Holiday Giving: Crown Point Membership, Community Outreach

Have you considered a Crown Point membership or donation to our First Fruits Initiative? It requires no gift wrapping. A membership is an especially nice gift to your friends that would like to have early bird privilege to our annual plant sale, discounts on CSA purchases, and Summer Farm and Science Camp tuition.

The First Fruits Initiative* is Crown Point’s outreach to the community.

The following are some of the good works Crown Point does through its First Fruits Initiative:

  • Donate fresh, organic produce to the Akron-Canton Regional FoodBank each year.  To date, this program has donated more than 15,000 lbs of produce.
  • Donate plants from our annual Organic Plant Sale to community and school gardens.
  • Offer scholarships to children in need each summer to attend Crown Point’s Summer Farm and Science Camp.
  • Provide educational outreach to schools about a variety of topics, such as sustainability, recycling and organic farming.

 

Donate to Crown Point’s First Fruits Initiative.

Please add in the comments section that your donation is specifically for the First Fruits Initiative.

*Crown Point derives the name First Fruits from the Bible, where the term is used in many passages. Perhaps the one that shares our view the best comes from Proverbs 3:9-10:

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

December Challenge: Green Gifts

The holiday season is a time for giving and a time for family. With a little effort and imagination, we can start giving back to the earth and instilling the values of sustainable living to our families, friends and community.

Let’s start with imaginative and creative gift wrapping.

I have a collection of heirloom wrapping paper, the kind I rescue after my family opens presents at Christmas. I carefully fold it and put it away in the attic for reuse on another occasion. My husband gets his birthday present wrapped in colorful Santa-themed paper that has a note scribbled to somebody else. And I am happier when the presents I get are wrapped in 5-year-old wrapping paper that’s been reused at least three times. It’s ironic that when I was a kid, my father’s business was to print and sell gift wrapping paper. Of course, we only ever used the misprinted paper at our household.

Lately, I have opted for using T-shirts, dish cloths, scarfs or other materials that are not disposable for wrapping gifts. The Sunday comics and brown paper from shopping bags also work. I have a banana tree in my kitchen that maybe this year will provide me with a unique, beautiful and totally green alternative to gift wrapping. For more ideas, check out these links:

http://eartheasy.com/gift_wrapping.htm

https://inhabitat.com/6-eco-friendly-gift-wrap-alternatives/

Let’s make green choices this season so we may have our White Christmas in the future. I can afford to buy gift wrap, but I choose not to because of the amount of waste it generates. The statistics for the United States are staggering.

But don’t stop with the gift wrapping. To make your holiday season greener, you can buy less and look for locally made, repurposed or upcycled gifts, which are made from recyclable or renewable materials.

Other ideas:

  • Buy a live tree. If you take good care of it and pot it, you can use it next year, or plant it outside.
  • Be mindful of Christmas lighting and decorations. Sometimes less is more. Make your own cards from recycled materials.
  • Participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count
  • Take a nature hike
  • Decorate a tree for the birds with peanut butter and seed trays with black oil sunflower seed, wild bird mixed seed and nyjer seed bells

 

 

November Challenge: Gratitude

Thanksgiving dinner! I refuse to use canned pumpkin; in fact I refuse to use pumpkin at all because there are so many more interesting and tastier squashes. Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day is spent cutting up winter squash, scooping out the seeds and roasting them with rosemary, garlic, olive oil and salt. The first smell of a wonderful feast to come. And then comes cooking the squash, either boiling or roasting it and mixing it with eggs, butter, spices and of course, our uniquely north American sweetener, real maple syrup. The abundant apples this time of the year are sitting on the basket waiting for me to sit down with a paring knife to turn them into pie, and for my daughters to steal the slices while I am not looking. Two of my favorite pies, Apple and “pumpkin,” about to be baked with ingredients sourced from our local foodshed. I am grateful for every smell, texture and pleasure derived from our food.

