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Live United Day with the Walmart Audit Group

On Thursday, June 22nd, 40 volunteers from the Walmart Audit Group volunteered at Tri Cycle Farms in celebration of the United Way's Live United Day. The original April date for Live United Day was thoroughly rained out, but June 22nd was sunny with moments of shade. Walmart Audit Group volunteers served their community alongside Tri Cycle Farms staff, AmeriCorps VISTA members, and our AmeriCorps NCCC team.

Walmart Audit Group volunteers planted six rows of healthy, chemical free vegetables, including melons, squash, herbs, and a long bed of trenched tomatoes. Volunteers also mulched areas around our new fruit trees and in newly restructured garden pathways. Helpful interns harvested and processed Egyptian walking onions as well as Malabar spinach. After weeding and planting, volunteers covered the beds in straw to protect the soil and seedlings.

Tri Cycle Farms thanks all of its Walmart Audit group volunteers! It was a humid afternoon, but you all worked diligently and stayed hydrated! We are looking forward to next year's Live United Day! Thanks again!

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Tri Cycle Farms is so pleased to introduce these impressive members of the AmeriCorps NCCC Earth Team 5, who have joined us for a twelve-week period of service.  The National Civilian Community Corps is a full-time, team-based residential national service program for young adults, 18 to 24 years of age, who commit to ten months of service, benefiting communities in need at different locations across the country.

NCCC Earth Team 5 is providing essential, and very valuable labor and service in a variety of project areas at Tri Cycle Farms. These include preparing and redesigning garden beds for planting and harvest season, and to address and prevent flooding issues.  The implemented redesign and use of garden acreage is also incorporating the most efficient use of Tri Cycle's new irrigation system, and preparing area that will be dedicated to the planting of a new orchard in late June.

We can all be proud of these eight NCCC service members, and everyone at Tri Cycle welcomes and thanks them for their teamwork, their sense of community, and the true enjoyment of meeting and working with them all!


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Ryan Aitken
AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps)

Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Topeka, Kansas

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

“This service year has helped me to gain a lot of experience and to grow as a person. I think it has enabled me to experience a lot of different types of work, cultures and regions of the country that in turn have given me a broader view of the United States. On top of that the program has helped me along the way towards finishing my education. 

 Service to me is giving to people without expecting anything in return. It's helping those who are in need because you can. To me, that ability for someone or the potential for someone to help people is something everyone should realize at some point in their lives.

One story that particular sticks with me was from when I was working last round in Topeka, KS. I had spent some of my time there helping at an organization called Let's Help. The organization's main functions included providing a meal, education and care packages for those who are in need. Most of their clientele consisted of individuals suffering from homelessness. One of my particular tasks one day was to fill used pill bottles with shampoo and labeling them so that different clients could have soap as part of a hygiene package. While I was doing the work it was a bit repetitive and I remember finding it very hard to focus as I filled bottle after bottle. On top of this I also remember thinking that this was a side job that I was given to keep me busy while the really important jobs were being done behind some magical curtain elsewhere. The work I was doing didn't quite hit me until a week or so later as I was taking a shower at the YMCA. When I entered the stall I saw on the ground an empty pill bottle with the very same label I had written on it. This really resonated with me and made me realize that the repetitive task I had been doing just a few weeks earlier really did matter to someone. Not only did it matter to someone but it mattered to someone that I very possibly ran into on a daily basis. For me this was very impactful and helped me to appreciate all the work I was doing no matter how small it might have seemed to me.”


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Taylor Maximus Meidinger
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.)

Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Topeka, Kansas

Hometown: Packwood, Washington

"I see my year of service in NCCC affecting my future by giving me the extensive training on how to work as a team efficiently. But also that service is and always will be a big thing in my life.  To me service means trying to help communities in any way possible, it’s a connection that is deeper than the surface because you know you are helping someone even if it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

One of the most transformational experiences this year during my time in AmeriCorps NCCC was hearing the story of a family whose house was flooded during the great flooding of the Greater Baton Rouge area. Despite all they had lost they still fed us lunch, and went on to invite us to a late lunch with them at their store later that week.”


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Logan Pace
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.)

Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service:  Maysville, Oklahoma, and Topeka, Kansas

Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina

“I have the opportunity to return next year to be a Team Leader, and this service year will help me in my understanding of the program as well as strengthening my leadership abilities. Service, to me, is a way to act upon my desire to make the world a better place.  "Service is love made visible." 

 


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Taylor Kibble
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.)

Earth 5 Team Leader, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Maysville, Oklahoma with Oklahoma United Methodist Church Disaster Response, and Topeka, Kansas, with the Boys & Girls Club Teen Center.  I served as a Corps member for NCCC for 10 months in 2013-14 in Genesee, Colorado, Phoenix, Arizona, St. Louis, Missouri, and Lyons, Colorado, working on various environmental stewardship and disaster relief projects. I also served with the Corps Network in St. Louis in 2015-16 promoting outdoor volunteerism and recreation with local non-profits and parks departments.

Hometown: Portage, Indiana

“The personal and professional development gained during this service term has expanded my experience working directly with and for others.  Learning to work and collaborate with others, to make the world a little bit better for someone, is an opportunity unlike any other. With this growth I hope to continue collaborating with diverse minds, explore this world, learn new things from new people, and give all I can for others.

Service means providing assistance to others according to their needs and methods.  It is not up to us to assume what others are in need of, but important to collaborate with others to reach a more comprehensive understanding and further our knowledge regarding the diversity of our communities and cultures.      

I have had the most incredible opportunity to leads teams of dedicated, hardworking, and thoughtful young adults that I could not be more grateful for.  The times I have been most amazed are when I observe my team working hard and working together in high spirits in a variety of environments.  Watching my team work well together for the greater good of others is an awe-inspiring experience that gives me hope in others and the future of service.”


