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.