By Andi Whitaker, Urban Agriculture Committee
A different type of education will soon take place on the site of the former Riveredge Elementary School at Berea’s north end. In collaboration with the Berea City School District and the City of Berea, volunteers are developing a community learning farm to teach residents how to grow their own organic produce.
Not only will the new Berea Community Learning Farm provide recreation, education, and skill development, but it will also supplement Berea’s community food pantry with fresh fruits and vegetables. Lori Hanson, one of the founders of the BCLF, said that local organic food will provide produce higher in nutrition than what the food pantry can usually supply. “It’s in our back yard… the produce will always be fresher and will last longer.”
Hanson is heading this project with Stephanie Rochek and Donna Bunce. All three are volunteers, dedicating considerable time and effort to a project that will better the whole community. The ladies’ goals are to “help Berea residents with food security, provide recreational opportunities, and support the educational goals of area schools.” CSA shares will be available and plans are in the works for a regular onsite farmer’s market.
Bereans have embraced the idea of a community learning farm, with over thirty residents showing up to the first information meeting. A successful fundraiser in February, with donations from many local businesses and citizens, raised enough money for the BCLF to purchase it’s organic starter seeds and begin construction of a farm shed on the property. Volunteers have already been hard at work building raised beds and a high hoop house has been acquired to extend the growing season.
The Berea Farm offers enrichment opportunities for all. For more information on getting involved with this awesome project, check out the Berea Community Learning Farm Facebook page or by emailing BereaFarm@gmail.com.