Blue Earth Farms began in 2007 to get involved with our communities at risk population offering alternative opportunities to explore healthy lifestyles and living practices from nutrition to alternative energy. Establishing our 501 C 3 non profit status in the Spring of 2007, we began our first year, in cooperation with NW Pediatrics (http://www.nwpeds.com), offering hands on workshops at the farm focused on health and obesity. Since then we have continued to host workshops and have collaborated with many partners offering field trips, and outreaches into our local schools and pre-schools.
No federal Funding has ever been awarded to the program. All work contributed is volunteer. Grant funding when awarded is for supplies & equipment needed by the students involved in the program. Over the course of the years, our program has grown and changed to find its fit with our communities specific needs.
In 2009, we began working with the TEEN Program http://www.centralia.edu/academics/childfamily/TEEN.html at the Centralia College with a small campus garden plot to supplement their limited food budget, and to educate on sustainability, local economy, and nutrition. From that small garden the seeds of a student based business were planted. Over the course of the next few years the garden grew, as did their yields, giving them opportunity to cook the now excess produce into various treats to share with students and staff.
In 2012 we were inspired to take the next step and create a farmers market booth on campus. With the help of the Puget Sound Community Foundation, Twin Cities Rotary, and support of the campus we opened in the spring of 2013 selling excess produce, plants and seeds, grown in their garden plots both at the farm and on campus.
Fall of 2015 has again expanded our collaboration with the TEEN Program with the introduction of our fall quarter classes hosted @ The Farm Monday- Thursday 9:30-12:30. Subjects at the farm include Horticulture, Culinary Skills, Construction, Art and Business. We are very excited to see what the various teams learn and produce for the spring farmers market booth.
The educational opportunities provided through the garden and market booth are endless, from math to science to culture and english. The added component of the student run business greatly enhances the programs hands on learning opportunities. It also give a sense of teamwork and success as well as exposure to the greater college campus enhancing the potential that they continue on after graduation from the TEEN program.
The Farmers Market Booth also impacts the College’s campus of students & faculty giving them easy access to our locally grown produce. We hope to continue to grow this program with our community.