What a अद्भुत Adbhuta (wonderful) year for Shanti Community Farms in 2019!
And it was thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, staff, worker young and old, students young and old and school, city and county officials who supported us!
A few of our accomplishments to highlight in 2019:
I. New Community Garden, Outdoor Classroom Pavilion and High Tunnel breaks ground
We moved our community garden to Columbia and Tallmadge Avenue to accommodate our new High Tunnel (unheated plastic-wrapped green house) and Headquarters building across Tallmadge Avenue from Jennings Middle School.
The new Community Garden–headquarters for our farm-to-school program– was plowed and planted for the first time with many crops including Shanti hot peppers, sweetcorn, snake gourds, mustard greens, Asian eggplant, green beans and tomatoes. We erected an outdoor classroom pavilion, a signature bamboo fence and youth garden on-site.
Our new high tunnel is one of the largest in the family of the Akron High Tunnel Initiative sponsored by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). We can’t wait to get the middle school and high school students working it after winter break!
II. Yard Corps for Youth and Elders debuts raking in new clients
We introduced a pilot program for 12-17 year old students and elders to assist us with outdoor maintenance chores on city vacant lots and over a dozen private residences, churches and businesses. About a dozen students and elders participated in our first time effort to work outside mowing, weeding, leaf blowing, tree and bush trimming and planting. We also participated in lot clean-up and farm chores, including barn and barnyard cleaning.
Shanti Farms was commissioned with maintaining over 30 city lots throughout the growing season with our new fleet of rider and push mowers, truck and utility trailer, weed whackers and blowers.
III, Farm-to-School and Urban Farm with Akron Public Schools hits the ground running
We partnered with Akron Public Schools to provide a farm-to-school summer camp for 40 kids( 6-13 yrs) complete with gardening, nature games and crafts, farmers market and math and reading tutoring. at Jennings Community Learning Center and Shanti Community Garden.
We broke ground for the new urban farm on North High School’s north side adjacent to the athletic fields. We even brought plow horses to till the initial ground and erected the metal fence in place for the two garden sections.
The Early Learning program at North High (nursery school) partnered with us to raise chickens in the classroom for the eventual livestock addition. The 40 pre-schoolers and 10 high school teachers aides loved it–even when it came time to cleaning the cage
IV. Third Annual Hot Pepper Fest fires up North Hill
More than 75 guests joined us in the Exchange House outdoor entertainment courtyard in August to celebrate the international harvest festivals of the new immigrants in Akron.
our emcee was our good friend and internationally-renowned award winning Nepali film director Binud Paudel. Martial arts demonstration, rotten tomato stomp, carnival games, dancing, farmers market, international foods picnic and of course our Hot Pepper Eating Contest were enjoyed by all!
Looking forward to 2020 with new grants, new customers and an expansion and enhancement of all our programs.
Contact us if you want to volunteer or partner with us!
to make a contribution to our upcoming programs and projects in 2020!
Namaste to all our family and friends in the new decade!