Beyond the Field
ALL THE WAYS TO GIVE TO FRESHFARM MARKETS
The holiday giving season is here and we know that you are starting to think about your year-end giving. There are so many ways to donate to or participate with FRESHFARM Markets, and we very much appreciate every dollar and every hour you spend on or with us! Our market communities are the heart of our mission as we operate our farmers markets each week, but FRESHFARM Markets is also a 501©3 nonprofit organization and we need to raise funds each year so that our farmers markets, our five community outreach and education programs (Matching Dollars, FoodPrints, Chef at Market, Farmer Fund and Market Gleaning) are all funded adequately, for more information on these programs, please click here. FRESHFARM Markets is supported each year by a combination of market fees, foundation grants, corporate gifts and sponsorships, special events and most importantly, by individual donors like you.
As many of you already know, today is the second annual Giving Tuesday and for this very special day, we focus on our FoodPrints program which teaches local school children the science of the natural world and the benefits of growing, harvesting and cooking local, fresh and healthy food. One of our new favorite days of the year is today! Giving Tuesday is a movement to create a dynamic national day of giving. In the same way that retail stores collectively offer “after Thanksgiving” days of shopping, we want you, our giving community, to come together and for Giving Tuesday 2013, to donate to our campaign for a second FoodPrints teaching kitchen, this time for School Within School, an arts-inspired public elementary school in northeast Washington, DC.
Students at SWS who already participate in FoodPrints harvest vegetables in the school garden, learn about the science of the plants and good nutrition, prepare delicious recipes, and eat healthy, seasonal food together. We need to raise $15,000 for this campaign so we can outfit the classroom and purchase the supplies needed for our school children to be safe as they cook. The money raised today will buy a dishwasher, a countertop display mirror, a large kitchen island, shelving with grow lights to begin plants from seeds indoors, an indoor composting unit, and high-quality instruction for students grades PreK3 through 3rd grade in the teaching kitchen.
If you miss Giving Tuesday or want to make your donation later in the month, with a direct year-end donation to FRESHFARM Markets you are also helping to ensure that everyone in the DC metro area has access to fresh, locally grown, affordable food while also supporting our regional farmers and producers (to make a direct donation, click here). In 2013, FRESHFARM Markets is also very proud to be a designated charity of the Catalogue of Philanthropy as one of the most trusted, community-based nonprofits in the Greater Washington region. Their annual catalogue is available now and we appreciate the opportunity to be included this season. To donate through the Catalogue of Philanthropy, click here. If you prefer to make your annual donations through the Network For Good, please click here. For those of you who work for a Federal agency, we invite you to support FRESHFARM Markets in your workplace giving through the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFC #99308).
There are so many ways to support FRESHFARM Markets in 2014! Our farmers markets are the perfect venue for your sustainable business! Our sponsorship opportunities offer a tabling option and many other benefits. We also encourage sponsorship of our events each year, especially our annual Farmland Feast gala, but we love to help our supporters host their own fundraising events for us! We are always lucky enough to benefit from the generosity of our neighbors, friends and partners. You can choose to donate a percentage of sales on a designated business day, host a charitable party or create a program with us. For more information about supporting FRESHFARM Markets, please contact: Amanda Phillips Manheim at 202-362-8889, extension 5 or send an email message to email@example.com.
Finally, as you think about your spare time this holiday season and beyond, please consider volunteering with us! We can always use a hand at our farmers markets or in our office and would love to meet you! We have lots of options for those of you who would like to spend some time volunteering with FRESHFARM Markets. For more information on volunteering with us, please contact: DanaRybak@freshfarmmarkets.org.
Thanks so much for your support!
FOODPRINTS GARDEN AT WATKINS WINS BEST SCHOOL GARDEN AWARD
This week is DC’s Second Annual “Growing Healthy Schools” Week. on Monday, October 21st, the FoodPrints Garden at Watkins Elementary School received the Office of the State Superintendent of Schools (OSSE) award for “Best School Garden.” A big thanks to Watkins 5th grader, Louise Banks, who submitted the winning story about why she thinks the Watkins garden is the best.
Essay for Best School Garden Award
Louise Banks, 5th grade, Watkins Elementary School
I am 5th grader from Watkins ES. Imagine yourself walking through the garden. You can feel the soil under your feet, an important part of a cycle called decomposition. You can feel the sun smiling, an important part of the garden called photosynthesis. And the plants! You could smell that basil from a mile away!! Can you feel that little flower nestling your feet, waiting to be pollinated? Yes, we have learned about pollination, too! And who tends to it during the year? Our amazing gardener Mrs. Percival, parents and us students!
