This past month or so I've been spending a couple evenings a week out at the Sustain Mizzou Research Farm (part of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture).
I met Adam Saunders, CCUA's Director, at the Food, Inc. showing and discussion panel held at the Ragtag in July, and was excited to hear about efforts to bring sustainable urban farming, which is exeriencing a huge boom in other parts of the country, to central Missouri. Upon hearing they needed some help, I volunteered to come out and be an occasional farmbum (aka, plant some stuff and eat lots of their produce).
Maria was most often around when I was there. She's a Mizzou student helping run the garden in the summer, and she eventually wants to open a pet shop/vegan bakery downtown. I thought this was an awesome plan.
The garden is cute and studenty, with bicycle-wheel fences, wooden trellises and bean poles, and of course:
Marigolds and various other flowers are planted on the ends of the established beds to discourage pests, encourage pollination, and add some color to the swaths of summer green.
Some of the goodies I hauled home early in the summer: carrots, leek, cucumber, lemon squash, tomatoes, and mustard seed.
My last day of working in the garden was this wednesday, which also happened to be the first day of the class/lab that the garden teaches for Mizzou students, so I spent the afternoon collecting seeds and meeting some really interesting people. It's the little activities like these, the involvements and connections I've finally begun to build in the Columbia sustainability and food advocacy scene, that make me sad to uproot and move, again. I'm getting to the point where I'd really like to be able to be one of the movers and shakers of the place I'm in, instead of just on the peripherals as a 'helper'.
Though I suppose I can try that back in Northfield, as this will be my third year in Farm House, which I will be co-managing. I have learned a lot of great things this summer and I really want to transfer all of my built up energy into something worthwhile. Of course, my senior comprehensive project may end up sucking the life out of me, but I'll remain optimistic for the time being. ;)