SAY Youth are Cleaning up at Bayer Farm

SAY Youth are Cleaning up at Bayer Farm

Tucked away in a quiet Roseland neighborhood on West Avenue is a location that goes largely unexplored. A simple wooden sign standing in front of the lot reads “Bayer Farm”, but the map hanging below it shows the site’s potential. With the support of LandPaths, a Sonoma County organization dedicated to the preservation and growth of public outdoor spaces, the vision for Bayer Farm is a grand one, with paths, lakes, playgrounds, and garden plots dotting the future plans. Today, Bayer Farm is home to an ever-growing community garden, and a dedicated crew from the SAY is in charge of its maintenance this summer.

We caught up with the crew one gray and humid morning to get an idea of the kind of work they and dozens of other crews of youth across the county have been doing this summer through the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps (SCYEC).

Stephanie, the crew’s leader, gives us a tour of the 6-acre urban farm and city park in-the-making. She walks us past numerous projects her team has completed in their two month term, like planting a sunflower maze, spreading woodchips along the winding paths throughout the garden, building wire supports for the masses of tomato plants, and more.

Her face lights up as she crouches in a corner of the flower garden and explains, “These are the marigolds that we transplanted. See how they are arranged in a honeycomb pattern? That’s so each plant gets the same amount of sunlight.” She talks about preferring the hard work at the garden to the piles of paperwork that come with being a crew leader. She is so proud of the work that her crew has completed these past couple months on the farm, and is excited to show off the fruits of their labor.

The other crew members’ smiles are just as evident as they speak about their time working at Bayer Farm. This is Anthony’s first job, and he loves getting familiar with a place that he walks past all the time. “I had always wondered what was going on here, and now I’m a part of it,” he said.

Oscar tells us that although the work is new and challenging for him, the end result is always more than enough of a payoff. “I live close to here, too. I’m definitely going to come back when this is over and see where it goes.” If LandPaths’ plans for the farm are any indication, it will certainly go far.

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