Wood's Earth Newsletter: A Year of Growing in Review

Wood's Earth woodsearthclass at gmail.com
Thu Dec 26 16:27:18 EST 2013


Wood's Earth January 2014 Newsletter. Year in Review, Farm to School Spotlight, Garden Plots & More!
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A project of the Center for Transformative Action (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=defedfaf86&e=776332f9a8)
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Wood's Earth
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Our Mission: Engaging youth and community in fresh, local school food.

Our four programs include School Food Production, The Living Classroom, Community Gardens, and Farm to School.

We grow organic crops for district-wide school lunches, fresh elementary school snacks, and other school food programs. School field trip groups, interns, teen workers and volunteers make up our crew.
We also work with other farms and organizations to source as much fresh, local school food as possible and to build food engagement opportunities in the education system.


** Community Garden Plots Available for 2014:
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Get a community garden plot with Wood's Earth! We offer garden plots (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=06abc5db07&e=776332f9a8) of varying sizes - you decide how big or small! Several things included in the price of a plot are drip irrigation, usage of available tools, and various composts and mulches. Plots come in 250 square foot increments.

Discounts!
if you reserve a plot before March 1st, there is a 10% discount! Also, there is a 20% discount for plots of over 1,000 square feet in size (which is great for groups)!



** Sponsors and Funders:
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Major Funders:
Park Foundation (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=91b43a2179&e=776332f9a8) Community Foundation of Tompkins County (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=6294981376&e=776332f9a8)
Tompkins Charitable Gift Fund (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=2c42137914&e=776332f9a8)
Sustainable Tompkins (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=87f87c44db&e=776332f9a8)

Business Sponsors:
Mama Goose (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=7b2bc8bd26&e=776332f9a8)
Red Feet Wine Market (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=345857267f&e=776332f9a8)
Nutritional Wellness Center (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=8b8007d641&e=776332f9a8)
The Drain Brain (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=7d561b4e0a&e=776332f9a8)


** Seeking Advisory Board Members
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Would you consider becoming part of a small and growing Farm to School organization? Wood's Earth is looking for people to join the Advisory Board.
We are expanding our board to allow for as many as 9 additional members. We are particularly interested in new members who bring experience in one or more of these areas: business and not-for-profit management, fundraising, finance, public relations and marketing, community organizing, communications, event planning, nutrition, agriculture, education, local school district politics, monitoring and evaluation, and food justice. Advisory Board Members participate in one board meeting every other month, as well as work independently in committee(s) year-round.

If you would like to learn more about Wood's Earth and possible Advisory Board Membership, please contact Audrey Baker at woodsearthclass at gmail.com (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=1cdf0a8078&e=776332f9a8)  or 592-2902, and/pr fill out this application here (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=a1df7e4eca&e=776332f9a8) .


** 2013 in Review:
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There's been so much happening this past year! As we continue on into the new year, let's reflect on what we've done in this one.


** Farm to School:
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Before we get into the things we've done here in our community, let's take a step back and look at the national Farm to School scene. The Farm to School network in the United States has been going strong since 1998. In that span of 15 years, the number of Farm to School programs has exploded, and currently all 50 states have Farm to School programs. For more information of the national side of Farm to School, check out the official website here: http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=6cc63adc1a&e=776332f9a8

Now, on to the community side. In addition to growing organic vegetable for school food, we've spent a lot of time coordinating with local farms and the District's central kitchen in order to bring even more fresh and local produce into student lunches and snacks. We worked with Stick and Stone Farm (See our Farm to School spotlight below) and Regional Access to put 1500 pounds of acorn squash into the school lunches. Remembrance Farm got involved with our Farm to School Wood's Earth greens beans were blanched and frozen all summer in the Ithaca City School District's central kitchen program by selling their broken, organic carrots to the ICSD lunch program at a price the lunch program could afford, and they will be continuing to do so! The Youth Farm Project sold also continues to sell a huge variety of produce to the school lunches program. We are working with members of the Youth Farm Project more and more to coordinate and plan as well.