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Cara Felts
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.) Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Boys & Girls Club Teen Center in Topeka, Kansas, and Oklahoma First United Methodist Church Disaster Response in Maysville, Oklahoma.           

Hometown: Catonsville, Maryland

“I'm still unsure what I want to do as a future career, but my service year has allowed me to gain skills in a variety of areas and has opened my eyes to many different service opportunities.  To me, service is a learning experience and a way to connect with  members of a community and provide assistance to those who are in need.  One of the first experiences I had as an AmeriCorps member in the field made me confident that the service year was the right path for me. It happened during my first project round in Maysville, Oklahoma where my team was working to help restore a home that had been hit by a flood in June 2016. One of the first weeks we were there, I got to speak with the owner of the house we were working on. This woman showed tremendous appreciation and was very welcoming to my team. She told about her life which heavily involved her serving her community, and when she mentioned that her community showed little support to her after the flood I was beyond grateful to be one of people helping make her home livable once again.”


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Heather Mooney
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.)

Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service:  Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Topeka, Kansas

Hometown: Kent, Washington

“This service year has helped me develop an idea of what I want to do after AmeriCorps, and has given me the experience I need to continue in my desired career. To me, service means assisting others in any possible way that I can. I now know not to go off-roading two hours after it rains in Louisiana.”

 

 


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service:  Brandy Stone
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.)

Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Brazoria, Texas, and Topeka, Kansas 

Hometown: “This year has really helped me grow as a person, and it has allowed me to open up and see the things that I really want to do.

Service is the most important part of my life. I think that if I have the time, energy, and means to do so, then I should put every effort I have into helping people.

This program has allowed me to become very close with people who I might not have met otherwise.  I have been shaped greatly by the people I have been able to work with in all capacities of this service.”


NCCC Earth Team 5 Profiles in Service: Mallory Schmackpfeffer
Service Description: AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps.)

Earth Team 5, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Topeka, KS, and Maysville, OK!

Hometown: Rochester, New York

“This service year is letting me experience a whole range of careers in the non-profit field, teaching me countless new hard and soft skills, and exposing me to so many awesome teachers and mentors.

Service, to me, is the way that we take action. Service is the way that we show people from all walks of life that we’re there for them – that we support and love them, and that we can reach out a hand to our fellow humans even if other people won’t or can’t. This service term has over and over again strengthened my resolve to be a helper and to live my life with my heart and mind open to others.

Throughout my current service year I've had so many awesome experiences. One that sticks out is my team's final week working to rebuild homes in Maysville, Oklahoma, after a flood. When we started out the round very few of us had any experience with construction work and so we were a bit clumsy around the worksite. As the weeks went on, we learned a ton about using tools properly and completing a wide range of tasks, so that by that final week, we were a well-oiled machine and it was amazing to see how far we had come. We were working together as a team so well and doing work that we were proud of! ”


Many thanks from the Tri Cycle Team to the hardworking, dedicated members of NCCC Earth Team 5! This group of thoughtful young leaders is completing three years' worth of work in their three month stay at the farm! If you would like more information about the NCCC service year experience, check out the NCCC's website!

Cooking Matters, Spring 2017

Meg Staires, 2016-2017 GardenCorps Member at Tri Cycle Farms

This Spring, I taught two sessions of Cooking Matters classes to kids in our community. Cooking Matters is a cooking course for kids that teaches them how food is grown and how to cook healthy food.

 

 

The first session was during Spring Break, when we had The Little Village kids at Tri Cycle for the week. The second session was held at Washington Plaza Apartments’ food bank. During the two courses, the kids designed their own trail mix, learned how to safely use knives, made healthy and colorful pizzas, and tried many foods for the first time (Dates! Hummus! Blackberries!). We talked a lot about what makes food good for our bodies, and how we can make some of our favorite comfort foods healthier.

 

We also talked a lot about how to eat healthy food without spending too much money. Each recipe was based around healthy items that are available at any grocery store for not too much money. It was important for me as a facilitator to give kids a template that they could adapt to their own, and their families’ specific budget and dietary needs.

 

 

All the kids received an apron, a wooden spoon, a cutting board, and a Cooking Matters book with recipes and activities, and all of this was at no cost to the kids! It was a great opportunity for me, as well; I got the experience of teaching kids from different walks of life how to cook great food, and it challenged me to find creative, fun, and inexpensive ways of engaging with each kid.

 

It also enabled me to work with Laura Wasson, a Nutrition major at  UofA and volunteer at Tri Cycle; she had tons of great insights and ideas and was amazing with the kids! The cooking classes were a great way for Tri Cycle to reach out to more of our neighbors and find new ways to build community. We are all grateful to Arkansas Garden Corps for creating the opportunity to bring Cooking Matters to Tri Cycle Farms!

 

 

 

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In observance of AmeriCorps Week 2017, March 4th-11th, Tri Cycle Farms honors the important roles service corps members from AmeriCorps VISTA, Arkansas GardenCorps, and FoodCorps play in local nonprofits and schools. Tri Cycle Farms hosts VISTAs and GardenCorps members, and through our food recovery and garden volunteering programs, we work with VISTAs, GardenCorps, and FoodCorps members from other local organizations and schools. From educating schoolkids about healthy eating, to growing healthy food for our neighbors in need, to building capacity so that our nonprofits can succeed, service corps members fulfill need in our community every day. Thank you, service members!

Profiles of service corps members will be added throughout AmeriCorps Week. Check this post throughout the week for new profiles every day!

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Founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America, VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) engages 8,000 Americans annually as VISTAs to support community efforts to overcome poverty.  Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. They focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and otherwise assist low-income communities.

