Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Thrall
When I initially moved to the White Rock area I was newly retired and looking for a way to contribute to the community and make connections. SALIs farm was the perfect fit for me; the volunteers and organizers are friendly and open, the animals offer unconditional love, and the opportunity to help at risk children is very rewarding.
I began at the farm as a volunteer with the animals. I became the Sunday morning “open” person and did that weekly for a year. I still volunteer on Sunday mornings, but only every second week. With the addition of the cows and another horse the animal chores have become more time consuming but at the same time incredibly rewarding. I feel blessed to be able to share time with all the animals at the farm.
When the opportunity arose for me to coordinate the children’s garden at SALIs farm it’s if I had been working towards it for years. It offered me the chance to keep my fingers in the dirt while designing projects for the children to enjoy.
We have the children mix soil, plant seedlings and sow seeds in the spring. In the fall a new crop of children will harvest herbs and vegetables then prepare the soil for winter. Their weekly snack is coordinated to reflect what they’ve done in the garden, so if they’ve planted a row of carrots then crunchy carrot sticks might be part of their snack before they leave.
Planning activities for five or six groups of children every week can be challenging, but it’s so much fun to see these kids getting their hands dirty in the soil while teaching them about the importance of good healthy food.
The volunteers with the children’s program seem to be happy with my weekly plans. I make sure they have the tools necessary to do whatever project is in the works, and I try to give them the information they need to be prepared for the session. So far so good.
In my personal life I’m a golfer, a writer and a gardener (although condo gardening isn’t much of thrill). I’ve recently taken up pickleball and I like to go to the gym a few times a week. I have a small cabin in Washington state that I escape to when I need a little alone time. My dog Lucy and I spend time there on a regular basis.
I think that one of favourite experiences at the farm was the birth of Clover. I wasn’t there the day she was born but I met her a few days after. She’s so perfect, so amazingly adorable and so fortunate to have been born at SALIs farm. I love watching her grow and explore her environment. She’s curious and sweet, such a blessing. I know that someday she’ll be a big full grown cow like her mother, probably stubborn and spoiled, but right now she’s a perfect little girl and I adore her.
When SALIs farm moves to its permanent new home I hope to be part of the team that designs the new children’s garden. I see a future with easy access raised beds, designated areas for our pumpkins, squash and potatoes, drip irrigation for water conservation, a covered potting bench and storage area, and low maintenance walkways. I could go on forever…
Children’s Garden Coordinator