Orange, Blue, and…Green? A Glimpse at our First Week!

Our first week went by quickly, and was a whirlwind of planting, weeding, and adjusting to sore muscles and the permanent layer of dirt under our fingernails.


The 2016 Summer Coordinators- Lizzy (left) and Mary Margaret (right).

On Monday night we had lots of people on the farm, which meant so much got done, including preparing for the raspberries and planting peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant in the hoop house. Yum!

We also had a great presentation by Friends of Farmworkers and let the kids decorate the new mini shed

The next morning Darren and I planted the raspberry bushes which it turns our look something like this when they’re small.

Wednesday morning was a tad rainy, so we headed over to Elizabeth’s Amazing Heart Farm to get to know her and her interns, Danielle and Kendall. We made some delicious vegan cookies (with chocolate chips of course) and then planted our winter squash using black landscape fabric to control the weeds.

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Iris every flower was as pretty as this one!

I also had a blast playing with her golden retriever and taking pictures of her flowers. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Friday morning was spent weeding the beds we have yet to plant and finding a heater to keep our tilapia warm (did we mention that the aquaponics system is up and running, wahoo!)

To wrap up a great week, we got a change to represent PTF at the Gettysburg Green Gathering. In addition to learning more about other amazing green initiatives in Gettysburg like the Gleaning Project. We also gave out fresh mint tea and made over 30 self-watering planters with kids and kids at heart. We hope your week was as great as ours!



Au Revoir

This post is the last one you will be seeing from me! I am off to the Food Corps in DC for my next adventure. I have had quite an enjoyable experience working for the Center for Public Service and the Painted Turtle Farm. The highlights of my experience have been getting to know the families that come to the farm every Monday night, meeting the visitors who came from Gaza to learn about our programs, and travelling to the Baltimore area to learn about the toxins in the city and exploring a few of the Baltimore urban gardens. These have been my most meaningful experiences because I was able to meet people who value fresh food, health, and human rights. At times I get discouraged because there is so much poverty and need in the United States and internationally. I feel as though the small steps I am taking are not enough. When I meet others who are working passionately to solve issues of hunger and poverty I am rejuvenated. I have come to understand that I am part of a larger picture and process. Although I may only have a small impact, that impact is powerful. I am impressed by the hope and enthusiasm displayed by many people who have faced great challenges and even failures. I am in awe of the many people who have endured poverty, hunger, and war. Resilience is amazing.  I also recognize that I would not be in a position of influence without the many beautiful people who have supported me and loved me throughout my life. I hope to continue this work and pass on the outpouring of love I have received.

Until next time~

Erin Brennan

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Kid’s Week

unnamed (2)We had an enthusiastic team of 8th and 9th graders join us at the farm last week to help with our daily chores and preparing the farm for the fall. We weeded, watered, painted and repaired the fence, dried basil as a seasoning, and made raised herb beds for an herb garden. The kids especially enjoyed using the power tools and painting! While we worked I spoke with our visitors about food justice and the importance of healthy, nutritious food in Adam’s County. The children were not surprised that there is a great need for food assistance in Adam’s County because they have been helping with the other assistance programs in the area, such as the homeless shelter. I was impressed by how mature the children were- especially while discussing serious issues. We were grateful for their help and we also had a lot of fun!

Community Support

FullSizeRenderThis past week has been very difficult because of the passing of one of our beloved community members. Through this difficult time it the farm has been particularly important as a haven for community support and love. The children have been particularly special to the farm. Their bright spirits light up the farm in the evening. Death is such a difficult thing for a community to shoulder and it leaves so many reeling from the shock. At this time our need for each other is the highest and we recognize how important it is that we have relationships with those around us. Although I have not been personally experiencing grief, people who I care about very much have been. My heart aches for them and I almost do not know what to do. At the farm I know my role is to be there- to be dependable, to help where I am needed, and to fill in some of the cracks where pieces are missing. I once read that the most important thing to do for someone who is grieving is just to be there for them. That is what I can offer. That is what the farm can offer. The farm is a place where memories will live on and a place that will be there when people need somewhere to go. I thank my lucky stars that the farm can provide that for people. It was built out of love and continues to be a place of support.

The Hidden Costs of Food

Have you considered how much energy is used to produce your food? I certainly hadn’t! Here are a few facts about our food:

1.For each pound of beef, a gallon of oil is used.

2.For each pound of steak, twenty-five hundred gallons of water are used.

3.For 10 pounds of healthy grain that is fed to a cow, only one pound of meat is produced.

4.Around the world, an acre of rainforest is chopped down every minute. Millions of grasslands acres are lost each year to feed and graze cattle.

5.Ground water has been poisoned in 17 states due to factory farm run-off. This run-off has polluted 35,000 miles of America’s rivers.

For these reasons, it is better for our environment to eat vegetables and fruits, particularly those that are grown on farms that use sustainable farming practices (like ours!).

Sources: Also, World Bank Report 2324, Livestock Revolution. 12/01.

Iowa Sierra Club publication: Article-2.htm (Pollution from Animal Factories: The Cafo Record the Cafo Threat).

The Oil We Eat, Harper’s Magazine, 2/2004, pp.37-45

Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment, Conservation and Health (Island Press, Washington DC, 2001), David Pimentel

The U.S. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (1999 Report: Contribution of Animal Agriculture to Meeting Global Human Food Demand)


What’s Growing in Our Community Garden This Summer?


We are about half way through a very successful summer growing season at the Painted Turtle Farm! The tomatoes, beans, eggplant, zucchini, and raspberries are just coming in and the Bok Choy, Joi Choy, and lettuce are on their way out. We have a ton of kale and basil- so much that we had to start selling the extras (which has been very successful)!  The rain has been very beneficial to the plants! I realized that we never made a post about what has been growing in the garden this summer, so I thought I would get you up to date:

  1. In the first few rows we have: cilantro, zinnias, a spring lettuce mix, carrots, beets, and potatoes
  2. In the middle of the garden we are growing (have grown): Joi Choy, Swiss chard, broccoli, purple cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, carrots, basil, red cabbage, red lettuce, kohlrabi, curly kale, Thai basil, & green and purple beans
  3. On the back side of the garden we have: squash, watermelon, white and red onions, garlic, and more beets, thai basil, Joi Choy, Bok Choy, & curly kale
  4. In the raised beds we have planted and grown: carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, rhubarb, radishes, and arugula
  5. Around the hoop house we are growing: green and yellow zucchini, squash, sunflowers, zinnias, and tomatillos
  6. And in the hoop house we have: eggplant, tomatoes, jalapeños, and bell peppers

Almost all of the vegetables have been bountiful!  The flea beetles have eaten the arugula and they munched on the Joi Choy, Bok Choy,  and eggplant. We were able to save the eggplant, Joi Choy, and Bok Choy but we were unable to harvest the arugula. We also had bitter greens, broccoli, and cauliflower this year. Despite picking these crops early, some of them were so bitter that they were difficult to use. With everything else doing so well, however, we certainly cannot complain!

Thanks to the wet weather and the many helpful hands in the garden, the Painted Turtle Farm continues to grow and prosper.