NEWSLETTER. From Abundant Grace Newsletter April 2021.
We are always looking for new opportunities to provide for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. For years, we contemplated the idea of venturing into the wilderness areas of the 300-acre farm.
Farm owners Christine Pielenz and Bill Laven have stewarded the land with sustainable practices, and with our new Carbon Farm Plan from the Resource Conservation District.
This new year was the perfect time to launch our latest program initiative: the Conservation Crew. Now, program participants can move beyond the agricultural fields and engage in important environmental work, while improving their teamwork skills and collaborating to complete a successful project.
The Conservation Crew adds a fourth day of programming at the Farm. We are able to offer 5 rounds of this pilot program this year for groups of 6 participants who have completed an application and demonstrated their commitment through our regular farm activities. As with all of AGCW’s job readiness programs, participants receive a stipend at the end of each work session.
We are pleased to report that the inaugural round of the Conservation Crew was a hugely positive experience! Together with AGCW’s Program Director, Judy Bross, our team was able to clear an entire field of more than 1,000 invasive species, including the prolific Pampas Grass that is taking over our grazing pastures. We also cleared an overgrown trail and addressed a bank in danger of eroding by seeding it with grass and native plants.
The highlight of the first round was partnering with the Resource Conservation District and Point Blue Conservation Science on a pond restoration project.
The Crew learned a lot from the pros, including how to plant native plants and actively maintain them. Looking ahead this season, we’re excited to continue with the Conservation Crew through 4 more rounds. The Carbon Farm Plan provides an assessment and ideas for how we could continue to sequester carbon on the farm.
We’re thrilled that many of the projects are perfect for the Conservation Crew, especially things like invasive species removal, new plantings, and erosion control. We at Potrero Nuevo Farm are proud to partner with Abundant Grace and share a place that provides refuge, a sense of community, confidence building, and a catalyst for positive change in the lives of people experiencing homelessness.