August 2014, by Colin Mahoney
The start of August marks the end of an extremely busy and very successful 7 weeks of summer programming. For three weeks we had nine students from Bladensburg HS learn about farming, cooking, and bee keeping. Some of the highlights of their work was breaking ground on our new kitchen at Bladensburg, and adding 300 ft of new bed space. They were a special group willing to try new foods and work hard on the farm.
Our next group was with us for four weeks and consisted of 22 youth from several area high schools. They had a busy schedule that consisted of farming, cooking, poetry, art, and field trips. Not only were they hard workers, helping us plant, create walking paths, weed, harvest, seed cover crop, and much more, but they showed amazing talents and minds in their poetry, art, and cooking. Listen to a special interview on “To Heal DC” on WPFW where members of our staff and students talk about the SEED2FEED summer program.
We were also fortunate to participate in the Magic Johnson Center summer program. 13 kids age 9-12yrs old joined us twice a week to learn about farming, food, and the environment. They were also great workers, helping establish our Youth Garden at the Bladensburg farm, which will be used as a learning and working classroom for our afterschool programs and partnerships with schools in the area.
A special thanks to all of our partners and staff who made this a great summer at the Bladensburg farm.
Not only was this a busy summer for educating, but for everyday farming. Our on-site farm stand is well established, providing fresh and nutritious foods to our neighbors. Summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are booming, fall crops like kale, chard, and mustard greens are growing, and the flowers are beautiful, attracting many bees and pollinators. Construction projects are underway and our construction crew is making some amazing structures. Come by and see what we are growing and doing!
Things to remember:
Bladensburg Farm Stand is every Saturday from 9-12pm at ECO City Bladensburg (6100 Emerson Street Bladensburg, MD)
Volunteer Hours are every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month from 9-12pm at ECO Bladensburg
Let’s TALK about growing HEALTHY FOOD in the Bladensburg Community. Join us at the Community Farm Awareness Public Meeting in the Town of Bladensburg February 11th, 2014 @ 6:00 P.M.
Where: Emerson House Senior Apartment Complex
5999 Emerson Street, Bladensburg, Maryland 20710
Fall has proven to be a busy season at the Autumn Woods Farm. The transition to winter is almost complete. Two low tunnels were finished, helping to protect rows of lettuce, spinach, and pac choi, from this week’s freezing temperatures. The fall has also brought strange weather. Unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures near 90 in early October, led to an extended planting period. One wet week in October that produced 6+ inches of rain, followed by four dry weeks has led to interesting growing conditions.
In addition to the winterizing of the farm, all of the winter crops have been planted. Rows of peppers have been replaced by rows of kale, tomatoes for scallions, and eggplant for collards. This season, the farm will be growing for our Eat Local Farm Share program, which you can find out more about on our website. There will be different types of kale, collards, mustard greens, cabbage, pac choi, different types of lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, and scallions growing through the winter and into spring.
Our farmers cannot take all of the credit for the work being done at Autumn Woods; we have had some help along the way. Every week a group of enthusiastic young farmers from Elizabeth Seaton High School join us to learn about farming and healthy food, while helping us with prepping beds, planting, weeding, winterizing the farm, and preparing new land for next season by adding compost and other organic matter like leaves, which are being delivered from the surrounding towns. We are also joined by students from the Magic Johnson Center at the Autumn Woods apartment complex, who lend us a hand with different tasks, while learning new and exciting things about soil, bugs, and plants.
It is an exciting time at Autumn Woods, as we expand our growing capacities and our engagement with the surrounding community.
Wild weather allowed for a late bloom of sunflowers on the farm, just as the construction of low tunnels was near completion