New Beginnings

week one

On the farm we are gearing up for the start of the 5th season of Teen’s On-The-Rise! Tomorrow marks the first session of the eight weeks of programming that will engage students in active learning across Springfield. For this season of Teen’s On-The-Rise we will be traveling all over town and exposing our youth to the great things that Springfield has to offer while they gain new life skills that will allow them for a step in the direction of success. We’re so very excited to meet our new students tomorrow and begin our work. Over the next eight weeks our students will learn about mental health, personal finance, healthy eating, higher education, employment options and much more! Our students are even going to get the opportunity to attend the Chamber of Commerce Expo so that they can get a real idea of all the potential that Springfield has to offer. Here’s to new beginnings and to the 5th season of Teen’s On-The-Rise!

Teens On-The-Rise: A New Start

Our newest program Teens On-The-Rise is always going through growth and change and the Fall 2018 edition is seeing a lot of development. Last week the youth of the teen program met in the new building that the program will be housed in just down the street from the farm. This little building was generously donated by Mr. Ayres, a local businessman, for the duration of the teen program. We dressed up the building and made it a new safe space for our teen program. They enjoyed their first meeting in the new space but their excitement for the new curriculum is showing just how amazing this round of the program will be.

We’ve partnered with three professors from the University of Dayton to change the curriculum so that it offers more learning based on sustainability, engineering, and nutrition and fitness. This new curriculum will serve to educate our teens on the real-life situations that they will soon have to face. We want to make sure that our teens are prepared for the real world and understand how it works but we also want to prepare them to become a part of the community and this curriculum will serve to do just that.

The teen program is expecting 8 new students tonight and the program is steadily increasing its outreach. This season will be the best one yet.

Fall Harvest

At the beginning of the summer our youth started reading the book Seedfolks. With a new narrator from a different background every chapter they saw the importance a community garden could have while learning about the value of the stories of others. The adventures that we had over the summer paralleled those of the book including the creation of an On-The-Rise community garden. The youth planted a plethora of produce including lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, kale and much more. They tended to the garden almost every day that they came to the farm and worked to keep their vegetables healthy.

As things began to grow we incorporated these vegetables into the meal’s the youth were learning to make. The youth tried all sorts of new concoctions that they had never imagined would be tasty and grew along with their vegetables as they learned how to eat and make a healthy meal. As the summer closed up and school began we began our fall harvest. The amount of produce that was growing in the garden allowed for even more creative meals to be made. The youth bounced around from dish to dish, they learned how to make jalapeno poppers, fried green tomatoes, zucchini bread, salsa, eggplant parmesan and many more snacks and meals.

The youth not only learned how to tend to a garden, but they learned the value of having a community garden where everyone could share and help. They worked to keep their plants alive and well and made sure to check on them whenever they could. The summer project and fall harvest provided a great exercise in work ethic and the youth couldn’t be more excited for their hard work.

Kid’s Carrot Company: Struggle and Triumph

Kids Carrot Co

Back in the cold months of January a few of our youth were hard at work at the annual business meeting for the Kids Carrot Company. This organization was created by our youth for our youth with the main goal of ending poverty. The youth plant, grow and sell the carrots during the summer farmers market and they keep the money that they have earned during the process. In January, they got together to create their business plan. They identified the variety of carrots they wanted to grow, planed how they would run the stand and worked with Ms. Deb to create the atmosphere of a good business practice.

At the beginning of the summer the youth worked hard to get a large vegetable garden planted. They grew a plethora of vegetables including the variety of carrots that they had decided on in January. They watered and waited and did this again and again. The carrots were not growing as they should have. The youth had a small group of the carrots that had taken off but not nearly enough to sell. This was an important lesson in failure. They had to start again. The youth kept on working with the little patch to keep it growing but they replanted seeds for the rest of the carrots and again went back to watering and waiting. Nervous that they just wouldn’t survive the youth waited patiently.

To everyone’s joy the carrots took off. They started to transform from little lines in the dirt to fluffy green patches. They grew and grew and while it was a late bloom the Kids Carrot Co. is ready to take their hard work to the farmers market and share it with the community. The youth worked so incredibly hard for this produce and seeing their vision come to light is simply beautiful.

Kids Carrot Company

 

Returning The Favor

If you know the name Mike Rowe you might first associate him with the show Dirty Jobs. However, Mike Rowe’s career as a TV host, writer, narrator, producer, actor and spokesman reaches much further than his over 300 dirty jobs which is evident in his web series Returning The Favor. This web series catalogs Mike Rowe’s endeavors to find individuals who are giving back to their communities and he returns the favor.

This spring, On-The-Rise was in for a big surprise when they were asked to participate in a video that would be used to benefit the organization. With little information on the video or its use, founders Debbie McCullough and Cathy Tofstad were wary of the the proposal. After sixteen years of running the On-The-Rise program they were bound to protect it. Carefully treading forward, they proceeded with the project only to be shocked by the altruistic nature of what was truly going on.

On-The-Rise is deeply grateful for the generosity of the students and family that nominated the program, for Mike Rowe, and for everyone involved in making this act of returning the favor.