New Arrivals on the Farm – AmeriCorps Members and Hatchling Chicks

March 23, 2017 | 

Riv and Nadine lead me inside the oldest structure on VYCC’s campus – the Carriage Barn. We scurry into a heated, enclosed pen and pull the door shut to keep the draft out.

The chicks arrived this morning. Riv and Nadine are only a few days ahead of them. As we gaze on 100 tiny, yellow chicks wobbling about, Nadine talks about two passions that she hopes to develop and combine: farming and music. She signed on as an AmeriCorps Member with VYCC to learn how to run a farm. Nadine has a vision to create ‘something’ that combines local food with community and music. “I’m not sure exactly what it will look like yet,” she says, which is why she came to VYCC. “I want to see how this farm fits into the surrounding community, and learn how to be a mentor and a teacher.”

Nadine believes that music should be an integral part of community. She is a member of the Suburban Piano Quartet, which she and three classmates formed at the University of Michigan while they earned degrees in music. They write and perform classical and traditional music that incorporates elements of creative writing and movement. Nadine has is already spending her free time at VYCC writing new material.

Nadine comments that the chicks seem to still be shaped like the eggs they hatched from. This will be her first time raising chickens for meat. Riv has been through it before, and has a deep appreciation for raising chickens on pasture. He knows that they will outgrow the heated space soon, and looks forward to helping them acclimate to the outdoors.

Riv came upon farming unexpectedly. At age 18, he signed on for a ten-month term of service with AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps. He explains that Members are assigned four projects, which took him from building trails in Arkansas to a farm in Tuscon. Though Riv loves to cook and garden, growing up in the suburbs gave him the impression that farming was something out of reach. “I never knew anyone who was a farmer,” he reflects, so he never gave it much thought.

Now, Riv loves farming and sees it as a viable profession. “I want to use farming as a platform to talk about social justice,” he shares, “particularly for queer youth.”

Two other young leaders – Maggie and Sarah – make up the other half of this small and mighty AmeriCorps crew. It is the first crew of our season, and its members will live and work on the Farm into July, ensuring a successful crop for Health Care Shares.

Please join us, and spend some time with these amazing young adults! Volunteer on the farm as an individual or with a group. Riv, Nadine, Maggie, and Sarah will show you the ropes and work by your side. Email to arrange a rewarding and fun day of service!