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Celebrating Our Future September 29th


 Extraordinary things are taking place at Left Foot Organics, but I doubt that comes as a surprise to anybody in our extended community. We’ve overcome many challenges this year including the hiring of a new Executive Director. Victoria Wortberg’s dedication to our mission, extensive experience in nonprofit management and proven fundraising abilities make her a perfect fit for LFO.  We also recruited and elected five new members to our Board of Directors each of whom brings a different perspective and skill set to the Left Foot table.

We invite you to join us in celebrating our future and welcoming Ms. Wortberg and our new board members at the:

7th Annual Fun Farm Formal

Benefit Dinner and Auction

Saturday, September 29th, 5:30pm

Thurston County Fairgrounds Expo Center

3054 Carpenter Road, Lacey, WA

 Victoria Wortberg packing CSA’s with Lindsey and Ann.

Whether you’re a long time supporter of the farm or just hearing about us for the first time, you won’t want to miss this opportunity. You’ll hear about how our organization will continue fulfilling our mission of providing meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities and youth. You’ll get to meet the Growers, Crew and Staff who keep the farm running and grow our incredible crops. This is truly an exciting time for us as we explore new ideas and directions for our organization,  and we want to give you the chance to be a part of it!

Left Foot Organics is a very special place with a certain magnetism that seems to attract extraordinary people. For the past few months that I have been a part of this team, so many people have stepped forward to offer their  financial support and talents to insure that Left Foot remains a dynamic nonprofit organization. Now you have an opportunity to show your support and become a part of our community. 

Tickets are $45 each or $80 for couples.

To purchase online visit our website and click the DONATE button on the left

then write “Fun Farm Formal” in the Notes field.

Or call Victoria Wortberg at (360) 252-0156 to reserve your tickets today.

by Sky Myers,Volunteer Program Coordinator

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Why “Left Foot” Organics?


I am often asked why our farm is called Left Foot Organics, so I thought I would take a moment to relay the story here.  When the farm was founded in 2001, the name Left Foot was adopted from an inspirational film made in 1989 by the talented  director, Jim Sheridan and starred the brilliant young actor, Daniel Day Lewis. My Left Foot is the true story of Christy Brown, a child with crippling cerebral palsy born into a poor Irish family.  Christy is able to move only his left foot and speaks in nearly unintelligible, guttural sounds. His mother, recognizing her son’s intelligence, helps Christy to master basic physical activities and educates him. Christy eventually develops into a brilliant painter and author using only his left foot to write and paint. There is an especially touching scene in which the neighborhood kids are playing a game of football (soccer), and they bring Christy out to participate in the game and kick the ball. It was this scene, as the story goes, that inspired our founder to name the farm Left Foot Organics in the spirit of inclusion.

Inclusion is an important part of our mission; we hire individuals with developmental disabilities and offer them meaningful, paid, year round employment. These employees are referred to as Growers here on the farm and they are an integral part of our workforce.  In addition to our paid Growers, Left Foot also serves individuals with disabilities from our community in other ways. We partner with organizations such as Morningside to offer a variety of volunteer experiences for people with disabilities. Lannes Frazier is one  such individual. Lannes was raised on a farm and had a strong desire to work in a farm environment. Lannes comes out every week with an aide and assists with preparing our eggs for sale and does some cleaning in our farm kitchen. Lannes, who volunteers with two other organizations as well, told me he absolutely loves to come to the farm and work around the chickens. Lannes has been volunteering with us for over a year now, and we certainly enjoy his smiling face and enthusiasm.


Another way we impact individuals with disabilities is by offering educational opportunities through our partnership with the Thurston County Parks and Recreation’s Specialized Recreation Program. Last week we hosted a group of seven individuals who came out to learn about organic farming practices and our employment program. The group toured the farm learning about chicken care, composting, and starting, transplanting and weeding crops. Joe Hocker, one of our experienced Growers, discussed his job duties and answered questions. Participants then went into the fields to harvest three varieties of beans, zucchini and to dig up a some red potatoes. We then prepared a farm fresh meal from their harvest and shared lunch outdoors. Everybody received a lovely bouquet of flowers to take home with them.

Though we can only hire a limited number of Growers, through programs like these we are able to impact a greater number of individuals with disabilities. We believe it is crucial to emphasize the value of local, organic food while demonstrating a work environment that is truly inclusive, but we cannot do it without the greater support from our community.  How can you support our program?  We always need volunteers to work with us, and we also take cash and in kind donations. Call the farm for more information (360)754.1849

And stay tuned for details on our upcoming Fun Farm Formal on September 29th; we would love to include you among our supporters! Until then, keep eating your veggies!

by Sky Myers, Volunteer Program Coordinator

Summer Potluck at the Farm


Left Foot Organics would like to invite all our friends, families, CSA members, employees, volunteers, board members, former employees, market shoppers, and curiosity seekers to a Summer Potluck Dinner at the farm.

