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Week 14: POSP Joins In & the Tomatoes Peak

This week Rachel returned to work and we had a full VIC team to harvest and run another successful stand. It is amazing what having some extra hands and passionate helpers can do to speed up operations and add some more fun to the process to which we’ve become so accustomed. A group of POSP (Pre-Orientation Service Project) students led by Nicole Maksymiw, a Lafayette sophomore, joined Rachel, Sophia Feller, and me for harvest at the Urban Farm. This group of energetic first-years harvested beans, tomatoes, green onions, kale, and swiss chard. It was wonderful to see their excitement experiencing the Urban Farm for the first time. I gleefully answered their questions about produce and VIC. They helped with washing and bundling the produce as well.

At the Urban Farm we harvested over 150 pounds of tomatoes – 6 full harvesting crates – while we typically only harvest 3 or 4 full crates. We didn’t want to let any more tomatoes rot on the vine. In future years, we hope that the Urban Farm will consider planting fewer tomato plants to reduce the excess of this crop which is highly prone to rotting if it is not consumed in a timely manner. The Urban Farm receives a large amount of donated tomato plants, but at the Urban Farm, where the labor structure is more variable than at LaFarm, managing this large quantity of tomato plants becomes problematic. Tomatoes must be tied throughout the summer and efficiently harvested to ensure proper growth and less waste on the vine. Instead, Rachel and I suggest that fewer tomato plants at the Urban Farm would allow for more variety and a more manageable space for vegetable production.

In addition to this substantial amount of tomatoes from the Urban Farm, we received tomato donations from West Easton Treatment Center and East 40. The result can be seen in the pictures below:

IMG_1029 IMG_1031

This week, we have been focused on sorting out the logistics for the harvest and the Stand. We decided that we would harvest at the Urban Farm on Wednesday evenings from 3:00 to 6:00 PM and at LaFarm from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM on Thursdays. The stand will run through the first two weeks of the school year. One major issue will be storage for the produce. We are still unsure of how much cooler space will be available for us to use in Marquis. Our hope is to also have space in the basement of The Spot to store tomatoes since we can no longer use the classroom in Van Wickle once classes commence.

With the help of Nicole Maksymiw, we are planning to include more volunteers to harvest and help at the Stand for these next two weeks. This week, Nicole organized a group of three additional Landis volunteers to help set up and run the Veggie Stand. This was a great opportunity to meet individuals who are involved in community service opportunities through Landis. They were all eager to get involved with the VIC project and I look forward to working with them in other ways during my senior year at Lafayette. This crew helped distribute produce. They were so happy to work with us! In addition to the Landis crew and Alex (our VIC community intern), Veronica, a returning volunteer who is an Easton high school student, was present for distribution. Other community members also helped set up and distribute produce at the stand. We had a strong team this week!

Landis Crew

Landis Crew


Sophia provided a large bubble wand to entertain kids at the stand. Also, Easton Hospital provided samples of a Parmesan tomato recipe. It was delicious and certainly appropriate for a week with so many tomatoes available. One community member even brought a delicious Lebanese dish to the volunteers and VIC staff. It was made with produce from the stand (tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, onions) and chickpeas!

The Veggie Stand has been a success throughout the summer. We are nervous about how everything will flow logistically as we enter the school year. We anticipate challenges with storage and transportation, but we are hopeful that we will have eager volunteers to help us through these last two weeks.

Week 13: The Clouds Were Sad Rachel Left

This week Rachel was on vacation so it was time for me to take on managing the Veggie Stand solo for a week. Overall, the week was a success, but when all of the organizational tasks fall onto one person, they can become time-consuming. It was a tough week in terms of getting volunteers for harvest and help with veggie pick-ups since many students have returned home for the summer and other obligations are starting up.

Harvest at the Urban Farm took longer than usual, running until about 12:00 PM (we typically finish around 11:AM). This is despite the fact that we harvested fewer pounds of produce than in previous weeks. This week we harvested 275.5 pounds of produce from the Urban Farm as opposed to the 300-330 pounds we typically harvest each week. From LaFarm, we also harvested fewer pounds than in previous weeks – only 83 compared to around 105-190 pounds. Rate of production is slowing down in some crops while others (such as tomatoes) is increasing drastically. We need to be conscious of how many tomatoes we harvest to avoid an excess that will not be fresh enough for delayed consumption in food banks.

