Summer CSGC Grant Update: Feeding the 5000

In my original project proposal, I set my goals as such: to educate younger kids about how food is produced, to grow clean food to supplement the diets of people in need near me, and to create an area at the summer camp I work at that can be used to produce food for years to come. All of these goals were met in some way or another by my project despite the immense inundation that occurred.

First off, although the farm did not end up producing consumable food, I was still able to educate kids on the process of food production by taking them through the garden and explaining what I had done to help the plants grow. The flooded farm was also a great example of how hard it is to grow food, even if you do everything right there still could be a freak of nature storm, and therefore food should be cherished and not wasted.

The storm that totaled my garden also had very serious consequences for the camp I work at. During the storm the roads on both sides of us were rendered impassable and all the people needed to be evacuated to the sister camp down the road to stay the night. As camp staff it was my job to make sure everybody was safe, fed, and had a place to sleep. This included emptying the freezer in our kitchen that had a kerosene leak and carrying a 97-year-old woman a half mile down from her camper. In this way I nourished people in need, I fed my community and helped them through a very stressful time.

While the garden itself did not produce much food this year it will still be a usable space for years to come. The fence remains erected, the beds demarcated, and the soil much better than it was. Admittedly it was a huge learning experience and it deepened my appreciation for the struggles facing farmers even more. My hometown of Conway Massachusetts recorded 12.6 inches of rainfall in July alone, the most in New England, with Keene New Hampshire, where my camp is located receiving 9.84 inches, the fourth most in New England. To put these numbers in perspective the total precipitation in western mass in the year 2020 was 34.76 inches. These wild swings in weather are only becoming more common and less predictable, putting farmers in tougher and tougher spots, making food more and more precious.

I wish I was able to help with this issue this summer but the exposure I’ve had to this issue will prove invaluable in motivating me in the long run. My fight with food insecurity and waste in this country is far from over and this summer grant has given me the experience I need growing food and helping my community that will stick with me through my life. Thank you.

-Davey ’24