It takes an enormous amount of people-power to make an urban farm happen. From prepping the soil, researching and choosing the season’s crops, ordering and picking up supplies, putting young plants in the ground, to keeping them healthy while they grow, then finally harvesting and getting them out into the world – there is plenty to wrangle.
At Seeds of Hope Farm, we are lucky to have a solid core of awesome volunteers who offer part of their Thursday every single week to help the farm succeed. They come from all over the county, but most come from nearby. They receive a box of farm food for coming out to help – but most would tell you they come because they love it here. There is something very special about being on a working farm. The land is always full of life, and the day is intimately connected to the sun or the rain. Having a part to play in the cycle of growth is something to be proud of. And, it results in the creation of one of life’s most treasured gifts – healthy food.
Karen Pauls has been coming to SOH Farm for many years and she knows her way around. She says she loves the farm food she receives as a result of volunteering each week, but she really loves the people connection too.
“It’s a diverse group that’s not afraid to take anything on.”
Sometimes that includes cleaning rusting drains, swatting mosquitoes, or foraging for a farm-grown remedy for bug bites. A highlight for her is sharing recipes and friendship.
“After all, where else do we get to immerse ourselves under 100-year-old oak trees, black earth, green life and the colors of earth’s bounty?”
Along with getting her hands into the earth, Karen loves sailing and spends a good deal of time at Carlyle Lake in Illinois. She says that the combination of water and wind make her happy. As does anything green – as in nature’s green. Karen also shares her abundant knowledge of planting and growing with the young kids in her neighborhood – an invaluable gift that is coming at just the right time.
Angie Caver is another one of our core volunteers. Some days she just comes out to wash bins under the trees in the shade.
“This is where I want to be,” she said one day while rinsing soapy water off of a newly washed field bin. Angie also loves the food each volunteer receives, but more than that, she said it just makes her feel good to be here, helping out.
“I like working with the women and I like serving the community.”
Before Angie came to the farm, she spent years in the Navy. She was a Navy diver for a time, and then took on a new military role as a firefighter in Alaska. A few years ago, she had two strokes. They didn’t stop her. She continued coming to the farm to help out. She also forced herself to walk up and down the rows to get her legs strong again. Angie continues to do whatever it takes to get the farm food out to the community, gracing all of us with her big-hearted presence and devil-may-care attitude along the way.
Angie and Karen are two of the many awesome individuals who volunteer with Seeds of Hope Farm. It’s people like them who keep us moving forward. Farmer’s hats are off to them all!
This program is funded 77% at $128,051 by federal funds and 23% at $38,249 by nongovernmental sources for a total amount of $166,300. The federal funds are received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division.