By Molly C-U, 7th grade
Heritage Farm, located on the campus of the Methodist Home for Children (MHC), supplies vegetables and herbs to several high-end restaurants in Philadelphia. It is five acres, including greenhouses and a pavilion. When we arrived at the farm on Tuesday, we met the manager, Adrian Galbraith-Paul. He explained the farm’s mission, which is to provide quality food for the residents of MHC and for the local community, as well as to "grow farmers" in providing career training. We also met the other workers on the farm – Sophia, Matt, and Troy.
Because of the season, we did not see much greenery outside of the greenhouses, but there were bee boxes, blackberry and raspberry plants, radishes, and wild onions. It was very cold at the beginning of the day, but warmed up as the sun came out. As the weather was going to drop down to 26 degrees Fahrenheit that night, much of what we did on the farm was to protect the crops from frost. In groups of three we rotated through activities, which included insulating outdoor crops with hoops and cloth, distributing blocks of mushrooms among raspberry plants to increase crop diversity, and transporting compost to beds that will eventually grow tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
After getting over the cold, we all had a lot of fun at the farm and hopefully helped with their work. It will be exciting to go back over the next few weeks and see the growth of the plants. Below are some comments from my classmates about our first visit to Heritage Farm.
“I really enjoyed when Isaiah and I had to unfreeze everything that was under the soil using this strange tool. We needed to step on the tool and wiggle it underground. I also had a good time eating the spicy mustard plant, but it wasn’t that spicy.” ––Abdullah
“One of my favorite parts about the farm was how we got lots of work done even if we were cold. Another thing I enjoyed was when Abdullah and I got to jump up and down on a tool to unfreeze the ground. Also, the people who work on the farm were really nice, so I had a good time.” --Isaiah
“One of my favorite parts about the farm was breaking down the mushroom blocks. We then had to sprinkle them on some plants. After that, we broke more apart and spread them on the paths. Then our whole group ran around on the paths to get the mushrooms into the soil.” --Jules
“My favorite part of the day was when we had to take these mushroom blocks, and break them down to sprinkle on the raspberry beds. It was fun because it was enjoyable work because I did it with my friends. When we finished that job early, we had some free time and I picked wild onions and mint.” --Sally