The Living Classroom:
Over the course of this year, we have had a lot of volunteers and interns helping us out and keeping things running. Our farm manager over the summer was Courtney Mayszak. She is a Farm to School advocate, and is currently working with Jennifer Wilkins (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=61269c2cf1&e=776332f9a8) , a Cornell professor working with the Division of Nutritional Sciences. When Courtney started with us, she had never gardened or farmed, but by summer's end she was running the farm with ease and managing the four Youth Employment Services (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=3efaf5f937&e=776332f9a8) (YES) teens working with her! These same four teens took turns helping out in the ICSD central kitchen to process local produce. If you or a teen you know is interested in working through YES, there is application form here (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=528b834ed2&e=776332f9a8) . We also had 1 high school graduate intern and 6 college interns this year.

We've had a few fun field trips over the year as well. Fifty students came from Enfield and Cayuga Heights elementary school through the Buddy Up program (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=e8f33724fe&e=776332f9a8) funded by the IPEI, and we http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=caa712ab09&e=776332f9a8 had three Learning Web preteen groups, who helped us to plant peas in the Spring and garlic in the Fall! Another group that stopped by the Living Classroom regularly was the GIAC (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=c7c9a4fb90&e=776332f9a8) group of teens and preteens. These guys and gals helped us build a new shed for the Living Classroom property, tapped sugar maple trees, and helped us out farming and harvesting! New Roots Charter School students made a field trip out to our farm site during their Farm to School week intensive course.

We also had TST Boces Special Needs students come to the farm and they helped plant and mulch basil and tomatoes. This same group of students also helped to take care of our seedlings in their greenhouse all through this Spring!

School Food Production:
We had a lot of success with our school food production program this year. We sold 750 pounds of organic produce grown by Ithaca youth at Wood's Earth  to the ICSD school lunch program, including but not limited to sugar snap peas, lettuce, cooking greens, green beans, carrots, beets, fresh herbs, and winter and summer squash.

Produce for school district lunches and snacks in June. We also grew carrots, mixed herbs and cherry tomatoes for the Fresh Fruits and  Veggies snack program at BJM, and tatsoi, kale, spinach, and basil into the Healthy Meal Assembly program, also at BJM. We sent potatoes home with families in Market Box.

With help from local teens, processed 7 gallons of pesto, 5 gallons of salsa for ICSD to freeze, and froze buckets of large tomatoes for use in school lunch recipes!

Community Gardens:

This year the community garden crew nearly doubled in size! We had 22 plots in use ranging in size from 250 square feet to 1,000 square feet, with 48 people working plots. We had a variety of fruits and veggies growing this year, and plot owners ranging in ages from families with kids to college students to older adults.

What's Coming Up:
There is a lot coming our way as we progress into 2014. We are creating a farm field trip "menu" to be integrated into school curriculum, working with the IPEI Discover the Trail program. We are planning more collaborations with the Youth Farm Project and the Cool School Food program of the New York Coalition for Healthy School. We are also planning to work with the School Board to develop financing options for purchasing high quality local food. On the farm, we are looking to hire a farm manager and educator for the season.

Keep and eye out for our basil/pesto CSA  under way, and more interesting happenings coming soon!



** Volunteer Spotlight
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This month's volunteer spotlight shines on the newest member of the Wood's Earth team. Her name is Rhiannon, and she's leading the way into a new year with social media and outreach. You can thank her for crafting our very first newsletter! She's also helping us out with social media like Facebook (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=37d98f94df&e=776332f9a8) and Twitter. (http://woodsearth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b32e109ba1caab34201757c79&id=a55ddee83c&e=776332f9a8)  She's a high school student in the Ithaca City School District, and is bringing her past writing experience and creativity to the job. Rhiannon is a renaissance woman with a great sense of style and humor (and a love for anime). We welcome her jubilant enthusiasm to the office!


** Farm to School Spotlight
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This month's Farm to School spotlight shines on Stick and Stone Farm. They are a local, organic CSA farm and part of the Full Plate Collective. Their efforts have included selling 1500 pounds of winter squash to the ICSD school lunch program through Wood's Earth, selling all sorts of veggies to the BJM Snack Program, and, through Wood's Earth and the BackPack Program of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, sent carrots home with 130 students - the first time these families have had fresh produce in their BackPacks! Stick and Stone is leading the way in our regional Farm to School effort.

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