Preparing the composting bin in the greenhouse

Last year was the first year for the new greenhouse. And it was a success: keeping tender seedlings warm all winter, even on frigid nights.

Last week, the team harvested last year’s finished compost and began adding food waste and wood chips in new layers. There’s Hannah piling food waste onto the second layer.

We’ve learned from last year’s experience and, in the video below, Lia describes the latest tweak to the process.

Warming up the greenhouse!

Ta da! Our new greens spinner

Than has rewired a hand-me-down washing machine into a new spinner for drying the leafy greens harvested on the farm. This will be a huge time-saver for us and we are super excited about it!!! Many small farms around the country are now using this idea to make their farms more efficient and financially sustainable. We harvest leafy greens from our hoop house all through the winter and early spring. This addition will make harvesting day much saner and allow us to get those fresh, healthy greens to restaurants and their happy customers!
Watch it spin!

Many thanks

It’s been eight years since we began cultivating the soil at CommonWealth—carrots were our first crop! Our most bountiful harvest, though, is the community that has grown up around CommonWealth. 
If we are to find our way through the immense challenges of our current times, it will be by reaching out to each other across endless divisions, differences & disagreements, and finding our common ground. 
Food. Beauty. Life.
It’s a good thing to remember just how much we do have in common. 
Our heartfelt thanks to each of you for your support. 

We are brimming with new ideas for the coming year. Stay tuned! We look forward to seeing what we can do together. 

Meet our Youth Intern: Maya Staggs

Maya Staggs is a junior at Classen SAS. Her major is visual arts. Her preferred medium is oil painting, though she currently also has a painting class in acrylics and she’s doing just fine with that medium as well.

As many artists do when they start painting, she says, she is doing mostly portraits. The portraits she paints incorporate aspects of surrealism, with flora and fauna: “Animals or plants that reveal more about the person.”

As she progresses through her education, she is considering both visual arts and science and math; whether to pursue a career in engineering or becoming a math professor. Her father is a painter. “I’ve learned from him that it’s not smart to turn your passion into your work. Maybe one day I could be a professor of art. That would be ideal.”

Maya is also passionate about sustainability and the environment. Three and a half years ago she became a vegan, for the environment, after watching a documentary and doing some intense research. “When we had a smaller population, everyone could get by,” she says. “Now, there is not enough planet for growing meat. We need to be choosey with our resources. I became educated about that.”

Maya is passionate for life on Earth. “Earth is all there is; the world is all we have. Colonizing Mars is not an option, at least not in our lifetime. I think we should consider life on Earth Plan A and that there should be a bumper sticker: ‘We Will Not Leave Earth.’

“It’s fantastic that there are younger and younger environmental activists. There is not enough emphasis on accountability. Recycling is not the answer. Metal straws are not the answer. We have to urge our government to do something. And we need to wrangle our late-stage capitalism into a sustainable economic system.”

And so, in early fall, when Maya’s best friend, Gwyn Atkinson, who lives near CommonWealth asked Maya if she would be interested in becoming a youth apprentice at CommonWealth, Maya was all-in.

Every Saturday, she and Gwyn spend the morning working and learning at CommonWealth Urban Farms. “It’s a sort of meditation for me,” she says. “We have constant stimuli in our lives: intense, instant gratification. I love spending a few hours each week in the earth, in the quiet, with people who care. Eating food you grow is not instant gratification; there is a sense of earning something.”