Archive for August, 2010

Photo Journal II

Isha and her Corn

Tomatoes are coming!

Beautiful Purple Cabbage

Reclaiming the Lettuce

Bountiful Beets!

Raspberry Connection

We are very pleased to announce another great connection that has come our way.  These last weeks, the Hope Burundian Cooperative has been making connections with a local berry farmer in Auburn, at T & M Berries.  Because of how his farm’s cycle is set up, this is not a good year for him to market his berries, so he made a connection with King County Ag and through King County to us.  What does this mean?  The farmers now have raspberries to harvest and sell to their markets!  He is allowing us to pick what we can, and weigh it so that he is aware of what they are producing, and then sell at no cost to the farmers.  It really is an incredible opportunity.

View from inside: Fresh picked Berries!

The farmers have never picked raspberries before.  Asking some of them what they think, some of the farmers like raspberries, others do not.  They say that in their home countries they saw berry bushes, but no one ate them.  Another new food that Americans eat!  Now, look for our berries or call to order some as well.

Celestine lost in the Raspberry bushes

Early morning picking

Meeting and Learning

The farmers are starting to talk about the end of the season because it sure feels like the weather is cooling off.  Weather calls for rainy and overcast today and for the next few days.  In the mean time, we are beginning to reflect more on where we are and how we have been doing.  Conversations are beginning to include ideas of what will come next year, and we will keep you up to date as we figure that out!

The Hope Burundi Cooperative, in their second year, has a much clearer, practiced structure that they have developed and continue to use.  They meet on Mondays to go over new issues and the different directions they want to go with their farm.  Today, the importance of reviewing this year’s profits versus expenses was the topic of conversation, and will be continued in the upcoming weeks.

Hope Burundi Farm Meeting

The Somali-Bantu Farmers of Washington are in the middle of their first year and are learning a lot about what it means to run a farm in a cooperative way.  With some challenges, they have begun to learn the importance of clear roles and have re-established leadership in their community, after meeting several times to sort this out last week.  The leadership development aspect of this project is just as important as the farming part, if not more, and it is great to see the small successes work towards larger ones.

This week, the zucchini are doing fantastic and the lettuce is gorgeous and colorful.  And watch out, the Hope Burundi Cooperative has started a relationship with a near-by raspberry farm and may be selling raspberries at a farmers market near you!

A Call for Volunteers

It is busy on the farm and in the best of ways!  We currently have much produce to sell, and people who are able to harvest and prepare it.  We have also recognized a new need on the farm, we need help marketing at the farmers markets.

Limited English and a developing understanding of American culture makes it challenging for the farmers to sell their best and excel at the markets.  This is a great learning experience, and support from a mentor or assistant at the market would provide a a safer place for them to practice their developing English and see what many people expect the farmers market experience to be like.

These helpers will help them set up at the market, talk to customers, and be support for anything that comes up.  The markets are currently expanding, and most of them are in S. King County, but we will be grateful and as flexible as we can to create a way for you to help us.

Market Assistants and Burundi Farmers

Here is an example of students at Highline Community College helping market on their campus.  The farmers have given feedback that it is a great experience for them to be supported and the students helped more than they realized by showing how to work with customers.

If you are interested, please email Lydia at lydiac@chs-wa.org and she can answer any questions you have and help you find where you are most needed.  Thank you!