Lilacs, roses, and sunflowers shimmered around us as we knelt on our dirt-covered knees and cut asparagus. To my six-year-old self, my grandmother’s garden appeared endless as flowers extended down the driveway and wrapped around the walls of their Swiss chalet nestled in the woods. The vegetable garden was equally impressive, with varieties of lettuce, potatoes, squash, carrots, and asparagus sprouting from all corners. To this day, gardens evoke fond memories of working with my grandmother as a little girl.
When I learned of the the opportunity to work in the local community as a part of Community-based Learning (my CBL), I was eager to work at Little Grasse Farm. Little Grasse Farm, located just one mile from campus, is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that produces vegetables for local residents and students. Bob and Flip, the owners of Little Grasse Farm, “encourage a meaningful connection with the foods you consume daily” through the relationships they build with their shareholders.
Tasks at Little Grasse varied each week, and throughout the semester I honed a wide range of farming skills. My peers and I harvested squash and potatoes, pressed apples to make cider, worked in the greenhouse, fed the pigs and chickens, made sauerkraut, and more. Having the opportunity to be involved in farming at every level made me appreciate the hard work that goes into growing and harvesting fresh produce for the community.
Working at Little Grasse Farm was an incredible opportunity. Bob and Flip are passionate about the food that they grow as well the role their food plays in educating and uniting our community. The example they set inspire me to be mindful of my daily tasks and my impact on the environment. Through my work at the farm, I gained a deeper understanding about what’s involved in raising our food. Bob and Flip’s knowledge of the local community gave me insight into life in the North Country and enabled students to become connected with local issues. One of the highlights of the semester was working a Garden Morning on a crisp Saturday in October. Shareholders, students, and community members work together to gather the weekly harvest. The morning’s work is followed by a celebratory potluck lunch where the magic of bringing the community together through fresh food is palpable.
Each Thursday afternoon, I would return to campus dirt-covered with a big smile and some vegetables in hand, evoking rosy childhood memories of gardening with my grandmother.