Garden City Harvest Around the Clock
Every morning, I bike my way up the steep hill on Duncan Drive to the PEAS Farm, where I am an intern and graduate in the Environmental Studies Program and teaching assistant. I spend the entire morning on tasks including, but certainly not limited to, planting seeds in the greenhouse, laying down drip tape in the orchards, or weeding the vast rows of vegetables out in the fields. I work alongside of about 15 other University of Montana students (and even a gal who has come all the way from Brown University!) learning from our wonderful instructor, one another, and from the land. We learn about all of the vegetables we are planting from their origins and family names to how to harvest and prepare them. We also learn about irrigation and how to care for the pigs and chickens on the farm.
On Fridays, we go on a field trip to other sustainable farms in the region. At the end of each class, two students pair off to prepare a delectable lunch with ingredients that could not be fresher. These lunches are becoming even more satisfying as the days are growing warmer and busier as more vegetables must be harvested.
After I fill my belly with incredible food prepared by my peers (today’s meal was homemade tortillas, garlicky pak choi, heirloom barley, roasted beets and radishes, and a salad with plum dressing), I bike back down the hill to Garden City Harvest’s office, where I am an AmeriCorps member serving as assistant to the Community Garden Programs. The goal of my term of service is to ensure that folks have a positive gardening and/or volunteer experience. One of the ways that we do this is through a mentorship program for folks that need some extra help with their plots — often this is their first season gardening, ever. We also do this through volunteer appreciation events.
As an AmeriCorps member, I also help improve the grounds of the community gardens and happy to have the opportunity to work with some Youth Harvest students on this task.
After I complete my tasks in the office and when I am not at the PEAS Farm managing the community supported agriculture (CSA program), which is an all day affair, I will head over to my garden plot in the Northside Community Garden. I have had the pleasure to meet many of the gardeners there and have been grateful to trade some of my starts with some of the other gardeners. There is such a thing as too much broccoli. As the season progresses and the gardens become full and lush, it is truly a sight to behold.
As a student in the Environmental Studies program with a focus Sustainable Food and Farming, it can be easy to feel disheartened by the industrialized food system. However, through my many roles with Garden City Harvest, I feel nothing but positivity as I live an alternative to the industrialized food system. I am so grateful to be part on an organization that has such a far-reaching impact and does so much good for the community. I look forward to what the rest of the growing season holds and all the community members I will meet through Garden City Harvest!