 

 

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Arkansas GardenCorps is an AmeriCorps program hosted by the Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas. The mission of Arkansas GardenCorps is to promote the use of school and community gardens to provide nutrition education with the purpose of reducing childhood obesity and to increase environmental awareness and sustainable agriculture practices in Arkansas communities. Members assist Service Sites across the state of Arkansas with the following objectives:

  • Development and maintenance of school and community gardens
  • Garden-based nutrition education for youth and adults
  • Recruitment of volunteers to support sustainability of gardens
  • Increase access to fresh produce grown in gardens

 

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FoodCorps places motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. Working under the direction of local partner organizations, they implement a three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids. The service members:

  • Teach kids about what healthy food is and where it comes from
  • Build and tend school gardens
  • Bring high-quality local food into public school cafeterias

 

 


Profile in Service: Kyndal Saverse IMG_4814

Service Description: AmeriCorps VISTA, Resources Data Manager, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: Arkansas GardenCorps, Tri Cycle Farms, 2015-2016

Hometown: Clarksville, Arkansas

"My current service year has taught me the importance of building relationships with my co-workers, the volunteers, and the community that we serve. Sometimes just a couple words to a stranger at the store is all it takes to get someone involved with good work. I hope to continue bringing people together, so we can easily create a healthier, more vibrant community.

Service means to give without wanting anything in return. Service comes from a place of compassion for others, no matter where their walk in life.

Developing Salesforce will be a huge contribution to the way my organization collects and organizes data. For the success of non-profits, data is vital to prove yourself for grants and donations. The number of volunteers and the amount of food recovered has grown immensely. Tracking this data proves our worth to the Fayetteville community.

Tri Cycle Farms directly serves hundreds of volunteers, as well as other food banks such as 7Hills and Salvation Army. In many ways we have a trickle down effect by helping others to help the community they already serve."

Thank you, Kyndal, for your service!


Profile in Service: Moriah Santiago

Service Description: FoodCorps, George Elementary, Springdale, Arkansas

Hometown: Long Island, New York

IMG_1507"Serving with FoodCorps has been my greatest accomplishment and most valuable experience of my life. To serve in our incredible community of Springdale and work towards making sure our George Elementary Family has access to healthy food and nutrition education is important and valuable work. Our students love the garden so much and we will continue to work on fostering this love of gardening, science, and environmental stewardship!

Through serving with FoodCorps at George Elementary, I discovered my love of teaching. I am privileged to teach the students about environmental science, gardening, and nutrition, which has encouraged me to pursue my masters in secondary education in life sciences at the University of Arkansas next year! I am looking forward to continued service in Springdale and ground down further in the connections I’ve built in the community over the past year and a half.

Service means connecting my community to the resources we need to thrive. It means being a facilitator of learning, connecter of people who ought to know each other, a grant writer, a gatherer of resources, an idea generator,  an event planner, an ally, and a friend to my community.

My service position serves 640 students, plus their families which counts for well over 1,000 people. I am so grateful that our George Elementary family is able to benefit from Tri Cycle Farms Food Recovery. Since I have been recovering the food from Whole Foods that Tri Cycle facilitates, our school has been getting over 50 lbs of food two times a week, bi-weekly. This is incredibly helpful to our students who are in need of extra food over the weekend and receive snack packs. We have been able to send our students in need home with bags of fresh fruit, organic breads, yogurt, and other wholesome non-perishables. Any extra food we have is used in lessons, or given as snacks to after school clubs. This is really making a difference in our students lives."

Thank you, Moriah, for connecting children to healthy food and teaching them about food systems!

 


Profiles in Service: Meg Staires
Service Description: Arkansas GardenCorps, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas IMG_1536
Hometown: Avant, Oklahoma

“Service is about standing with communities as they identify and address issues; it’s about supporting folks as they build solutions that will bring about long-lasting and positive change.

This year is providing me with the time I need to ponder and solidify my future goals. It’s a great thing to be able to take a step back and think about what my next step should be, and it’s rewarding to be able to do that while doing meaningful service and learning tons of valuable things about the community I live in.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with such a great AmeriCorps team here at Tri Cycle Farms. There’s nothing better than working towards goals with inspired and inspiring people!”

Thank you, Meg, for your service!


Profiles in Service: Noa Borkan
Service Description: FoodCorps, Hellstern Middle School, Springdale, Arkansas (2 years) Foodcorps
Hometown: Sharon, MA

“These 2 service years have given me hands-on experiences teaching nutrition and understanding how kids feel and interact with their food and school food. In the fall I will be attending UNC-Chapel Hill in the Masters in Public Health program with a focus on dietetics. Serving in FoodCorps not only gave me the experience and focus to get into this program but also the drive and desire to further my education and commit to a career in dietetics. Getting to be part of FoodCorps and AmeriCorps means that I have such a dynamic role at my school and the opportunity to really learn about school food, students’ preferences and attitudes towards food and be able to implement many different programs at the school to work on students’ nutrition. I have been able to work with kids closely and be part of so many different amazing experiences at the school: working in the garden, implementing harvest of the month, and running a farm-to-school camp. Enjoying my work and seeing its value has pushed me to want to make this my career and expand my education to learn more about effective nutrition programs and gain the skills to make a broader difference in school food.

I grew up in Israel where army service or national service is mandatory but when I moved to the US I was exempt from the army and committed to going to an American college instead. Still, I always felt that service was incredibly important in order to get to live in the US and be a contributing member of society if I was privileged enough to have opportunity to do so. Being a part of national service was always incredibly important to me but the community aspect of service is the part that most stands out now that I am a service member. Service means that I get to engage in the community in so many different ways and fill the gaps that the community needs; if there is a project at the school or in the district that needs help I am there to help out. I am there to elevate the school’s garden and nutrition-based programs but also I am there to give the school the extra boost it needs.

