Updated: Oct 17, 2022
My name is Renee, and I am a VenturaVie board member and volunteer. I live In Atlanta, Georgia. Sometimes I get to travel to the “Mothership”/VenturaVie headquarters to help with larger events, but during the pandemic, I have been resigned to remote volunteering. The VenturaVie programs being developed and carried out during this time of change and uncertainty have enabled many women and youth to experience some grounding, normalcy, and a safe place for self-expression so needed. I knew I had to make the trip and help out in person. It was wonderful this past week to come to San Francisco and volunteer with the VenturaVie and Zinc House Farm collaboration that we have been sharing about all summer. I thought I would give you all my impressions of the day at the farm.
As the time approaches for the kids and their parents or guardians to arrive, volunteers are busy collecting some eggs for tempura paint making, table setting for art, gardens readied for Korean melon hunts, and setting up the welcome table for children to draw on and express what they thought about the day. We are all excited about the children arriving.
As everyone trickles in, the children, parents, and volunteers gather in the clover field to set intentions for the day. On this day, nature provides a neutral setting for all to focus on the farm, the art, and all there is to learn. There is stretching involved and with their intentions set, the kids set off to learn, smell and feel the farm.
Brandon, the Head Gardener from Zinc House Farm, in his wonderful way, got everyone excited about how things grow, the variety of plants in the garden including that some plants are used as medicine. The children were able to pick and taste melons, tomatoes, peppers, and their favorite flowers along the way. On this day Brandon even got to show off his gopher catching technique to the interested attendees (mostly boys) and why it is important to have no gophers in the garden.
After the farm tour, our fearless leader Victoria led all to the grapevine-covered pergola where tables were ready with snacks from the garden, the flowers they picked, and for the kids to start using the tempera paint made from the eggs collected from the coop. Victoria taught them about how tempura paint has been used in history. In the end, she showed them that their imagination was enough to create something beautiful with what they had collected from the farm. When the children were done painting they proudly hung their art up to dry in the farm’s open-air gallery.
What I learned from this experience is the programs VenturaVie supports and promotes have profound effects on their recipients. This VenturaVie /Zinc House Farm program in particular showed children how much there is to learn when you slow down; what can be seen when you are quiet and what can be created and transformed from what is right around you. These are worthy lessons.