A report-back from Melina Valle, a first year apprentice at AV:
On October 12, 2017, Added Value got the chance to go upstate to Rise and Root farm in Chester New York. Rise and Root Farm is a community focused farm, just like Added Value. But, it has a whole different story. Rise and Root Farms came about when four incredible women dreamed of farming together. Their dream that was not so easy to achieve. When they came up with the idea of starting a farm, everyone laughed at them. They told them that they could not because they were women. Men usually dominate in the field of agriculture. But, that did not stop them, they searched and searched for land and fortunately they were able to find a HUGE amount of land in Chester, New York. And, for the past 3 years, Rise and Root farm has been a successful operation.
During our trip to the farm we were able to meet Karen Washington, one of the founders of Rise and Root. She gave us a small tour of the farm; explaining its origin and how they maintain the farm. Soon after the tour we went right to work and helped them out with some weeding and clearing beds. After some muddy work in the rain, we sat with Ms. Washington and got to know each other well. We told her about our mission at Added Value. Then, she told us her story. She is a community activist who cares about helping make NYC a greener place and providing food for her community. Before cofounding Rise and Root Farms she started her a long time ago turning empty lots into beautiful gardens for the community and speaking out to protect and preserve these spaces.
Ms. Washington was visibly moved to see how motivated we at Added Value feel—just like she does—about our communities and agriculture at such a young age. Ms. Washington is an inspiring woman who we can all learn from. I definitely did. I learned that we should all care for our community and bridging the gap between the people to help protect and preserve nature.