The faces and realities of poverty are sometimes shown on the front pages of newspapers. Television news occasionally covers the lives and struggles of the poor. Those who may have escaped poverty might take pen to paper and write a story of their rise. But too often, the stories and the struggles are undocumented. The daily plight of the homeless are untold. Even on the South Shore, where large vehicles dominate the roads and multi-garage homes keep those vehicles protected, there is a growing problem with people being able to keep jobs and homes.
Affordable housing is a growing issue. It is difficult to find an affordable home or maintain affordable housing. If one loses a job, then it grows more difficult to maintain the money needed to afford life in a town or growing city. In these towns, many more people do not have ski passes on a North Face jacket. Some folks have an even more difficult time making it to the weekly or twice weekly food pantry, especially considering this snow and cold and ice. But fight against a growing tide we must. Dedicated community activists are staffing those food pantries. Large organizations are devoting thousands and millions of dollars to fight poverty. Others are working to provide support for one unfortunate by-product of poverty-an addiction to opiates.
And as we sit in the barn-turned studio office at Holly Hill, we are thinking about how to help. There are no spinach seeds in the ground yet, no potatoes have been mounded. Not one onion set has produced long lasting purplettes. And the garlic has a lot of work to do in order to surmount the hills of snow that tower above their beds. We are enlisting a quiet fight against poverty. We hope to work with, teach to and learn from high school students in need of completing community service hours. Students can come to the farm twice a week in the spring and fall and five days a week in the summer to grow, harvest and deliver a measurable amount of produce to local food pantries in Quincy, Hull and even at the increasingly needy Tuesday morning spot in Cohasset. These teenagers can help provide healthy organic produce for those in need. They might even be helping someone or a family right next door or closer than they realize. To counter this strife, we will order seeds, welcome students and make a dent in the growing crisis of poverty in our midst. We seek not to change the course or stem the tide. Rather we will grow, deliver and play a part in positive change. And I will report our efforts (with pounds of produce and stories of youthful cultivation) as we go and strive to grow.
© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm