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We have so much work being done on the boat right now, it’s a little overwhelming. David has been working on these projects since day one, so he’s overseeing all of our contractors, and even working with them (Hello! Installing our washer/dryer!) David knows these projects well and has so much knowledge about what needs to be done, I’m often finding myself with a bit of extra time in my hands and/or being in the way.
Originally I was applying for work. I was looking for something on the restaurant or customer service side. Something I could pick up fairly easily with my background. However, finding someone who would hire me just for two months ended up being more of a hurdle than I thought. Instead, I stumbled on a great way for me to work in exchange for something we (and I mean myself) are notorious for spending money on – food.
At first I was browsing farmer’s markets and found Geraldson Community Farm CSA. Geraldson Farm offers on their website a work share program, where a volunteer can work 3 hours a week for a half share or 5 hours a week for a full share. I have started working there on Wednesdays, with the full time staff. In exchange, I get to bring home local and organic vegetables!
The work is hard. We are out in the sun most of the day. The CSA shares are all produce that has been picked that day, so on Wednesdays we work to pick from 50-80 shares of vegetables. I’ve picked kale, kohlrabi, bok choy, lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, dill, cilantro, squash, zucchini, and turnips! Geraldson was just awarded the Local Hero award for the Farm/Farmer category in Edible Sarasota.
This got me wondering where else I can work in exchange for food. I sent off emails to several farms and talked to a few about a work share. Most were too small to need help, but then one of the farm hands at Geraldson told me about Grove Ladder Farm.
On my drive home from Geraldson, I called Grove Ladder Farm to see if they could use some help. Tim was enthusiastic – despite the fact that I’d never worked with chickens before – and short handed for the next day’s butchering. The next day I headed over to Grove Ladder’s backyard farm, and helped Tim butcher and process 40 chickens.
The work wasn’t as hard as Geraldson; we were shaded and working at a comfortable height instead of bending over. I did kill two chickens, but decided to let Tim handle the rest. I scalded, plucked, and processed chickens for a full day, and in exchange I took home four organic, pastured, and humanely raised chickens.
I also found Jessica’s Organic Farm, and the Suncoast Gleaning Project. Almost every Monday, a group of volunteers get together for two hours of work. We strip beds that need to be cleared to make room for the next crop. All the produce we glean is crated up and sent to a local food bank. All the volunteers get to take one bag of produce home. The work is more social than Geraldson, with about 15-20 volunteers.
Finally, after much discussion and peer pressure, I’m taking a scuba class at Gulfport Dive Center to get dive certified. The class is Saturday and Sunday the next two weekends, for which I’ll be driving to Gulfport to take the classes. I bought it via a Groupon, and we’ve agreed that if I try it and don’t like it, then that’s that, and the topic will be off the table forever! And if I like it….then we’ve got some shopping to do!
Don’t let this post fool you. I’ve been working around the boat too. Just today I cleaned our shower and the shower pump drain, which were both very gross. Like us on Facebook to see more frequent updates about projects.