Meet two amazing supporters and all around good guys: Dan Wight and Josh Whittall. Dan has been involved with Farmer Frog for close to three years now. He first got involved as a horticulture student volunteer at Edmonds Community Campus Farm. “I soon met Zsofia, Zsolt and friends,” he says, “I loved the people and the passion, joined the motley crew, and never looked back.”
Dan had been working with us as an urban farmer educator at the EdCC Campus Farm when he started getting his friend, Josh Whittall, involved to help him complete a large arbor around the farm. Now, both Dan and Josh are also an integral part of the restoration and construction team at our Paradise Farm headquarters site in Snohomish County. Dan feels that volunteering is important and says, “I love giving time, energy, and creativity because I love the people and the vision and in my own small way I can pick away at a healthier, peaceful, more connected, vibrant future for people and planet. You gotta start somewhere.”
After 15 years in corporate information technology, Josh felt guilty about not contributing to the environment as he learned more about the issues and ways we can all make a difference. He has volunteered at schools for as long as he can remember and loves teaching kids, so our programs were a natural fit for him. Josh especially loves being out at our headquarters property, Paradise Farm, and usually has his kids out volunteering with him most days. He adds, however, “Progress is slow. If we had the equipment we needed we would willing to spend even more time out there!”
Josh goes on to explain, “For those unfamiliar with the site, the Paradise Farm property hasn’t seen much maintenance in recent years. We have a lot of work to do to prepare the areas for planting, hoop houses, educational events, etc. There are lots and lots of blackberries to be cleared, and while the goats are making a dent in this, doing this by hand will take us probably ten times longer than if we had some small equipment out there to help with clearing.”
Professionally, Dan and Josh work together in the grounds keeping and landscaping industry. Dan has learned a lot about food production from volunteering with Farmer Frog and now grows many edibles. He tells us that last summer he delighted in growing eight different varieties of cherry tomatoes along with greens and other edibles in a series of raised beds that he and his friends built and that the “black cherry” variety was his favorite.
Dan’s words of wisdom for up and coming volunteers and supporters: “I encourage students and parents to get involved with Farmer Frog by visiting your school farms. If you don’t have one at your school, request one! Ask your teachers and contact us. If you just want to donate time or funding, please stop in on one of our Paradise Farm work parties—and donate today. We always need an extra hand, or an extra dollar – we’re short on tools big and small. Grand vision, baby steps.”
Josh’s advice for others interested in supporting Farmer Frog: “Volunteer at your local school gardens. We’re all limited on time, but we may have an urban farm just down the street from you. Or come out to the headquarters site on Saturdays. We need labor and money as well as donations of used equipment, tools, etc. It also helps if we just keep talking about what Farmer Frog is and does. This is a true grassroots effort.”
Stacy Aleksich is a Farmer Frog board member.