Meet Elizabeth Thorp

Published on 2017-03-13 in Garden Community

I’ve always had an interest in getting my hands dirty and over the past few years it’s become my passion. I began by volunteering for Ozark Food Harvest and Springfield Community Gardens.Through volunteering I was given the opportunity to try my hand at farming. I began that journey in February 2016 and started working with another apprentice farmer, Derek Smith, under Dan Bigbee at Fassnight Creek farm.

I had no real knowledge or background to begin with before this opportunity and it has ultimately changed my path and impacted my life more than I could have ever expected. We began with tending to the rows and preparing them for planting. I learned which plants grow at which times during the season. I also learned which plants can handle cold and which are better suited for the heat. I was responsible for starting seeds and caring for them as well as transplanting them when they were ready to be placed in the ground. I also learned how to properly harvest and wash everything from beets to peas and everything in between. I observed Dan’s creativity in selling produce to local businesses and restaurants and via his produce stand.

Being at Fassnight Farm was the first time I had the experience of seeing a high yield farm from the first spinach sprout of spring to the last rotting pumpkin in the winter. Not only did I learn about plants and producing food but how important urban farmers are to their community. They provide fresh food and a safe space to visit for question & conversation. Being a part of Dan’s farm has given me the perfect platform to transition to my new position as Market Garden Assistant with Alexa Poindexter.

Market garden experience:

I am currently working with Springfield Community Gardens and apprenticing under Alexa Poindexter as the Market Garden Assistant. Our goal is to establish a sustainable and productive method of farming on a small scale that can be a model for other community gardens and members. We will be selling to multiple restaurants in the neighborhood, at The Fairbanks, and at the Commercial Street Farmer’s Market. We will be a part of the Snap Program allowing families with government assistance to use their Snap dollars on fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market. We are also holding multiple workshops through the season to help provide education to anyone interested in the experience. Workshops will cover water & soil conservation, irrigation, and more.

We are currently building this garden from the ground up. We are digging and making our beds, cover cropping to insure soil health, and putting up a high tunnel to extend our growing season. By working under Alexa I have learned how important soil health truly is. Compost, organic plant matter, and mycelium are things that can help build beautiful soil. I have learned how to make healthy compost and what to add if the compost doesn't seem to be decomposing properly. With spring only weeks away I have started planting seeds for our garden, the Farmer’s Market, and other community gardens.

As we prepare for the growing season I know that we are capable and well prepared to make this garden successful. We will be putting in the irrigation, and high tunnel within the next month and direct seeding once the soil temperature is right and the risk of multiple frosts are low. I am thankful to be part of such a unique garden and organization. The knowledge I have and will continue to receive is immeasurable. I am extremely thankful to be part of this journey.

-Elizabeth Thorp