Our labors of love have borne many fruits…from vegetables to new connections to Earth and one another. The summer zipped by with Workaway volunteers, residents and Leadership Circle support in many aspect of life. Some of the highlights:
We are so grateful to be joined by new residents, Caitlin and Monika (and Mick the Corgi). This couple came as Workaways in July from New Orleans and gave 100% in their efforts to help the Meadow Farm Community thrive. Monika took to the garden with an eagerness to learn and get her hands into the soil. She planted clover for ground cover between rows and tended plants with her quiet and gentle manner. Monika also is a Kitchen Wizard dedicating herself to preserving the harvest and providing wonderful nutritious delights. Caitlin went right to work building a living area in our new greenhouse with pallets. Her ideas turn to reality quickly. We all enjoy the cozy, ambient space she created among the plants. After another Workaway experience and travels to Oregon they returned to carry out their proposal to contribute to the community as residents. They continue to amaze us with their energy, gifts and community spirit
The greenhouse (30’W 48L 14’H) was finally enclosed and vegetable beds created with Redwood from our neighbor’s mill. We filled the bed with soil from Cold Creek Compost and planted tomatoes, peppers, okra, basil, cucumbers, beans, chard, watermelon and cantaloupe. Everything flourished and we have been nourished. This and other new beds in the garden have helped us to extend our season and provide more for our weekly community donations of food to the Redwood Coast Senior Center, Hospitality House, and the Fort Bragg Food Bank. We still have more to give as cabbage, rhubarb, kales and squash are still producing.
Another resident addition to the farm community this year is dynamo, Lee Mical. Over the past couple of years Lee has shown an aptitude, and even enjoyment, for hard labor and ingenious ways of contributing to projects. This summer he took to clearing branches encroaching on the 1400 feet of driveway into the farm. He made a platform from wood pallets on top of his van and used it to saw away the overhanging vegetation. It is now safer, more open and in line with Cal Fire guidelines. Lee was also the one who managed to precariously climb around on the greenhouse to place the plastic panels and to enclose the ends. This involved many design challenges in wood and glass. Lee is our muscle and thinking-outside-the-box, man and we are glad to have him helping out with farm projects.
Michael St John and Ohi Judith Vidavar have continued to support the farm with their leadership and dedication to the Vision, Mission and Aims. Ohi has also been spending much time working in the garden and grant writing. Because of her major effort Meadow Farm CLT has been awarded a 3 year grant worth $18K from the Healthy Soils Program. We have just receive our first compost delivery to spread over 6 acres. Now we really need that tractor! After spreading the compost we will seed with cover crop and mulch to await the rains of winter to do the rest. As the Leadership Circle (AKA Board of Directors), Michael, Ohi and Sojourna have continued to work diligently to revive the non-profit status that was lost during the transition days after founder, Joanna Becker, passed away suddenly ( 8-6-16). The IRS has given us back the 501c3 status as a charitable organization. The State of California has been more forms and bureaucracies than we ever knew existed! Still, we are making progress and by the end of the year it looks like it will all be back on track and our property taxes lowered to reflect our work as a non-profit farm.
Jesse Stafford is considered a permanent resident now and has been contributing his time and funds to the farm since March 2014. Jesse continues to work on many aspects of the farm from garden to water systems. He is the go-to-guy for questions on how things work around here!
Sojourna Lee is also a permanent resident since 2014 and committed to creating a thriving community. She has carried out the duties of Secretary for the Leadership Circle since appointed by Joanna Becker in 2015. Sojourna has been the communicator for the Hipcamp, Workaways programs and the Website . She has greeted and supported many volunteers and guests visiting the farm. Sojourna has taken courses and certified as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team and contributes to other disaster preparation and relief organizations on the coast.. She has dedicated a place in a storage container and stored dry goods, cots, bedding, clothing, sanitation supplies, water purification and procurement equipments, medical supplies and two-way radios. She hosts events and a weekly NVC practice group.
So much has grown this year besides the fruit trees and vegetable that volumes could be written. Meadow Farm is growing, thriving and a place where our work and play can be seen as Love in Action.