The food recovery program at Tri Cycle has helped us tremendously by providing us with ingredients to cook with and pushing us to be creative in cooking lessons. I was leading a cooking class with sixth graders and had gotten chickpeas, chocolate, and peanut butter from food recovery so we tried out a chickpea cookie dough recipe which students really enjoyed!

So many things happen each day! Today I was out in our greenhouse during recess working with my 6th grade garden team on starts we are growing. It is amazing how much they have taken on the project as their own and really taken charge every step of the way: they collected cans, painted them, filled them with soil, planted seeds, and are now watering everything and watching it grow. My favorite moments are when I am working on something and turn around to find the girls fixing a problem or figuring out the next step on their own.”

Thank you, Noa, for your service!


Profiles in Service: Sarah Heizenroth SarahHeizenroth
Service Description: AmeriCorps VISTA, Apple Seeds, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Prior Service: I served with a State & National program called Keep Austin Housed. My placement was with Lifeworks in their Supportive Housing Program where I case managed 18-24 year olds experiencing homelessness. It was an 11-month term 09/15-07/16 in Austin, TX.
Hometown: Malvern, PA

“I am passionate about promoting social justice, economic opportunity, sustainable development, and healthy lifestyles. I am particularly interested in how many of the barriers that occur in our communities can be directly related to our food and food systems. My goal is to do work that promotes community development through increasing awareness and access to local foods.

Tri Cycle was a great help to us in the off season winter months when we were trying to build the Farm to Table program by testing new recipes. They generously allowed us to participate in their food recovery program which gave us access to ingredients that we could otherwise not afford during that time.

Apple Seeds serves thousands of students from schools and community centers around NW Arkansas each year (7,470 in 2016). 629 students participated in the Farm to Table program in 2016. My role at Apple Seeds as the Farm to Table Coordinator correlates directly with my future goals because it allows me increase students' excitement around eating fruits and vegetables and to teach them the skills to create healthy recipes for themselves. I believe that the education and empowerment my service brings about to the students will make lasting impressions on both them and their communities.”

Thank you, Sarah, for your service!


Profile in Service: Don Bennett Profile Picture Roots

Description of Service: Site Supervisor for VISTA and GardenCorps members at Tri Cycle Farms, who maintains a strong collaboration, connection and admiration for the Arkansas FoodCorps team.

Hometown: Hot Springs, Arkansas, but has considered Fayetteville home for over 36 years

“AmeriCorps service members have been serving at Tri Cycle since the founding of Tri Cycle in 2011. I hope to improve my team building and facilitation skills every year by working with AmeriCorps service members. AmeriCorps is the window of opportunity to make Tri Cycle a sustainable non profit and replicable endeavor. This year will be the most challenging and productive yet. With everyone in place, I will potentially work with over 23 service members in 2017 in some capacity. Together we are gonna rock the NWA community!

At a minimum, Tri Cycle engages 6,000 people a year. But after 2017 is complete, closer to 10,000 or 12,000 people will be impacted by “Community Through Soil” with programs, like food recovery, volunteer opportunities, taste tours, youth groups, service learning and school field trips. These many activities all support our mission of sharing, teaching and farming.

These connections we are forging in community are long-lasting. This summer a long time volunteer and former 2-term FoodCorps service member is having her wedding reception at Tri Cycle. Her fiance, who is a TCF volunteer too, proposed to her in the TCF Diversity Garden a couple of years ago. A very wise young lady (our first GardenCorps service member, Emily Deitchler) told me, “It’s important to teach that peas are in pods and potatoes grow in the ground, but ultimately the thing of most importance is the connection we make while we are doing it.” She and many others I've had the privilege to serve with embody the spirit and mission of AmeriCorps, a mission of service, collaboration and sustainable communities we proudly share at Tri Cycle Farms.”

Thank you, Don, for facilitating the good work of AmeriCorps service members!

 


Profile in Service: Amy Joens IMG_1529

Service Description: FoodCorps Fellow, Arkansas

Previous Service: 2 years of FoodCorps, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

“Service is using your skills and knowledge to respectfully come alongside a community to help catalyze positive momentum. It’s finding the assets in a people and a place and helping inspire them to work together for a more just, sustainable, healthy world. It is about stepping up to lift others up, so you can step back and see the change flourish that you helped encourage.

I was fortunate to be able to extend my involvement with FoodCorps beyond two years of service to do a year of the “fellowship.” As a Fellow, I support ten FoodCorps Service Members across Arkansas. Each of them serves unique communities: rural, urban, and suburban. Our service is geared toward working with kids, schools, and families of students. The fellowship has offered me full-time work, growing different kinds of skills and developing myself in organization, planning, mentoring, and management roles. I am sure I will continue to use these skills as well as the many skills that I attained during my service in future food systems and justice work that I hope to be involved in. Plus, the many networks and people that I have been so fortunate to work alongside during my involvement with FoodCorps service have me rooted into this work and given me great mentors, professional connections, and many many opportunities for future projects and careers.  

FoodCorps in NW Arkansas is lucky to partner with Tri Cycle Farms quite often in several different ways. We’ve hosted events at the farm, have participated in service projects at the farm where our service members have learned new skills and joined together in service with other AmeriCorps members, and several of our members weekly benefit from partnering in participation with the food recovery program at Tri Cycle Farms. They use this food in their schools for cooking and nutrition lessons, as well as to supplement backpack programs and food pantries at their school to give kids and families access to high-quality, nutritious foods.

I’ll never forget the child that came into the garden crying during a particularly rough day. Life wasn’t fair, and he was feeling pretty down. I gently asked him if he wanted to work in the garden, and he brightened up as I showed him how to use a shovel to loosen the dirt so we could pull the weeds out. When I came back to him several minutes later, he was proudly standing next to a giant hole that he dug. Though that wasn’t quite what we needed, he attained a new skill, felt a part of something bigger than himself, and was proud of what he had done. He told me, “Miss Amy, you rock. Thank you for teaching me how to dig a hole! I feel so proud of myself, and I can’t wait to tell my mom what I can do.” To me, service is about the small, yet transformative changes that occur when we are intentional about building lasting, trusting relationships, and we look to our community to what it needs and wants rather than just what we want.”

