By Rosey F., Youth Leader in Agriculture
Staunton High School, Class of 2022
Going back out into the world after the COVID-19 lockdowns was scary. Being pulled into a “new normal” was very hard for me, and I felt as if my life was turned upside down. The isolation from the world caused my people skills to diminish and communication was difficult. After hearing about Project GROWS, I decided to challenge myself and my perception of farming. Farming was something I hadn’t really thought about. In my mind, the concept of farming was acres upon acres of land growing one type of crop.
However, during my time at Project GROWS I learned that small scale farming is so much more. At Project GROWS, farming is community, education, and personal growth. My time at the farm has been valuable in my education and self-improvement. During my first few weeks as a Youth Leader in Agriculture we explored permaculture concepts. “Observe and Interact” really stood out to me because it isn’t just applicable to farming, it’s applicable to everything around us. During our lessons with Robert and Lindy, we explored soil health, and all of the microorganisms that help recycle soil nutrients. Robert started a worm farm, where I learned to love and appreciate what worms do for our soil. From protozoa all the way to sycamore trees, I’ve gained so much knowledge about the environment and about myself.
Working on the farm was challenging but rewarding. We helped pull up tarps, lay straw on beds, replant crops such as fennel and blueberries, seed, work on Robert’s pond, and even cook. Farm work isn’t something I was very good at, but it has given me a newfound respect for small scale farmers. As we worked I learned how to listen to my body’s needs and how to communicate that with others. When you work to grow food , it makes you appreciate it more. While we cooked I tried many different types of vegetables. My favorite thing we made was kale chips with parmesan cheese. Being able to have produce at our fingertips showed me how privileged we are to have Project Grows.
Overall, I’ve grown as a person during my time on the farm. My communication skills are better and I can work with others without feeling anxious. I am more educated in small-scale farming and the environment, and I have witnessed the positive impact Project GROWS has on the community. Personally, I won’t be pursuing a career in agriculture, but the knowledge I gained will stick with me for the rest of my life!