Posted by Jessie K / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / No comments / Arkansas , Cobblestone Project , Cobblestone Project Farm , Fayetteville , Volunteering
Volunteering at Cobblestone Project Farm - April 2014
|5494 West Wedington Drive, Fayetteville, AR|
About Cobblestone Project Farm
In March my boys and I started volunteering for Cobblestone Project Farm. The Cobblestone Project's dream is to create a "community without need," and they are the backbone of several different volunteer initiatives in the area including Present in the City, Help Portrait Northwest Arkansas, Shear Kindness, 30 Days for Change, 3 Bags in 2 Days, Our Step, Laundry Love, and of course Cobblestone Project Farm, which focuses on local hunger relief. The food they grow there is distributed to local shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, etc.You can spend your time there as a volunteer farmer with many different opportunities to help around the farm. Check them out at the Bentonville Farmer's Market on Saturdays! You can also purchase a Harvest Share Subscription which follows a "buy-one-give-one" model.
I had been seeking out a volunteer opportunity that would be a good fit for the whole family and I absolutely loved what Cobblestone Project Farm stood for--what they were doing to help the community, and I wanted our family to be a part of it. On top of that, as a homeschooling family I knew it would be a great opportunity for hands on learning..really valuing how and where our food comes from, and of course spending quality time together.
In our second month as volunteer farmers at the Cobblestone Farm, we saw a lot of progress and transitions into Spring! We started getting into a regular routine of going once a week and we really looked forward to each visit. A few April highlights---new honeybee hives and the installment of quite a few raised garden beds!
I'll start with my favorite part--the beehives! They acquired a few hives from a seasoned local beekeeper who will be relocating soon and needed to rehome his hives for a time. I have been interested in beekeeping for years and I was so excited to maybe have the chance to be involved! Imagine my surprise when the next week we visited on the same day the beekeeper was there! He let me help a bit and observe when he checked the hives. I was told that if I can get my own bee suit I can really get up close and personal with the bees!
The beekeeper (whose name is slipping my mind currently) was introducing a new queen into one of the colonies. When introducing a new queen into a queenless colony, they are kept in this little box which is put into the hive. This is for the queens own protection, as the colony needs to be slowly introduced to her or else they may turn on her. When they get used to the queen's pheromones there is a small wax cork over a hole at the end of the box which the bees will eat through to free her. This may take a few days, but within the box there are also several worker bee attendants and food to sustain them during this process. It really is fascinating!
They have also recently added a large section of raised garden beds. On one of our visits, we helped plant some swiss chard into it's own bed.
We also dug up some rogue oregano they noticed growing out on it's own, which they would be replanting into one of the raised beds as well.
This month my youngest son also came along for his first visit to the farm. As you can see, the greenhouse was no longer bare as it was during our first visit in April. It was also an exciting day, as we had our first harvest-some arugula! Harvesting was definitely a more exciting part for the boys. Some of the arugula was washed, bundled, and sold at the Bentonville Farmer's Market the next morning.
Part of the experience of visiting the farm is just exploring it!
More playing on the woodchip dunes and a few tailgate lunches as well this month.
Oh and check out the progress of the field! I see green!
To check out the previous month on the farm, click the picture below!
and to see several more volunteer opportunities in the Northwest Arkansas area, click HERE!