Thank you, Amy, for your service! You rock, Miss Amy!


Profiles in Service: Mollie Kenerson

Service Description: FoodCorps, Harp Elementary, Springdale, Arkansas 2015-2017

Hometown: Rochester, NY

“Service, to me, is a way of sharing one's passions to better the world.  There are so many different ways to serve and the ability to choose something you know, love, or want to learn more about is an amazing way to grow independently, as well as with your community. While service can, at times, be all-encompassing and exhausting, I always finish the day with a smile, knowing I was able to do something meaningful.

In my service as an elementary school service member and educator, I have learned an incredible amount when it comes to curriculum building, community event planning, as well as garden and nutrition education. These experiences will be very helpful in my plan to continue in education after service and become a professor, with the hopes of teaching service learning courses that engage college students in the local community.

Harp Elementary school is the place of learning for 600 students in Springdale, Arkansas.  Our community is 57% Hispanic, 26% White and 9% Pacific Islander, which consists mainly of students from the Marshall Islands. We are diverse, speaking many different languages and carrying various customs from countries all across the world.

We’ve just recently began our relationship with Tri Cycle Farms and are exuberant to have the opportunity to work with everyone there.  We attend food recovery weekly and use the various produce and grocery goods to make snacks in our garden club, stock our family food pantry, and provide snacks for the Ozark Guidance Center’s summer programming.  We are excited to continue this relationship and spread more of these amazing products throughout our school community.

Over the course of FoodCorps’ time at Harp Elementary, it has been amazing to watch children learn and grow.  As we highlight local lettuce on our lunch line, we’ve seen numbers of students eating salad daily increase as we continue to host garden work days. The amount of people that show up grows, and as we teach nutritional recipes, we see more students seeking out the information to make them at home  This spring we will be turning our large, in ground garden (100’x20’) into a communal space in which families will be given their own sections to grow the foods they want to eat. We are so excited to provide this opportunity and look forward to the continued growth of gardening in our school and broader community.”  

Thank you, Mollie, for your service!


Profile in Service: Dawn Jones Tri Cycle MLK 2017 50

Service Description: AmeriCorps VISTA Media & Community Outreach Coordinator at Tri Cycle Farms, effective May, 2016

Previous Service:  AmeriCorps VISTA, Omni Center, Fayetteville, Arkansas, February 2014-February 2016

Hometown: Jefferson City, MO. Fayetteville has been home for most of thirty years.

“As an AmeriCorps service member, I’ve been facilitated and supported in combining my personal interest in community service programs with my professional experience in community relations and media services. The opportunity to be part of caring programs which address the various challenges facing low-income families is very satisfying. Each day does make a difference. This focus is personally very meaningful. I have been continually impressed by and grateful for the training, resources and opportunities AmeriCorps provides, particularly in the VISTA program.

As a VISTA Alumna, it’s engaging and satisfying to help develop, build and increase programs and systems capacity as one member of a great team during Tri Cycle’s initial year as an AmeriCorps sponsor organization.”


Profile in Service: Anna Fisher File_000

Service Description: FoodCorps, Bayyari Elementary School, Springdale, Arkansas

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I serve with FoodCorps because I believe that every child deserves access to fresh foods and the education needed to live a healthy life.I believe that students who put their hands in the dirt and watch their food grow are more likely to develop better lifelong eating habits.

After my AmeriCorps service I would like to continue working towards a career in dietetics. Through this year of service I am getting experience with child nutrition and the school lunch program, which are two areas that I would like to work in after receiving my dietetics license.

I serve 675 students at Bayyari Elementary but also help other FoodCorps members throughout Arkansas to connect kids to healthy foods. TCF food recovery has been a huge help in my cooking lessons and supplies foods to use in my after school Garden Club.”

Thank you, Anna, for your service!


Profile in Service: Delilah Clark clark_delilah_biopic

Service Description: AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator, Tri Cycle Farms, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Hometown: Canyon, Texas

“I am a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Arkansas, and I’ve volunteered at Tri Cycle since the first spring planting in 2012. My service year at TCF has allowed me to live what I love about the humanities: the exploration of empathy within complex systems. In my grad student life, I study modern Arabic poetry that relates to landscape and representations of the rural. Even though coordinating volunteers at a nonprofit urban farm and critically studying poetry from the Levant are vastly different disciplines, both allow me to engage in a deeply rewarding experiences at the nexus of human and environment. The service year also reinforces for me that teaching and learning cannot be isolated to classrooms.  

Not from a single encounter, but from dozens of conversations with volunteers in the garden, I am reminded over and over again that people genuinely want to be close to the land and want to know that they are part of a community. University students tell me about their family’s farms in distant locations. Teen volunteers remember helping their grandparents with home gardens. International students describe the vegetables and flowers they grew while they were growing up. There is no reason that we have to be cut off from land or from each other. The connections that we build by overcoming obstacles and doing good together provide a sense of grounding that helps us resist the kinds of negativity and isolation that make us feel like we don’t matter in the world.

In my experience, service requires that we open ourselves to committed listening, to creative and sensitive questioning, and, for better or worse, making more with less. If we really listen and we really engage, it’s impossible not to help. Service is the coming-together to overcome different kinds of poverty, not the least of which is loneliness.”


