Hello everyone, this is Kidest, Derartu, and Abby and we are the 2021 farm stand managers!

A big part of our role here at RBAC is not only operating the farm stand, but it also consists of going down to Nurturing Roots farm in Beacon Hill 1-2 times a week and helping in a multitude of ways. These activities can range from creating content, completing both indoor and outdoor tasks, and learning what the day-to-day realities of operating a black, female-led farm is like. 

The average day at Nurturing Roots usually begins with greeting volunteers as they walk through our doors, making sure they feel welcomed. If it’s their first time here, we introduce ourselves and offer an in-depth tour of both the Black Power Epicenter and the farm itself. In the case that Nyema or Olivia (who lead the farm) are not present, we ensure to get in contact with them and gather a list of tasks to pass down to the volunteers for that specific farm day. 

Once we get the volunteers situated, it is now time for us to focus on our own obligations for the day. This can vary week by week, depending on what tasks need to be done. The main outdoor tasks we participate in are watering all the different plants and produce on the farm, and feeding the many chickens that roam around the space. We even got the chance to help paint the railing leading up to the Black Power Epicenter, beautifying the building and the area around it.

Whenever we are not outdoors, you can find us inside doing a variety of office-related tasks. Some of these tasks include creating plant ID cards, where we create small individual signs that provide information on the health benefits and ways that you can utilize and/or eat certain plants. The goal of this is to educate and inform volunteers of the plants that live on the farm. Another task that we have completed was building and packing boxes meant for giveaways and orders that were placed online through avenuesouthshop.com. 

Switching over to the digital aspect of running this organization, we have contributed to both the TikTok and Instagram accounts. On TikTok, we create short entertaining videos that educate viewers about the farm industry.  On Instagram, we have posted on both the feed and story. We also learned how to use an application called Hootsuite where we can plan content to be posted in the future, allowing us to have a more organized posting schedule. Throughout this experience, we have gotten the opportunity to learn how to use professional equipment to shoot our content, and this equipment includes a ring light, tripod, and Canon cameras, which improve the overall quality of what we produce. 

One of our favorite experiences yet has been participating in multiple video shoots with some really cool companies such as Apple Music and King 5 Evening News Magazine. We got to see the behind-the-scenes of how professionals in the filming/directing industry operate, along with appearing in some clips. We also were given the chance to be part of a promo video celebrating Nurturing Roots’ accomplishment of getting 10,000 followers on Instagram!

Being led by Nat Mengist, we created body exfoliators and hydrating creams using natural ingredients such as honey, coconut oil, sugar, rose water and much more. The goal of this project was to utilize everyday ingredients into our own self care products. Nat made this project very enjoyable and educational. It has inspired us to look away from store bought products and be more mindful of what toxins we allow on our bodies. 

Some other essential duties include making delicious, refreshing smoothies for volunteers on hot sunny days, tidying up around the building, buying necessary supplies, and watering the indoor plants. We’ve also assisted with setting up for multiple events like movie nights, birthday parties, and yard sales.

A connection between RBAC and Nurturing Roots is that we are both supported by the King Conservation District who funds our programs and workers. Throughout this experience, it has allowed us to make many new connections with people of all walks of life;  including staff, volunteers, kids, and pets. With all this being said, it has led us to gain a lot of knowledge including leadership, collaboration, and organization skills. All three of us have genuinely enjoyed our time working at Nurturing Roots and we hope more people in the community come to support the amazing work that is done here!