Hello all. It is OSM/VISTA Heather Jeffreys reporting.

August 26th, Monday–SERVICE PLUNGE! Emory and Henry College works with community centers, various ministries, and not-for-profits of all sorts, sending groups of students (freshmen, transfers,  seniors….everyone) professors, and other faculty and staff to work, work, work for 2 hours.

2 hours may not sound like a lot, but when a busload of 12 people roll in, plus one walk-in, this means you’re looking at 26 FREE hours of labor that you sorely need. (The one walk-in was actually a supportive post-grad, bless his heart.)

These industrious students take part in the day-to-day work that is sometimes hidden in community–the constant action of working towards change. By participating in a service event like this, students don’t necessarily know where they are going. They only know they’ll be helping out at a place that most likely exists to help others. Pretty vague. Through service you can begin to see patterns in social justice issues and how organizations work with these issues,  garner introspection on how you work best and what tasks fulfill you.

So, the situation is win, win, win.

Shed Makeover

happy shed volunteers EFIA 2013

Students painting our garden shed

I hope the town doesn't have issue with this color.
I hope the town doesn’t have issue with this color.



Garden bed turnover: Volunteers removed twine, t-posts, and tomato plants. The group weeded/shuffle hoed a serious amount, preparing beds for their next crops. And, thanks in full to them, all of our potatoes were harvested! Plus some cilantro.

be gone tomato. 2013 EFIAvolunteer EFIA 2013 taking down tomatoeslook at all this work being done! 2013 EFIA

Hoop House Crew. Our shiny new house got some new beds. Black locust lumber, purchased from Boulder Look Stone Co. in Bristol, VA and delivered free of charge, provided the frame. We will be filling the beds with some garden soil, some coffee grounds from local coffee shop Zazzy’s, our sifted garden compost, and well-aged horse manure.


One team One goal is what the back of my shirt says…gotta show the Office of Surface Mining/Volunteers in Service to America collaboration that brought me here!

high tunnel bed building 2013 EFIA

plastic in the paths will act as a weed barrier. Plastic in the beds will smother grass and then be slit down the middle and pushed up against the sides of the bed to avoid wood/soil contact.

hoop house team work EFIA 2013

PVC pipes pounded about 1′ in the ground, level with the boards, will provide support as soil inside the beds pushes the boards out. We like to run a tight ship.

raised bed building EFIA 2013my favorite volunteer

All these jobs were super important. But the job that seriously made my day was the raspberries. I dug up some black raspberries from a trail behind Abingdon High School this winter. (Another ASD project) and planted them along the edge of the EFIA garden. They were not getting a lot of love.

raspberry maintenance around the EFIA sign 2013

volunteers pulled up all the grass that was encroaching on the raspberries, trellised them, and then mulched the whole bed in. Now the berries will stop getting mowed over and may actually produce a berry or two! They look wonderful!

group service plunge photo 2013

Here is the whole group standing in front of the raspberry bed. YES!


All I can say is thank goodness for service days, and thank goodness these lovely people chose to participate. We were truly blessed to have them!

Until next time!