Have you ever heard the expression “It takes a village”? It was coined several years ago by Hillary Clinton in reference to raising children. Now, don’t go down a rabbit hole on how much you love or hate Hillary Clinton and then spin out into a tizzy over the state of modern politics. That’s divisive and not at all what this is about. In fact, quite the opposite.
I didn’t intend to co-opt her expression, but over the years, I have often caught myself saying, “It takes a village to support a farm”. And, I think that’s right. The very young and the very old make their contributions here as well as many others.
The young ones come on school field trips with their wonderment and awe, and they renew our spirit every time we work with them. At the other end of the spectrum, I have an 85-year-old-friend who contributes her coffee grounds and thoughtful conversation every two weeks to aid in the development of our thermophilic compost program and our world view.
Local artists of every age have lent their talents to our endeavors and we are all the richer for it. Delilah Reed at The Loud Cicada painted a dandelion mural on the barn at Firefly years ago and it still cheerfully greets everyone who steps into the farmyard. One of my favorite collaborations from last year was the waxed canvas aprons that Malissa at Malissa Long Wear and I co-designed for our farm hands to wear. They were so well received, we are going to add them to our expanding merch section in the soon to reopen Firefly Food Hub. This year, Carrie at Sparrow Lettering is making all our crop labels for both Firefly and RISE Farms. Her beautiful handwriting elevates them into something both functional and aesthetically pleasing and we appreciate her contributions on the daily.
Whether it be earth-friendly resource drives or retail sales events, our village shows up! We started our annual leaf drive in 2021 and had over 100 donations from almost every part of the city thereby funneling untold amounts of carbon away from the landfill and into our soil. And, we started holding a monthly farmers’ market several years ago to give our farmer friends an additional weekend sales opportunity and sooner rather than later, over a thousand people were regularly attending this two hour event!
There are several other businesses and organizations, small and large, that contribute to our success, too. From the numerous, locally-owned restaurants that buy our produce (for a complete list, see our web site home page) to Fidelity Bank, who has generously extended the opportunity for us to launch our rooftop farm on top of their spectacular, new car park in the heart of downtown Wichita, our village is diverse and dynamic.
I could go on and on, but really, there are way too many people in our village to thank each one by name here. Suffice it to say, we see you and are daily thankful for our village and the contributions it makes to our success.