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October 2020 Newsletter

Feeding the Future

Fall is in full swing:

  • Curbside Delivery is Back
  • Meet Our Cultivator
  • Fall Field Updates
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Curbside Delivery is Back!

The Farmshare team worked hard all September to get ready for the fall season. The first week of deliveries took place starting September 30th. If you are not familiar with Curbside, it is part of Fresh for Less - a collaborative program among the City of Austin, Farmshare and the Sustainable Food Center! Our work in increasing accessibility to healthy, fresh and affordable food started out as Mobile Markets and, due to the pandemic, quickly pivoted to a home delivery model. The main Fresh for Less food access goal is to get healthy food to community members who might not otherwise have the financial or mobility means to do so. Farmshare’s Curbside Delivery is the only farm-to-home service in Austin that accepts SNAP/Lonestar, P-EBT and Double Up Food Bucks. We are so excited to be back in the community and are looking forward to the day we can see your smiling faces again at our Mobile Markets!

Meet Our Cultivator

Meet the Fall 2020 Cultivator, Marissa. Her interest in farming began after learning to cook in her twenties. Marissa's relationship with food wasn't great growing up and her diet was largely fast food through college. When members of her family were diagnosed with chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, hypertension and celiac disease, she began to cook for them and pay more attention to what she ate. Cooking with fresh produce and cutting out processed foods became essential for managing blood sugar levels and preventing adverse reactions to food.
Marissa's journey navigating nutrition labels with ingredients she couldn't pronounce and perusing the produce aisles led her to wonder where this food came from. She volunteered at Farmshare Austin a couple times and loved everything about the experience. The pace of life seemed to slow down and breathing just seemed easier. Pulling up drip tape and carrying crates of potatoes in the heat of summer was hard work, but she liked the challenge. She bit into the most delicious melon she'd ever tasted, snacked on cherry tomatoes right off the vine and thought, "This is what real food tastes like." Marissa found it refreshing to be around people so passionate about all things food. Once enrolled in the Farmer Starter program, she hasn't looked back since!

 

Other than growing as much food as possible, Marissa's primary goal is to improve her observation and problem solving skills. As a student in Farmer Starter, she took action on the farm by following direction from the Farm Manager and Education Director. Deciding what to do and when to do things was never her responsibility. Now that she gets to manage her own section, it is her responsibility to make a crop plan, order seeds, plant, irrigate, weed, monitor plant health and problem solve when there's crop failure. Marissa is now the planner, decision maker and implementer. Fortunately, the Cultivator program gives her a safe space to make mistakes and access to guidance from Ali, the farm manager, and Michelle, the education director, and for that she is thankful!


Marissa is currently growing purple dragon and green beans, kale, rainbow chard, collard greens, cilantro, dill, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, purple daikon, turnips, beets, lettuce and pink radishes. She also plans to seed spinach later in the season.


What excites Marissa about the future of farming is seeing more people get interested in farming.
"I think the empty grocery store shelves and closed restaurants at the start of the COVID pandemic sparked interest in where food comes from. I'm excited to be a part of the conversations that will come from this sparked interest, whether it be conversations about food equity, how to start seeds, or how to cook an eggplant. I'm excited for more people to recognize the value of food and take the time to meet local farmers in their area. I'm excited to see communities come together around this shared interest. So much is possible! Since my journey into farming began by asking the same questions about where food comes from, I'm hopeful that others will be inspired to farm as well.
"

Fall Fields Updates

There's a reason why cultures around the global northern hemisphere celebrate the fall season! The abundance of beautiful veggies in the fields never ceases to amaze. On our farm, we planted the first round of ya-ya (orange) carrots two weeks ago. They have all germinated and are looking fabulous. There are two sets of brassica plants in the ground, broccoli, cauliflower (orange, white, purple, & Romanesco) and cabbages (red & green), kale, collards.


Current Farmer Starter students planted all of their transplants last week. Their beds look amazing and were the first official beds at Farmshare to be built with the new BCS (walk-behind tractor), enabling us to reduce our carbon footprint.

Peppers and eggplants are starting to bounce back after enduring the summer heat. We found a plethora of inky cap mushrooms that have fruited on the fields where we mulched. There was a day when two walking paths were filled from top to bottom with them! Such a lovely sight to see. And last, but not least, the next set of brassicas are ready to go in.

 

Our Cultivator, Marissa's, field block is already producing food for Curbside Delivery! This week she harvested a bounty of kale, collards and chard. Got to love greens season!

Volunteer Opportunities

Farmshare is opening its gate again to volunteers!

Volunteers can choose to work alongside the Farm team in the field or the Food Access team in the wash & pack area. Potential volunteer tasks with the Farm team include, but are not limited to, planting, weeding, harvesting and washing and packing produce. Potential volunteer tasks with the Food Access team include, but are not limited to, bagging produce, preparing boxes and packing orders.

We ask that volunteers commit to working a 4-hour shift at the same time each week for an entire season in exchange for a free vegetable share.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out this Google Form and a member of our team will contact you.

Support Our Work

If you are able, please consider making a donation of any size to Farmshare Austin. We're working hard to provide access to healthy, local produce and groceries for our most economically vulnerable Mobile Market customers through the Curbside Delivery program, grow a new generation of sustainable farmers through the Farmer Starter program and preserve farmland through the Landlink program. None of our work would be possible without the amazing support from our friends and neighbors like you!
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Cedar Creek, TX 78612

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