Winter might seem like it would be a pretty slow time for projects like River Roots Community Farm, but behind the scenes, Community Farm Coordinator, Jeremy, has been hard at work. Throughout the winter, he has been researching, planning, and gathering materials to make 2023 a successful growing season. By using a succession planting method, he expects the beds at the farm to provide a continual harvest through the summer and fall.
To aid in planning, Jeremy looked at what grew well last year and what didn’t. For this year, he has plans to make a more diverse and beneficial garden for the community, and you might have talked to him while he’s been on a mission to find out some of the most-liked fruits and vegetables from local residents. He also noted what the critters got to before the humans could last year, and he is planning for better protection against deer, rabbits, groundhogs, and other hungry animals.
Looking back over the last year, some great additions have come to the farm. The new gazebo and garden shed were built and installed, giving much-needed storage and a gathering space to get out of the sun (or avoid those pesky black walnuts!). New bird boxes were also built and installed and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary certification was renewed. Seeds were saved from last year’s favorite crops to give a head-start on this year. And the woodland trail was cleared and prepared for mulch.
Now, as the growing season approaches, gears are switching from planning to prepping and, soon to be, planting! Some of the projects in the works are more bird boxes, cold frame construction, mini-greenhouses, native flower beds, and educational programs. By working with teachers at AC-Valley School District and The Boys and Girls Club Along the Allegheny, Jeremy hopes to see kids become more involved and educated on how to grow their own food, how to harvest and process it, and why it is important to know where their food comes from.
River Roots Community Farm is looking for help from community members with donations of materials, like straw bales or landscape timbers to improve the beds, or by volunteering to help with planting days, watering and weeding, or plant and wildlife management. If you would like to contribute in any way, please reach out to Jeremy at 724-996-5905 (text or leave a message). You can also join our email list by visiting riverrootsredevelopment.org to be notified of needs as they come up. (We are currently seeking bids for an arborist. See our ad in the classified section for more information.)
Rachel Brosnahan is the Community Engagement Coordinator for River Roots Redevelopment.
She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org