Wednesday was the toughest day in terms of completing tasks. I started the day by helping Sophia obtain mulch for the compost at  the 10th & Pine St. community garden. We mixed this mulch with rotten bananas and other nitrogen-rich goodies from local cafes. This task required a lot of shoveling and a tolerance for some distinct odors. Afterwards, I was off to pick-up produce donations from West Easton Treatment Center, East 40, and Lynn St. It was a long day of driving and weighing produce.

Thursday I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Edmond’s colleagues who have just moved to the area from Washington state. They spoke of their experience working in food banks in the Ballard district of Seattle. Nancy Walters (Easton Hunger Coalition), Prof. Ben Cohen, and fellow LaFarm students also  attended this meeting. The goal was to discuss how the successful Seattle model of food banks and food justice can be applied to Easton. It is encouraging to meet with others who are so passionate and able to share success stories in taking on food insecurity and injustice.

This week’s stand was a success despite the rain! This was the first time it rained during the Veggie Stand hours. Easton Hospital’s nutrition staff attended to share a delicious kale salad recipe ( It was a big hit! We had a large turn-out despite the weather and set up an extra tent to provide cover for residents as they waited in line.

One issue we had this week was figuring out how to portion produce and establish a fair cut-off for how much each family should take. We tried to implement a limit of three tomatoes and two peppers, but we ended up with a large excess of tomatoes and peppers. Nancy Walters had a lot of produce to pick up for a local food bank this week (even beyond tomatoes and peppers)! This is also partially do to the weather which decreased turn-out at the stand. This week served as a reminder of the necessity to harvest and  portion wisely; also, this week demonstrated the importance of having enough volunteers to make the weekly tasks run efficiently. This will be particularly challenging for the two weeks in September, since classes will be underway.

Week 12: Rolling With the Punches… Or Golf Ball Attacks

Throughout my time as a member of the VIC team, I have learned to always be ready for anything that may happen. This week was looking to be fairly normal and was running smoothly, until Wednesday afternoon. As we returned from Northampton Community College with their donation this week, our van was struck with a golf ball causing the passenger side windshield to crack and shatter. Besides being somewhat shaken, Alexa and I were unharmed. Afterwards, we took all necessary steps in order to take care of the situation. The next morning, Thursday, we proceeded business as usual because we had a veggie stand to run that evening. At any job, it is important to be able to be flexible and calm in tough situations. And this past week’s experience definitely taught me that.


Despite a minor set back with the van, the Veggie Stand ran very smooth again, with many tomatoes to hand out. With about 175 lbs worth of tomatoes alone, we had excess produce after the close of the stand to donate to a member of the Easton Hunger Coalition to be taken to a food pantry. In addition to the tomatoes, we gave them sweet peppers, some kale and beans. We are happy to be working with the EHC, so that all of the produce goes to a good place.

This week we also featured a bug scouting demo, which Pam from the Nurture Nature Center ran with the kids. Bug scouting is important to an organic garden because the gardener must be able to identify which bugs needed to be killed and which are safe. Using no pesticides, gardeners must use only their knowledge, eyes and hands to exterminate any pest that may try to destroy their vegetables. The identification may be tricky, but with a great guide provided by Pam anyone can keep their veggies safe. I think the idea ida was wellreceived and the kids had some fun searching around the garden at 10th and Pine St.

Another large crowd was gathered this week beginning at 5:00, however we did not open the stand until everything was ready around 5:20. While attendees were waiting, we had them fill out a written survey that Alexa and I made for this week. This method seemed to work well because the donation table did not get to congested and it gave the attendees something to do while they waited in line for their produce. We hope to use these surveys as qualitative data when examining and assessing the effectiveness of our local food system model. Specifically, the consumption part of the model, since we have no control over what produce actually gets consumed. In the future, VIC may consider prewriting the surveys and getting them approved by the IRB, so that they can be used officially in published work.

