Saturdays are tough. Saturdays are our biggest volunteer workdays here at Veggielution Community Farm. Each Saturday brings anywhere from sixty to well over a hundred volunteers to our fields. Teenagers, college students, adults, retirees and more gather together to help us coax vegetables from the earth. Which is a wonderful thing for which we are grateful. However organizing all the moving parts, and keeping people happy and well-utilized can be mentally and physically exhausting.
It’s often a frantic scramble from group to another, from one task to the next, from one side of the farm to the other, and then back again. Saturdays are an experiment in controlled chaos where we’re constantly battling to tip the equation more towards ‘controlled’ than ‘chaos’. Saturdays are tough. Good thing we have workday leaders.
We’re fortunate to have a network of dedicated workday leaders and interns – our super volunteers – to help run the farm. They started as normal volunteers but have undergone extra training about the basics of gardening and volunteer facilitation (or were bitten by a radioactive spider) and now lead teams of other volunteers to carry out farm tasks. It’s not as easy as it sounds – many people come to our farm never having seen food growing in the ground before. How does someone who has never gardened before tell the difference between a baby mustard weed and a baby radish? Our workday leaders and interns find a way.
This last Saturday, the farm crew, workday leaders, and interns combined to make this the day one of the most productive stress-free Saturdays we’ve had. Itzel lead a group to plant our traditional blue corn in one corner of the farm. On the other side of the farm, Morgan spearheaded an effort to harvest the rest of the garlic and hang them up for drying. Ojan and other workday leaders added trellising to the tomatoes and pruned them. Alex got a group to weed baby cucumbers (tricky!). Yesie took a church group out to collect fava beans remove irrigation lines. A group of teenagers and others thoroughly weeded our younger kales and cilantro. Mormon missionaries helped to spruce up our neglected flower row.
For many people, this was their first exposure to how food is grown. Others are committed long-term volunteers. They all were able to come together and meet others they normally wouldn’t have encountered, to work together, and to eat together during the potluck lunch afterwards.
A lot of people came together to grow food for our community. And many others came together to help make it happen. Saturdays are tough, but they can be beautiful too.