After a hot summer of cover-cropping and rest, Howdy Farm is back to growing the most wholesome veg in the BCS. Nepeta is here too, still meowing, still running away from everyone.
Some background about myself: I am a junior Renewable Natural Resources major and Horticulture minor, and have my sights set on working internationally with agriculture and community development. I have been involved with Howdy Farm organization (SASA) for a little over two years now, and decided to go deeper into the life of the farm by completing this internship. One aspect of the farm that never ceases to amaze me is the pace at which the plants grow. Being out there every day has shown me the significant changes the plants go through in their day-to-day lives. For example, Roselle (Hibiscus) produces new flowers every day, which means they need to be picked and dehydrated every other day or so. Another example are our climbing vines that are currently taking off. We have Chinese yard-long beans, cucumbers, and luffa plants. It is easy to see the immense progress these plants make by climbing upward and creating a beautiful green food-wall. Both of these plants are included in my focus during this internship. I will be making tea out of the harvested hibiscus and other plants like chamomile and holy basil. The objective of my internship is to localize food sources and increase revenue for Howdy Farm. I intend to connect Howdy Farm and Om Grown, who sell teas in their studio. If enough is produced to sell to them in the bulk amount they desire, then we will do this, but chances are we do not have the capacity to provide this. On the other hand, we can make a tea made entirely from Howdy Farm ingredients and market this at Om Grown as well as the farmer's market. The luffa plant is another idea for increasing revenue for the farm. Not only does it provide aesthetic value at the farm with its bright flowers and persistent vines, but the luffa can serve as, well, a luffa. When this gourd dries out, its fibrous skeleton is left and can be used in the shower just as a conventional store-bought luffa is, or even to wash dishes with. These could be sold at the farmers market and would provide extra revenue and variety in our products, and would be a more sustainable alternative to the plastic mesh luffas and sponges people would otherwise be buying.
Apart from my individual project, being out at the farm every day has been immensely therapeutic and fun. There is always something new going on, something to learn, and a good conversation to be had over pulling purslane out of our rows. Something I was exposed to this week is how expensive it is just to provide food for our crops. We got a truckload full of compost for our soon-to-be-planted rows, and that alone cost $300, but I look forward to learning how to integrate new options for our market to help offset these costs.
About the Author:
Howdy! My name is Kelly, I am a Junior Renewable Natural Resources major and Horticulture minor. My passions include food, sustainability, education, and working hands-on in agriculture. I believe the more educated and engaged we are with our food systems, the better decisions we will make for our bodies, communities, and the environment.