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November 9, 2023

GroundED and "Project Blue"

GroundED and "Project Blue"

This fall the GroundED crew is working on a project to transform a portion of the farm into perennial agriculture! This particular part of the GRuB farm has carried the plant disease "Clubroot" in the past, which greatly affected food production and soil quality on that side of the farm. While we could continue tilling and planting in that section, the farm team and the Youth Programs team decided to lean into something that feels more sustainable and efficient, and trying on prairie mounds! Teams of youth have built five 12 foot prairie mounds into which we are planting blueberries and a variety of native berry plants, grasses, camas, and lots more. Along the way we have learned about native plants as teachers, landscape design and installation and much more! This project is an example of the magic of weaving together many youth bringing their gifts and observations to the site.

The seed of this project was planted in 2022 when the summer youth crew noticed how well one blueberry plant was growing on the wetter side of the farm then those on the drier side of the farm. The crew also observed that GRuB’s raspberries are our most popular crop and wanted to see us grow more berries in general. Meanwhile we happen to have some fabulous advanced youth on our Farm Team who have interest and experience in fruit production! These youth interests resonated with the work our Wild Foods and Medicines program is doing with native plant restoration on the GRuB Nature Trail.

In Spring 2023 we received a grant from the Fruit Guys Fund to help jump start this project, and the farm team said it seemed fitting to call this project: Project Blue for all of the blueberries we see in the future. Recently we also received a donation of hundreds of native prairie plants grown by John Gibson and his students at Black Hills High School in Tumwater. In the coming weeks the GroundED crew will finish planting and mulching the site for winter. Next year we hope to continue adding mounds, propagating the native plants and observing how the new plants are taking to this site. We look forward to harvesting and sharing wild foods and medicines from this site in the years to come!

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