Also this week, we had a “photo shoot” at LaFarm for Lafayette communications. They took photos, video and interviews to post on the college’s website and social media outlets. I think this will be a great opportunity for LaFarm, as well as the entire idea of organic farming, to get some recognition in the Lafayette community.  The communications people even made it down to the Veggie Stand to take some more footage of the VIC program in specific. I hope through their efforts, VIC will be made more well known to students and staff at Lafayette because it is a program that most people do not know about. However, it is doing so much for the local community of Easton, that as members of the college, students and staff are members of Easton.

As the summer winds down and transitions into fall, we hope to gain more volunteers for harvest at both LaFarm and the Urban Farm, in addition to distribution nights at South 10th and Pine. We have already gathered interest from a few students, but we hope to gain a couple more, as the Veggie Stand takes a lot of people in order to run smoothly.

Week 11: Big Crowd & Tomatillo Overload

Last week we had around 90 people attend the Veggie Stand. This was our largest crowd of the Based on a poll of families that attended, the crowd seemed evenly split between newcomers and returning participants. Community members were waiting eagerly in line by 5:00PM. We finished setting up early so we opened the stand by 5:20 PM. This week, we will account for our efficiency so that we do not set up too early and keep everyone waiting in line.

Thankfully, as residents waited in line they were able to enjoy the music of Patrick, local keyboard player and friend of Sophia Feller. There was no demonstration this past week, but in upcoming weeks there will be visits from Easton Hospital’s nutrition team and Pam Ruch of the Nurture Nature Center. We hope to incorporate more crafts, music, and potlucks in the final weeks of the stand.

Patrick Playing Keyboard

Patrick Playing Keyboard

We had a beautiful cherry and heirloom tomato harvest. The tomatoes looked funky compared to the typical red tomato so residents were hesitant to take them, but we made sure to promote their sweetness and ripeness! Only a few were left over at the end of the night.

heirloom tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes


bags of cherry tomatoes

bags of cherry tomatoes


By 6:00 PM the stand was wiped clean of most produce due to the abnormally large, early crowd. This was the earliest we had run out of produce all summer. All that remained in excess were the less reputable tomatillos. We had a beautiful and flavorful harvest, but they were a tough sell to many residents who were unsure of how to prepare them – turned off by their paper-like wrapping. Rachel and I will be eating tomatillos for a while. It’s a good thing they last long after they have been harvested. We are happy to incorporate them into our meals. Rachel even tested out a new salsa verde recipe! We called off the food bank pick-up for this week, because there wasn’t a substantial surplus.

Tomatillo Harvest

Tomatillo Harvest

This week we hope to attract another large crowd and return to conducting written surveys. This was a strange week because I only returned from vacation on Wednesday, it has been wonderful to get back to the Veggie Stand and I look forward to learning more in these upcoming weeks. Now Rachel and I have begun to update the working guide and creating recommendations for future summers of the Veggie Stand. We will incorporate these ideas into the EXCEL poster presentation at the end of the summer.

Week 10: Mayor Applauds Stand’s Success

Once again the Veggie Stand was a great success! The weeks seem to be flying by. I am always surprised once it’s all wrapped up on Thursday night that distribution is over for the week once again. However, the following Thursday comes just as fast! We certainly have gotten a routine down for the week – between harvesting at the farms, picking up vegetables at community gardens, and creating signs, recipes and surveys for the stand.

Since Alexa still away oIMG_0923n vacation, I tried to remember all of the tasks to be completed throughout the week. It helps to have a fairly standard routine to follow each day that can also be adapted if need be. After speaking with everyone who participated in VIC last year, the model we have created for this summer seems to be more time efficient and more productive than any of the weeks from last season.

With over 600 pounds of produce, the Veggie Stand “sold out” for the first time. All of the vegetables were taken except for some tomatoes and a few cucumbers and patty pan squash. It was exciting to see all of the returning customers as well as new faces. Two different residents were kind enough to make the workers of the stand dishes to share. This was such a kind gesture, maybe we could encourage this kind of sharing at future distribution nights. Alexa and I planned to have a potluck on the last Thursday night of the season; however having impromptu food tastings is a great way to build more community space.

