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Local crop mob goes organic

Posted: February 23, 2014 - 1:08am
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Matthew Kelley, owner of Honey Creek Mushrooms, and Aarish Rojiani, who did a project there.  Photo by Deborah Steele
Photo by Deborah Steele
Matthew Kelley, owner of Honey Creek Mushrooms, and Aarish Rojiani, who did a project there.

While much of the area was digging itself out of the aftermath of the recent ice storm last weekend, Lakeside High School senior Aarish Rojiani and a group of about a dozen others worked to design a compost pile at a local mushroom farm.

Rojiani coordinated and participated in a crop mob at Honey Creek Mushrooms in Martinez. The group learned more about mushroom growing from owner Matthew Kelley, created a compost pile and enjoyed a meal of locally grown food. The crop mob was the culmination of Rojiani’s senior project. Last year, Rojiani determined that he would center his senior project on genetically modified food and the benefits of organic, locally grown food.

“My mom has started buying organic foods over the past few years,” he said. “It got me to thinking about genetically modified foods and whether they are really worth it.”

Through the crop mob, Rojiani said he has “been in touch with an entire community of awesome, charismatic farmers.”

Augusta Locally Grown owner and operator Kim Hines served as Rojiani’s mentor throughout his project.

“She’s been so easy to work with and is such an advocate for community awareness of locally grown foods,” said Rojiani.

“This is a true farm-to-table senior project if there ever was one,” said Hines. “Aarish organized this event literally from the ground up. He arranged the work with the mushroom farmer, recruited the volunteers, reached out to the media and even cooked and served the volunteer meal – all from scratch.”

Hines said she was impressed with Rojiani’s organization. With the ice storm forcing him to reschedule the crop mob, Rojiani didn’t miss a beat in getting the word out to solicited volunteers to let them know that there was a change in plans.

“I’ve supervised a good number of senior projects but this one stands out because of the student’s keen ability to manage adversity,” added Hines. “When the impending ice storm wiped out any chance of having the crop mob [on February 13] as planned, Aarish was right on top of things.

He had the wherewithal to communicate and reschedule with everyone involved before the electricity went out. That’s an impressive skill for anyone to possess.”

As a member of the Red Cross Youth Board’s executive committee, Rojiani solicited his Red Cross peers to help with the crop mob. Volunteers from Awake Augusta also participated in the event.

The crop mob at Honey Creek Mushrooms began with a tour by owner Kelley. The group then helped create a compost pile.

“There is really good, high quality organic compost coming out of these mushroom columns,” said Rojiani. “Matthew hopes to sell a couple hundred pounds of the compost each week.”

Though the crop mob was the culmination of Rojiani’s project, he’s certain that his involvement with Augusta Locally Grown will continue and that his desire to inform others of organic food remains.

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