Blue Earth County Community Farm opens for season; in need of volunteers
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Providing fresh, organic produce to local hunger-assistance programs and to the local food economy is the goal of the Blue Earth County Community Farm.
Located next to the Red Jacket Trail, the newly cultivated plot recently opened to the public and is in need of volunteers to help the farm grow.
“Right now, we are getting the beds ready and establishing infrastructure. We’re creating burrs for vegetables and creating pathways that have wood chips on them,” Community Farm Manager Carol Harder said.
Volunteers also help plant, water, weed and harvest, as well as experience the farm’s mission of connecting to others from the community.
“The first harvest will be snow peas, carrots, cabbage, all the different greens, and this year, in particular, we had a special request for herbs, so we will have that also,” said Harder.
“To have a community growing space and, I mean that in both a literal and figurative sense, the act of bringing people together to grow food, but also share common ground,” added Laura Peterson, executive director at The Living Earth Center.
Volunteers will also have the opportunity to learn more about organic farming.
“I have two moms and a seven and nine-year-old coming out to plant sunflowers. The two families didn’t know each other, [but] now they come together because of a shared interest in healthy foods and also to teach their kids where food comes from,” said Harder.
Food grown at the community farm will be donated to the Feeding Our Communities Partners’ Backpack Food Program, Echo Food Shelf and several other local programs.
In addition, a recent grant from the Blue Earth County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership has helped kick-start the farm’s needs.
“Those funds were able to help support getting a brand-new shed that we need to put tools and production. It helps us get some tools that needed updating, like some additional wheel burrows. In addition, our hope is to later have a food forest and plant food trees,” said Peterson.
Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to visit the community farm’s sign-up form.
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