This past week my wife and I did a canning presentation with the residents in Blackhawk Courts. We all piled into the van and headed over to Zion Lutheran Church which has a large meeting space adjacent to its certified kitchen.
The demonstration covered the safety and sanitation practices required when canning, and then we moved into the necessary canning equipment needed. Finally, we got into the actual processing of the cucumbers.
This season we had an overabundance of cucumbers on the farm, so this was a perfect opportunity to make some pickles. We had three participants, and we made two different types of pickles. The first was a bread and butter pickle, and the second was a dill pickle. As we processed the cucumbers, the participants started to get excited as they saw their efforts come to fruition.
This month, Learning Center took a staff-development trip over the stateline to explore several impactful collaborative farms in Verona and Mequon to experience how these influential organizations operate.
Our team met with farm managers of The Farley Center and Fondy Farm, met collaborators and toured the unique and beautiful spaces these organizations inhabit. The team met resident farmer Jennica Skoug, proprietor of Lansing Street Veggies, a neighborhood produce stand in Madison. Jennica has been farming on rented land since 2017, and moved to the Farley Center in 2022.
With Farmer Tedd behind the wheel of "Van-na White", the Learning Center's transport van, the group paused for a quick lunch stop at Kettle Moraine Lapham Peak Unit.
Refreshed, it was on toward Milwaukee for a visit with Stephen Petro, Chief Operations Officer of the Fondy Farm Project, part of the Fondy Food Center, located on 40 beautiful acres of Mequon Nature Preserve land. Fondy Farm assists low-resource farmers in gaining access to the land, resources, and support they need to operate a successful business. Fondy Food Center also operates the Fondy Farmers Market, a century-old market in the historically underserved Lindsay Heights neighborhood of Milwaukee.
It was a long, hot day absorbing a lot of information about farmers and land collectives. The Learning Center team learned more about the land access needs of small alternative farmers, connected with the diverse farmers who work the earth, and grew our experience of collaborative farm spaces.