As we settle into the long, sultry days of late summer, many of us are enjoying a bumper crop of delicious fruits and veggies from our gardens. The River Roots Community Farm, located on the grounds of the AC Valley School District complex in Foxburg, is no exception!
The hot spells during June and early July fried a few of the more delicate leafy greens, but the rest are now rebounding, and the cucumbers and zucchini rallied through the heat and gave us a bountiful harvest. The peppers and tomatoes have burst the bounds of the raised beds and are overflowing with ripening fruit, and the first few pear trees have developed strong roots and are setting themselves up for a great harvest next year. Even a few nibbles by local deer haven’t slowed the enthusiasm of these powerhouse crops, thanks in large part, I’m sure, to the amazing soil provided by the Gibson Farm and Gardenscape.
As the Farm continues to mature and grow, we plan to provide fresh, healthy food to the school cafeterias, to local restaurants, and to the public through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. We’re also keen to partner with other local growers to develop a farmer’s market. We’re starting small, doing what we can with the supplies and hands we have, but we have big dreams for the potential of this farm and our local food system. For now, anyone who would like to partake of the deliciousness coming out of the garden is welcome to stop by. Help us pull a few weeds, trim a few stems, and take home an armful of produce as thanks.
As the weather starts to cool, we’re also looking for volunteers to help with the next phase of development for the woodland trail. We need folks with experience trimming trees, especially, so if you are an arborist or are a keen hand with a chainsaw, we could really use your help cleaning up the fallen branches and snags around the trail area. If we can chip the trimmed branches on-site, too, we can use them to pave the trail and make it softer and safer for little feet.
We’re also taking suggestions for how to celebrate our first harvest. Perhaps we can band together with other local growers and hold a community feast. Maybe an autumn market day? If you have an idea of how we can commemorate this first successful growing season, please reach out! It will be September, back to school, and the end of harvest before we know it, and we want to thank everyone who contributed toward getting the Community Farm to this point. For now, I will say a personal thank you to the individuals, businesses, and organizations who have made the first phase of the farm a reality, and I hope you’ll stop down soon to enjoy these early fruits of your community spirit!
Selina Pedi is the Oil Region Alliance redevelopment manager. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.