Hello from East Tennessee! Debbie here enjoying life on the farm at Rural Resources, Greeneville, TN! Spring has come and temperature wise, left. It is hotter than normal, and has been dry, but we did receive some nice rain showers this past week, which has perked our plants up in the gardens. We have been busy trying to till gardens for our teenagers and get them ready to begin planting this growing season. We still have a few gardens to till and then planting planting planting to start! Here are some shots of the sites we have been tilling and working at so far:
It has been difficult tilling with it being so dry. Some of the sites we will have to till a second time and get further in now that we have had rain.
The teens have also been busy in the greenhouse getting plants started and transplanted for their garden spaces this month. Those plants that we did not start, a group went with me to a local feed/hardware store and purchased the remaining plants and seeds we need for our garden spaces.
We have also welcomed three school field trips to the farm this spring, with 3 more to come this week! The kids have been excited to see the animals, milk the cow, plant a seed, play in the worms, hear a story, and taste vegetables that help their bodies grow. Most of our trips are pre-schoolers who are balls of energy and question everything. They have been great entertainment for us and the excitement they show at seeing, touching, hearing, and learning what we have to show on the farm. We partnered with Tusculum College this year to present our field trips to our local school systems. The college students came out for their very own field trip experience, took the lessons back, and made the lessons their own to present to the students. It has been great having extra hands helping teach and shuffle kids from station to station around the farm. The Tusculum College students have commented on how much they have learned about growing their own food, in teaching kids, and the ability to bring their strengths and creativity to the table. Some of the college students have even surprised their professor in their ability to relate and interact with the little ones. They seemed to have a natural ability with keeping the kids interested and together.
As this month has been dedicated mostly to tilling and starting seeds in the gardens, make no mistake that we completed some major tasks. We also have our summer programming pretty well planned out with a lot of gardening activities, heart healthy cooking classes and demonstrations, business development and implementation, and working with some of our teens who have graduated out as interns on the farm. They will be helping in a variety of aspects – livestock maintenance, garden help, teen communication via social media, documentaries, class preparations and help, and working in our local soup kitchen. We will have a busy summer for all teens, and plan to have all gardens tilled and planted by the end of May. So, I am now off to get ready to finish a garden site this afternoon, order more berry bushes for teens, and till two more gardens this week before I can call the garden part of my job complete. Then I still have business planning, fundraising, field trips, and planning for the week. Busy busy busy!!!! (wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 )