, Lafayette College’s Community Garden & Working Farm. We maintain two 20’x40′ plots and spend most mornings there watering, weeding, planting, harvesting, and/or talking with community members about best practices.
It is our goal to provide our Easton neighbors with a variety of nutritious produce, grown in nearby community gardens. Each Thursday evening, beginning July 10, we will have our Farm Stand at the 10th & Pine Community Garden in the West Ward of Easton. Our farm stand will be open from 5-7pm, connecting our neighbors with fresh vegetables, resources such as food-related demonstrations or activities, as well as seasonal recipes on how to cook with the food that is available each week.
Research is being conducted on a continuous bases in the following areas:
- Food production, land management, & best practices,
- Food justice,
- Social justice,
- Food distribution best practices,
- Program sustainability (environmental, social, economic).
Our current goal is to produce a peer-reviewed journal article to be published based on the work conducted in the Summer of 2014.