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On Saturday, February 11, seven CUCCers traveled to Warren County for a day of crop planting.

Carolyn (“CC”) Cheek and Shanda Edwards, farmers in the Black Farmers to Churches CSA, requested help from the churches to plant their spring crops in the high tunnels on their farms.  This mother-daughter duo farm land which has been in their family for over 100 years.  The CUCC Seven joined people from other CSA churches, other farmers from the CSA, and a team from the Whitaker Small Farm Group, a nonprofit collaboration of farmers who provide helping hands in times of difficulty.

We began with paperwork and training to explain the special rules of working on a GAP certified farm.  We prayed and sang together – an important part of our CSA gatherings because we are bound together by faith.  Then we divided into two 16 person crews, one for each farm.  Doug stayed at CC’s farm and the rest of the CUCC bunch went to Shanda’s.  Our morning focused on preparing the raised beds for planting where we encountered wild onions, yards of a prickly vine, and several mounds of fire ants.  Weeding accomplished, we rejoined Doug and the others for a delicious and abundant picnic lunch provided by CC and Shanda.  After lunch, we returned to plant plugs of broccoli, lettuces, and kale.  A big shout out to Reggie Stevenson, Warren County Extension Technician of the NC Cooperative Extension office, who taught us which were weeds, how to tend to fire ant bites, how to place a drip line, and the best technique for planting hundreds of plugs efficiently.  Many thanks to RAFI-USA for continued support of the CSA.  The sun shone, the conversation between all of the volunteers and pros was lighthearted, and we enjoyed the gently rolling hills and woodlands of their farm.

Here are a few photos of our team in action.  Thank you to Autumn, Carmen, Doug, Glenda, Jane, Joanna, and to Gary who got us organized.  (You won’t see Doug who was working in CC’s high tunnel.)  Notice our fancy gloves and trowels – gifts to us from CC and Shanda as useful mementos of our day on their farms.

  • Determined weeder
    First step weeding - watch out for the fire ant hills!
  • Watch out for those fire ant hills
    Keep the broccoli, weed around the strawberries
  • Reggie teaches how to pop the plug from the tray
    Reggie teaches the team how to pop the plugs of kale from the flat
  • Happy planter
    Contented planter
  • Picnic lunch break
    A feast for lunch
  • Kale and lettuces while weeding established strawberries
    We're making progress - kale and lettuces
  • Finishing up row 3 – look how straight our drip lines are
    This is what hope looks like!

If you would like to participate in future planting days, let Gary Smith know.  The Black Farmers to Churches CSA is a project of CUCC’s Justice in a Changing Climate.