By Pastor Lex Liberatore, Lake Edge UCC and LENA member
Last month a new neighborhood effort was announced to support our most vulnerable students and families at Frank Allis Elementary School. A joint effort will provide non-perishable food to up to 60 students each weekend (more by Fall). The first scheduled delivery is Friday, January 27. This program, led by Lake Edge United Church of Christ (4200 Buckeye Road), Zion Lutheran Church (Atwood Ave @ Linden Ave) and Frank Allis School Administration, will help some 60 students each week.
More than just food security, we want to build community. Beginning in March, a monthly First Friday meal will be offered without cost (a free will offering will be taken). First Fridays support our neighbors, and we mean anybody. Anyone in our school community and neighborhood, whether your budget is tight or not, can come and enjoy a hot meal and time together. First Fridays will give parents a break, give children a chance to run around and have fun, help us pack the next weeks food bags, and most important, give all of us time to talk. If our neighborhood can better understand each other, we can create a real sense of hope and connection. To find out more about First Fridays or the backpack program, or to find out how you can help out, contact Pastor Lex Liberatore, 608-222-8668 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The First Fridays program will officially begin Friday, March 3 at 5:00pm at Lake Edge church, across from Frank Allis Elementary School.
By Stacey Fiener, Owner/Farmer of My Fine Homestead
The tasks vary from farm to farm however these are our daily and weekly tasks at our farm, My Fine Homestead.
Harvest days are long days, but fun because harvest is the culmination of growing produce. It is also a day to look forward to because others arrive to help us. There is a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie that makes the work go quickly. We spend the morning and afternoon picking, pulling, digging, cutting, and collecting vegetables. As we harvest, we cover the crates with thin, wet white flour sack towels to protect produce from the heat until it is delivered to the pack shed. Once there, it is soaked to remove the heat from the field, rinsed, bagged (if necessary), and stored in the walk-in cooler.
After that is done for all the crops harvested that day, I print labels. Bill, and whoever is helping, counts out and assembles boxes. Next, labels are taped to the appropriate size box. Then the fun begins, the washed and cooled produce is brought back out of the cooler to be distributed. This is when we find out how well we did counting items in the field. If we’ve done a good job, we have the correct number. If not, someone hustles to the field to get more amid good-natured calls of, “It wasn’t me that messed up!”, or “I got all mine!” Then with all the produce accounted for, boxes are closed up and sorted in stacks according to their delivery location. We load the boxes in the cooler – first delivered are first in so they are the last loaded into the van the next morning.
All that is left is to shut the lights off in the pack shed. Harvest day is done.
Wednesday is delivery day the various pick up sites. I get up early to put the weekly newsletter together. I try to get most of it done pre-dawn before I’m distracted by the rest of my family as they get up for the day.
I list the box contents, any announcements, add a recipe or two, and write this part – what has been happening on the farm. This section gives you a window into the work we do. My goal is to connect you to us, your farmers, our practices, and ultimately to your food. After the newsletter is sent out, we load the van. Bill and Liam line the back of the van with a combination of styrofoam insulation and bubble-wrap to keep the produce cool. We load the boxes, and after a final check with the kids, we’re off! (Saturdays are similar except the newsletter is done already, and we deliver to only one stop – the Spring Green Farmers Market.)
By evening the boxes will be in your hands, and we will be on our way home. Tired but satisfied. Harvest and delivery days are busy yet rewarding.
Articles are written and submitted by members of the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association, residents, business owners, community members, and elected officials in the Lake Edge neighborhood or vicinity.