DIG Students Work during Coronavirus!

DIG Students Work during Coronavirus!

Published Friday, Apr 24, 2020

Unprecedented times with the Coronavirus mean unprecedented times for SEEDS and for our programming. Thankfully all of our DIG Crew have the ability to connect online, and we have been regularly holding virtual programming with  Crew-members 2 to 3 times a week since we began social distancing six weeks ago. We have had at least 2 video chats each week, where 4 to 6 of our Crew-members are able to check in with each other and have some unstructured time together. They’ve shared with our Farm Manager that this has been a really important piece of feeling emotionally stable during a period of uncertainty.

Beginning with activities created by Trevor, and transitioning into youth-prompted activities, we have a Google Classroom set up with a variety of learning activities and projects which Crew-members are able to complete as they feel inspired, and for which they receive paid hours for each project and activity completed. This is a really important piece of virtual activities for our high school students: substituting for or our normal programming schedule and allowing students to still earn an income when we can’t physically gather together.
Our first project, Plant Family Presentations, can be found here and are a series of Google Slides presentations showcasing research on common botanical plant families that feature most of the plants consumed by humans. They contain practical information and can help increase participants’ understanding of the interconnections of our food – and how to spot plants that are related to each other. Currently, Crew-members are working on Plant Expert Presentations, choosing one Summer crop to grow at home right now, and providing all an amateur gardener would need to know to grow, care for, harvest, and cook that plant. Those projects will be up in the Resources Folder  for you to enjoy as you plant your summer vegetable bed. 
Crew-members have also learned how to transplant from pots to soil using a picture guide, created, cooked, and (virtually) shared several different recipes (which can also be found in the Resources Folder), and began a journal so that after this is over we can compile all their entries into their feelings and reflections during this time of isolation. Crew-members also conducted virtual interviews of qualified and enthusiastic candidates for our Summer program (exact programming TBD) conducted a youth-directed hiring process, and extended offers to three new Crew-members for the Summer. All three new students have accepted, and will begin virtual programs with current students soon!
We found it was important to offer the opportunity for Crew-members to be able to work at SEEDS on the farm in a safely socially distant way, as farming is an essential industry, and some households depend on the income of their teens to help keep their families thriving. Although not all are able to attend, we have held limited work hours outdoors, wearing protective gear, and keeping our social distance in small groups. As a team, we have been able to keep the farm going, holding fairly well to our planned planting calendar. We are excited that we will be able to share our produce with our community more broadly as our food production emphasis has shifted from going to market, to supporting members of our community who are struggling with food security. You can see a slideshow of our plants growing, and the transformation of some new growing spaces, in this slideshow!
We are so grateful for our awesome high school students for adapting to their new “normal” and continuing to work hard even in the middle of a pandemic. You can help support our high school program and its continued success this year by making a gift to SEEDS! Thank you for all of the support we have received from our community thus far as an organization as we continue to grow, cook, and share food together in a new way in this new season. 

Social distance farming!