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Growing inward, outward, and upward!

Roots & Wings Youth Leader Ketura greeted me for the first time since October with a smile and the observation, “You grew a beard!” I did put time and keratin into this project over the winter, true, but in fact I did already have a beard last fall. We’ve all changed just a little bit in the off-season, and grown outward, upward, or inwardly. Youth Leaders and apprentices who were, before, slightly tentative, have stepped forward with a fresh confidence and focus. Younger youth, like Kijuan, have started to craft their special, unique-snowflake selves and shown us how they can be a valuable part of the team.

It’s exciting how, like the hatched chicks and newborn goats on the country farm, we urban growers are also renewed with the coming spring. Together, we’ve already made a dent in our seasonal to-do list, burying water hoses for easier access at the Youth Farm and painting a bright skin on our headquarters at Blackhawk Courts Farm and Gardens. Des and Yatte sifted the ample finished worm castings out of its bins, providing us with free fertilizer we’ve heard called black gold, an inadequate moniker for a treasure worth vastly more than lumps of sparkling metal.

Plans have been made and communally-approved for popcorn, potatoes, parsnips, and poppies, among other crops in our diverse array. We’re proud to offer the freshest, cleanest, healthiest Community Supported Agriculture vegetable subscription in Rockford. You can’t get more local, and more delicious, than our Cares & Shares youth-run CSA. In partnership with nearby friends like Hazzard Free Farm and Belly Fire Farm, we’ll be able to supply fruit and extra tomatoes in our boxes at the Link-accepting BCFG Farmstand and at select restaurants. With so much promise and positive energy, the 2014 season of Roots & Wings can only be joyful and productive. And with such high-quality nourishment, count on my beard to be bountiful, too.

For information on CSA availability, prices, etc. Click here.


-Spencer Ellsworth, Rockford Urban Farm Manager