When we go to the garden, there is a ring of benches at one end. We find a seat, listen to directions, and split into groups, ready to get our hands dirty!!!
In first grade we learned about the different parts of the plant. In third grade, we learned all about nutrition, and energy and nutrient dense foods. In fourth grade, we learned about the Three Sisters, and where some foods originated. Now, in fifth grade Iʼm so excited to learn more!
Watkins has many gardens. In the Childrenʼs Garden, we have logs to play on, and flowers and bugs to examine. In the Seasons Garden, we have different plants from each season. In the FoodPrints Garden, we plant and harvest foods to cook, learn about and eat. We are always harvesting delicious vegetables and planting new seeds.
I think our garden should win the best school garden award because our garden is teaching us new things constantly.
CAN WOODEN CARROTS FEED PEOPLE? YES.
This Saturday marks the end of the 15th Anniversary season of the St. Michaels FRESHFARM Market. Several new faces appeared at the market this season with Route 33 Baking Company and Cabin Creek Heritage Farm joining market stalwarts such as Butter Pot, Sand Hill Farm and Anchor Nursery to make the market better than ever! Our thanks go out to everyone in the St. Michaels community for their continued support.
To celebrate our 15 years as a part of this wonderful community, our local farmers founded a new food preservation program that aims to preserve the harvest of fresh, local food and then distribute that food to those in need within the community. It is a program we hope will grow over the next 15 years. We asked Kathy Basin, a local writer and long-time supporter of the market, to share more about the program.
In St. Michaels, the wooden carrot signs seen hanging on Talbot St. are funding an important new partnership between the St. Michaels FRESHFARM Market and the St. Michaels Community Food Pantry at Christ Church.
Most locals know that St. Michaels holds both a Saturday farmers market, and also has a food bank operation out of Christ Church, that offers food to needy neighbors every week. But with the new addition of the commercial kitchen housed in the St. Michaels Housing Authority’s building on Dodson St., volunteers are now teaming up to help extend the season.
The idea grew out of a desire by the FRESHFARM Market team to find a special way to celebrate their 15th year of operations in St. Michaels. According to Carol Bean, St. Michaels FRESHFARM Market Manager, it made sense to build on the already successful partnership with the food pantry. For years, the farmers would donate produce to the pantry at the conclusion of each farmers market. By adding the new food preservation program, healthy food will be available year round, and local farmers are supported at the same time.
Local residents and businesses have purchased the carrot signs for $50 each at the Saturday farmer’s market, and wrote their own message on them. Those funds go directly to local farmers to purchase fresh produce, that is then cleaned, picked, and preserved by volunteer teams through canning, sauces, jams and freezer bags, and are in storage for the winter.
“Our goal is to offer more produce and protein during the winter months” said Beth Eckel of the St. Michaels Community Food Pantry. “This project helps us offer healthy food year round to the men and women who rely on us to help feed their families” she said.
Carol Bean said that the ultimate goal is to offer food preservation classes to anyone who wants them, sharing the knowledge and skills directly with people who need the food. “We’ve been offering food preservation classes for years, but this time, we’re aiming to reach a broader audience” said Bean. “These first few sessions are practice rounds, so we can get comfortable in the new kitchen and figure out how to include more people.”
And as far as practice rounds go, they’ve been quite fruitful. So far, the group has put up 60 bags of corn, 50 bags of lima beans, 50 jars of jam and 70 jars of tomato sauce…a strong start for a new program that’s bringing the best of our local foods to the neediest of our neighbors.
~ Kathy Bosin, guest blogger. As a master gardener, hobby photographer, writer and food-lover, Kathy captures her observations about life in Talbot County on A Chesapeake Journal as well as the Talbot Spy. She is an accomplished small business owner and an oyster “dock-qua-culture” enthusiast.
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH FOODPRINTS!
At schools across the country, bookbags are brimming with homework, hallways are echoing with laughter, and the rhythms of the school year are falling into place. Here in Washington, DC, something else is happening: school gardens are bursting with ripe vegetables and kitchen classrooms are filling schools with the aromas of fresh food. For students at Watkins Elementary School, School Within School, and Peabody Elementary School, this time of year brings an extra element of excitement as FoodPrints classes resume.
