This will be our last farm report for 2022 except for a few seasonal updates. I say “our” because Carrie Asselin and Cathy McDonald are a big part of this weekly blog, editing, adding photos, fact checking, and adding their own personal experiences at the farm. Thanks to the both of you for making me look so good! On paper anyway. 🙂

If we are lucky in this life, we have two types of families. The family unit we are born or adopted into, and the family we choose to build around us. This week I was reminded once again that the family we are creating at Growing to Give extends way beyond anything we could have imagined. I would like to cite a couple of examples so you get the bigger picture.

I heard from Abigail this week. Abigail and her two sons, Jacob and Henry, gleaned with us this summer. We were always glad to see them sign up to come harvest, pack, and deliver our veggies. The boys were quiet on their first visit (typical of almost everyone), but afterwards they would arrive smiling and jump right in to help. I got an email from Abigail this week, and she let me know she was following the farm report from NYC, and Jacob was doing some volunteering at local soup kitchens.

Tom’s wife Kathy wanted me to know she forwards our report to his sister in Hong Kong so she can see what Tom is up to at G2G.

David’s mom in Michigan told me she looks forward to reading it to see how David is contributing and to be part of his G2G experience.

Sharry and Diana’s mom (who also volunteers) in Pittsburg keeps up with her daughters’ volunteering at the farm.  Sharry reads our report while she is living in Egypt to stay in touch halfway around the world and keep up with our accomplishments.

We have so many friends of G2G who may not be able to be with us in person, but are with us and support us in spirit. There are friends that I know of in Arizona, Alaska, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Massachusetts, Florida, Indiana, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, and D.C. I am sure if I asked, I could keep adding to this list.

I know I have written about this community building many times before, yet almost everyday I am reminded how important it is. Just today, one of our regular Saturday volunteer/friends pointed out to me that you can be lonely, but because of her involvement in our G2G community  she does not feel alone. Thanks to all of you who support our mission in so many ways. You may think we are just growing and giving away organic vegetables, but our reach is much bigger than that. Putting your hands in the dirt is therapy for most of us.

Now on to a farm update!

We put a call out for extra help on Wednesday so we could do an end of the season glean, and we were not disappointed. Another beautiful day and the opportunity to be at the farm brought us Terri, even with a bump on her head and a swollen knee! Thanks, Terry, for helping with the Napa cabbage, ”beet bee”, and garlic duty with Carol Hayes.

Rarely do Carol Gillespie or Deirdra miss an opportunity to volunteer with us. The lettuces were small, but beautiful, and then there’s that spinach tunnel that just keeps on producing.

Anytime I ask Judy for some help, she does what she can to be there. She sees first hand how our food makes a difference in people’s lives.

Laura came and helped harvest beets, then we all went to clean them, and we had a “beet bee”, gathering around the wash station cleaning beets and chatting.

Genevieve went out to harvest some more daikon radish from my brother Tim’s cover crop plot in lower 5. My brother is a farmer who lives in the buckeye state. We have bonded most recently over cover crops and no-till.  He is a great source of information on no-till farming and cover cropping and is always telling me which farm YouTube videos to watch. He sent us a couple of cover crop mixes to try, so lower plot 5 is “my brother Tim’s plot”–one member of my family.

The food we sent out on Wednesday put us over last year’s total. Thanks, friends, for showing up and being such an integral part of our G2G “family”.

I asked Diane and BJ to help with some end of the season chores. So BJ and Carol went into the garden shed to do an inventory of fertilizers and seeds, and Diane did a lot of cleaning and organizing.

Friday was still a busy day with end of the season fix-it chores to accomplish. Carol brought her grandson, Ethan, and his friend, Brook, who helped weed and broadfork a final plot. We are so far ahead for next year, we were even doing some sprucing up of our ornamental areas like the willow hedge. Carrie was busy adding some more clips to the scissor doors. We are determined to beat the winter wind damage on our tunnel doors!

John Newlin installed another bridge to cross over the wetland that everyone insists on traveling through to get to the compost pile. I thought we should name it, and, because it was one of Tom’s first fix-it projects, it will now be called the Honorary Tom Fitch Compost Bridge (ribbon cutting ceremony in spring 2023). I must add it was installed way ahead of schedule.

One more addition to this final farm report for 2022.

I was talking with my cousin Matt on Saturday. Matt follows our farm report and had all kinds of questions for me. He is now familiar with many of the volunteers featured in my reports. It made me realize that this story we are telling has a cast of characters–some come regularly, some make cameo appearances–all of us coming together to try to make a difference in our community, while we, too, have become a community.

A famous gardener was once asked “which year was your best garden?” They replied, “next year”.

I hope you can all join me in our next best garden.

With so much gratitude to my family, and that includes both of them.