Excerpt from The Wild Carrot, August 25, 2020, a weekly newsletter from staff to Rushton Farm CSA members.)
It was a warm day in mid-June and summer was right around the corner when Abby and Anna showed up to volunteer at Rushton Farm. Rushton had been bringing in regular volunteers for a few weeks and we were still working on the logistics for work precautions and social distancing. Volunteers were generally working alone and communication was limited as staff worked independently from the volunteers. That all changed the day Abby and Anna arrived.
On that mid-June “Just Show Up” volunteer Wednesday Abby rolled into the parking lot, hopped out of her car, and sauntered over with a smile to say she was here to volunteer. Anna pulled in a short while later (driving a little bit slower) and with a similar enthusiastic smile jumped right into work in the field. Both Abby and Anna showed no fear in attacking weeds and planting endless crops. They also worked comfortably with the Rushton Staff, who until their arrival had been keeping isolated. In these times where precaution is a constant focus, it was refreshing to see two 17-year-old rising seniors smile and laugh while working hard alongside seasoned farm veterans. From that first day on, Abby and Anna became part of the Rushton Farm Staff.
While Anna became a committed volunteer putting in many hours of hard work on the farm, we found that Abby wouldn’t leave the farm. Really! She showed up at 9 am every morning and left when the senior staff left, took lunch with the senior staff, and put in the same hours as the senior staff. By July Rushton Farm had hired its youngest full time paid intern in Abby Oswald.
Through this summer Abby and Anna have been a constant source of positive energy and hope. Every day Abby shows up with a smile and a no-fear attitude. She has worked alongside the senior staff not missing a beat and following instruction closely. It is when Abby and Anna are working together that the farm is most alive. Two high school seniors laughing and bantering about school, swimming, and life while working in the field. Their energy is contagious and it makes you forget about current conditions and appreciate being outside, working on a farm, and enjoying the company of those around you.
Next week Abby and Anna leave the fields of Rushton and head back to school. They will be missed. They leave behind an example that when things get tough when your summer plans are canceled when the future is uncertain, you still have to move forward and keep a positive frame of mind. They both came to Rushton and we, and the farm, are better for it. Abby and Anna, good luck in the upcoming year and always remember that Rushton Farm is right around the corner.
So are the weeds. If you want to sneak out of your virtual classes and come back to the farm we won’t tell anyone.
Abby Oswald will start her senior year at Great Valley High School. She is an avid swimmer who enjoys the outdoors and has a great work ethic.
Anna McNaull will start her senior year at West Chester East High School. Always upbeat and with a constant smile, Anna saw Rushton as an opportunity to get out and spend some time during her summer working on a farm.