A Closer Look at “Tall Girls Tie Tomatoes”
DC EcoWomen launched its spring photo contest in April and received more than 30 submissions of high-quality, on-topic photos showing how our great community is advancing environmental efforts in DC and around the world. The photos also showed how our members are learning and growing from environmentally-related experiences and putting their leadership skills to good work. Our second place winner, Sarah Waybright, shared a photo of herself learning best farming practices at Potomac Vegetable Farms. We sat down with Sarah to hear first hand about the winning shot and the inspiration behind it.
DC EcoWomen: Take us back to the time this photo was shot. What was the experience like being there?
Sarah: Working at Potomac Vegetable Farms is awesome – it can be hard physical labor, but the owners and team there are so fun to be around, and know so much about how to farm and sell produce. Tomatoes are a high value crop, so the tying part is to help them grow upwards (they’re a vine that doesn’t climb well) for easy harvesting. These were cherry tomatoes, grown in a hoop house, which is like a greenhouse but without actually being heated; it just retains heat from the sun during the day, so the atmosphere is easier to control when things get above freezing. You have to bend down to tie the string to the plant base and then reach up to the bar to tie the top end, so it’s a lot of squatting and bending and stretching!
DC EcoWomen: We love opportunities that help EcoWomen members learn and grow. Did this experience help you grow and learn anything about yourself or about the environment?
Sarah: PVF is “ecoganic” – a word they use to mean that they use organic practices, but are no longer certified organic (to avoid all that paperwork!). Good food comes from good soil, so they’re constantly thinking about what will enhance soil quality in both mineral and microbial content – mulching, composting, crop rotation, and adding in micorrhizal fungi and biochar to soil to encourage below the ground networking and nutrient sharing between plant roots, fungi, and microbes, to name a few things!
Part of the climate change problem we’re experiencing is created by modern day farming, but what most people don’t realize is that some farming practices not only contribute less but can actually help to reverse climate change by sequestering carbon back into the soil from the air, and working at PVF has led me to many fascinating workshops, conferences, and webinars about how farmers can do this. My goal is to use a farm for nutrition, environment, and cultural education through immersive and experiential retreats and classes – so for now I’m building the skills and network I will need to do that!
DC EcoWomen: What words of wisdom do you have for future photo contest winners to try to snap a winning shot?
Sarah: A winning picture either has to be beautiful or tell a story – think about not just what’s in the frame composition, but also what it is sharing with the viewer!
*PVF’s CSA is now open for registration for this season – on-farm pickup or delivery around VA & DC is available!
Sarah Waybright is a Registered Dietitian and owner of the brand WhyFoodWorks. She is currently a health coach for Wellness Corporate Solutions, teaches nutrition through seminars and private events in and around Washington, DC, and works on Potomac Vegetable Farms a few days a week to learn more about how our food is grown. Her favorite forms of exercise are hiking, yoga, & PopSugarFitness YouTube workouts, and her hobby of choice is pottery. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram to get food tips and nutrition information and healthy recipes.