As any enthusiast of Sharing the Harvest will tell you, the farm is about much more than growing organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Farmer Ashley Brister is a compassionate teacher who patiently guides staff and volunteers as they seed in the greenhouse, sow crops in the field, shape beds, enrich the soil, trellis, weed, prune, and harvest. In the 2022 growing season, Ashley’s work is expanding – Ashley and Sharing the Harvest’s Education Committee have succeeded in launching a three-part education program with her seasoned team of indefatigable volunteers, two full-time farmers Garret Lague and D’Quame Brown, plus education coordinator, Sarah Lederman, and U-Mass Dartmouth intern, Brianna Dude. The first part consists of organizing cooking and farming experiences for students in the Y’s afterschool program. Second, after a two-year hiatus, field trips for several elementary schools in New Bedford and Dartmouth will resume in May and June. These visits include a seed sowing project in the classroom, followed by a farm visit a few weeks later. Students will transplant their seedlings, inspect rows of fruits and vegetables, and explore flora and fauna along DNRT trails bordering the farm.
A third exciting initiative is the revitalization of the children’s garden and the creation of farming opportunities for campers at Metacomet in the summer of 2022. Throughout the spring, afterschool students have been sowing crops in the greenhouse and raised beds. Vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the children’s garden will enable 150 campers to explore plant parts and growing cycles, see and hear vibrant pollinators, feel the composition of healthy soil, and taste the delights of farm-fresh produce every week. In short – spring is off to a promising start. Who says April is the cruelest month? For the hard-working seed sowers and soil cultivators at Sharing the Harvest Farm, April marks the start of a new season with endless opportunities for growth.