By Elizabeth Connolly
Hometown Weekly Reporter
A group of children and their caregivers gathered at Needham Free Public Library (NFPL) last Wednesday, April 12th, to learn how to plant peas. Each participant was given a bag from the folks at Needham Community Farm (NCF). The contents included soil, a spoon, some seeds, and four seedling cups. A tarp had previously, and very wisely, been spread across the floor of the community room to prepare for inevitable dirt spillages.
Once everyone was settled and had received their bags, Farmer Erica Bond, Farmer Gayani Weeraratne, and Farmer Joe Leghorn walked the children through the planting process. A colorful slideshow presentation took place in tandem with the farmers’ instructions. Though the group consisted of a fairly wide range of children, they were all very attentive and did their best to follow the steps they were given. After the peas were planted, they were given further instructions for taking care of the plants. “Your job now is to wake them up and help them grow,” said Joe.
NCF is a local nonprofit organization that donates half of what they grow to those facing food insecurity in the community, though that’s not their only mission: they also offer many educational opportunities, such as this one, that teach sustainable growing practices. New this year are the 150 raised garden beds they have built that are available for local residents to lease for seasonal, recreational use.
“This is our third year doing this,” explained Erica, referring to the pea-planting event. “Last year was in-person and the first year was via Zoom. It put all of our technical skills to the test!” she said with a laugh.
For more information about NCF, including rental information and availability for the raised garden beds, visit NeedhamFarm.org. A list of upcoming library events can be found on NFPL’s website, NeedhamLibrary.org.