My wonderful friends, Teddy and Faith, have a business called Plowshare Farms based in Pennsylvania. It is a farm/business collective offering a range of locally grown, foraged, and produced foods - from fresh vegetables and fruits to herbal teas and preserves.
What's even more beautiful is that Teddy, a former Philadelphia teacher, decided to create Plowshare simply stemming from his love for organic living and farming, and wanted to incorporate it more into his daily life and work, while sharing it with the community. For those of you who know me, you know I am a sucker for "I quit my job and followed my heart" stories.
Thus, I went to visit Faith and Teddy on their latest venture: building a greenhouse for a client whose land Teddy was to farm on. They needed an extra hand and I was anxious to volunteer in any way! So I took the $20 in my pocket, grabbed my backpack, and hopped on a Bolt Bus to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia holds very dear to my heart, having gone to a boarding high school right outside of the city in the rural-burbs (that's where I met Faith). Always a fan of the NJ Transit or the Chinatown bus, I must say I haven't taken Bolt Bus as often as your average 20-something year old. Because of its modern design, raving wi-fi and electrical outlets, the seats were always full and I found myself often having to -gasp!- buy a ticket ahead of time. Blasphemy! Luckily the bus I took was empty, allowing me to stretch my legs across the double seat. A dream!
I arrived at the farm, gave a warm hello, and got straight to work. After briefly explaining the project, Teddy returned to bending piping with two of his friends as Faith and I headed off to start measuring placeholders for the piped structure. The greenhouse needed ten on each side, equal distance, but both sides also needed to have matching lengths and diameters - which proved more difficult to execute than expected.
The wind kicked up and our boots sank further into the mud while our dried, cracked hands fought the end-of-winter chill as we swung the sledge hammer onto rods, placing them into the ground for piping. We then, one pair at a time, secured the piping onto the firmly set rods, until all ten rows were done. The guys drilled a top beam to each set to even out the height of the rows while Faith and I added wooden beams along the sides to further secure the structure. It was only the beginning but we could see it all coming together. Teddy would later have to secure the beams a bit more and add a plastic covering.
Five hours later, and a day's work was finally complete. We were all cold, hungry, and fatigued. I admired their daily grind but I needed a nap. We had a delicious dinner that night and went out for drinks. I headed back to NYC the next day but was glad to have helped in any way and felt truly rewarded to see the outcome. I can't wait to go back!