By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
Another year has come and gone, and the Clarkston Family Farm experienced more positivity and success in 2022 – with more on the way in 2023.
Chelsea O’Brien, the farm’s executive director, said it’s all due to community involvement.
“’Thank you’ is really not sufficient a phrase to express how deeply we appreciate everything our farm friends do to uphold our mission, but please know I speak for our entire team when I say that you are appreciated and valued beyond measure,” said O’Brien. “Because of your continued volunteering, financial support, patronage of our market and involvement in our many camps, classes, field trips, workshops, impact and Family Fun Days, we were able to serve over 10,000 kids of all ages and abilities in 2022. Yes, you read that correctly, we engaged in outdoor nature based activities over TEN THOUSAND youth at the farm this past year.
“These numbers represent learners of all ages, all abilities and regardless of access to resources. I could not be more proud. Our hands-on outdoor programs not only reach an increasingly large number of individuals each year, but our offerings continue to be valued and lauded for their innovation, exceptional quality and positive impact. A special thank you to the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education members, Bob Brazier, the entire CCS administration team and the CCS teachers for your partnership in education and your commitment to providing these incredible learning adventures for our youth. I would also be remiss if I didn’t recognize the contributions from the Clarkston Farm and Garden Club. Because of their generous grant our farm is able to provide a make and take nature craft to each of the students that participate in our field trips we like to call Learning Adventures. No student is ever turned away at our farm due to lack of resources either thanks to the newly created Wally Neizguski Scholarship Fund.”
O’Brien added that due to the ongoing support, the farm was able to gift just under $7,000 in organic food, artisan goods, farm gifts and service to families in need this past December as part of the farm’s now-annual Holiday Harvest Gift Basket Program. The 2022 spring, summer and fall community-supported agriculture program supported 10 families with food insecurity and also donated to area food pantries such as Oakland Hope.
“Growing, sourcing and distributing food to our most vulnerable neighbors has been one of our most meaningful ways to teach empathy and support our mission of connecting kids to the natural world and each other,” O’Brien said.