“What happens if I step on the soil or on a plant?” I often ask students as we head onto a wood chip path or into the greenhouse on the hard dirt next to some thriving kale and salad greens. They are likely to say that I might kill the plants or hurt the soil. In fact, most plants are pretty hardy, when stepped upon. And the soil is used to an occasional farmer’s footprint or child’s light step. But at the Farm, we have narrowed the walking paths and widened the growing beds. We likely will have a greater yield of carrots, beets, lettuce, flowers for bouquets and bees, as well as more kale, chard, arugula and radish. We hope so.
We farmers and teachers are also trying to build the nutrients and organic material of the soil by adding seaweed in the fall, along with leaves, and compost in the spring. We are adding organic material, so that we can have soil that is alive. So if a foot from a second grader or a high schooler does land on the soil, perhaps it will be able to handle the impact. Same for a stood upon plant or seedling. Can the seed resist the pain and rise back up when the sun shines and the rain falls? We hope so. We start the plant in the greenhouse or the seed in healthy soil, so that we can cultivate and garner better success.
Some plants do die. Some soil does suffer from a compact foot print. But we are determined to grow more seeds, sourcing organic seeds from organic growers and seed savers. We will plant and transplant more seedlings. We will continue to teach students from Boston to Marshfield and Scituate to Hull, teach them how plants grow, what they need and how to do so responsibly, with two eyes firmly on preserving a healthy planet.
I hope to grow more carrot seeds with the plan to then harvest more organic carrots so folks can receive some delicious, non-canned carrots to sustain someone in need. It would be great if more people joined in the growing of more good food for those in need. People could also spend more time learning to grow, rather learning to shoot guns at a driving range or shooting synthetic fertilizers from a bottle of round up.
Why not round up some carrots, some vegetables and some plans to join in the sowing of seeds and placing feet on narrow paths and your hands in the soil, to hold the good brown earth and think of the lives of plants and people that grow and thrive or remember those who lived, coached and taught us.