The Farm, Shifting to OnLine Education, and Gearing Up To Feed More People
Greater Washington County Food Bank is unique among its colleagues. Not only has its Truck to Trunk drive thru distribution model proven to be exactly the right answer to getting food distributed during these unprecedented times, but its agricultural venture, The Farm, is providing solutions too.
While scrolling through your newsfeed, you may have seen the hashtag #WeAreStillFarming accompanying posts by farmers sharing how they are continuing the important work of feeding their communities in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. This applies as well to The Farm, as well. Not only are they still farming at their Brownsville, PA location, but they are increasing production anticipating greater need this harvest season. They are also providing on-line education, and virtual tours and field trips to help individuals and families stay connected and learn where their food comes from!
“Like all the farmers I’ve spoken with over the past few weeks, we understand the need of consumers to have access to a safe, convenient, and reliable food supply during this volatile time. Here at GWCFB, we know that need is even more urgent for those in our community who are food insecure, some of whom recently lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Farm is part of helping to redefine what Food Banks are,” said Morgan E. Livingston, MSW, Agricultural Innovation Manager, The Farm at Greater Washington Co. Food Bank.
The Farm has renovated and planted a number of raised beds with cold crops that will thrive in the early Spring, including peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, radishes, onion sets, and carrots. Those vegetables will be harvested and distributed directly to Greater Washington County Food Bank clients. Following that harvest, they will “double crop” the beds with a summer and hopefully a fall crop.
They are also working to expand our hydroponic production, and our hydroponic lettuce is being offered through The Marketplace at Emerald Valley’s new CSA Box and Virtual Farm Stand program. This great program offers you grocery staples such as bread, meat, pasta, produce, and canned goods, all produced by local farmers and available for curbside pick up or home delivery. You can support your local Western PA farmers (and The Farm) when you subscribe to the CSA. Details can be found at https://themarketplace.farm/shop/. Covid-19 is showing us that it has never been more important to have a local and sustainable source of food for our communities.
The Farm has a dual mission. Not only do they produce important crops, but they provide Agriculture Education to the community. While their face-to-face workshops are on hold to comply with the Governor’s Orders and CDC’s recommendations on social distancing, they have moved their Hydroponics & Aquaponics Workshop Series for Veterans to a webinar format, with the support of the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program, Chatham University, and Mission Homestead. In addition, the Greater Washington County Food Bank is launching a live video farm education initiative that will focus on learning STEM concepts through farm activities.
Initial programs include: Facebook Live virtual tour of The Farm on Monday, March 30th at 9am and Ways to Grow Your Own Food at Home on Friday, 4/3 at 9am. These will be presented from The Farm’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheFarmGWCFB.
The Farm manager, Morgan Livingston reiterated, “There are many ways to be involved with The Farm as it continues its mission of providing healthy food and agriculture education during this time. The Farm is still working with volunteers in small groups to help us with farm tasks. As we work towards our goal of expanding our 2020 production to include a 2 acre field of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, The Farm is in need of donations of growing supplies like perennial plant stock, irrigation components, trellising, and fertilizer. Of course the Food Bank also needs cash donations to assure it can feed the people who need it right now.”
For more information about The Farm contact Morgan Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-632-2190 x 108.