On May 31st – June 2nd, Frost Valley Alumni will gather at Frost Valley’s Main Camp and at our Educational Farm for Volunteer Work Weekend to complete volunteer projects that will have a tremendous impact on our incoming campers and guests. One major focus of the volunteer projects will be at the Farm, which is why we spoke with Bari Zeiger, Frost Valley’s Garden Manager and Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator, to get the inside scoop about the projects taking place there.
Bari first joined Frost Valley in May of 2018. She oversees the vegetable and fruit production from seed to harvest at the Farm. There are numerous varieties of fruits and vegetables and Frost Valley uses agroecolgical permaculture and organic growing methods to create a sustainable closed-loop system, where no nutrients or energy is wasted. This creates a more productive and sustainable growing system.
The Volunteer Work Weekend is a wonderful opportunity for Alumni to visit the Farm. Volunteers will be planting pumpkin seeds and winter squash seeds, which will be harvested for Fall Farm Day, a special event during which the local community is invited to visit the Farm and partake in activities like pumpkin painting, hay rides, archery, and take home farm-fresh produce (available for a donation). Some of the pumpkins that are planted during the Volunteer Work Weekend will be used for painting at Fall Farm Day and some will be used for cooking. Alumni can also come back for the event in September and see the bounty they will have helped create.
Volunteers will also be folding and sorting grow cover, which is an insulating blanket that keeps the crops warm and protects them from the frost. Weeding and rock picking is another important task volunteers will be working on. This work is essential for increasing the crop yields since the weeds compete with the crops for nutrients. Spring is a busy time where insects and weeds come out and weeding is an important proactive step that helps protect the plants for fall harvest. Likewise, we’ll see the benefit of the row cover in the fall nearing the time of the first frost. The benefit of these proactive steps the volunteers are helping with now will become apparent come harvest season.
They will also complete some much-appreciated maintenance projects that will include things like painting and carpentry at the Farm. Alumni, especially Farm Camp Alumni, will enjoy seeing how far the Farm has come. Volunteers will have the opportunity to tour the Farm’s new greenhouse and they may be able to leave with a plant or two (available for a donation) depending on what is growing at that time. We also hope to be able to provide either lunch or dinner at the Farm for the volunteers that weekend which will include salad, veggies, or greens that were grown on the Farm.
“I’m looking forward to hearing all the Frost Valley stories our Alumni have to share, as well as giving them some gardening advice they can use at home,” says Bari. “It’s an exciting time for Alumni to visit the Farm and see just how much production has increased with the new greenhouse and see all that’s changed since they were here last.”
For more information about our Volunteer Work Weekend including a list of projects at Main Camp and the Farm, as well as information on registering as a volunteer, please visit our Volunteer Work Weekend page.