This week the community involvement demo/event was an activity for kids. One of our Lafayette volunteers, Miranda Wilcha, created a sheet mural, which the kids painted with vegetables and flowers. We hope to hang it at future distribution nights. PIMG_0926ainting was great for the kids because they were able to get a little messy and have fun while learning what each vegetable looks like. I must extend a huge thank you to Miranda for making the mural and helping the kids paint. It looked a little chaotic at times, but I think the kids really enjoyed themselves. VIC was happy to see the Mayor of Easton,  Sal Panto, and the president of Lafayette College, Allison Byerly, at the Veggie Stand. We’re truly grateful for all their support of the program and everything that we are trying to accomplish. I thought it was also good for the residents to know that the Mayor is in support of the Veggie Stand.

In addition to Veggie Stand preparations, I continued my research on nutrition and value throughout the past week. One of the goals of VIC and the food movement on a large scale is to provide, not only locally grown food, but nutritious food as well. By providing the residents of the West Ward with fresh vegetables we hope that they will be encouraged to cook with more vegetables. With the amount of variety that we supply, I hope that residents try to make new dishes or experiment with the veggies to find what makes them taste the best, while keeping them nutritious. When valuing vegetables there are many approaches that one can forgo. There is a dollar value, a pound value, and a nutritional value. And while VIC doesn’t so much examine cost and pounds are easy to measure, the nutritional value of a vegetable is a metric that Dr. M and I are continually trying to establish. We aim to find out, as a total with the vegetables we have each week, how many people we could possibly feed based on Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamins and minerals.

In conjunction with the most nutritious vegetable, we also want to know which vegetable residents used most often once they returned home. The only way for us to collect data on this metric would be through surveys asked at the stand. In knowing this information, we could possibly reevaluate certain vegetables that we plant. If they aren’t being used then it seems to not be worth the resources to grow that specific veggie. However, since some of the vegetables come from farms/gardens where we do not have control over what goes in the ground, we can not dictate what is at the stand each week. Some vegetables are high in nutrients – kale, for instance – but some people do not know what it is or how to cook it; which is why the educational aspect of the Veggie Stand is also very important. I hope residents enjoy the veggies they pick up and find that vegetables can be tasty and nutritious. I think the Veggie Stand is doing very well and I hope it continues to grow each and every week.

Week 9: Beating the Heat

The week began hot and humid, but luckily cooled off some for Thursday night distribution. The next two weeks will be busy since Alexa is on vacation. So it’s up to me and all our wonderful volunteers to complete the tasks necessary for the Veggie Stand. On Tuesday, an invitation was sent to the mayor of Easton and many other dignitaries to attend the stand next Thursday as special guests. We hope to have a good turnout and use the opportunity to promote WWNP and VIC as a program for the community. On Wednesday, I traveled to the West Easton Treatment Center and Lynn St. community gardens to pick up vegetables for the stand. East 40 also donated a good portion of produce, in addition to community gardeners on the LaFarm plots. We are very thankful to have donations from so many different gardens because not only  are we receiving more vegetables to distribute, but also we are receiving a lot more variety. Many people have returned to the stand to tell us about different vegetables they have tried and really enjoyed.

This week we had the largest amount of vegetables to distribute (over 600 pIMG_0893ounds!)  and attendees (close to 80 residents) at the Veggie Stand. We are happy to know that almost all of the vegetables got taken; by 6:30, when most people had left, we had Nancy Walters from the Easton Hunger Coalition come take the small excess. Earlier in the week Nancy had sent me a schedule of who would be doing the excess pick-up from the stand each week. This will be a helpful tool as we continue with our partnership with EHC. VIC’s goal is to increase food access in the West Ward, by teaming with the Easton Hunger Coalition we are contributing more and more to that goal. Each week the produce goes to a different food pantry within Easton.

