Finnriver Farm & Cidery Journal
Building Community with Food
Finnriver Orchard crew member Sam Scheidt and his partner Katelyn Porter were looking for an opportunity to get their hands in the soil, deepen their experience with production vegetable growing, and provide a needed resource for the local food bank. They found the connective tissue for their goals at the Finnriver farm when owner Keith Kisler suggested they dig into some underutilized space near the orchard. With the support of Finnriver, the Food Bank Farm and Gardens of Jefferson County, Sam and Katelyn began their first growing season this year.
They are currently responding to a need for an intentional grow of greens, lettuces and salad vegetables for the Tri-Area Food Bank in Chimacum. This is different from gleaning unwanted, overripe, or lesser quality foods from farms and supermarkets—how much of the food makes its way to the food bank. Sam and Katelyn feel passionate addressing the divide between people with means and people without means and the land’s capacity to provide for everyone.
The same land can and does provide food for the food bank as well as for the Finnriver kitchen Sam says. Vegetables don’t make distinctions based on income and class. Perhaps humans can learn something from that. Either way, Sam is interested in blurring the boundaries, and feels good about all the labor he puts into growing food when he feels it is a needed resource.
The food bank and this Finnriver partnership has also provided Sam and Katelyn a relatively low-risk environment to hone their farming knowledge and experiment with what they enjoy growing. Experiences like this can be vitally important and encouraging to young farmers, Sam says. He wants to encourage more farms to partner with newer farmers to better utilize extra space, address challenges of land access, and grow food for everyone in this community that needs it.
This food bank garden has been producing a variety of lettuces, kale, collards, cabbages, and summer squash so far. A bounty of onions and winter squash are growing bigger everyday and will supply both the food bank and the Finnriver Kitchen later this fall. Looking toward future seasons, Sam and Katelyn are hopeful to put in more perennial crops like herbs and berries.