This summer, Community Farm Associate Tamarya Sims brought a whole new feel for farm life to a wide variety of camp and community groups. From partnering with the NC Arboretum in their EcoExplore program to teaching kids to safely hold chickens raised on the farm, this season has been full of volunteer work days and educational activity, growing young minds along with agriculture.
Community Farm Associate Tamarya Sims has been busy running educational programs on the farm this summer! In July, Tamarya taught groups from Project Lighten Up, Youth Transformed for Life, and others about chickens, farming eggs, and how chickens fit into the farm ecosystems.
Tamarya explained how a mobile chicken tractor and moveable fencing create space for chickens to live free-range on the farm, helping with rotational grazing to improve pasture health. The chickens follow cattle through the field eating all of the delicious bugs and grubs while soaking in vitamin D. Educational farm programs also included a stop at the honey bee hives at the farm. Thank you to District Apiary Inspector Lewis Cauble, who came out to the farm to check out the bees and gave us some great tips! “I use the honey bees as a way to teach about pollination and the importance of pollinators in our food systems,” says Tamarya.“Although honey bees are not native to this area, we do have other pollinators that are native species. We talk about how important it is to protect places and water sources for pollinators. I explain that if we don’t have pollinators to visit that squash flower in the garden, for example, it won’t produce squash for us to eat.”
Tamarya also led farm tours with Root Cause Farm interns and Asheville Greenworks Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP) to explore career paths in farming and different types of farm enterprises – such as producing honey from bees, eggs from chickens, and flowers and vegetables. “We talk about career planning,” continues Tamarya, “and tour the farm to experience what farming is like and get a feel for the Incubator Program. I think this is important because many people haven’t had exposure to farm life or business practices. Doing farm tours helps people understand what it takes to create a farm enterprise for their sole income or what it looks like to have different streams of income.”
In addition to programs on the farm, Tamarya taught kids how ecology and food systems go hand-in-hand as part of a Young Naturalist speaker series with WNC Nature Center, hosted an informative herbal tea talk for youth at the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens in partnership with Bountiful Cities, and gave a presentation on container gardening for the Chow Chow Asheville Food Festival. We are grateful to our Corporate Partners at Asheville Tea Company and Highland Brewing Company, and many other volunteers and groups who have come out to assist at the farm, including folks from J. Crew and regular volunteers from local recovery centers!