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

6pm – 8pm

If you have never been out to the farm, this is a wonderful opportunity to see where your beautiful veggies get their start. Bring a dish to share and come out to meet our new employees, say hello to old friends, and enjoy a warm summer evening with good food and good company. 

For directions to the farm, click here.

The Bigger Picture


I’ve only been working as Volunteer Coordinator at Left Foot Organics for a month, and since I came aboard at the busiest time of year amidst personnel and administrative changes, it has been a bit hectic keeping up with volunteer groups that were already on the calendar, taking over the social media management and mastering a pretty steep learning curve. So to better understand the big picture of how the farm operates, and more specifically how volunteers fit into that picture, I rolled up my sleeves and dug into last year’s statistics. I will confess, I am more comfortable digging into a row of cabbage or squash, but I will have plenty of opportunities for that in the coming weeks.

I have learned that Left Foot Organics hosts a variety of community groups and organizations each year as well as the multitude of  individuals who come to help in the fields while learning about organic farming procedures and making a direct connection with their food supplier. Together with our Growers and youth Growing Partners, volunteers fill out our workforce to ensure that our crops are seeded, transplanted, weeded, side-dressed, and harvested to bring our certified organic produce to our CSA shareholders, two farmers markets, and to the Thurston County Food Bank each week.

Did you know that in 2011:

  • Volunteers provided nearly half of our farm labor and close to one third of our total labor force
  • Volunteers donated over 5200 hours of work to LFO
  • More than 500 adults with and without disabilities volunteered at LFO
  • Nine adults with developmental disabilities worked over 3,400 paid hours
  • LFO employed six youth from rural Thurston County
  • Nearly 200 youth under age 18 volunteered at LFO
  • 28 youth from the Criminal Justice System fulfilled Community Service hours at LFO

It looks like we are on track this year to meet or exceed last year’s volunteer numbers. In the month I have been here we have hosted a dozen individuals as well as the following groups:

Growing Places Farm and Energy Park

GRuB Cultivating Youth Participants

Univera

YMCA Farm to Table Youth Camp

Whether you came for a single morning or a full week, whether you came on your own or with a group, whether you weeded a crop or helped with an event, we would like to thank each and every individual who made the effort and contributed to our success. We truly cannot do it without your help!

by Sky Myers, Volunteer Program Coordinator

We Love Volunteers!


We can never get enough of them!  Left Foot relies on the work of dedicated volunteers to supplement the work of our growers.  An estimated 45% of the work done on the farm is completed by faithful,  generous community members who want to support the mission and vision of Left Foot.  Please gather your family and friends and come to the farm to roll up your sleeves and get dirty.  It is fun and you will be glad you did it!  We will be too.

2012 Annual Plant Sale this Weekend!


Left Foot Organics is holding its Annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale Saturday, May 12th from 10am to 3pm.  You don’t want to miss this opportunity to purchase all your vegetable and herb starts.  We also have a small selection of Native plants available for purchase.

Buying from Left Foot helps support our program to create jobs and teach employment skills to developmentally disable adults and rural youth.  Come to the farm on Saturday to meet our employees and find the perfect Mother’s Day gift.  Go to our website to see our flyer.

See you Saturday!!

Left Foot Organics Seek Youth to Hire


Needed:  Growing Partners, Ages 16-18

$2255+ in earnings

Growing Partners Needed

 

Left Foot Organics brings together rural high school youth and people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to grow, earn and learn on an organic farm.  Crew members with and without disabilities practice organic growing, business, employment and leadership skills that open up new career possibilities.  They also learn to work as a team, accepting, appreciating and accommodating each other’s differences.   Left Foot cultivates about five acres of certified organic land just south of Tumwater near the Scott Lake community, producing vegetables and flowers for sale in local markets, and for distribution to local food banks and meal programs.

Growing Partner applicants must:

  • Have demonstrated leadership skills or interest and ability in leadership growth
  • Have an interest in being part of an intellectually diverse work community
  • Be between the ages of 16-18 as of April 1, 2012 · Be enrolled in high school
  • Be available to work on Saturdays, 9-12, beginning April 14-June 30 (May 12 Plant Sale work hours are 9-3:30), then Tuesday through Friday from 9:00-3:30 and Saturdays 9-12 beginning July 5 through August31. Growing Partners are employees of LFO and should not request extended vacation time during this period of employment.
  • Have reliable transportation to the farm each work day (applicants can call Rural Transit for options: 800-650-7846)
  • Complete an employment application and return it no later than Friday, March 16, 2012
  • Be available for interview on Saturday, March 24

Hours and Compensation:

  • Saturdays, 9-12, beginning April 9 through Aug 20 (May 12 hours: 9-3:30)

  • Tuesday – Friday, 9-3:30, beginning July 5 through Aug 26

  • $9.04/hr

Growing Partner Position Description and Application are available at: http://www.leftfootorganics.org

To Apply, applications and must be received no later than Friday, March 16, 2012.

Mail to:  Jane Jones, Left Foot Organics, PO BOX 12772, OLYMPIA, WA 98508, or e-mail to work@leftfootorganics.org.

Please contact Jane for additional information.