Like Blueberries and Fresh Fruit, Cast Your Vote for CWRU in Communities Take Root Competition
How many blueberries are on a bush? You can find out by voting in the 2011 Communities Take Root competition, sponsored by Edy’s Fruit Bars, and helping the Case Western Reserve University’s Farm Food Program plant an orchard of the bushes at its Hunting Valley farms.
Your vote can also mean that eventually you will be eating the healthy berries in offerings created by the Bon Appétit kitchens at Case Western Reserve University.
Christopher Bond, the University Farms horticulturalist, envisions a fallow field filled with bushes next to the farm’s small vineyard. The idea will take root if the university is among the 20-top voting organizations of 120 invited to compete between April 15 and August 31.
Your vote counts, but only one a day during the competition by visiting www.CommunitiesTakeRoot.com.
I’ve envisioned an orchard for the farm. Winning the contest will help us establish one,” Bond said.
This is the second year of the competition. Last year Eddy’s Fruit Bar helped establish 25 orchards across the United States. This year they hope to add another 20. Winners will be selected monthly during the competition and also at the end.
He would like to see campus get an early start on planting a field of blueberries and encourages everyone to come out with a strong vote each day.
Bond believes the Farm Food Program exemplifies the idea of sustainability and a commitment to locally grown food that earned them a place in the competition.
Growing produce on the 389-acres at the Squire Valleevue and Valley Ridge Farms took hold last year and is expanding. In 2010, the inaugural year of the sustainable garden program to supply fresh produce for campus, 7,261.8 pounds of vegetables were gathered at 48 separate harvests.
That yield came from a half-acre plot. University Farm Director Ana Locci and Bond plan to expand to 2.5 acres this summer with plots at both farms.
Even after snows covered the farms’ fields, fresh produce—a variety of peppers, cucumbers, green bean and herbs grown in the farm’s Debra Ann November Greenhouse—continued to enhance the healthy, organic offerings. So far this year, the farm has had 10 harvests, with a total of 150 pounds of food grown. Some 73 volunteers donated 269 hours by April 8 to help.
It’s no small task to prepare, maintain and harvest the produce. Volunteers have made it possible. In 2010, a total of 3,329.5 hours by 186 volunteers, mostly students, were devoted to the Farm Food Program.
That volunteer labor represents almost 20 percent of total hours, Bond said.
The food production will get a sweet boost with the new endeavor of keeping bees for pollination. The byproduct of that busy bee work means plenty of honey for the table, too.
Growing food on the farm has also provided educational experiences for several undergraduate and graduate classes in SAGES, nutrition and engineering.
Bond encourages all to cast a daily vote to bring blueberry bushes to the farm.