Last week, first graders at Watkins began their year-long adventure in growing, cooking, and eating healthy, local food. Class began with a trip to the school garden, where students learned the basics of garden safety and etiquette, and explored the beds of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and basil.
Each class selected a broccoli plant to “adopt”. Over the course of the school year, they will check in on the plant to observe how it grows and changes, and will eventually harvest and eat the broccoli. Students were fascinated by the mystery of a young broccoli plant. “Where is the broccoli? Is it underground?” some asked. Another observed that the large, bluish green leaves resemble elephant ears. The class measured, described, and took photos of the plant. When it was time to harvest vegetables for class, children eagerly searched for the biggest cucumbers, juiciest peppers, and tallest basil plants.
Moving into the FoodLab, our kitchen-classroom at Watkins, the first graders learned about the basics of good hygiene for food handling and how to safely use a knife. Children gathered around tables to practice their knife skills, slicing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to share. A hush fell over the FoodLab as students happily crunched on their freshly picked produce. Several remarked that this was their first time tasting a specific vegetable, such as bell peppers, and described how crunchy, sweet and tasty it was. Their enthusiasm was palpable, and it was heartening to watch a room full of six-year-olds joyfully devour fresh, raw vegetables.
Several blocks north, the School Within School at Logan Annex (SWS) is also gearing up for a fun and enlightening year with FoodPrints. The weekend before school started, parents and volunteers worked to build a new raised-bed garden and filled it with seedlings. Before long, the garden will be overflowing with kale, carrots, broccoli and brussels sprouts. SWS teachers will use the garden as an educational opportunity, giving students a hands-on experience with the science of a garden’s mini ecosystem. While SWS is not fully equipped with a state of the art FoodLab like the one at Watkins, we are fortunate to have access to a small kitchen. With a little hard work and a lot of help from FRESHFARM Markets supporters, we can transform the space into a fully functional teaching kitchen. The kitchen at SWS is in need of a refrigerator, a dishwasher, child-sized tables and chairs, and cooking and dining implements. FoodPrints relies on various grants and the support of our loyal shoppers (read: you!) to bring the high quality gardening, cooking, and nutrition education we provide to local students. To help our FoodPrints program thrive, visit our donation page or vote for us in this years Ford Community Green Grant.
Written by FRESHFARM Markets FoodPrints Coordinator and Market Manager Linsdsay Wallace.
BIKES, FORAGING & HURRICANES: LIFE AFTER FRESHFARM
One incredibly hot and humid summer (as if there are any other kinds in Washington, DC) in 2011 I was working a job that many DC residents hate and/or find amusing – a Segway tour guide. Our store was a few blocks down from the FRESHFARM Market by White House, and I would always go to the market on Thursdays to grab a snack in between tours. That summer, finding myself getting tired of repeating the same information day in and day out, I began volunteering at the Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom markets, eventually becoming a marketing intern in the office, and soon became the EBT Coordinator at the White House market. But this piece isn’t about how I came to be involved with the FRESHFARM Markets’ organization, but rather what came afterwards.
I graduated from The George Washington University in 2012 with a major in environmental studies, during which I discovered senior year in college is a bit different from senior year in high school – the slacking off that inevitably comes with the acceptance letter is replaced by the nerve-wracking “adventure” of job hunting. One particularly gloomy night, I was looking through job postings and came across a funny, sarcastic posting from a farm-to-table restaurant called Northern Spy Food Co. in the East Village of NYC. They were looking for a “forager”, an industry term for someone who goes to farmers’ markets and buys fresh produce for restaurants, often on bikes. This seemed like a dream job – the years spent patronizing and working with FRESHFARM Markets instilled in me a serious love of farmers’ markets. I sent back what I considered to be an informal cover letter and resume (it was in checklist form and the phrase “thighs of steel” was used) and in about a month I woke up on my cousin’s couch in Brooklyn. During a summer that rivaled anything that DC could throw at you, I would bike several miles to work, bike from our restaurant to the Union Square Greenmarket, pick up maybe 200-300 pounds of produce, and then haul it back, sometimes twice a day. The Union Square market is easily the largest market I’ve ever been to, with an astonishing variety of fruits and vegetables that I had never seen before. Each morning I’d receive a list from our chef telling me what to find and bring back. Half the time, I would have to look up on my phone what those items were because they were so specialized. I would purchase flats of strawberries, bring back entire sea basses, and I even had to lug about 200 pounds of kale once in a single trip. We even purchased a box trike to handle moving all the food around the city, as well as making it easier for me to run food from our restaurant to a new stand at the High Line Park.
