Program Spotlight: Leisure World

August 03rd, 2018

The Red Wiggler team completed our first Leisure World Market of the season on Thursday, August 2nd.  This visit has become a beloved tradition for Leisure World residents and our team of Staff & Growers.

Red Wiggler Community Farm’s partnership with Leisure World was born in 1999, after resident Ben Margolin, discovered a Washington Post spotlight titled “Growing Abilities.” Mr. Margolin, inspired by the Farm’s vision of an inclusive workplace, quickly joined leadership at the budding 501(c)(3). His tenure on the Board led to a new strategic vision for RWCF, and he connected Red Wiggler to the Kiwanis Club, which funded the first Leisure World market almost 18 years ago.

Keeping with the organization’s vision to create fertile ground to nourish a healthy and inclusive community, Red Wiggler & Margolin began to utilize the Leisure World visit as an opportunity for Growers to sell their harvested crops directly to customers, giving them a sense of accomplishment and the ability to form connections with customers who enjoy their food.

The market has become a tradition for residents at Leisure World, and an exciting occasion for Red Wiggler staff including Growers David Ruch and Nuno Reis.

Nuno, a Grower since 2008, approaches the market as an opportunity to share his favorite activities on the farm and give samples of produce. Nuno says, “I tell them what we grow, and offer tastes of the cherry tomatoes to the customers” as they arrive early to purchase their produce. Nuno also introduced residents to ‘ground cherries’, also known as physalis, a genus of flowering fruits in the nightshade family that grow on the farm and have a sweet, pineapple like taste.

For David, Red Wiggler’s Greenhouse Assistant, Leisure World unlocked his passion for creating floral arrangements that have now become a favorite product among residents and a staple at RWCF fundraising events. David loves to share his knowledge of the Farm’s wildflowers; he uses sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, and asters to “make rainbow bouquets” for customers.

Katie Junghans, Volunteer & Grower Coordinator, says Leisure World is one of her favorite Red Wiggler distribution sites. “It’s a long day of work for us. We pack up the food around 7 so that we can set up by 9. By 8:45 people begin lining up to purchase garlic, potatoes, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, peaches and corn. We especially love that some customers come  to chat with us and get to know the growers. It’s about interacting with the community.”

Interested in Volunteering, at the Farm, or at one of our events or distribution sites?

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