Another goal of VIC includes building community strength in order to promote awareness of the gardens and community sustainability of the program. For this week’s Veggie Stand we had a cooking demonstration presented by Easton Hospital’s Chef Jose Estevez. He made a delicious ratatouille with zuchinni, tomatoes, onions and squash. I made sure to inform residents of the special guests we hope to have at the stand next week and the art project that Miranda Wilcha (one of our student volunteers) has created for kids to participate in. It’s important to educate kids about the importance of vegetables and nutrition, and a hands-on art project is a way to have fun while educating. Some of the kids who attended the stand this week were reluctant to try the ratatouille sample; however once they did, they were coming back for seconds.

Again, we had a written survey for the attendees of the Veggie Stand. We seemed to get a good response for written surveys so I decided it would be best to continue with them. Some of the questions were repeats from last week and others were the same. I asked about whether the attendees had come to the stand last summer or in previous weeks. The goal is to see how many new people we have each week. I also asked about where people had heard about the stand in order to find out about how well our advertising worked. I also asked about how attendees got to the stand in addition to what kind of food they chose and why. These questions were asked in order to examine why certain vegetables may not be chosen over others and how that relates to styles of cooking. Overall, the survey was well answered and hopefully we can use them in the future to improve the Veggie Stand in addition to qualitiative data for the article.

I saw a few familiar faces from weeks past, but many new people attended and were excited to hear about the program and the farm. One woman had me write down the address and the times for volunteering at the Urban Farm. Another man signed his name and told me he would like to and is willing to help with distribution nights since he lives right around the corner. In order for VIC to continue we need to continue to recruit community members that are willing to volunteer their time. Even just and hour on the farm, every little bit helps to sustain the program.

I am excited to continue with the Veggie Stand for the rest of the summer. So far it has been a huge success and I am sure it will continue to be so!


Week 8: Getting Into the Groove

Week two of the Veggie Stand was a great success. I am amazed by how well it all comes together on Thursday nights. Rachel and I put in a lot of effort during the week to make sure everything from surveys to fridge space are in place to provide fresh produce and a community space on Thursday evenings.

There were familiar faces from last week’s Stand, but many new faces as well. I hope to get to know the community members who attend each week. I am eager to get feedback through conversations and survey responses. I was happy when one woman returned with her son and recognized me from last week. She had a warm smile as she made her way through the stand and enthusiastically collected all of the recipes we had on the board. Last week she even asked for Sophia’s phone number in hopes of volunteering at the Urban Farm. It was wonderful to see this energy from residents at the Stand. This is the only way a program like VIC can continue.

We decided to stick to written surveys this week because we noticed people may have felt overwhelmed by oral survey questions at the stand. Something about a person taking notes on a clipboard may be a little too much to handle every week. Written surveys were distributed at the donation and information table. They didn’t take too long to fill out and we felt that the complete anonymity would help us in getting more accurate and honest responses. We hope to get a better sense of the expectations and thoughts of residents regarding access and affordability of fresh produce in the community. We are eager to use this feedback to improve the Vegetables In the Community initiative and Veggie Stand.

This week, Sophia Feller (WWNP) and Pam Ruch (Nurture Nature Center) hosted a container gardening workshop. At their table, residents could choose an herb to plant in a pot or bucket garden and take home. I chose to plant some basil! The residents at the Veggie Stand seemed to be pleased with this workshop and the opportunity to bring a new plant to their home. The VIC team brought benches from the 10th and Pine community garden over to the workshop tent. We also carried the picnic table and umbrella to the center of the lot. We were trying to create more space for people to gather at the Stand after filling their produce bag. At the donation and information table, I made sure to tell attendees that next week there would be a cooking demonstration presented by Easton Hospital’s Chef Jose Estevez. Community members were excited to hear about this and they eagerly accepted the brochure that listed the calendar of Veggie Stand events. We have a wonderful line-up of activities and demonstrations planned for this summer!

Another accomplishment of this week included coordinating produce donation pick-up times. We now have a set schedule in place to drop off coolers and pick up donations from the Lynn Street community garden in West Easton, the West Easton Treatment Center garden, and East 40 at Northampton Community College. With the help of LaFarmer Joe Ingrao, VIC will be placing a cooler at LaFarm to collect donations from community gardeners. Through these donations we have received an assortment of herbs and special crops (such as cupcake squash) that we otherwise would not have at the stand. We are also hoping to receive more recipe recommendations from community members and gardeners.


