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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

November Updates from the Gardens

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. I long for a vacation from the fields and demands of farming but yet I know within a few short weeks I’ll be restless and wanting to get back outside. One learns to enjoy the unpredictability of the weather and the challenge of getting your fingers clean at the end of the day. Looking back over the season I had so much to be thankful for but all summer I’ve been looking forward to this time of the year to have that break from my responsibilities. Now that it’s here I’m wishing March was next month and not 5 months away.

In my first year here at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute I’ve learned and experienced more than I could have imagined. I learned having a well working group of interns/worker shares is more valuable than any piece of equipment. I learned plans should be made but to remain flexible because Mother Nature always has the last say. I learned a kind word from a customer can make all the long days, dirty clothes and sore muscles worth it. And I learned no matter what challenges life throws at you, you will make it through with a little help from your friends.

In the last couple of weeks we’ve tilled in the remaining fields, put cover crops in and continued to harvest hardy crops like kale, brussels sprouts, winter squash and broccoli. My last 2 interns leave the end of the month and the volunteer groups that have become part of our weekly routine will stop coming. While these are all sad events I rejoice in the promise of spring and, once again, people in the fields.

The question I’m always asked is “what do you do all winter?” Plan! Evaluate the year and make plans for improvements. There will be a few new changes for next year. We’re researching new farmers’ markets, looking for ways to improve the intern program and prioritizing improvements needed to increase efficiencies for next year. The most exciting for me is creation of a second year apprentice program. Being surrounded by young, creative farmers is fabulous. I don’t know who benefits more, me or them.

While things in the fields are quiet, we’ll be busy getting ready for 2015. Stop by or send us a line. We’d love to hear from you and learn how we can become a larger part of your life in the new year. Let us know if there’s something you’d like us to grow or if you have ideas for the gardens. Maybe you’d like to volunteer next year. Whatever you have to say we’d love to hear it. Thank you again for all your support this season and we look forward to seeing you again.

Happy & Healthy Wishes,

The Garden Crew!