The First CRAFT Day of 2017!

Hey there everyone!

This is Mickhel, an Added Value apprentice! I am here to inform you about my experience helping to host Added Value’s CRAFT day a few weeks ago.

On Saturday May 20th, Added Value invited a few other groups from the Youth Food Justice Network to visit us at the Red Hook Community Farm as part of our the monthly CRAFT series. These groups included Friends of the Highline, East New York Farms, and NEBHDCo. There were about 26 people present to learn about Added Value and help us to work towards achieving the farms goals for the day.   

Now you may not know what a CRAFT Day is. It might sound like we are just being creative on the Farm. But, it is actually a chance for different young people who are working at food justice organizations to come together and share their knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

On the morning of CRAFT Day, Anthony, Nelly, Judelis, Souhair, Corey, Saara, and I were ready for our guests. We waited for many groups and volunteers to arrive. While we waited, we prepared many exciting things to do that day and end it off with something relaxing, and enjoyable.

Once everyone arrived, we had two spine tingling icebreakers that got everyone going, and were led by Nelly and Anthony. These icebreakers are always a great way for everyone to get comfortable with each other. Though you may not know everyone, I believe Added Value’s icebreakers, will have you knowing, talking, and laughing with people that you have just met. When these two friendly icebreakers were finished, we got in a circle led by Corey to divide out the tasks and groups. Each group had about 5 or 6 people that were led by Added Value apprentices.

As everyone worked, we became friends. People chatted and we had many laughs. My experience was very enjoyable because of the polite and hard-working in the group and on my team. As I demonstrated the use of the gardening scythe, people were happy to see the scythe in action. My team finished weeding about 2 or 3 beds of kale, while avoiding cilantro. We cut them, and I had half of my team pulling out roots, while the other half placed them in wheel barrels. The part of my team that had wheel barrels rapidly brought them down to a large pile of wood chips. We had to build something called a J-row. This is for good, and nutrient rich compost. Once my team had finished with their tasks, some people helped other groups with their work. I led the other part of my group in a farm tour and told them about the ways we prepare our compost. I also informed them about the vegetables and plants we have on the farm. I showed and let them touch/smell/taste the mint, cilantro, sage, crimson clover, garlic, and many other things.

In the end, we got together and spoke about our accomplishments for the day. This was an ending circle led by Souhair and Corey. After this, we all took a group picture and had a make-it-yourself lunch with bread, cheese, jelly, peanut butter, hummus, and turkey.

By participating in CRAFT Day, I got the chance to communicate with others, practice speaking about the farm, and lead activities with them. I tried to make them feel as comfortable as possible, while being in an unfamiliar area. I hope that through more experiences like this, I can increase my communication and leadership skills.

See you next time!