Published first on the Progress News, August 8, 2022

While this year has been flying by ridiculously fast, it has still been a pretty good year, all things considered. And we just got another reason to smile – the USDA approved of our vision for the River Roots Community Farm and awarded us a Farm to School grant for $50,000! 

The Community Farm project has been in the works since 2019, with Covid slowing the original groundbreaking until spring of 2021. Now, as we enter our second growing season with our very modest initial 300 square feet of planting space, we are thrilled to accept this new funding, which will allow us to expand and improve the space tremendously! ORA is providing project oversight in cooperation with the AC Valley School District, while the grant funds are allowing us to hire a part-time project coordinator and add much-needed structures to the farm. We will be adding a proper shed for equipment storage and rainwater catchment, as well as a lovely gazebo under the picturesque black walnut tree (as pretty as it is, no one likes a black walnut to the noggin!). Some upgrades to the raised beds and paths, tree maintenance, a small greenhouse, and a new sign are also in the plans.

This grant has one of the quickest turnarounds of any I’ve worked on recently, so by the time school is back in session in a month, there should be plenty of activity in and around the farm site! Right now, there are plenty of summer squash, clumping onions, and herbs available for anyone who would like some, and soon the watermelon, peppers, and tomatoes will be ripe for pickin’. It won’t be long before the trees have been given a nice haircut and the new shed and gazebo are in place. We have community time at the garden every Friday afternoon for the rest of the growing season, starting at 2pm, so come on down and see what’s going on!

I’d like to thank the USDA for their faith in our community to continue to support this project, and I’d like to thank our community members for their support over the last few years! It’s been a slow start, but it feels like we’re finally getting there. If you’d like more information on this or any other community redevelopment projects, please feel free to reach out or join us in Foxburg one of these Friday afternoons. See you soon!