By Kathy Beck, Vice Chair of Farm/Garden/Education
May is coming to an end, and life at the farm has started to get busy. The memories of the hard work involved at the farm last year have mostly faded, and the mind is filled with the excitement and anticipation of a new growing season.
Early spring activities have included some projects that include removing fallen trees; reading to students at Blue Ridge Elementary School during Agriculture Literacy Day; plowing and prepping of fields and beds as well as attending year-end school FFA banquets for middle and high schools; attending the Fannin County Ag Council meeting; and judging a scarecrow contest for the Faith Garden.
Faith Presbyterian Church partners with Feed Fannin to grow corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes (provided by Feed Fannin) for the community at their property. Several supporters of Feed Fannin have grown and donated plants for the garden. Thank you to Father Louis Guerin and 6 Ponds Farm and West Fannin Elementary School for your support of the Ada Street garden, which is mostly planted at this point. We are looking forward to a successful growing season. A big thank you to Jeff and Catherine Morris of Old Dial Road Farm who grow incredible organic lettuce and greens in their greenhouses for Feed Fannin to purchase during the winter months which enables us to provide Family Connections Food Pantry with produce throughout the year.
Long’s Produce and other local farmers and vendors will help supply produce to Feed Fannin again this summer for eight weeks during school summer break. Feed Fannin is purchasing 6,000-7,000 lbs. of produce to supply Snack in a Backpack’s Summer Meals program with produce for over 1,400 food boxes. We are blessed to be able to partner with many groups in the community, as well as dedicated volunteers who make projects possible.
I think in life it’s important to realize not only where you are headed, but from where you have come. I grew up on a small farm in a family of six children. My oldest sister, who is now 85, is the only sibling other than me who still loves to garden. Growing up, we grew all our own food and working in the garden was expected, and all that I knew.It was hard work, and vows were made by some to never again work in a garden when they grew up and were able to make that choice.
My siblings cannot believe that today I voluntarily choose to work hard to manage a farm when I don’t have to. It is hard to explain unless gardening is deeply rooted in your soul. Admittedly, there were farm and garden chores growing up that I didn’t always enjoy, but recently I have been reflecting on life lessons and some of my favorite gardening moments and necessities for working in a garden.
The necessities? A Hori Hori Knife, Zip Ties, a sharpened pair of pruners, a comfortable pair of garden boots, a good pair of gloves, a ball peen hammer, and a folding stool that converts to a kneeling pad.
So, why garden? The rewards for gardening and life can’t be measured by time or dollars invested.I do it for the joy and the awe and the wonder it can bring to me and to others. When I pass a flowering squash, okra, or corn tassels filled with bees or any flowering vegetable bloom, it makes me smile. When I arrive at the garden in the early morning and experience the solitude, that is it’s own reward.