Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

‘Tis a Puzzlement

Jon plant grow shareThere are about eight baby bunnies in a corner of a raised bed in a garden at the Farm. The garden is the one where teenagers volunteer their time to help grow food for the local area food pantries. I discovered the cute little rabbits when clearing a raised bed of its leaves, old plants and early weeds.

My hope and plan is to plant onions, celery or carrots in the bed, not potatoes, as they were planted there last year. It is hard to know exactly which crop to plant. When we deliver fresh produce to the food pantry, I can only take a guess as to what a client would want when they are at the Food Pantry seeking their next meal.

Kohlrabi, kale and Swiss chard often accompany a meal or can be infused into an existing dish like a coleslaw, soup or lasagna. Some of these hardy, healthy leafy greens might be better donated to a place like Farther Bill’s in Quincy. The potatoes, onions and carrots might be more straightforward for a simple meal or side or even just to munch. We did harvest some spinach the other day, as hopefully there is need for spring greens and a salad.

Access to organic food is part of the goal in growing, harvesting, donating and teaching about its importance. For teens too, there is the chance to teach about where food originates, what it takes to grow and how to get it to folks in need. Like the farmers are doing with the plants we grow sell and the produce we sell at the farm stand, at the Farm to Food Pantry Garden we are trying to grow a variety of crops so as there may be more from which to choose.

Food is personal and often a private choice, and for those who may be unable to be private about it since it is in a Food Pantry where they are publicly collecting, then the selection ought to be simple, practical and of great, though necessary, use. I hope there is as much of a chance for selection as there may be at any grocery. The basics, the staples and the healthy ingredients for sustainability.

I am also inspired by a recent visitor and her son who were working in the garden, who donate their time making full meals (Shepherd’s Pie) for a kitchen to either freeze or serve as needed. Had we a certified kitchen, we could make similar meals, soups and such using the produce grown at the Farm. I would like to include more cooking as part of the program for community service so we could add to what we can offer the local Food Pantries and Kitchens.

Yvette and I were startled but delighted to see the little nest of bunnies, all cuddled together. There was no sign of mama rabbit, or papa rabbit, for that matter. Perhaps they were nearby under some weeds or off gathering from another area of the Farm. I would think this family of rabbits is pretty set in the garden designated, in this case, for all in need, except for the fact that they all might grow and call the garden their home, their habitat and their pantry.

What am I to do, as I will most likely not raise them and donate them to the food pantry as a sustainably braised, rather sustainably raised meal and source of protein. So, what to do? ‘Tis a puzzlement, as the King once said, who also sought a little jam and butter for his bread. Our daily bread, give us our daily bread and beets and kale and stones for our soup. We will keep growing and looking for room and space and a bit of earth for to provide some healthy food for all who may be in need.

© 2016, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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