Many experiences through the Academy and in my personal life led me to applying for this grant. Working on a farm, revitalizing the Greenhouse on campus, and traveling to Tanzania on a service trip through the CSGC all combined to alert and educate me about the issues around food production in our country today. I had a threefold goal for my project: to produce clean food to supplement the diets of people in need near me, to educate younger kids about how food is produced, and to create an area at the summer camp I work at that can be used to produce food for years to come.
The early days of my grant project proceeded without too many hitches. The soil tests came back as expected so I procured gross quantities of peat moss and lime to level out the soil weight and pH to optimal growing conditions. The plot I was given gets around 7 hours of sun a day which is plenty for growing plants. When I got the land rototilled and loose, I planted a variety of crops including tomatoes, peppers, and squash that I had started in the greenhouse around a month previously. All of these plants I chose to thrive in the cooler New Hampshire summer but still be nutritious and useful for the shelters to which I am donating.
The project was on track until a two week stretch of straight rain fell upon the northern US capped off by a day of torrential downpour that completely flooded my camp and placed my farm under 5 inches of water. The rushing water cracked stems of some plants but even worse completely saturated the ground for weeks on end. This will wreak havoc on growth but will also promote root rot, effectively killing the plant. Although some goals will not be met this year because of the flood I will still have a place to grow food next year and whoever comes after me to also use. The silver lining of the flood was that it dumped an inch of fine river silt on my site, which is excellent for next year. My plans for the rest of the summer are to let the surviving plants attempt to grow and plant cover crops on the rest of the land that will add nutrients back to the soil and I can tell them under at the end of the summer to further the health of the soil, leaving it better for next year.
Thank you to the CSGC and the Workman family for providing the money for my project.