Our Year: 2021

Calypso Farm & Ecology Center

Annual Fall Fundraiser

Our Year: 2021

Annual Fall Fundraiser

Calypso Farm
& Ecology Center

After a year without any on-farm programs, visitors, or staff outside of our bubble, 2021 welcomed the community back to the farm with the return of field trips, summer camps, workshops, numerous pilot programs, farm apprentices and so much more!

Read more below about the work that we did this year, scroll through photos, and view our Year in Numbers!

Jump to 2021 Financials

On-Farm Youth Education

To say we were excited to welcome students and campers back onto the farm after nearly 20 months would be an understatement. Our on-farm education programs for youth this summer consisted of 42 field trips, 7 weeks of Farm Camp and 6 weeks of Farm School, a new offering this year. One of the precautions we put in place at the start of the season was limiting group sizes, however, while our groups were smaller than in years past - they were just as mighty!

Southside Community Farmers Market

It was a wonderful 7th season at the Southside Market! As the market serves some of the most vulnerable members of our community, the Southside Market Committee made a conscious effort to create the safest shopping experience possible while still offering an in-person market. Over the course of 16 weeks, 12 local vendors participated, offering fresh eggs, flowers, produce, honey, mushrooms, tinctures, bread and more. Pay What You Can discounts up to 50% off were available to ANY customer in need of fresh food and over $2,000 in discounts were given!

We were thrilled to launch Southside Market Delivery Shares this year, a brand new way for Southside customers to still have weekly access to fresh, local food even if they are unable to attend the market for any reason, including work schedule, lack of transportation, disability, etc. This service was also offered up to 50% off for those in need of a discount and for 10 weeks we delivered fresh produce from a variety of local farmers to 7 different homes!

The Southside Market is led by a Steering Committee of neighborhood residents and we couldn’t be luckier to work with such an amazing group of people so dedicated to supporting and guiding the on-going development of the market!

Farmer Training Programs & Workshops

Like most of our programs, we knew our Farmer Training and workshop offerings would not be quite “back to normal” this year but we were determined to find ways to offer safe, in-person learning opportunities, as well as virtual ones that even the most Zoom-fatigued would be excited about!

Early in the year, in collaboration with the Folk School, we launched the Conversations Series, a virtual talk series that tells the stories and elevates the voices of Black and Indigenous farmers and other leaders in the food system. We had four amazing guests, including Melony Edwards, Natalie Baszile, Jim Embry and Chantel Johnson, who shared their unique experiences as Black farmers, homesteaders, authors, social justice leaders, and much more. We can't wait to continue these conversations this winter!

Over the course of the season we hosted 12 in-person gardening workshops including a four-part Beginning Organic Gardening Series and a Wedding Floral Design class, as well a One-Week Farming Intensive with 10 participants from Fairbanks, Juneau, Salcha and Yakutat!

We modified our usual five-month Farmer Training Program and instead offered two spots in a Farmer Training Apprenticeship. Our apprentices worked throughout the season as part of our field crew while also receiving hands-on training on all aspects of small-scale farming, animal husbandry, blacksmithing, wood working, fiber arts, and more.

Community Roots & School Gardens

As we planned for a new phase of handling covid in our community this summer, we decided to continue maintaining the gardens at Hunter, Pearl Creek and Woodriver Elementary Schools while holding the majority of our programming on the farm. The one exception to this was Community Roots, our brand new garden & leadership training program for young adults, which was planned to take place at the Hunter Garden.

Due to structural issues at Hunter Elementary, we were unable to have regular access to the garden and, instead, planted cover crops at all three gardens to improve soil fertility, add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, attract pollinators, and increase biodiversity. Potatoes were also planted at Hunter that would later be harvested by school staff, students and families and used for their fall Harvest Celebration.

While looking for a new location to host the Community Roots program in South Fairbanks, a neighborhood resident generously offered their backyard space for a garden to be developed and the program’s Garden Leaders began building a garden literally from the ground up. They mapped out a design, outlined the beds and spent several weeks broadforking the densely rooted ground before eventually planting all 1,000 feet of bed space.

Food Relief & Community Connections

At the start of the pandemic, our primary focus for the summer of 2020 shifted to community food relief and we realized how important it was to expand our prior Food Stamp Doubling program to offer discounts up to 50% off to anyone in need of fresh food, whether or not they qualified for food assistance. We continued this throughout the 2021 season, offering $3,545 in discounts on CSA and Southside Delivery Shares, $2,040 on veggies purchased at the Southside Market, and $2,233 on both gardening workshops and plant starts for people learning to grow their own food at home.

Alaska Native Agriculture Project

Calypso supports food sovereignty, including ecological agriculture and traditional food practices. As an extension of our Farmer Training Programs, we are proud to partner with Eva Dawn Burk on a new project that provides Indigenous-led farmer training opportunities and support across the state, especially in rural Villages and communities.

After postponing for over a year, the very first training session was held at the Farm in early August and nearly 20 people traveled to attend from locations all over the state including Igiugig, Tyonek, Nome, Nenana, Juneau and Golovin. Over the course of four days, the group learned about the agriculture projects happening in each other’s communities and participated in several hands-on workshops and demonstrations on blacksmithing, cultivation tools & tool sharpening, drip irrigation, crop planning, animal husbandry, root cellars, keeping bees, apple trees and more. The in-between moments of this packed schedule included the sharing of stories, ideas, visions and many meals.

Future trainings will happen both at the Farm and in some Village locations. Watch the calendar for upcoming training sessions!

Our Year In Numbers

218 bouquets, donated by our community, were harvested and delivered to Hospice and the Pioneer Home. Residents of the Pioneer Home participated in four Make Your Own Bouquet days!

Community members harvested 84 bags of kale before the first snow and donated their freezer space to store them for Bread Line's Stone Soup Cafe. This will provide enough kale to last Stone Soup until May!

488 people visited the farm on field trips! Due to covid precautions, groups sizes were limited and consisted mostly 0f homeschool groups, daycares, and small family groups. We hosted a total of 42 field trips from May-September.

Thanks to donations from our community, 105 lbs of carrots were delivered to low income seniors and individuals at Golden Towers and Southall Manor.

Due to structural issues at Hunter Elementary, Community Roots' Garden Leaders got to create their garden completely from scratch. They planned, designed, broad forked and planted 1,000 feet of garden beds!

Each week at the end of the Southside Market, leftover produce was donated to Bread Line's Stone Soup Cafe and to families in need through ThrivAlaska - for a total of 16 weeks!

15 Youth Leaders (ages 12-15) volunteered 523 hours this season! Youth Leaders assisted as junior counselors and developed hands-on leadership and teamwork skills while helping younger children in Farm Camp and Farm School.

A total of $10,766 in Pay What You Can discounts were given across all of our programs this year! PWYC makes our camps, farmer training programs, workshops, at-home curriculum, and veggies more accessible, offering discounts up to 50% off for those in need.

2021 Financials

Thank you to the many individuals, local businesses, corporations, foundations, and organizations who supported Calypso in 2021!

Total Income: $656,000
Total Expenses: $544,200

2021 Grant Funding Earmarked for 2022 Program Spending: $30,000

Net Balance: +$81,800

We put a portion of this balance into a Racial & Food Justice Fund which was started in 2021 to provide long-term funding for Community Roots and other racial justice food projects. We also rolled money into a reserve fund, established over 10 years ago, to ensure that we can maintain our educational programming in times of unexpected financial shortfalls.

We hope you've learned a little more about the many things we do throughout our short growing season.

If you'd like to support the work that we do, please consider making a donation!