2016 was a big year for Tri Cycle Farms! So far this year, 1,676 volunteers have given over 4,100 hours of service, and over 800 of those volunteers attended the farm as part of an organized group. 35 different service teams volunteered with us in 2016. TCF welcomes volunteer groups from across Northwest Arkansas, the state of Arkansas, and the world! We are happy to be able to work with a variety of different organizations, like university academic clubs, Greek organizations, faith-based groups, local school and homeschool groups, as well as volunteer teams from local businesses.
Certainly one of the more enthusiastic teams of the year, the Walmart Accounting Department volunteered at TCF in early April. The Walmart volunteers helped to connect the Farm-to-School Market Garden with the edge of what will be a pond. This helps control water runoff and soil erosion as well as carbon-loads the site due to the wood chips that volunteers used to fill the trench. Walmart provides employees with an opportunity to increase their impact by pairing volunteer work with the Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP) grant, which provides donations to nonprofit organizations based on how many hours participating Walmart employees volunteer with their chosen organization. Thanks for choosing us!
April 21st, a perfect spring day in Northwest Arkansas, brought us two large groups from the University of Arkansas: a delegation of Fulbright Scholars from Afghanistan, followed by the incoming and outgoing student board of the Volunteer Action Center.
The Fulbrighters from Afghanistan, pictured above, were completing graduate degree programs across the United States and met in Fayetteville to celebrate the completion of their terms of study. This group was preparing to return to Afghanistan, where we are sure they are making their communities and their country a better place.
On the same day, we visited with the incoming and outgoing student board members of the Volunteer Action Center. TCF and the VAC work together often, such as on Make a Difference Day every October and for Freshman Service Project Day every August. These students work to connect the University of Arkansas to volunteering opportunities in Northwest Arkansas.
On August 19th, Kappa Alpha Psi (pictured above) visited the farm for a workday. With a two-hour bucket brigade, we were able to mulch a huge area in preparation for Pesto Fest. With the help of the Kappas, we were able to relocate a chicken coop and knock down huge piles of mulch. We also met Marcus Hatley through Kappa Alpha Psi, who scheduled two different group workdays with us in the following months: volunteers from both the PATH Program from the University of Arkansas's Honors College and volunteers from the National Residence Hall Honorary organization joined us for workdays in September and November.
September brought us over 150 great kids on four different visits from the Northwest Arkansas Social Homeschool organization. These kids were so much fun and loved to learn about healthy, chemical-free farming. We completed different activities during each visit, including washing buckets, mulching, harvesting healthy veggies, shelling beans, and snacking on plenty of tasty treats from the garden. It took the French sorrel a whole week between the NWA Social Homeschoolers' four visits in September to grow back because the kids loved eating it so much!
Volunteers, especially volunteer groups, help us knock out huge projects that would be overwhelming to our small staff. If you worked at the farm with us in 2016, THANK YOU! If you didn't, we hope to see you in 2017. Contact Delilah Clark, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator, at Azuredk@gmail.com to schedule a date for your group's workday. Let's build community through soil together at Tri Cycle Farms!
Walmart Accounting: Kyndal Saverse; Fulbright Scholars and VAC Board: Michael Crow (Crowinfocus.com); Kappa Alpha Psi and NWA Social Homeschoolers: Delilah Clark