Increasing Opportunities on Work Program during Covid 19
Amy Bowen, Work Program Director
Instead of cutting back our Work Program during Covid-19, we’ve been going strong and even expanding on many fronts.
March offered us some perfect sugaring weather. Staff and residents met the challenge of gathering and boiling sap from our 3,000 taps (1,500 of which were buckets). With great collaborated effort, we made 340 gallons of syrup to enjoy and sell this year.
We’ve also put effort into expanding the number of animals we raise from birth. In past years we’ve bought piglets when they’re about two months old. This year, we decided to keep a couple sows at the Ranch and breed them onsite. In late March, we had two sows give birth to piglets, who have been delightful and much-admired new members of the community. In the past month we also welcomed chicks and prepared space for our new lambs. We’re bringing back more babies to the Ranch to offer a wider range of farming experience for our residents – and because we all love having babies around!
In April we added some new facets to other parts of our Work Program. Our Gardens Crew added sewing masks to their list of tasks, and supplied them to staff, residents, and members of our broader community.. Woods Crew built and prepared four raised beds to grow herbs right outside the kitchen, increasing the amount of self-grown herbs we have ready access to.
May saw our Shop Crew building beehives for the new honeybees we’ll welcome later this month to produce our own honey. Woods has harvested trees and prepared logs for Farm to inoculate for our new shiitake mushroom project. Everyone is especially abuzz (!) with the newcomers of bees and mushrooms to tend to.
During this global pandemic, the work needed for our little community has brought increased meaning to our days. An expansion of opportunities and challenges has been met with enthusiasm, and residents and staff alike have plunged in to successfully help make these things happen. Working in a group facilitates social interaction and empathy – more important than ever in a time such as this. Together, we prioritize and organize, collaborate, and communicate to contribute to our shared existence.