Spring Training Farm Update

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This spring has been an exciting season at the Urban Training Farm in East Waco. We started this winter-spring season with a great group of 50 hard workers composed of community members and Baylor students – who helped prep the garden for the spring growing season on the 2013 MLK Day of Service. Winter weeds had overtaken a number of the beds – but within 3 hours, everyone had cleaned up the entire garden and built a trellis for our sugar snap peas and nasturtium (edible spicy flowers!) out of branches found around the periphery of the Training Farm. We also capitalized on the amount of extra hands that day and put some of the strapping young lads and ladies to task of hand building a new 80-foot bed! All in all, the day was a success!

Throughout these early spring months, we’ve continued to have a number of great one time work groups out in the garden for large one time projects – especially over spring break, with groups touring the country in search of service projects enjoying a morning of weeding and seeding at the Training Farm.

However, we want to highlight two special groups that we’ve been working with throughout the past couple of months: the Baylor’s Reformed University Fellowship and the Junior League Provisional Class.
We continue to have community work days every Friday afternoon – but have put the early morning workdays on hold until the weather consistently warms. We’ve been fortunate to have a dedicated group of Baylor students from the Reformed University Fellowship every Friday – since last fall – come out to the garden for weeding the peas, planting carrots and cover crops, fertilizing with fish emulsion, and harvesting the bounty of broccoli for Market the next day. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to get half as much work done in the garden each week!

Last fall, the Urban Training Farm was selected by the Junior League for the winter/spring project for their provisional class – specifically focusing on developing an expansive four-part herb garden at the Training Farm. They first decided to incorporate recycled elements into the garden – including repurposed tires for the tea garden, reclaimed brick pavers for the healing herb garden, repurposed pallets for the culinary herb garden, and reclaimed cinder blocks for the edible flowers garden. For irrigation, they also installed a two-barrel rainwater catchment system, collecting rainwater off of the roof of the HOT Produce building – which will supplement our irrigation needs. Right now the Herb garden is in full production – including blooming calendula, fragrant lavender and rosemary, tasty chives and cilantro – as well as five freshly planted fruit trees: a plum, a pear, and three peach trees. Since this February, the women of the Junior League have diligently tilled, mowed, planted, and watered the newly installed herb garden.

Lastly, we are so excited to have received several great applications for the 2013 Intern Program – and will be revealing the final five candidates shortly! They will begin their orientation process of the business curriculum and growing season at the Training Farm and the Waco Downtown Farmers Market starting on April 4th.

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