Building Community One Bite at a Time

style=”text-align:left;”>By Lisa Woo, Nutrition Educator

Apple Corps Member helping at the Community Kitchens NW event at Marra Farm

Apple Corps Member helping at the Community Kitchens NW event at Marra Farm

Happy October Apple Fans!

September was a whirlwind month for the Apple Corps team! We welcomed a fresh, new round of Americorps Members (8 new, 2 returning) and after a brief orientation they were off and running at their new project sites. September is also a bit of a transitioning month, from summer to fall, vacation to school. So while some of our programs are just beginning to rev up, others are winding down. One such example of the latter, was our final farm-based Community Kitchens NW event hosted at Solid Ground’s Marra Farm located in the South Park neighborhood of southwest Seattle.

All summer long, the Lettuce Link program–which hosts one of our Apple Corps Members–invited members of the South Park community to Marra Farm to prepare a meal from scratch. And while the farm kitchen set up is primitive, nothing beats harvesting fresh, organic produce from 10 feet away.

Unfortunately, with the rainy season looming over our heads, September marked the last farm-based Community Kitchens [they’ll move indoors to the local community center]. But despite the threat of rain and thunder in the distance, the show still went on, and a handful of families and Apple Corps Members arrived, ready to celebrate over delicious food.

Community Kitchens food

The many stages of Mónica’s Calabacín Relleno [stuffed zucchini]. So delicious!

Our final Community Kitchens was led by an active Marra Farm volunteer and Concord Elementary mom (the school which neighbors Marra Farm), Mónica, and featured an amazing play on the Mexican dish, Chile Relleno. Using fresh zucchini from the farm, Mónica guided us through the process of slicing and stuffing the [massive] zucchini with shredded mozzarella, coating them with a whisked egg white mixture, and frying them up until golden brown. Accompanied by warm salsa made with juicy Mara Farm tomatoes, the result was a crispy, cheesy plate of heaven!

The Apple Corps Team wants to thank Mónica and the handful of families at Marra Farm that night for welcoming us into your community and sharing such a wonderful, culturally rich experience with us!

Washington Volunteer Appreciation Week

This week – April 21st -27th – has hereby been proclaimed by Governor Jay Inslee as Washington Volunteer Appreciation Week! The proclamation acts to recognize the countless acts of service performed by one of Washington’s most valuable resources – its volunteers! Governor Inslee said, “I urge all citizens to join me in recognizing and supporting those who volunteer and serve.” Thanks to the Governor, our Apple Corps team has reason and opportunity to celebrate! This week we are recognizing our program volunteers, as well as our own team’s commitment to service!

To celebrate, the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Commission for National and Community Service are hosting the 5th annual Salute to Volunteers Night on the evening of April 25th. And guess who will be there? That’s right, Apple Corps! We are looking forward to pre-game ceremonies including an on-field special tribute to some distinguished volunteers and a ceremonial first pitch thrown by 13-year old Levi DeWeber, a recipient of the 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. We’ll also be partaking in the volunteer bazaar, available with information on how folks can get involved in volunteering.

We love service and we hope that you do, too! To learn more about AmeriCorps volunteer opportunities, you can contact Solid Ground’s Apple Corps team or visit the Washington Commission for National and Community ServiceImage

Hip Happenings at H.I.P (Hunger Intervention Program)!

Darcy HIP

Apple Corps member, Darcy, posing with the rainbow of fruits and veggies in her office!

 

This week, Team Apple Corps decided to visit team member, Darcy Buendia at her service site The Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) in Lake City! HIP is a new partner site with the Apple Corps program that provides meal services and food bank demonstrations to the Lake City/North Seattle community. Though most of the Apple Corps programs serve the south Seattle communities, we are excited to reach out to the north Seattle area through programs like HIP!

HIP Collage

[Top clockwise]: Packing Delicious granola; Darcy hard at work; Darcy modeling a Backpack meal

On the day of our visit, Darcy was hosting her weekly packing party, which invites volunteers to help prepare and package donated food to share with students and family who participate in HIP’s backpack meal program. We had a great time getting to know the volunteers who support HIP twice a week on a regular basis, some of which have been a part of HIP for over six years! We loved the positive, welcoming environment at HIP and applaud all the hard work that volunteers and Darcy dedicate to make this program so fantastic!

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Hunger Intervention Program visit the HIP Volunteer Page for more information!

Marra Farm Weighs In: 16,984 pounds of produce!

By Amanda Horvath, Marra Farm Youth Development & Outreach Coordinator

All is quiet at sleepy Marra Farm

Since I arrived at Marra Farm, we have been busy, busy, busy.

In the two months I’ve been here, we’ve…

  • harvested and donated over 8,000 lbs. of produce.
  • worked with over 490 volunteers totaling nearly 1,950 hours.
  • explored worm bins, bees, and the gardens with 109 students all decked out in their rain boots who made faces when they sampled our sour sorrel.

After a bountiful season (yes, we actually harvested nearly 17,000 pounds of produce from April-October), it’s time to put the farm to bed for the season. We’ve been busy turning beds and planting Austrian pea that will grow throughout the winter, pulling (fixating) nitrogen from the air, which we will use come spring to return nitrogen to the soil. As we pull the blankets (of reemay and leaves) up over the beds and tuck them in tight, we say thanks to all of those who made our season a success!

The Apple Corps team lending a hand at Marra Farm

Goodnight Marra Farm!

Thanks for all the learning and fun you provided us this season.

And thanks to everyone who came out to plant, weed, harvest, till, chip, etc. this season.