“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” says Margaret Atwood, the Canadian poet! “Amen!” I say, “So be it!” There is no perfume that smells better than dirt! It speaks to the hard labor in the fields that is so gratifying. It feeds your senses while it provides real nourishment for the body, mind, and souls that are the recipient of the fruit of your labors. We, at OASIS are looking forward to greeting all our friends and supporters “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth,” and we will be back in the fields on Wednesday, April 6 and again on April 9 at Rosebank farms where we will be picking collards. Watch for the sign up for these events at http://www.fieldstofamilies.org. This is a new season and we have several new procedures to expedite the gleaning process.
Oasis is looking forward to a Spring rebirth of the activity that has sustained so many individuals throughout last year when, like the postal service, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” stayed you, the valiant gleaners, from harvesting vegetables and working the land in adverse weather conditions to make sure that everyone had fresh, healthy vegetables no matter what other economic difficulties they endured. Kudos to you all!
Sasha Coyle, Fields to Families Administrator has been hard at work at the Fields to Families Moncks Corner Garden that annually produces thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to those in need. Several groups have been out to build new beds and increase the size of the garden so more vegetables can be harvested. Lowcountry Mulch of Mt. Pleasant generously donated 6 cubic yards of soil to the garden. Eleven volunteers, two trailers and a pickup truck helped deliver the garden amendments to the property. Groups from Florida State University and Emory University contributed much of the labor that started Sasha’s raised bed garden project. The groups leveled the ground, pulled weeds, built eleven raised bed boxes, filled the boxes with the donated soil and laid new walkways of mulch. Cub Scout Troop #743 then planted the beds with all the spring vegetables.
Oasis was not idle this month. We are preparing for the gleaning opportunities that lie ahead. We are revising some of our procedures to work more efficiently with our partner, Fields to Families. Oasis and Fields to Families will be doing joint gleanings as we did last year. This year ALL gleanings will be posted on the Fields to Families Website and you can sign up on the website for any gleanings in which you would like to participate. Fields to Families will send directions to the site to you the day before the gleaning. All questions and gleaning concerns should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Oasis will record your time and mileage. When you arrive at the field, please let the leader know that you are present and if you were the driver to the field. The leader will record your time in the field. You need not track anything. We will do that for you. Should you need information for community service or tax purposes, just contact email@example.com. .
Parents of minor children recently received a form to fill out for contact information for each child so that the leader will have updated contact information about each child available on the field in case of emergency. Please fill in all required fields on the registration form. No signature is required if we have one on file. Oasis appreciates your help in providing a safe and happy experience for each child. If you did not receive a form to update your child’s contact information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy birthday to Gavin Plis who turned nine years old on March 14! Oasis hopes you had a very Happy Birthday Gavin! Happy birthday to Patience Brown who will be twelve years old on April 30. Oasis wishes Patience a very Happy Birthday!
The birthday corner is not the only new feature beginning this month. Each month a volunteer is invited to introduce himself/herself to you in our the “Volunteer Spotlight “section of this newsletter. This month, I invited Michelle Pollack to introduce herself to you. Michelle has been a dedicated gleaner for many years. She is always in the field and always brings a friend. Fields to Families and Oasis are not the only nonprofits that Michelle supports. She is active with many agencies for the public good. She has more energy and more ability to get things done than you can imagine. Say hello to Michelle when you see her! She is a joy to know!
I love to glean! It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I sometimes plan my entire day around any gleaning opportunities. I love to work in the fields: feeling connected to the earth, being outside with the plants, and helping to provide good, nutritious food to which some people might not have access.
Any day that I glean is automatically off to a good start. I feel blessed to have that time in the fields. I love getting dirty from the soil too (as an interior designer, I don’t get too many opportunities to be in the dirt).
Produce is a true passion of mine (my friends can’t tear me away from the fruit and vegetable department or from farmers markets), so it’s nice to be able to share that love with others who might benefit from all of the veggies we pick. Even when I travel, I usually spend most of my time in produce sections. While most people are out at the beaches or lining up to visit famous restaurants, I make a beeline to the local grocers and markets. I consider them mini museums of sorts. I think produce is beautiful 🙂 Which means you may not want to vacation with me.
Thank you, Michelle!
Oasis has many gleaners. Gleaners are ALL very special people. Please tell us why you glean. Please send YOUR story to email@example.com for the May edition of the Newsletter. We would love to get to know you, too!
Another new project that is in the works, thanks to Michelle’s agile mind will be inaugurated next month. Most of us receive gift cards and when we use the gift card, most often the card is thrown away because there is nothing you can buy for that small balance that remains. Oasis will be collecting those cards with small balances and donating them to Tricounty Family Ministries, a Ministry that feeds, shelters, finds jobs and educates the homeless and the hungry people in North Charleston who would not otherwise receive these services. A few dollars here and there can add up quickly to benefit so many people. You will receive a tax receipt for any amount over $5.00 More details to follow. Meanwhile, please save those gift cards that you might otherwise dispose of because they are of no use to you. Oasis will make sure that Tricounty Family Ministry reaps the benefits. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to work on this project or would like to donate a card.
Another way that you can help is to let OASIS know what we can do to make your volunteer experience more rewarding. Please share with us some tips as to what you find beneficial and what is not., your likes and dislikes and what we can do to changes the negative into a postitive.
Also, please share with your fellow gleaner’s simple recipes for produce you have gleaned, simple exercises you do to keep in shape for gleaning, and any other gleaning tips you use. Photos are welcome. And don’t be surprised to see your tip in an upcoming issue of the Oasis e-Newsletter. And please don’t be disappointed if you don’t! You WILL receive a response from Oasis!
Have a great month! We are looking forward to seeing you as we harvest collards on Wednesday, April 6 and Saturday, April 9 at Rosebank Farms! Sign up today!