Throughout the summer and fall, volunteers for Local Foods Connection helped out at area farms such as ZJ farm (www.zjfarms.com) in Solon and Sass Family Farms (www.sassfamilyfarm.com) in Riverside. The purpose of bringing volunteers to these farms was to earn credits toward CSA shares for families supported by LFC, as well as to educate the volunteers about the importance of local, earth-friendly farming. Approximately 125 University of Iowa students from classes such as Introduction to Environmental Science and organizations such as the Alpha Kappa Psi service fraternity, as well as various other community volunteers contributed their time on weekends. Notably, Alpha Kappa Psi brought about fifty members to spring and fall farm days this year, earning LFC two full CSA shares!
Some of the farming activities included vegetable harvesting, pulling up trellises and putting away landscaping cloth. In addition to donating their time, volunteers learned about the environmental benefits of such practices.
2 student volunteers harvest organic carrots on Susan Jutz’s ZJ Farm. While not a certified organic farm, Susan and her sons use no chemicals on their crops, as well as utilizing other earth-friendly practices.
Volunteers roll up landscaping cloth for the winter. This cloth is used in place of a plastic alternative that is commonly used in industrial farming. While generally more expensive, this cloth smothers weeds, allowing water to seep through to the soil below and doesn’t degrade as quickly as plastic.