Friday, June 09, 2006

Mark helps start an urban farm


Working at Farm Aid has opened my eyes to some innovative examples of people and communities reconnecting to the land and growing good food. Now, I’m fortunate to be involved in one right in my own community.

Last year, a friend of mine came to me with the crazy idea to create a new community farm in Metropolitan Boston that would increase access to locally grown, organic produce and involve urban and suburban residents all aspects of farming. To make a long story short in May 2006 Brookwood Community Farm was born.

The land we’re using is part of an old historic farm that was farmed from the mid-1600s up to the early 1970s. The last farmer who worked the land willed the land to the state of Massachusetts and the farm’s fields have laid fallow since his death in 1972.

Working the soil where sod has grown for 30 years is a challenge! You easily break a sweat, not to mention reach for some advil, turning seedbeds that are 250 feet long.

This past Sunday we hosted our first community workday. Despite rainy weather and cool temps, nineteen brave souls, including seven kids ranging in age from 2 to 12, helped to transplant hundreds of heirloom plants. By the end of the day we had planted over 300 tomato seedlings and the kids counted even more worms – they gave up after reaching 100!

Having a hands-on farming experience adds depth and meaning to my work at Farm Aid. Putting my hands in the black dirt every week connects me not only to the land, but to the farmers who have dirt under their nails everyday.

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