The 2017 Youth Farm Internship, a program of Cultivating Connections at Homestead Organics Farm, is off to a great start this season and already making a difference in our community. Seven high school interns started the program June 13th with the goal to learn, work, grow, and connect through food.
In their first week, the enthusiastic group weeded sweet beets for Meals On Wheels, harvested garlic scapes, planted peppers and tomatoes, and mulched several beds. They prepared the pole barn as an activities space for Special Abilities Camp and participated in a training on working with kids with Autism, presented by Jessica Fitzpatrick, director of the non-profit project Bitterroot Arts for Autism and the new HEARTISM Community Center in Corvallis. She and the interns will be running Special Abilities Camp for 8 weeks this summer, giving kids with special abilities in the Bitterroot Valley a unique opportunity to be in touch with nature and make new discoveries.
The interns also strengthened their community connections by helping Warren Neyenhuis at the Hamilton Community Garden. Together they removed weeds, tilled beds, laid weed mat and drip irrigation, and transplanted peppers and corn into four beds. The food grown in these beds is destined for Haven House, the local food pantry in Hamilton, in an effort to increase access to fresh foods for our community's deserving patrons. The group will return to the Community Garden throughout the summer to tend to these and other beds as Cultivating Connections continues to promote service through food.