Not too long ago, on a rainy Tuesday in the beginning of June, the Weed Crew assembled for the very first time in the fertile lands of Waltham Fields Community Farm. We were all ready for whatever the ominous day would bring, determined to help with the initiative of feeding a community organically.
"This is Purslane," farmer Zannah said, ripping off the weedy foe right by her boot and presenting her to us, "she is taking over the carrots, we must vanquish all of it." She took a bite off one of its leaves and dropped the rest of the plant on the floor. We all imitated this action and nibbled on the leaves enthusiastically, recognizing its fresh, tarty flavor, and so the war began.
Taking down weed after weed, we learned about all of the different kinds we will be encountering over and over again, as we simultaneously learned about those that we were trying to rescue, taking note of the more treacherous weeds, like Parsnip, who will give you blisters and rashes if you touch her on a sunny day, and recognizing the fragility of baby Carrots and Rutabagas. We slowly mastered the weapons that would ease some of our efforts, like the scuffle hoe's fine blade. So many of our enemies were delicious and nutritious, helping us sustain our energies on harder days. We tackled through together, every weekday morning since.
|This year's with a reliable WFCF volunteer. |
From left to right: Gina, Martha Hamilton (volunteer extraordinaire), Anna, Annie & Leo
Any time you looked away, Amaranth would rise from the ground below us and spread her seeds before you could find her. Since nobody can predict where they will spread themselves, we'd focus on rows of specific vegetables to save the bunch at once, so all of the lettuce can grow together, for example, and hopefully feed all of our hungry stomachs on time. The fields are so healthy and nutritious, it almost seemed like the weeds grew faster every day.
On harsh, hot and humid days, it seemed like the battle would never end (and it probably wouldn't). Our spirits would run low, but we always had each other to bring ourselves back to life. Since the very beginning, we found the fields to be a safe space to establish a healthy support system. After all, if we hadn't done that, we would probably end up losing this war.
The Weed Crew soldiers were all very different, and we quickly learned to love that about each other. We would fight the heat with laughter, and weed through the rain with song. We became stronger in body and spirit, helping each other grow from our flaws and mistakes. Within the crew there were soldiers, artists, philosophers, psychologists, and even mermaids, from all kinds of different backgrounds. We learned about ourselves, our efforts, our culture, the things we loved and hated, and how harmonious our off-pitches can sound together if you just believe it's beautiful.
On certain days (Fridays and Saturdays!) our troop was generally reinforced with volunteers who came into the battle with open hearts and good intentions. Conversations about the world would be shed in all kinds of different light of progressive dreams. No matter where we came from or what we did, we all wanted to help the world, at least a little bit, somehow, because we recognized the importance of our individual efforts, decisions and participation. All of these dreams expressed were often quite invigorating and inspiring, imprinting lessons from conversations that I will never forget, and critical lessons about how important even the smallest of efforts can be.
As the summer comes to an end, so does the era of the Weed Crew this year for the Waltham Fields Community Farm. Thank you, all of you, who helped contribute to this battle, and all of you who casually inspired us with your good vibes. We grew stronger and will continue doing so, together, and it wouldn't be possible without the efforts of our community, from farmers to all supporting members.
But alas, the battle is truly eternal, and there is still Purslane out there wrapped around a Tomato that is trying to grow stronger, waiting for you to eat it. Let's give each other a helping hand! It truly is much better when we're in it together.
I will miss my fellow Weed Crew and wish them all the best in their upcoming ventures. We came in as strangers and are departing as family. I know each one of you are meant for greatness!
Weed Crew Member, Farm Stand Assistant, & Outreach Market Assistant