My time at the Just Roots farm has been filled with learning and internal reflection. There are times when you get to work by yourself and that’s when the real work takes place. As I am working with my hands, my mind is endlessly asking questions and searching for what makes me tick. I think everyone at one point in their life will look down at the earth and question their whole existence on this ever turning sphere. As a kid growing up in a small suburban town, I spent most of the day exploring the woods and climbing trees. I became to appreciate the landscapes I knew so well, becoming a familiar face to the surrounding wildlife and people who were on the same endeavors.
The times I ever felt a spiritual essence was when I would gaze at a starry night sky under the tallest of pines I could find. I never thought that in my local town I would find the same kind of connection with nature, people and myself. This feeling is hard to explain, and maybe there is just no explanation. Its the most primitive kind of work I’ve ever done, in terms of strictly using your hands and nature running its course. I have become the harvester, the gatherer that everyone has embedded deep within psyche thanks to our ancestors.
I wonder if they were capable of asking the same questions I ask myself out there in the field. Did all this time alone gathering food aid in the development of the Explorer? The Inventor? The Philosopher? The Crusader for spirituality? Farming is a lifestyle that will be a part of my life for many years to come. Without this opportunity to work at Just Roots, my life would be much different now. Thank you to all the people who were a part of getting me there, to give me the direction I need to better my life, the very thing I forgot how to do. My time here is far from over. You’ll be hearing more from me in days to come.
I consider Just Roots a social justice organization. Our mission is to connect communities with easy access to local produce. All of our produce at Just Roots is purely organic, health and wholesome. I have never been apart of something like this before and its exciting to see the development take place. Just Roots is just about to wrap up its second season and its well on its way to another successful year.
One of the many things we do for outreach is our CSA distribution. People are able to purchase shares within the farm and in return receive produce that normally would cost much more if bought from the market. About two weeks ago we held our CSA at the Sloan Center right at GCC!
We also take part in the Farmers Market at the Greenfield Town Common. Its amazing to see the transition the produce takes place. From the earth to a display shelf. People are very interested and supportive of what takes place at the farm.
Just this past Thursday, Just Roots and other organizations including Greenfield’s Market (the co-op) donated a lot of food to prepare a meal for the residents at the Winslow House (affordable housing). It was a great turnout and I was encouraging to see people come back for more food, all prepared by volunteers and local produce.
There is so much more we want to do! Maybe you can be apart of this progressive and healthy movement!
So much has been going on here at the Just Roots farm, its hard to figure out where to begin. Might as well begin with the average day here. My colleagues and I begin the morning around 6 am. On Tuesday and Wednesdays, we are harvesting mostly for the CSA distribution and Thursday and Fridays we are harvesting for the Farmers Market here in Greenfield.
We harvest everything from Kale, Eggplant, Watermelon, Peppers, Squash, Cucumber, Scallions, Tomatoes, Beets, Onions; the list is endless. After gathering all the produce, we prepare them for market which consists of cleaning, trimming roots, and packing.
The rest of the day is usually spent with me dying behind a lawnmower, just kidding. Our afternoons vary from priority, so much to do and it seems there is never enough time. We transplant, weed, and generally if we have time harvest something from the next days list. I am beginning to realize how much work it takes to make a farm successful.
Fall is on its way and Winter is just around the corner. I imagine the next few months we will focus on getting the winter harvest gathered, greenhouses tucked away, and other various tasks.
Cant wait to see what the future has in store!
Heres a bunch of pictures to give ya’ll a little idea of what we do here.
My name is Nate Rogers. Over the past few months I have been interning at the Just Roots farm located right here in Greenfield Mass. I am new to this whole blog process, so bare with me as I learn the ropes. These blogs will be about my daily experiences, goals, and events that take place at the farm. To start off, I’ll share with you how I got involved with Just Roots.
While incarcerated, an opportunity arose where a few selected people would be able to work on a local farm a couple days a week and receive college credit from Greenfield Community College. The hiring process was based on a written essay and a formal interview. Out of several, myself and one other person were chosen to come work at the Just Roots program. I could hardly wait to start the journey into the farming life.
Before I ever even heard of Just Roots, my days were filled with anxiety and little hope for my future. Its been several weeks since I walked out of those jail doors and I can confidently say that I am more grounded in life then ever before. Just Roots has given me a purpose and drive in life that was once missing. I am eager to share with you all how my life has gradually changed through working at the farm.
(Here is me harvesting some Dino Kale earlier this year, and yes I am wearing a bee helmet.)
(This is me and my friend Juan acting triumphant over all the kale and broccoli we just planted. There is so much more to plant!)