And then the hurricane hit. Sandy swept into NYC and made everyone whose concept of “preparedness” consisted of bottles of wine and beer (I’m not implying innocence) seem a fool. Our restaurant was a block away from being completely flooded and it had lost all power, which continued through the next week. My neighborhood in Williamsburg was serviced by the L train, which ran east/west to Manhattan, and the G train, which was north/south through Brooklyn. Both trains were the last to go online, three weeks later. Luckily, I biked a lot. For many of my neighbors, no one had any way to leave the neighborhood. I was called into work the day after Sandy. A cursory examination of the darkened restaurant gave us no hope of salvaging any food, so we decided to cook everything in our possession (the gas lines to power the stoves still ran) and hold a block party to feed the hungry denizens of the East Village. Things being how they were, no one knew when power would be back up and we had decided that filling some stomachs would be better than throwing the food away. It was an inspiring moment for me, a moment of community and kindness that reminded me of how important food can be in shaping our relationships with other people and the world. It was a humbling experience to look across the East River from my rooftop and see the half the city in darkness, and the other half in life – one I certainly will never forget.
Nowadays, my life is a bit calmer. I moved out of the city three months ago to apprentice on a farm outside Philadelphia called The Longview Center for Agriculture. The annoying hipsters have been replaced with annoying roosters, pigs, and goats; the constant honking and traffic with tractors. I’m learning how to plant intensively using minimal machinery, maximizing land potential and fertility. We travel to different farms throughout the region to learn about their growing methods, including a vendor at Silver Spring market: Spiral Path Organics. This is, in a way, one of the last parts of my education in the way food makes its way down its supply chain to our plates – I’ve worked with the people who sell the food and the people who buy the food. Now, I’m the one producing that food and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
written by former FRESHFARM staffer Larry Tse
BUILDING COMMUNITY AS A YOUNG FARMER
A few years ago, I was a graduate student in DC. I studied, worked, socialized and occasionally volunteered at a community garden project. Eventually I wanted more growing experience: I wanted to be like the farmers I saw at Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market who seemed so happy and healthy.
So now I am an apprentice at New Morning Farm in Huntingdon County, PA. I started there just about one year ago, and I’ve loved it from day one. For me, the most difficult part of my new life is not the heat, or the long hours of the summer, or the lack of sleep the night before a market day: the hardest part is that I live and work far from my friends, my family, our market community in DC, and even many other local farmers. Our little community at NMF is filled with amazing people, but sometimes I need to see different faces. During the intense growing season, sustaining outside personal and professional relationships is a struggle.
I realized that instead of returning exhausted from a weekend away, I needed to build relationships through my greater farm community. This is why I love working at our markets, especially the Sunday market at Dupont Circle. Sure, it’s still work, and it’s a long day, but market days give me something to look forward to each week: who needs a happy hour when you can sell vegetables you just harvested?
In order to further explore my farming community, I recently attended the Just Food Conference in New York City, where I found connection with community to be a pervasive theme. Focused on food justice and sovereignty, the conference brought together activists, farmers, policy makers and corporate interests to encourage and re-energize those involved in the “food movement” in the NYC region. I’m grateful to the FRESHFARM Market’s Jean Wallace Douglas Farmer Fund for helping me pay for this opportunity to learn from and network with so many motivated, smart and innovative people.
At Just Food, I attended several workshops about NYC’s efforts to improve access to fruits and vegetables while increasing demand for healthier options through educational programming. Much of it sounded familiar—DC is lucky to have FRESHFARM Markets fulfilling so many of these vital roles of a functioning local food scene.
The conference awakened—or maybe reawakened—something in me: the need to be more involved, more connected, and less remote. I am lucky that I have an outlet for that interest because last summer New Morning Farm launched, with the support and assistance of our colleagues at FRESHFARM, a new farmer’s market at the Watkins Elementary School, in Southeast, DC just off Capitol Hill.
Starting something new is always a tough gig, but I went to the Just Food conference to learn: to take away some new techniques for community outreach, to raise awareness of the new market, and to understand our membership in the neighborhood. Now armed with so many ideas, I am confident that, with effort, time, and patience, the Watkins School market will thrive and I will have new faces to see.
Guest Post by Emily Best, New Morning Farm Apprentice