Bees are Buzzin’ this Summer!

IMG_1158On Thursday July 6, 2017 our third summer trip to Green Gulch Farm with two summer partners brought sunshine and adventures! The farm was a-buzz with discoveries about bees and how they help us in the world. In fact, the first stop for these youth from Hayward Rec Connect and Booker T. Washington Community Service Center was the Green Gulch kitchen and bakery to meet head baker Mick Sopko. Mick and his crew explained how honey is used to mix with yeast to make the bread. The kids got to sample freshly baked bread and it was yummy! 
IMG_20170706_103006708Then walking outside, the youth came upon a tree where bees had made a hive. Sukey Parmelee, head grounds manager, shared with them a huge honey comb that was retrieved from the hive. It glistened in gold colors and had the group mesmerized with excitement and picture taking. IMG_0969She talked about bees and how Green Gulch is becoming a bee sanctuary by using more natural hives.
Walking down to the field the youth stopped to find a bird’s nest hidden under the eves of a cottage. IMG_0982They also got to eat edible flowers and berries in the kitchen garden, and stroke the lavender, and rose geraniums and smell their hands. Anything to get them touching nature brings them closer to nature.IMG_1021A great lesson in composting engaged the youth, as they learned the mnemonic for composting ingredients. It was Farm Goats (or Girls) Must Sing, which related to Food, Greens/or Weeds, Manure, and Straw). IMG_1004Not only did they get to put these ingredients together, but they saw the piles covered in the area that were cooking up compost-which gets turned for many days and becomes beautiful soil.
On a walk through the apple orchard youth learned how Green Gulch Farm is dealing with pests. IMG_1156The apples were protected with an elastic sheath to keep the bugs away from the skin as it grows. It looked like all the apples had pajamas on! IMG_1151The youth peeked into the greenhouses and saw vegetable starts. IMG_1042They learned about the care of roots, stems and leaves and planting. IMG_1037 Sometimes flats of these starts come to San Francisco to be used in CommunityGrows gardens. One of the plants they are growing is called White Buffalo Calf Woman Tobacco. For tribes throughout North America, the use of traditional tobacco for spiritual, ceremonial, and medicinal purposes goes back thousands of years. It is also used as a bug repellent.IMG_1059Another fun activity was checking out the bees in an outer field. After seeing the bees under glass, youth got to eat sorrel leaves with honey on them-a sharp and sweet taste. Most of them enjoying this tasting adventure!IMG_1114Youth also got to visit the Green Gulch creek and watershed that flows to Muir Beach. The restoration of this creek is helping the revival of coho salmon in the area. After lunch in the quiet circular garden, all youth and their leaders walked through the fields following the watershed and creek down to Muir Beach for fun in the surf. IMG_20170706_134151681Nearly everyone got soaked and went home happy! Great day to be out of the City enjoying the Farm! Thank you everyone! IMG_1173IMG_1166For more photos, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.