Profile in Service: Jenni Vaughan IMG_1500

Service Description: FoodCorps, FPS Agee-Lierly Life Preparation Services (ALLPS) - West Campus, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Previous Service: AmeriCorps VISTA at Apple Seeds, School Garden Market Coordinator, Fayetteville AR, August 2015 to August 2016

Hometown: Cabot, Arkansas

“I discovered that I love working with young adults. Before this service term, I envisioned my future self to be working with adolescents; however, I have found that high school students are a joy to teach. I hope to be able to continue working with high school aged students throughout my career. My service at ALLPS has also helped deepen my love for horticulture, and I now cannot imagine a future without  being covered in dirt daily. In addition to my longtime goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian, I now want to further my education in the field of agriculture.

Service means coming into work every day and loving what I do. I literally feel as if I have the dreamiest  job in the world. Service means waking up with a smile on my face because I am excited to interact with students, work with plants, and see both grow. I get to create a beautiful space that nurtures curiosity, self-discovery, and nutritional awareness. I believe that everyone should have access to healthy food, and service with FoodCorps has given me the opportunity to back up my beliefs with direct action.

Thank goodness for Tri Cycle! Before teaming up for food recovery in December, our cooking classes were often meager, scrapped together snacks. Classes that were once inconsistent are now developed and sustainable. Food is the way to a teenager’s heart! I could not have made such a meaningful impact without the assistance of Tri Cycle Farm’s Food Recovery Program. In addition to revamped cooking classes, I am also able to provide small, healthy snacks to students throughout the day. Of the 200 students at ALLPS, 67% receive free or reduced lunches, and some students experience food insecurity. Tri Cycle has helped to keep students from leaving my classroom empty handed.

One morning, as I was carrying in a load from food recovery, students chased me down to tell me, “You make me so happy, and that helps me come to school.” If you have ever worked with angsty teenagers, then you know such a verbal expression is a high honor. I can’t tell if they love me for my food or my personality; either way it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Thank you, Jenni, for your service! We agree with your students!


AmeriCorps programs are administered through the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about the service year and how to apply for any of these critically important programs, visit www.nationalservice.gov/.

#AmeriCorpsWorks #AmeriCorpsWeek #ArkansasGardenCorps #iamvista #FoodCorps #FoodCorpsArkansas #serveupchange

 

 

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As we head into Spring, you might be noticing that your body is protesting the higher energy levels, even as it enjoys the extra warmth and sunlight. After a winter of eating rich foods, and being curled up and cozy, it is helpful to look to our plant allies for help transitioning to the new season in a healthy way. Yellow Dock is great for this! It is abundant in Arkansas, and its leaves are some of the earliest to arrive in Spring. Here at the Farm, we had three Yellow Dock plants, and I used the leaves and the roots to make an infused oil, an alcohol tincture, and a vinegar tincture.

 

Yellow Dock is a tonic for the liver, and it is also an effective iron supplement, without being constipating. It supplies many vitamins and minerals, and because of this, it helps relieve leg cramps, and keeps the bones and muscles supple. It is said to have a grounding effect emotionally, and to help prevent oversensitivity. Topically, its astringent and antibacterial properties make it suitable for treating itchy skin, eczema, ringworm and hemorrhoids.

 

Infused Oil

An oil infused with Yellow Dock leaves can be used topically as-is, or the oil can be added to other salve ingredients. Pick the leaves of a Yellow Dock plant. Select leaves that are relatively intact and undamaged. DO NOT WASH (it’s important that no water gets in your oil preparation, as this can cause mold growth). If the leaves are dirty, use a vegetable brush to clean them. Chop roughly and fill a clean (but completely dry) jar. Pour olive oil over the leaves until they are covered completely. Put a lid on the jar, and label with the contents and the date. Let the infusion sit for 4-6 weeks, before straining the solids out. Oil can be used on its own, or in other topical preparations.

 

Root TinctureRumexCrispus

5-10 drops of the tincture can be taken in a glass of water, daily, or as needed.

Clean the roots, and scrape with a vegetable peeler. The root should be yellow (may be bright or light yellow); this is where the common name comes from! Chop and place in a clean jar. Cover the roots with 100 proof vodka and place a lid on the jar. Label the jar with the contents and the date.  The tincture should sit for 6 weeks before it is used. Over time, the liquid will become dark brown--this is normal! After 6 weeks, the solids can be strained out and the liquid can be put in smaller bottles for use. Dark glass bottles are best, as they protect your tincture from light.

 

Vinegar Tincture

1 teaspoon of this tincture can be taken in a glass of water, daily, or as needed.

For this preparation, I gathered Yellow Dock leaves, as well as Dandelion leaves and roots. Roughly chop everything and fill clean jar. Pour raw apple cider vinegar over the leaves and roots until they are covered. Place a lid on the jar and label it with the date and the contents, and let it sit for 6 weeks. Strain out solids and bottle the tincture for use.

 

When gathering plants, be sure to avoid plants by roadways and power lines, or any areas that have been sprayed with chemicals!

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Tri Cycle Farms presents a full calendar of classes for the spring and early summer! Please use the linked sign-up sheets to register for classes. Class descriptions, dates, and registration info are listed below. Please visit event listings for more information and instructor information.

As with any Tri Cycle Farms event, please park in the gravel lot at Trinity United Methodist Church and carefully take the crosswalk across Garland Ave. to arrive at the farm.


March

11th -- Year Around Organic Vegetable Gardening with Patrice Gros of Foundation Farms

3:00pm-5:00pm at Tri Cycle Farms -- Event Listing

Never miss a week of fresh food with the methods that Patrice Gros has to offer. Come learn about the specific greens for different micro-climates and soil types. This class will teach powerful techniques to grow many salad greens in your own growing conditions.

