Last week our YWCA staff took a moment away from the YWCA offices and programs and headed out to Round the Bend (RTB) Farm in Dartmouth. Round the Bend Farm, in collaboration with Northstar Learning Centers and Youth Opportunities Unlimited, has been partnering with the YWCA since 2020 through the Mainfest Love Program to help provide fresh, nutritious food for our families. They were very generous in letting our staff and kids visit the program at the farm as a place to learn, escape, and reset.
Round the Bend Farm has been in Dartmouth since 2007 and focuses on “a paradigm shift toward hope and abundance by valuing diversity, modeling nature, and redefining wealth.”
We arrived at the farm around 10am, graciously greeted by Executive Director Desa VanLaarhoven and adorable farm dog Mayla. The green all around and fresh air on a beautiful spring morning was such a treat. Desa showed us into a room inside the learning center, where we spent about an hour catching up as a staff, which is a treat as we are all ordinarily busy on our respective projects. During this time, RTB spoiled us with a delicious breakfast assortment cooked with produce from the farm. We drank rhubarb lemonade and tea and ate fresh-picked strawberries and rhubarb ginger muffins.
At eleven, Desa came to give us a tour of the farm. She showed us around the farm, with polyculture crop plots grown with purpose, even using some of the same farming practices used by the Wampanoag people. The fields were so interesting to look at, each with its own mini-ecosystem, such as beans giving the soil nitrogen and corn using the nitrogen to grow. We then walked over and met up with some farm animals, including the most adorable baby piglets. The pigs at RTB eat under strict diet guidelines and have large living spaces, and the goats we met were both charming and served a greater purpose, helping clear out the overgrowth of certain areas on the farm. We then took a walk around the paths in the woods over to the neighboring Allen Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and admired the beauty of the farmland and saltmarsh in symbiotic harmony. Desa then showed us the tiny house village at RTB, allowing staff members to have sustainable, affordable, and meaningful housing that allows for privacy while embracing community.
Finally, we ate lunch prepared by Chef Shaun VanLaaarhoven and his team. It was terrific with strawberry salad, Italian sausage, strawberry crumble dessert, kombucha, and more rhubarb lemonade. The food was incredible, and it was special to share the meal with fellow YWCA staff and our RTB friends who helped grow and cook the food in such a gorgeous environment. We are so grateful for how generous Round the Bend Farm is to us at the YWCA and the families we work with, and we cannot wait for our YWKids program and Girls Exclusive Program to visit them later this summer!
Learn more about Round the Bend Farm and all they do Here!