There is much more than food to be grateful for at our table. Our northeast Ohio climate gifts us with beautiful sugar maple trees turning bright red, and red cardinals on snowy days. It also provides the earthworm, the pollinator insects, and the very complex web of soil life providing ecological services that make life possible. These are less visible and taken for granted. Feeling grateful for the very existence of the natural world, and by the connections to nature is environmental gratitude. Environmental gratitude is defined as “[A] finely tuned propensity to notice and feel grateful for one’s surroundings on a regular basis, which generates pervasive attitudes of concern for planetary welfare and commitment to contribute ecological benefits to the extent of one’s ability.” *(Loder, 2011)

This type of gratefulness is different than that involving human interactions, as there is no one to give or to accept a specific gift or service. This did not seem to inhibit a friend of mine. On a walk with him, he saw a beautiful flower. Before he cut it, he asked permission and then thanked the plant out loud. He does sound a little crazy. Plants don’t understand English, but expressing the knowledge that this was a gift was an important lesson to me. Environmental gratitude becomes a way of appreciating, respecting nature and taking action to make it better. “Environmental gratitude is a rich and complex moral response. It can evolve from fleeting feelings into a sustaining personal and public virtue…At its most varied and familiar best, environmental gratitude permeates overall attitudes and dispositions and commits environmentally grateful people to creative thinking about environmental problems. In its most diffuse forms, environmental gratitude percolates into character and becomes a way of seeing and responding.” *(Loder, 2011)

(Loder Elizabeth, Gratitude and the Environment, 2011 The Journal of Jurisprudence)

Harvest Potluck: Best Wishes to Roni & Sam

I started working at Crown Point last year as the Assistant Farm Manager and served for the last year as the Farm Manager.  Since the transition, I have received so much support from CSA members, staff, and volunteers – reminding me that this is a community to cherish.

Over the course of two seasons, I have learned many lessons, including my favorite: “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

At this time, I have decided to continue my journey elsewhere next year.  Although a difficult decision, at age 25 I feel an itching desire to explore new land. While I begin my new job search in the conservation agriculture field, I am starting to reflect on what Crown Point has given to me over the past two seasons (aside from an endless supply of tomatoes, hot peppers, and garlic).

I have worked with numerous mentors, staff, and volunteers who have shared their years of knowledge and outlook on life with me.  I have developed patience, time-management, and a thicker skin.

Roni Pasi, Farm Manager

For you, I hope that a new farmer will bring new ideas and a fresh start to become more involved with our farming community.  In our search for a new farmer, we have seen some outstanding candidates who are well poised to lead a successful farming season next year.  I will make sure we have a smooth transition, working here until December.

The importance of local food for our economy, our environment, and our health is more important than ever.  Your support is invaluable in making Crown Point what it is.

Below is an invitation to our potluck dinner on October 24, 2017.  We will celebrate this year’s season by enjoying our harvest, thanking our volunteers, and saying our goodbyes.

Take care,
Roni

Please join us for a Harvest Pot Luck and
Farewell to farm manager Roni Pasi and intern farmer Sam Phillips
in our big, red Century Barn

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 – 5:30 p.m.

Bring a covered dish to share, your table service
and good wishes for Roni and Sam as they prepare to leave Crown Point and
embark on new adventures.

Cake, cider and coffee will be provided, but feel free to bring
your own favorite beverage as well.

Reservations are needed.
RSVP to Lori or Ellen at 330-668-8992 orellen@crownpt.org

October Challenge: Leave the leaves alone

Lazy it is not, to leave the leaf creatures alive.

Enjoy the leaves, don’t waste time and money bagging them, burning or hauling them to the curve. It is like raking leaves in the wind, shoveling snow in a storm or digging ditches in the rain.

I love the crunch of leaves under my shoes, especially the fragrant smell of the decay of leaves, slowly turning back to soil to feed next year’s plant growth.  The wind sweeps them over to the corners of buildings where I find the toads sheltering.   A thick layer of insulation provided by the leaf litter protects perennial plantings from the winter cold and freeze-thaw cycles. After the snow melts those same leaves provide weed suppression and moisture retention.  In the spring, a nice layer of mulch and soft compost remain where the leaves had accumulated.

While a thick layer of leaves might not be good for your lawn, a thin layer does benefit the lawn and raking the remaining leaves to corners and piles around trees or brushes provides huge benefits to our over-wintering creatures. Chipmunks, turtles, birds and amphibians rely on leaf pile dwelling creatures such as spiders, snails, worms, beetles, millipedes and mites for a winter’s meal. A couple inches thick of leaf layers provides a winter home to butterflies and moths.

Red-Banded hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) Observation date: Sep 29, 2012 submitted by: janno Region: Clermont County, Ohio, United States

A dried leaf might actually be the cocoon of a Luna moth or Swallowtail butterfly. That pile of leaves serves as a blanket for the Woolly Bear and Great Spangled Fritillary catepillars. Oak leaves house the eggs of Red-Banded hairstreaks, a gorgeous butterfly. Insulation provided by leaves protects the mated bumble bee queen that burrows only a few inches underground. So, leave that nice pile of leaves right there where it belongs.

“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.”
― Amit Ray