We knew we would have an excess of kale and cucumbers at the Veggie Stand this week! We had less excess of other veggies than last week. We harvested less Swiss chard due to limited storage space and the large quantity of kale. Each week we will have representatives from local food pantries pick up excess produce. We have been coordinating with Nancy Walters of the Easton Hunger Coalition to bring limit the amount of wasted food and bring more fresh produce into food pantries. Currently pantries rely heavily on canned goods.

VIC donation to Riverside Ministry on July 9th

VIC donation to Riverside Ministry on July 9th, photo by Nancy Walters, Easton Hunger Coalition


One issue we encountered in this strategy was ensuring that the produce we donate would still be fresh by the time it is served in the food pantry. Particularly in the case of leafy greens, such as kale, ensuring freshness from harvest to table is challenging. This week Ellen and Dennis Potter, the directors of the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry at 9th and Washington, came to collect produce at the conclusion of the Stand. They plan to incorporate the VIC produce in Tuesdays meal. We will have to be aware of meal times at the pantries that pick up and limiting the excess of leafy green veggies.

I am eager to see VIC grow throughout the summer. I am excited to see new and familiar faces each week. I will be out of town for the next two weeks, but I am confident that Rachel, the VIC team, and reliable volunteers will successfully manage the Stand through these upcoming weeks. I look forward to seeing the progress of the Stand when I return in August.

First Distribution of 2015!

With a line of 20 people at 5:15 already awaiting the opening of the Veggie Stand, the first distribution last night was a success!!  Ominous clouds hung in the sky, bIMG_0795ut that didn’t stop about 60 people from coming out to the stand at South 10th and Pine St.  We were able to hand out over 500 pounds of produce thanks to the Easton Urban farm, LaFarm, and East 40 (Northampton Community College’s farm).  We also had the dietitian from Easton Hospital, Alison, come with a sample of a healthy vegetable salad recipe and sample featuring veggies we had at the stand. Everything ran very smoothly – even the hasty clean-up due to the impending storm –  thanks to our volunteers from Lafayette and the community. We had just enough people to be able to conduct surveys and explain the vegetables, while refilling the baskets from the seemingly bottomless supply of squash. All of the left over vegetables were handed off to Nancy from the Easton Hunger Coalition to be taken to a food pantry in order to serve as many families as possible.

IMG_0793This whole week had been a whirlwind of coordinating cooler drop-offs and pick-ups for donations, finding cold storage space, putting together various recipes and signs, and harvesting vegetables at the Urban Farm and LaFarm for the stand. All the hard work paid off!  As I saw the smiling faces of West Ward residents picking out their vegetables, I felt pride in all the work Alexa and I have put in to make this project into something great. When out in the field it is sometimes hard to see the big picture outcome; however last night I finally realized the impact VIC has on the community and felt honored to be a part of the project. While the future of VIC is unknown, it is rewarding to know that this week we helped numerous families get fresh vegetables to put on their table.

As the weeks progress, we aim to stream-line our harvest process at both the Urban Farm and LaFarm. We also hope to increase our number of attendees at the stand and create an even more interactive community space. In addition, we hope to stay in communication with dining services throughout the summer, since they provide us cold storage space. We had just enough room this week, but as harvest becomes more bountiful, we might have to find moreIMG_0791 storage places. Alexa and I had to trouble shoot all issues (big and small) throughout the week, which paid off because the stand ran as smoothly as we could have imagined. I now realize all the important details that must be accounted for. For example, the recipe board from last year could not be found, so we improvised with a cork board and an easel to be able to display the recipes for participants. Recipe sharing is important to the building of community strength and we were very happy with what we were able to bring to the community. Overall the first night was a great success and I look forward to many more Thursday evenings at the Veggie Stand.


Challenges of Small-Scale Organic Farming

When we consume food, we often forget about all of the work that goes into ensuring it’s growth and quality. This past week has certainly been an eye-opening experience in terms of understanding the setbacks, worries, and difficulties of small-scale organic farming. You cannot rely on pesticides to kill the pests destroying your crops and you cannot rely on crop-insurance to over your losses.

