farm blog

firefly farm's village

Have you ever heard the expression “It takes a village”? It was coined several years ago by Hillary Clinton in reference to raising children. Now, don’t go down a rabbit hole on how much you love or hate Hillary Clinton and then spin out into a tizzy over the state of modern politics. That’s divisive and not at all what this is about. In fact, quite the opposite.

I didn't intend to co-opt her expression, but over the years, I have often caught myself saying, “It takes a village to support a farm”. And, I think that's right. The very young and the very old make their contributions here as well as many others.

The young ones come on school field trips with their wonderment and awe, and they renew our spirit every time we work with them. At the other end of the spectrum, I have an 85-year-old-friend who contributes her coffee grounds and thoughtful conversation every two weeks to aid in the development of our thermophilic compost program and our world view.

Local artists of every age have lent their talents to our endeavors and we are all the richer for it. Delilah Reed at The Loud Cicada painted a dandelion mural on the barn at Firefly years ago and it still cheerfully greets everyone who steps into the farmyard. One of my favorite collaborations from last year was the waxed canvas aprons that Malissa at Malissa Long Wear and I co-designed for our farm hands to wear. They were so well received, we are going to add them to our expanding merch section in the soon to reopen Firefly Food Hub. This year, Carrie at Sparrow Lettering is making all our crop labels for both Firefly and RISE Farms. Her beautiful handwriting elevates them into something both functional and aesthetically pleasing and we appreciate her contributions on the daily.

Whether it be earth-friendly resource drives or retail sales events, our village shows up! We started our annual leaf drive in 2021 and had over 100 donations from almost every part of the city thereby funneling untold amounts of carbon away from the landfill and into our soil. And, we started holding a monthly farmers’ market several years ago to give our farmer friends an additional weekend sales opportunity and sooner rather than later, over a thousand people were regularly attending this two hour event!

There are several other businesses and organizations, small and large, that contribute to our success, too. From the numerous, locally-owned restaurants that buy our produce (for a complete list, see our web site home page) to Fidelity Bank, who has generously extended the opportunity for us to launch our rooftop farm on top of their spectacular, new car park in the heart of downtown Wichita, our village is diverse and dynamic.

I could go on and on, but really, there are way too many people in our village to thank each one by name here. Suffice it to say, we see you and are daily thankful for our village and the contributions it makes to our success.

With Love, Leah

on writing and growing

So in my undergraduate days I studied creative writing, amongst other subjects, but to tell the truth my attempts at poetry were just horrible. I remember one of my professors telling me I just had to put the practice hours in and I would progress, but I never spent the time. I had not found my voice then and had no idea what I really wanted to say about life.

As sad as it sounds, the advent of computers, email, and social media have given me the opportunity to acquire practice hours and I have seen my skills tighten over the years. I no longer have any desire to write poetry and much prefer the wordier nature of prose though, specifically essay writing.

Add to that fact, I have really gotten to know myself in the intervening years and my voice feels very authentic now. The former being a prerequisite for the latter in my opinion. Being a farmer has given me a chance to make quiet observations about my vocation, nature, the environment, conservation and the insignificant experiences of daily life I come across from time to time that really turn out to be so significant when given a little consideration. It is a matter of focus that has become clearer with age, and I now feel like I might have something useful to say from time to time.

So here I was this morning channeling my best Mark Twain as I was sitting in bed writing to a friend about farming when I wrote: "I find there is always the next step in learning and refining and since one round takes a year, you only get a limited number of tries before the deal is over."

As I re-read what I had just written it dawned on me that farming is just re-writing and editing in a different context and that is why I am so comfortable with the process! The earth is my tablet; the plow is my pen; the plants are my words, and each year's effort is just a re-write and edit of the previous year. What an epiphany!

With love, Leah

so much to say about 2020

Greetings from Firefly Farm! We have missed seeing friends and neighbors at the farm this year. Hope this note finds you healthy and well.

As you may have noticed, Firefly Farm is not hosting our popular farmers’ markets or retail sales in 2020. This time of adjustment and refocus has provided us the space to reflect on our path over our first five years, wrap up some loose ends, and plan for some exciting projects in the near future.

As members of the local food community, we are leaning toward resilience in the face of difficulty. Firefly Farm remains optimistic and engaged, believing that local food is an essential part of navigating the pandemic and the social and political upheaval that is our time.

While Firefly Farm is a little quieter this season, the natural world is alive and well. We are enjoying a small crop of heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, onions and garlic. We crossed off quite a few tasks on the long list of to-dos and are making plans to co-op with a couple of new specialty crop farmers here at Firefly--stay tuned for more details!

Two new hoop houses arrived last week. Putting them up is our next big project. We are also staying in touch with local chefs regarding the openings and closings of their establishments as they move to stay viable while keeping their staff and customers safe. We're currently making plans for fall crops and returning to wholesale supply.

Please connect with Firefly through Facebook and Instagram. Don’t hesitate to call or message us with any questions. We value your connection and support of local food at every level.

With love, Leah

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