Sure, the main harvesting season is over for us in the Northwest, but it doesn’t mean that our Farm Stand team has stopped all activities, far from it. Once we’d given away that last bunch of carrots or bag of plums, folded the canopies, and sent “Thank You!” cards to all the farmers and volunteers that supported us for another amazing and fruitful partnership, we quickly got back to work without much of a pause. 

At RBAC, our Fellows are employed year-round and use the downtime to sharpen their tools and give a hand wherever needed. So, once we interrupted our Tuesday planning/ordering meetings, these became opportunities for important discussions. And when our Saturday mornings opened up after the Farm Stand ended, they turned into site visits or work parties.

We toured Nurturing Roots Farm on Beacon Hill and the Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands. The Fellows got to become more familiar with the back-of-house logistics of the market, learning from the Friends of the Farm about the recent award to rebuild the greenhouses that will soon become available for propagation and starters, and the cold storage unit that Tilth Alliance had graciously allowed us to share. Without them, there would have been no way to keep the produce so fresh. RBAC simply isn’t equipped for it, although this could change as we look to develop the Food Innovation Center.

We helped plant new trees and bushes at Deadhorse Canyon (Lakeridge Park), understanding the different needs of the plants and where best to put them in the ground (sun/shade, dry or wet soil). And more recently, we put RBAC’s garden to bed for the winter to avoid the weeds taking over, giving the land time to rest until the next season.

Our discussions took us in all directions. We spent time understanding Food Waste and how Amazon’s returns often end up in the landfill, learning about Seattle’s history of redlining and efforts to dismantle racism in the food system, as well as keeping up with the latest events in Ethiopia or how lonely it gets on a college campus during the pandemic.

Three of our Farm Stand Fellows have also graduated to our Food Justice Fellowship, where they expand their hours and their skill set in partnership with other non-profit. At Nurturing Roots Farm, they help lead volunteer work parties, with social media presence, and any other way they can support the work of Farm Queen, Nyema Clark, like the campaign to bring back to life the Red Barn Ranch, now Red Black and Green Barn in Auburn.

For more info on RBAC’s Food Justice work and Nurturing Roots and the Black Farmers Collective’s efforts at Red Barn Ranch, check out the video of our latest Town Hall. You’ll find poetry, information-packed short movies, and presentations, and heart-felt testimonies from this neighborhood’s young adults, that should bring you hope and aspiration.

See you in the neighborhood!