Colored Staking as a Way of Communicating with the Farm Families
One of the challenges on our farm is communicating with eachother when we are rarely there working at the same time. We are experimenting with a colored staking system for watering, weeding, and harvesting, as well as a bulletin board to leave notes for eachother. We are not using a formal CSA type of harvest system (where everyone picks up a box of food on the same day) instead we are using more of a u-pick situation for the farmers). Farmers should be able to take home a meal's worth of vegetables for every hour volunteered, and to make sure that all of the families and students participating are taking food home to their families, and should not have to ask permission from one of the organizers - we are employing a stop-light colored (red, yellow, and green) staking system for harvest makes good sense. The other colors (orange and blue) will help people recognize what the priority weeding and watering beds are at that time.
An added bonus is the the colored stakes are like a scavenger hunt for young kids to wander about and see what needs to be done and what is ripe for the picking. These stakes also "quietly" teach people to recognize what various crops look like when they are ready for harvest (and harvest directions can be written right on the stake) and will make it easier to communicate with our harvest coordinator about donations ready to be made. The stakes are stored in a color coded series of containers inside the shed so people can move them around as they weed beds or finish harvesting a crop.
Red Stake: Do Not Harvest (a donation will be made very soon with this crop)
Yellow Stake: Almost Ready to Harvest, check back frequently
Green Stake: Harvest for your family please (one meal's worth per hour volunteered)