By Nora Knutson

The leaves are slowly making their piles beneath the trees, and as we fade in to fall, it’s a good time for reflection on the summer and preparation for the school year.  This summer flew by (as is customary with Minnesota summers and Youth Farm Summer Programs)!  As one of the three Lyndale neighborhood Farm Stewards, I think we had a great summer program, with fun games, lots of laughs, good meals, beautiful weekly shares of produce, and of course some big ol’ piles of rich compost.  And as with any youth farm summer (or any summer youth program, for that matter), of course, there were challenges, lessons learned, and room for improvement.  I also think, with this being the second year of the Farm Steward positions, we have a great opportunity for implementing new ideas, perfecting old strategies, and overall continuing the improvement of the program.

One of my goals for the next season is to increase our veggie production in the gardens, and this new hoop house (like a greenhouse) we’re building at the Lyndale School garden is going to be a huge part of that, as it will extend the growing season for a variety of crops and allow us to start more plants from seed.  I also think that there is a lot of room for improvement and expansion with the ways we distribute and use our food, such as increasing the quality of the Buying Club Share program, returning to farmers markets, including even more veggies from the garden in lunch, and getting food to all the kids in the program weekly for free.

I am so so excited to be able to work with Youth Farm through out the school year; to lead an after school program with the kids at Lyndale school, and to be a part of planning and organizing our program!  I feel very lucky to have this job, and I am looking forward to my first full year of working on the same farm, and to working with Shanna and Jesus and really delving in to the Farm Steward position.

Today I am mentally preparing myself for this year, and the next four years, as I start at the University of Minnesota (as a freshman with some credit), and as I begin working at butter bakery and cafe, and as the fall season farm steward work really starts.  I have three e-mail accounts and a weekly schedule (two part time jobs and full time school) and two white boards/one bulletin board for to-do lists.  Not to mention that I’m going to be in Minnesota for the whole year (ahem winter) for the first time in a while.  I am going to be moving at a very different pace and staying in the same place more than i have been for the past two years, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be this busy with classes that are going to expand my mind and communities that are going to expand my social network and jobs that are going to expand my skills/knowledge/experience and personal projects (i.e. art) that I hope will give me more freedom of expression.

so much expansion…i just might EXPLODE!

Happy Labor Day!

-Nora Marie Mahto Knutson