Reaping and Sowing: Meet Cheyenne

Our garden remains robust with tomatoes getting canned, delicious smelling basil, and…..our very first Asian Winged Beans! This was an experiment for us and I am excited to say that we have two whole beans so far. I have a close farmer friend who lives in Uganda. When I visited her in 2015 she had winged beans covering her garden. We harvested them daily and cooked them up for dinner. As we prepared our seed order this winter, I knew from reviewers growing in the South that we might not have much luck. I also thought it would be a fun experiment for the teens to witness as we like exposing them to new veggies! Here is one by itself and one on the vine – we’ll see how many more we get this summer.

                                         

Speaking of beans, we talked about soaking and inoculating beans with our youth during our last class. We planted most of the beans in the garden, while some of the teens decided to plant in containers. Our red noodle beans are growing steady, but we are ready for our bush beans to come in.

                                  

This year Rural Resources was able to participate in a youth internship program in partnership with other local programs. We were excited to host a student, Cheyenne, who has graduated from our program. Cheyenne was able to experience a whole host of activities with us this year. She worked our Farmers Market booth, assisted with field trips, processed garlic, dug up potatoes, and more! One statement she repeatedly made was, “I just respect you all so much because I couldn’t do this every day.” I often hear people say that in regards to farming, so I appreciate her openness and honesty. Despite her candid thoughts, she was consistently there on time and ready for work. When we were digging potatoes she would even laugh when she found a nice sized bundle! Other times she would be hesitant when picking Japanese beetles off of basil first thing in the morning. Another time we were hosting volunteers  and she used her knowledge about the animals to give them a small tour. Her willingness to keep going, try new things, and work hard was refreshing and it was great working her this summer. During her internship she was required to write a blog. We have attached it here so that you can hear from her firsthand!

My Journey with Rural Resources
By: Cheyenne Floyd

“For a couple of years, I have been working with Rural Resources and I have learned a lot. In the first year, you are working in the garden and learning how to deal with animals. During the second year, you’re getting out of the garden and pins, and into the kitchen. You’re working with local farm fruits, vegetables, and meats. The third year, you’re sitting down with Debbie and figuring out what type of business you would like to go into. The fourth year, you’re getting out of sitting down with Debbie, now you’re getting out in the action and starting your business up, getting out to the public. Welcome to the 5th year, this is where I am right now. I am currently a Youth Intern. You can intern a lot of different places and I am at Rural Resources. Some interns are interning this year. You get to intern anywhere like animal shelters, working on a farm, or going to help people at their house to help them with their gardens. The internship can be what you like. Rural Resources helps get us there and find where you want to go. I have learned several things while working with Kathleen in the garden, like tying up tomatoes plants; weeding around the beds; and harvesting a lot of flowers, garlic, potatoes. We find a lot more when we get down and really look at the plants. My schedule changes each week and I don’t really enjoy getting up early, but we start early because it really gets hot really fast when you are working in the garden. It has its upside too, though. You get to see lot of different plants you have never seen before, and if you haven’t watered a garden before, they will let you water the garden. Kathleen has us help plant all different type of plants, vegetables, and flowers. Working with Rural Resources has given me a whole new outlook on what farmers do for a living because I couldn’t do what they do. I give them a lot of respect because I couldn’t do this every day like they can. I like working here because they feel like my second family.”

                                 

Cheyenne has returned to her high school this month and we hope the very best for her during the fall semester. Meanwhile, we have had a rainy week so we planted a variety of root crops to be watered in. We also put in our first round of cabbage and some Swiss chard that was shared by a fellow farmer. We are trying to stay busy as we start the transition to fall!

 

About the Author:

I am from a farming community in Indiana where my family farmed over 200 acres. As a teen, my family moved to Florida where I became heavily involved in 4-H and developed a love for service and passing knowledge onto others. I graduated and began working at the local girls club while attending college for a Business/Administration degree. I realized that teaching youth was my passion and stayed at the girls club for 12 years before moving to East Tennessee. In East Tennessee I was able to reconnect with my farming roots and began a home garden. In growing, I tapped further into my roots and began canning and freezing food for my family. Really enjoying putting to use all the long hours working on the farm in my youth and realizing how important that was for me to learn, I wanted to get back into teaching youth again! Skimming help wanted adds, led me to Rural Resources who was looking for a coordinator to run their Farm and Food Teen Training Program. All my loves in one - youth at-risk, farming, gardening, cooking, and business planning! What a wonderful life to share my passions with others, play on the farm, enjoy local home cooked food, and advance these youth to a better future! Here I have been for 6 beautiful, happy, and productive years!

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