Register Here

Suggested donation: $10

 

18th. Annual Seed Exchange and 3 Classes:

Annual Seed Exchange at Trinity United Methodist Church from 10:00am-2:00pm -- Event Listing

  1. Calvin Bey- Establishing a Natural and Organic Garden - Basics; 12:00-1:00; Register Here
  2. Calvin Bey- Soil and Plant Development for Quality Vegetable Production; 1:00-2:00; Register Here
  3. Herb Culver- Seed Saving; 1:00-2:00;  Register Here

The seed exchange is free, and a $5 donation is requested per class.

 

25th. Calvin Bey - Natural (Organic) Gardening Course

8:30m-5:00pm at Trinity United Methodist Church -- Event Listing

This day-long course includes gardening concepts and practices with emphasis on developing productive soils and growing quality vegetables. The concepts apply to flowers and yards. Topics include soils, soil testing, soil biology, selecting the garden site, tools, double-digging, composting, plant spacing, fertilizing, watering, companion planting, mulching, vermiculture, compost tea, green manure crops, nitrogen fixing crops, winter cover crops, winter gardens, pest management, weeds, paramagnetic effects, and organic gardening resources.

See event listing for special registration instructions.  Completing a soil test a few weeks ahead of the class is recommended.

Cost: $75.00 (course, printed materials, and book) each; $60.00 (course and printed materials) if you already have the book; $125.00 per couple (course, printed materials, book to share)

 


April

1st. Leah English- Intro to Aquaponics

1:00pm-3:00pm at Tri Cycle Farms -- Event Listing

Would you like to learn more about hydroponic and aquaponic food production? Join us as Leah English covers the basics of growing food using a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. By combining these farming methods, back yard gardeners, as well as commercial growers, are able to sustainably produce fish and vegetables within one closed-loop system. During the class she will cover the basic principles behind hydroponics and aquaculture while discussing the pros and cons of combining these methods to grow your own food using aquaponics. You’ll also have an opportunity to check out Tri Cycle’s aquaponic system and get tips for building your own.

Suggested Donation: $10

Register Here

 

8th. Patrice Gros -- How to Prepare a No-Til Garden in Less Than One Hour!

3:00-5:00 at Tri Cycle Farms -- Event Listing

During this hands on workshop, we will build an organic garden bed using a no-till method. By not tilling the bed, we will not just save time, but we will also keep the soil structure in its natural state. We will then plant vegetable crops together on these permanent beds.

Suggested Donation: $10

Register Here


May

6th and 7th. Thomas McKnight – Intro to Permaculture: People, Projects, & Practices (2 classes)

1:30pm-3:00pm on Saturday, May 6th, and Sunday, May 7th at Tri Cycle Farms -- Event Listing

Do you desire practical solutions to everyday problems? Heard of Permaculture? Join us Saturday, May 6, for a day of discussing the wonders of Permaculture, including some of its star people and their astounding projects around the world. We’ll tour the garden and explain how you can implement real solutions! Join us the next day, Sunday, May 7, for more “permie” fun as we explore one of the basic staples of a homestead: soap! Thomas will discuss a brief how-to using the traditional lye. Then, you can create your very own handmade lye soap at Tricycle Farms to take home!

Suggested donation: $10 per class

 Register Here


June

3rd. Greedy Goats -- Urban Goat Tending Course

1:00pm-4:00pm at Tri Cycle Farms -- Event Listing

In this 3 hour class, Connie Rieper-Estes and Jason Estes with Greedy Goats of NWA will move from basic tending of goat needs and health to more advanced goat knowledge covering breeding and selling. The class will be split into 2 sections:
 
Level I: Intro to Goats (90 min) “So, you want to have 2 goats?”
Basic needs: Breeds, Anatomy, Goat Psychology, Diet, Fencing, Housing, City Ordinances, Buying, Goat Math, and Pet-a-Goat
 
Level II: Advanced Goats (90 min) “Now that you have goats, what’s next?”
Important info: Nutrition, Minerals, Health, Parasites, Hygiene, Hooves, Pasture Rotation, Record Keeping, Breeding, Kidding, Milking, Wethering, and Selling

Suggested Donation: $15 per section (Intro or Advanced) or $25 for both sections

Register Here


 

Email Kyndal at it@tricyclefarms.org for questions.


 

On Monday, January 16th, 2017, over 75 community volunteers joined hands in labor at Tri Cycle Farms in honor of the inclusive mission of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Together, we started a new Victory Garden in front of the TCF Rock House, cleared the way for our upcoming compost expansion, moved leaves from Trinity United Methodist Church to our stockpile at TCF, finished winterizing the garden, and built the log structure for a new hugelkultur!

Service Corps members from AmeriCorps VISTA, Arkansas GardenCorps, and FoodCorps from across Northwest Arkansas participated in this event alongside volunteers from Teen Action and Support Center (TASC), Apple Seeds, university students, community members and families.

Following the workday, volunteers and community members gathered for a meal of Stone Soup at the Trinity United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. Mike from Mike's Mindful Plate expertly prepared donated produce and goods from Ozark Natural Food, and served his amazing lentil and coconut soups alongside breads donated by Ozark Natural Breads.

Thanks to everyone who participated in and supported our Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service! You all contributed to expanding TCF's ability to grow more and share more with the community!

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Photos (above) by Michael Crow (Crow In Focus)

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Photos (above) by Kyndal Saverse

 

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In late October, The Little Village kids came to Tri Cycle and learned how to build a campfire, tend it safely, and cook food in the hot coals. Since they were out of school for the day, we were able to get an early start. They spread out over the farm looking for wood, and divided it into piles by size.

 

When it was time to start the fire, we circled up and talked about safety, and made a solemn pinky promise to never start fires without permission, and to always make sure we put out our fires completely, and never leave them unattended. Now it was time for the fun stuff! The kids had several fire starting materials collected, and we gave each of them a try. We tried dryer lint, dried pine needles, and newspaper, and all were pleasantly flammable. I wanted the kids to learn how to start a fire without a bunch of “props” so I suggested they stick to the dried pine needles, since they are abundant at the Farm.