At the Urban Farm, Rachel and I have begun scouting for bugs in the morning. Particularly, we search for leaf-miners in the swiss chard, eggplant beetles (the nastiest to squish), and cucumber/squash beetles. We have become masters of identifying these pests in their various stages of life – from egg to adult. These bugs feast on the leaves of plants. Leaf miners actually dig their way inside of the leaf and kill the leaf from the inside out.

cucumber beetle post-squish

cucumber beetle post-squish

leaf miner damage on swiss chard

leaf miner damage on swiss chard

eggplant beetles that have not yet reached adulthood

eggplant beetles that have not yet reached adulthood


During a tornado warning and  hail storm on June 30, LaFarm suffered some serious damage. Crops clearly displayed hail and wind damage in the form of holes in leaves, bruised produce, and toppled plants. On Thursday morning we had to harvest many onions that were too severely damaged to remain in the ground. As a result, we harvested a lot of small onions. This will definitely decrease the amount of produce that will be available throughout the summer. We harvested the onions that had toppled greens and were clearly damaged beyond recovery. The onions that remain in the ground are at risk of rotting from disease due to the damage they sustained. A lot of green tomatoes were also harvested along with slightly hail-damaged squash. We also removed pea plants that were severely hail damaged.

This was certainly a lesson in how unpredictable farming can be as a livelihood, particularly small-scale organic farming. Sarah , the LaFarm manager was distraught, saying this forced harvest would not pay off. She wished LaFarm could have crop insurance to at least soften the blow. All of the work she so carefully put into that land could so easily be wiped away by natural forces beyond her control.

hail damage

hail damage

fallen onions

fallen onions

Food appears to be an abundant product that will always fill our grocery store shelves. People often forget that the food supply is not resilient. It cannot just be assumed that we will always get our food. We’ll just import it from somewhere else, after all! We forget about droughts, disease, pests, soil quality, weather, and climate that are all factors in the food supply. We have adopted an unsustainable way of thinking of food. Mass production, more water, less agrobiodiversity, more pesticides, more fossil fuels, less fresh food, less social connectedness around food, lower pay for workers, worse working conditions. All to feed our habits of consumption.


Week 5: Advertising and Growing

This week Alexa and I worked on advertising the veggie stand throughout Easton. On Tuesday, we dropped off flyers at the Boys and Girls Club and the Health and Wellness Foundation, to be handed out to families visiting both locations. On Thursday, Alexa went to a pub night meeting with members of the cooking matters team. Cooking matters is a program run by Easton’s hunger coalition to teach cooking lessons and provide cooking utensils and food for families to reproduce the meals at home. On Thursday night, I went to the summer nights event held at the Easton Area Community Center by the Kellyn Foundation. I was able to handout flyers to the families in attendance there. We are both very excited to be able to get the word out about the Veggie Stand.

At LaFarm, we have spent a lot of our early mornings harvesting for the dining halls. In the later part of the morning, Alexa and I have done a lot of weeding to prepare the beds for being covered with straw (cucumbers and watermelons) or compost (potatoes). On Thursday at LaFarm, we learned harvest procedures such as weighing, washing and storing the vegetables. The vegetables we used were for the dining hall, but the same procedure will be used when we harvest for the veggie stand. We also, picked up and labelled are totes for harvest. It’s exciting to know that distribution is only two weeks away!

At the Urban Farm, Alexa and I have done a lot of bug scouting on the swiss chard, cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini and squash. Lexi has taught us which bugs are important to squish in order to keep the plants healthy and growing strong. We have continued with tomato stringing; getting better and better each time! On Wednesday night I visited the Urban Farm and Lexi was there with two other volunteers building a wash station using the water from the neighbothood center. This is very exciting news for us because if we can wash right after harvest, then we do not have to use the sinks in Farinon. The wash station will also make the Urban Farm more self sufficient.

We have recently been in contact with Kelly Allen, the master gardener of East 40, which is the farm at Northampton Community College. Mr. Allen is interested in donating to the veggie stand and we are very excited to be in contact with him. Hopefully, as the summer continues Alexa and I can make more connections like these and gain more volunteers for the program!6-16 Lexy Volunteer Welcome Sign


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