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The children's area at Rugged Roots Farm caters to the new generation of gardeners. Photo submitted

Community Green: Celebration of Local

By Pamela Noel

Special to Plumas News

I sat amongst some buckwheat.  Sitting in stillness I felt the activity throughout the blossoms.  They hummed, and everything  around seemed to hum with the sound and vibration.  All manner of insects were covering the plant…and me.  I however, did not offer what they wanted, so they passed me by, diving into the better target containing pollen.  The vibration of their buzzing winged bodies filled the air with energy.  My body responded, becoming part of this amazing life process.

These miraculous small events offer us a welcome respite from the constant backdrop of bad news. It is worthwhile to stop and honor certain activities, events and people that deserve celebration.  One local entity that gives us the incredible energy of food and activity is Rugged Roots Farm.

This farm, originally started by Elizabeth Powell, now rests in the competent and wonderful hands of Jessie Mazar.  Natasha Holland has taken the reins of farm manager, adding her quiet and wonderful presence  to the effort.

Our local farm here reminds me of a jeweled star, each point, an offshoot, giving out individual light and focus. Rugged Roots Farm houses the Lost Sierra Food Project whose mission is to provide local food access for Plumas County residents, focusing on underserved populations.  The three major goals can be summarized as: food access for all, education, and job training.  The farm itself is the location for the Tuesday evening farm stand, where fresh produce is available for purchase by the community.  Also, available on a daily basis is  freshly refrigerated self-serve produce, where the community can drop by the farm, help themselves, and pay for their purchase with cash or “farm bucks”, which they have pre-purchased.  “Pick your own” berries and flowers is a popular aspect, allowing each person to customize their purchase.

The educational arm of the Lost Sierra Food Project includes the eco-farm program through Feather River College, involvement with Plumas Charter School, Plumas Unified Schools, Summer Camp for Kids, and Community workshops that encompass ( but are not limited to) composting, journaling, nutrition, fermentation and preserving of food. The farm has recently developed a shady nature center, which not only umbrellas an educational experience for children, but a lovely relaxing respite area, providing calm and beauty for all.

A “pollinator parade” was one of the children’s highlight activities this summer.  With costumes, masks, and face paint representing different pollinators, the children paraded through the garden putting their noses in flowering plants, helping with the pollination process.  During these children-centered experiences, giggles, singing, and the occasional shriek ring out in the gardens.  Children also enjoy the preparing the freshest of food, and the experience of sharing this experience and knowledge with their families.

Several internships and work programs involve partnerships with Plumas County Behavioral Health, Public Health, and Alternative Sentencing.  Underlying the Farm program is the desire to assist in times of emergency.  During the Dixie fire, the Farm donated hundreds of pounds of produce to local entities, including the Food Bank and the PCIRC Wellness Center.

This agricultural jewel in the Quincy crown is to be celebrated and enjoyed. In addition to supporting the Farm by eating the produce and participating in the workshops,  special events are scheduled  the next of which will occur on September 25, from 4 to 8 pm at the Brewing Lair in Blairsden.  This celebration of local food will include appetizer, main dish, and dessert, with pairings of local beer for each course.  The $100 donation will be used to fund camp scholarship programs.  Registration for this event is available at the Farm Stand or by email at  [email protected].

Rugged Roots Farm. Photo submitted

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