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Dozens in Petaluma spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteering

  • Nick Saisi, 13, hoes weeds in a greenhouse as part of a volunteer day that included over 50 people who volunteered for a day of work at the Bounty Farm in Petaluma on Martin Luther King day on Monday January 21, 2013. Scott Manchester / The Press Democrat

Although young, Rain and River Anderson, are no strangers to working on a farm.

Their mother, Molly Anderson of Petaluma, said her daughter Rain, 5, and son River, 3, help feed the family's ducks and chickens at home.

On Monday, the family, including 6-month old Reef in a harness on Anderson's back, spent their Martin Luther King Jr. holiday volunteering at Petaluma Bounty's community farm.

Bounty Farm Volunteer Day

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The older siblings loaded child-size wheelbarrows with mulch from a pile, pushed them over to a grassy area, unloaded and spread the dark ground cover around.

The Andersons were among about four dozen volunteers who, in the King spirit of "a day on, not a day off," helped with seasonal duties at the nonprofit farm.

"Most people have the day off, but we wanted to come and help out," Anderson said. "I'm teaching these guys at a young age that it's fun to volunteer and be part of a bigger community."

The federal holiday marking the birthday of King was created in 1983. In 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading the effort.

In Petaluma, that translated to a beehive of activity at the farm on Shasta Avenue off Petaluma Boulevard North.

Farm manager Lennie Larkin pointed the glove-wearing volunteers toward projects to make compost, pull weeds, prepare beds for spring planting, fertilize the 100 or so fruit trees and more.

Petaluma Bounty is a nonprofit community farm formed in 2006 with a goal of providing healthy, local food at low cost to the community.


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