Thanks to First Mennonite of Newton, Kansas!

This past weekend we were visited by a group of Mennonites in town on a service learning trip from First Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas.

They spent Saturday morning building us a new compost bin at Hannah’s Garden– much better than our rickety contraption made of fence wire we were using before!

If you are committed to not using harmful chemicals in the growing of healthy, nutritious food, you had better have a large compost production plan. Thanks to the folks from First Mennonite, now our work will be a little easier.

If you want to talk to somebody about your group volunteering at Jackson City Farm, email our director, Hugh at hugh@jacksoncityfarm.org and we can make it happen.

 

Frustrated. But still here.

It has been super dry and hot here – the heat index is over 100, and has been for weeks. It really needs to rain, and there is a light coat of dust on everything. Because we work on the weekends, we generally take Mondays off, but we have lots of transplants getting ready to be planted out, and they need watering daily. So Monday, I rolled up to Hannah’s Garden, our demonstration and teaching site, and the shed doors were wide open.

My first thought was that I had forgotten to lock them, but no – they had been pried open with some sort of tool, and the lock was busted. We had been robbed.

Maybe.

I mean, we were definitely broken into, and the doors were definitely damaged, but the only thing that appears missing is a set of secateurs, and I can’t imagine anyone breaking into a shed for a pair of pruners. Our tools were otherwise all present, hanging on the wall where they belong, our wheelbarrow was still there, heck – my gas can full of gas was still there. Weirdest robbery ever.

In any event – I didn’t have the tools I needed to fix it with me, and I didn’t want to leave the doors wide open, so I boarded it up for the night, and this morning I went to the hardware store to get what I needed to repair it.

It’s fixed now. There are bolts, boards, padlocks and hasps galore – a classic case of locking the barn door after the horses (or secateurs) have gotten out. And I have to be honest – it’s dispiriting. All I want to do is grow fresh healthy vegetables, and then give them to people who need them. And in my better moments, I know that the people who broke into our shed were not personally attacking us, or this project, it still hurts.

We have had several instances like this so far this summer. This is the second time the shed was broken into – the first time they stripped out all the tools, though.  And one weekend some folks came into the garden, got drunk and turned on all the sprinklers, leaving them running until we went back, two days later. Of course, there was a giant rainstorm that weekend too, so all the crops were damaged, wiping out our fall tomatoes.

Yes, it’s discouraging. Yes, we’re frustrated. But no, we are not going anywhere. There is way too much that still needs to be done.

Open work days!

We hear from a lot of people who want to help out in the demonstration garden, but who work during the week when we are on site.

So now we are shifting our schedule to allow staff to be onsite Saturday mornings. Going forward, we will have regular work days on Saturday mornings from 7:30 to 10:30AM at Hannah’s Garden, our demonstration site at 932 Union St, Jackson, MS.

No need to call ahead – just show up and we will put you to work! (If you are bringing a group of folks, though, we would still appreciate a heads up!)

 

 

Meet Paula

Meet the newest member of our team – Paula, who is from Halle, Germany.

She and two other folks in their late teens (one from Japan, another from Germany) are in Jackson MS, living in community and providing a year of service as part of Mennonite Mission Network’s Service Adventure program.

Paula is with us half-days (which, given the heat, is about all we can do right now, anyway!) and her stipend is covered by a small grant connected to her program.

She is a quick learner, and in the two weeks she has been with us already made a remarkable improvement to our workflow.

Welcome aboard, Paula!

Paula is planting bush beans in a clear spot among the okra  in Hannah’s Garden, our demonstration plot. We have just enough time to catch a crop or two of beans before fall frosts hit.