While the pollinators are busy moving about the farm’s blossoms, and warm sunshine continues to stretch into the evening, we (interns, staff, and volunteers) are cultivating, trellising, and all-around nurturing the crops in the fields as they grow taller and taller. During this time, we are also preparing for some of our key summer programs – visits from community groups, sales at the Petaluma Health Center Farmacy, meeting our Bounty Bag CSA members. At the end of July, we will be launching the third season of our ALIVE program, welcoming families to engage with the stories of our land and deepen their connection to our food systems, the natural world, and each other.
Co-facilitated by Bounty staff and a registered nutritionist, ALIVE melds some of the key values of Petaluma Bounty into an exploratory six-week adventure. Families arrive at the farm each Tuesday afternoon, where they learn about where and how their food is grown through conversation, shared meals, games, and hands-on activities. We spend about half of our time together engaging with and learning about food culture and cultivation, and the other half discussing healthy eating, what food nurtures us and keeps us healthy.
As an empowerment-based program, we continuously strive for input and collaboration from our participants, and as an experiential program, we focus on learning through exploration. We share our personal and cultural relationships with food, harvest different crops from the farm, and plant our own seeds in the greenhouse. With its intimate setting, parents are able to ask those questions that confuse just about all of us – what exactly does “natural” mean? Where do I find affordable, organic food? Do I always have to buy organic? The nutritionist invites all participants to think about their food choices, recognizing that our choices around food are very complex and personal, and identify things that are working and not working in their diets. We provide the information and tools around nutrition so that participants can choose to make changes that fit their needs and desires. Meanwhile, activities and sessions for children are designed to encourage inquiry, awe, and wonder. We engage in experiential learning about seeds and seed-saving, planting and harvesting, community and food traditions. Food nourishes us, community nourishes us, and traditions nourish us – in this program, we aim to share our respect and admiration for all of those as we connect to the land around us at Bounty Farm.
Petaluma Bounty created the A.L.I.V.E. Program for mostly CalFresh recipients who have a child or children between the ages of 6-11. Participants of ALIVE are usually facing the burden of low incomes and choices related to purchasing cost effective foods. Low-income families have less resources and capacity to make the necessary changes in their daily lives, food choices, and environment to lead to healthier lifestyles. You can help support the program by spreading the word or making a donation to sponsor a family’s Bounty Bags for a session! Any amount is appreciated and all donations are tax deductible.
Visit our page here for more information about the program or to donate.