Reports from the Field – YAP Crews Work and Learn

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Weeding dsc_0222-3Our Danby YAP’ers at Smokey House have been involved in everything from weeding to harvesting, from prepping food to composting waste. Besides their work in our garden at the Smokey House Center, they’ve been learning new skills and gaining new knowledge from hands-on activities, from guest speakers, and from visits to local farms and institutions.  Here are some of their comments from the first four weeks of the summer program:

Carrots dsc_0110-1…We went to Duchess Farm to do a gleaning for them. A gleaning is when a team volunteers to pick the crops the farmers cannot sell, and they give these crops to food shelves, schools, and to people in need. We harvested carrots and squash and went to weigh them and put them in the car to transport them to storage at Thomas Dairy.  I was picking carrots for a couple hours and then we weighed the carrots and we also weighed the carrots and squash, boxed and labeled them…This week was very good, and I don’t want to see another carrot again! (Sam)

We worked with the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) harvesting 291 lbs. of carrots and 243 lbs.  of summer squash and zucchini.  RAFFL boxed the veggies and labeled them to go to food shelves, shelters, and other organizations. I was so glad I got to be a part of the gleaning at Dutchess Farm because I feel that a lot of people don’t have enough nutritional foods in their diet to get through the day, let alone the brittle seasons here in Vermont. To learn more go to  (Sophie)

Milkweed img_0155-3I very much enjoyed my time at Neshobe Farm. My favorite part was learning about primitive man skills.  A cool thing we learned was how to make cordage rope from dried up milkweed, which could come in handy if at some point you are in the woods and need to quickly fashion some sort of rope to tie something down with. (Codi)

The YAP-Danby group has gone to many cool places, one being Yoder Farm. One of the many methods for fertilizing their soil is having the chickens live on their plots to fertilize the soil for next year. Another thing farmers might do is put nitrogen in the soil to help the growth of the plants. (Josh)

Compost img_0143-3Has last night’s dinner gone bad in the fridge? No need to fear, composting is here! Our Y.A.P group has been learning how to compost. Even if you live in the city you still can compost.  If done correctly, composting shouldn’t stink up the place, keeping in mind you want happy neighbors next door.  Composting is used as a nutrient to the soil to make the plants very happy. (Sophie)

We went to the Poultney and Rutland farmer’s markets. The Poultney one is a lot smaller because it is a smaller town.  At the Rutland farmer’s market there were lots of vegetables, of course.  I was surprised to see someone selling whiskey. There were also some baked goods, lemonade and ice tea. The farmer’s markets are a good opportunity for people to buy organic food and eat healthy. It’s better for the environment because the vegetables and fruits there do not have pesticides sprayed on them. (Eli)

Labyrinth img_0116-2Another neat place that we saw was the healing garden at the Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC). I think it is great for the patients’ healing process to have the opportunity to see a calming place so close by. We learned about colors and how different colors are important because you don’t just want one color. It would be boring and/or overwhelming. Another thing I think was cool was the labyrinth. It’s a really relaxing exercise. (Josh)

Lily img_0093-1I came to this expecting to not be good at any of this but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is not all as hard as I thought it would be. The first two weeks have been a lot of fun and I look forward to the next five weeks.  (Codi)









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