Eat Strawberries, for Land’s Sake.
July 1, 2010
Photo by Rebecca Graffy
It was a clear and hot Saturday morning at the height of strawberry season. We pulled into the parking lot at Land’s Sake in Weston, MA at a little past 9. The farm was sprinkled with volunteers and in less than an hour would be buzzing with families picking-their-own, bluegrass music and pedal-powered smoothies. Not knowing who was going to put us to work, we walked up to a grower and declared ourselves volunteers. She was thrilled that no one had yet snagged us to help set up for the Strawberry Festival and sent us to newly planted flowers with watering canisters.
By the time we had revived the rows of weedless flowers, families were pouring in. Everyone knows the strawberry patches are picked clean in under an hour and arrives promptly when the festival begins. The event is a great fundraiser for the non-profit farm. They have educational programming for all ages, but it sure seems like a farm for kids. That day, children were roaming free and munching on strawberry shortcake. Likely some of these kids are a part of Green Power, a 3-season educational program in which 6-8th graders maintain their own garden, make maple sugar, learn about ecology and natural history and are offered a weekly stipend. Elementary-aged kids can spend the summer as Farm and Forest Explorers.
Land’s Sake also helps teachers and educators work farming and forestry into their curriculum and hosts adult and family workshops on topics like ecological lawn care, backyard chickens and canning. They work hard to fulfill their mission of connecting people to the land. And the land feeds people too, through a 100 member CSA program.
Photos by Rebecca Graffy.
One of the themes of their mission is community-building and caretaking. I was lucky to get a taste of this as I manned the bike blender. It was a great station and we were pumping out smoothies all morning. The kids that couldn’t reach the pedals hopped on for photo-ops and after middle schoolers proudly took over. It was a real bummer when the screw inside the blender stripped and the wheel no longer turned the blades. However, the Land’s Sake community didn’t give up easily. Folks kept coming over offering solutions and working with me to get the station back on wheels. Others were content to see how the bike worked and hear a little about Bikes Not Bombs, who rented the bike for the event. We tried stuffing the screw to get some resistance. Burlap, rubber bands and tape worked to varying degrees before we finally threw in the towel.
I left Weston with a quart of strawberries and a wonderful feeling. Certainly the “new food” must include this: family fun farm festivals, people participating in and appreciating how their food was grown, and innovative farm-based education. I canned the berries to preserve the thought.