It’s only January, we still have another four weeks left of the inaugural season of our Winter Farm Market, and I’m already so inspired by the work being done by our three Volunteer Winter Farm Assistants. They are involved in all aspects of winter farm life, and have helped farm manager Becky with everything from cleaning the irrigation system, to repairing the greenhouse, to harvesting and washing the produce, to working the market late each Friday evening. Emily, Holli, and Terrance started on January 4th and, less than a month later, these volunteers seem like such an integral part of the market team that I cannot imagine it without them. Each one has brought such a unique perspective and set of skills to the program, that I excitedly look forward to Friday for more than just the start of the weekend.
Emily is a Waldorf native attending school at Elon University in North Carolina, where she is double majoring in Environmental Studies and International Studies, with a minor in Psychology. She is interested in both sustainable agriculture and mountain top removal, as well as environmental conservation and hopes to one day have a career that combines these interests. Her enthusiasm to serve and learn is infectious, and you can often find her practicing her Spanish with Jose Castillo (who has sold his locally roasted coffee at several of our farm markets) in preparation for her semester abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica.
After owning a yoga studio in the DMV area and on the Eastern Shore for the better part of a decade, Holli decided to return to her farming roots and seek out farming as an occupation. “It is a big leap,” she says, “but the local food movement and urban farming are too exciting and too important to sit idly by…My particular passion lies with soil building and mushroom cultivation. My longer range goals involve collaborating with existing area farms to demonstrate how adding mushrooms to the permaculture model enhances food production on many levels and can also be used in environmental remediation.” Holli has worked on both large and small farms all over the globe and she brings a wonderful spirit and body of knowledge to the market.
Terrance is a local chef whose interest in volunteering at the farm was “sparked by [his] commitment to food security/activism and a growing love affair [...] to anchor [himself] in nature and its wonderful gifts.” Terrance says “this hands on experience will also serve as a companion skill to my culinary background. My vision is to combine the two into a sustainable farm-to-table project in the future.” If you ever have any questions about the best ways to prepare the delicious produce you’re buying, Terrance has a wealth of healthy and simple ideas, and has even given a juicing demonstration using broccoli greens, apples, ginger, and lemon juice (YUM!).
Winter farming is certainly not an easy or a glamorous job, and our volunteers have braved the bitter cold, rain, and snow to ensure a delicious and bountiful harvest come Friday. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank them for helping to bring healthy and green food into my life and into my stomach during the dead of winter.