By: Kaylie Ferkich
Food for Lane County’s Youth Farm works with youth volunteers in order to produce food that can be provided to the local citizens of Lane County, OR.
Youth Farm Field Coordinator Michaela Hammer pauses to enjoy the colorful crops during a Saturday afternoon volunteer session at the Food for Lane County Youth Farm. The Youth Farm offers volunteer drop-in hours on Wednesdays and group sessions on Saturdays. Hammer and The Youth Farm have hopes of educating individuals on food production and building a community that is not likely to be food insecure.
Hammer assists student volunteers while they weed around the produce growing in the greenhouses. Hammer has been the field coordinator at the Youth Farm for two years. She spends her days harvesting in the greenhouses, as well as managing The Youth Farm’s produce stand.
Hammer demonstrates how to properly weed around lettuce crops to Alpha Sigma Phi volunteer Brian Doerr. Hammer believes that targeting the younger generation for educational opportunities like this one has the most impact. According to Hammer, it allows them to have a, “positive experience related to agriculture,” and, “to have a deeper connection to where their food is coming from.”
Hammer puts her loop hoe down after giving weeding instructions and steps back to watch her volunteers take the reins. She happily keeps it aside as the volunteers are on their way. Hammer has the goal of initiating a change through the volunteer sessions that spreads beyond The Youth Farm.
After a long day’s work, group volunteers Alex Wind (left) and Sean McMurray (right) from the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity are rewarded with the fresh arugula flowers they tended to. This group makes up some of the regular volunteers at The Youth Farm who help grow food that is donated to local food banks or sold in boxes that last up to 20 weeks. All the hard work of The Youth Farm volunteers contributes to keeping local food options in Lane County more accessible.