Quality vs. Quantity: Results of our first volunteer day

7 truckloads of clutter is piled up on the farm’s driveway. Giant timbers, old paint cans, pots, rusting trellises, palettes, overgrown trees, brick and rubble – stacked in organized piles for re-purposing, recycling or the dump. While our clean-up is far from over, we are off to a motivating start due to the quality of volunteers who have shown up on our volunteer days.

Starting out the volunteer day with instructions - Farm Manager Koby JH. All photos on this post are Courtesy of Twin Fish Photography.

Starting out the volunteer day with instructions – Farm Manager Koby JH. All photos on this post are courtesy of Twin Fish Photography.

We’ve had a couple of 3-hour long volunteers days at the Honey House Farm. All Saturdays, from noon to 3. Coming from neighborhoods in Linden Hills, Longfellow, the City of Savage and beyond, 25 volunteers showed up for our first clean-up. With shovels, rakes, and clippers, they worked on the overgrown raspberry patches by pruning them and digging some up for neighbors. They dismantled dilapidated trellises. They removed chain-link fence. They dug up trees in pots. Through the background music and conversations, I could hear laughter. Curiously enough, this was the first time in my career that I had to force everyone to take breaks for lemonade, sandwiches, vegetables, and fruit. Volunteers were enjoying this clean-up – a totally different atmosphere compared to a few days ago when I was out on the farm by myself, trying to pull out 1/2 ton barrel of sand and brick by myself.

Our raspberry-patch cleaner-uppers!

Our raspberry-patch cleaner-uppers!

These collective work days are essential for start-up projects like our urban farm. They help build community chemistry, rally collective energy around a daunting task, and a lot of work can be accomplished in period of time. Much like the barn raising days in our recent past when whole communities would come together to help an individual family put up a barn in one day, the de-cluttering of our site is a community effort. We are now one more step closer to installing a permaculturally-designed foodscape at the Honey House.

I look forward to more volunteer days when we will install garden beds, plant, and harvestthis season. I hope the volunteers do too. An eternal THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS THIS APRIL AND MAY!

The clutter piles start to grow.

The clutter piles start to grow.

A look from the alleyway into the farm site.

A look from the alleyway into the farm site.

Little ones came by to help and cheer too.

Little ones came by to help and cheer too.

Raking, digging up brick - thank you!

Raking, digging up brick – thank you!

Category labels in driveway.Category labels in driveway.

Digging up raspberries.

Digging up raspberries.

Volunteer and avid gardener Cynthia Hagen after pulling out 3 layers of bricks in the soil.

Volunteer and avid gardener Cynthia Hagen after pulling out 3 layers of bricks in the soil.

How many stones and bricks are stacked underneath the earth?

How many stones and bricks are stacked underneath the earth?

Kim Bartmann posts the Permaculture design for the Honey House Farm.

Kim Bartmann posts the Permaculture design for the Honey House Farm.

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