 

A match and the pine needles soon produced tiny blaze, and to this we added the tiniest of the sticks the kids had collected. We kept slowly adding larger and larger sticks until we had a large fire going. We all strutted around for a bit, feeling quite pleased with ourselves. I suppose in some ways it was a good thing that it was an unseasonably warm day; the 80 degree temps made getting too close to the fire unappealing.

 

The kids took turns tending the fire and preparing the veggies to be cooked on the coals. Each kid got to choose their veggies and season them to their taste. They wrapped them in foil, and then we nestled them into the hot coals in our fire pit. While the veggies were cooking, the kids roasted hot dogs on sticks over the fire. In a short time, we peeked into one of our foil packets and found that the veggies were done. The kids loved eating their personalized veggie packets, and we all agreed that food tastes better when you make it yourself!

 

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Orange Jing Okra growing at Tri Cycle Farms

At Tri Cycle Farms, we believe that the best way to get kids excited about eating healthy foods is to involve them in the process. Earlier this Fall, I spent an afternoon with six kids from The Little Village, a local after-school program led by a member of our very own board. First, we went out into the garden and harvested okra. The kids quickly learned that teamwork would be necessary, since our okra plants are 6-12 feet tall. One kid would gently pull the plant down, another would use the scissors to cut the okra pod off the plant, and another would put the okra in a bucket.

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As it turns out, harvesting all the okra at Tri Cycle takes a long time, so we had to cook the okra another day. A few days later, we had our chance. Some of the kids had handled a knife before, and others hadn’t, so we had some kids using knives to slice the okra, and others used scissors. We decided to try okra four ways: pickled, sauteed, roasted, and fried. I had made some pickled okra earlier in the week, so it was up to six kids and two adults to prepare the other three recipes.

 

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The roasted okra was sliced longways, tossed in a little bit of olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, arranged in one layer on a pan, and placed in a 425 degree oven for around 20 minutes. The results were delicious! The okra took on a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, and it had a silky texture.

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For the sauteed okra, the pods were clipped with scissors into ½-1 inch pieces. Olive oil was heated in a skillet on the stovetop, and the okra was added, along with some onions and peppers. We stirred every once in awhile until the okra became soft, and we seasoned with salt and pepper. The finished product had great flavor, but we agreed it was had more of a “slimy” texture than the roasted okra.

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The fried okra was where everyone’s creativity could shine through. I set out all of our herbs and spices and gave each kid a bag of breadcrumbs for them to season. We had some adventurous cooks in the kitchen! We had fried okra seasoned with cinnamon, curry, and turmeric, and it was all delicious. We were just finishing up the frying as the kids’ parents arrived, so the parents were able to sample the fare as well.

 

We had a great time cooking okra in the kitchen, and I think we all learned something. Hopefully the kids learned a little bit about harvesting and cooking okra, and the adults learned that kids can be great cooks!

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Lisa Jo Outlaw, Meg Staires, and the Little Villagers celebrate a successful healthy cooking adventure!

Making Black Walnut Ink
Arkansas GardenCorps member Meg Staires and The Little Village squeeze fermented black walnuts in the ink-making process.

This Fall, I teamed up with The Little Village for a multi-step craft project. We wanted to gather up all the black walnuts scattered on the ground throughout the farm and draw out their pigment to make our own ink.

First, the kids set out to pick up the walnuts. They filled a huge stockpot halfway with the greenish-brown orbs. Black walnuts are notoriously hard to shell, but that didn’t matter for us, since we weren’t trying to get to the nuts. We covered the walnuts with water and then left them for about 10 days to two weeks to ferment.

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After the fermentation stage, the water had a distinct brown hue. I added a little water until the walnuts were completely covered, and then set it on the stove to heat. Once the concoction came to a boil, I turned the heat down and let it simmer all day; simmering the walnuts helped extract all of their pigment. It was a good thing it was a nice, warm day and I could open windows, because the smell of the cooking walnuts was quite strong...not exactly bad, but not exactly appetizing, either. When The Little Village kids came that afternoon, I tried to put a positive spin on the smell, but the kids were more blunt: “It smells like butts!”, they chorused, while pretending to retch in the corner. Really, it wasn’t THAT bad, but ventilation does help with this project.

The next stage is removing the walnuts from our mixture and squeezing them out to extract all the pigment. We used an old, clean hand towel for this. We had the kids wear plastic gloves for this part, so no one stained their hands, and miraculously, I don’t think anyone spilled ink on their clothes. The kids took turns holding the towel over the pot while I ladled walnuts into the towel, and then they squeezed all the liquid out. The liquid was starting to look more like ink, and less like disgusting soup, but there was one more smelly day ahead of us, because the ink had to be simmered again.

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I simmered the ink on the stove for several hours, letting it cook down. I tested it every 30 minutes with a paintbrush and paper, to see how thick and dark it was getting. When it was a rich brown color, I turned the heat off and let it cool. When the kids arrived that day, we strained the ink through fine mesh to get rid of any remaining chunks. We poured our ink into little jars and pill bottles, leaving space at the top for our preservative. We wanted each bottle of ink to contain around 20% alcohol, because the alcohol acts as a preservative as well as helping the ink dry quickly on paper. We just eyeballed the amount in each bottle.

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To preserve their black walnut ink, Little Villagers carefully add rubbing alcohol.

Because the ink had reduced so much in our enormous stock pot, I was worried we wouldn’t end up with enough ink. But I needn’t have worried; each kid got to take a bottle home, and there is enough left over for plenty of crafts! We’re thinking of homemade cards, wrapping paper, and stamps.

Have you ever made ink out of black walnuts, or anything else? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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