Monday, March 29, 2010


We buried Farmer Roy today. He was laid to rest in his denim bibbed overalls and a sweatshirt proclaiming he was a member of the GRUB Team. The silk lining of his coffin was embroidered with a John Deere green tractor – a fitting emblem for a man who loved plowing fields and growing things.

We buried Farmer Roy today. The church was full of family and friends and a diverse group of teenagers he had taken the time to know and love and influence. There were tears of sorrow at our loss, mixed with tears of joy because Roy did not suffer a long and debilitating illness.

We buried Farmer Roy today. The minister knew all the right things to say because he knew Roy. A loving and inspiring tribute to a man who did so much for others and asked very little in return. We should all be so lucky when it comes our time to be eulogized.

We buried Farmer Roy today. At the graveside a military contingent played taps and presented the folded flag and thanked the family for Roy’s service to our country. His first tour of duty was followed by three more in Viet Nam. He was highly decorated. He was a good soldier and a good man.

We buried Farmer Roy today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Step Up

What a day I have had. How do you tell teenagers that the man they have worked with and loved for years has passed away? Some of the GRUB teens had already heard the news, others found out this morning when we met for our Saturday workday at the farm. Instead of pretending we could go on as usual, we spent the morning talking about our Farmer Roy. It was amazing to hear the kids (I call them kids, even though they are young adults) talk about their relationships with Roy. Several mentioned that he had been a father/grandfather figure to them. We laughed and we cried as we remembered how Roy has touched each of our lives. How fortunate we all are to have known such a kind and caring man.

David Weaver, the Executive Director of the food bank, joined us this morning. What a kind thing for him to do. He knew it would be a difficult morning and his presence was appreciated by us all. He reminded us that Roy’s kind acts had left a ripple effect and it was up to all of us to continue his work. I know we are up to the challenge.

Roy had a vision for the GRUB Program, a vision that was contagious if he ever spoke to you about it, a vision I hope to carry out with the help of the young adults in the program. As Roy would say, “Step up.” So, the kids and I will step up and fulfill his dream. We are up to the task.

The South Plains Food Bank has set up a special memorial in Farmer Roy's memory.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A GRUB Legacy

The South Plains Food Bank has set up a special memorial in Farmer Roy's memory.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


If you are very, very lucky once in a while someone great enters your life. That was my luck when I met Roy Riddle in the late 1990s when I discovered a community garden in my neighborhood and was bitten by the idea to garden. I had no gardening knowledge, so I turned to a class called “Gardening in West Texas,” taught by a former Army pilot known as Farmer Roy. Roy taught me the basics of gardening and even offered me some additional land to try out my new skills. I had a bumper crop in my community garden and learned to grow broccoli and onions on a small plot at the South Plains Food Bank Farm. A love affair was begun – a love of growing my own vegetables and a love for the wise old gentleman known by all as Farmer Roy.

Fate, or luck, or karma soon intervened and shortly after my novice gardening experience I was offered a job at the food bank, a job which soon turned into the best job I could ever imagine. Before long I was overseeing and administrating the efforts of Farmer Roy and others on the food bank’s 5-acre farm and the 2,500 tree apple orchard and in the youth project called GRUB. I loved my new job, but I was in over my head. Farmer Roy came to the rescue. He taught me what I needed to know in order to do my new job. He didn’t want to sit behind my desk, but he was glad to show me the ropes and led me to a point where I could make it through my work week without a nervous breakdown. He was my mentor, he was my rock, and he was my confidant.

Now he is gone. On Monday we will bury Farmer Roy. Ironically Wednesday was to have been his last day of work. Roy was retiring. Roy was hanging up his shovel. I could never really picture him in a retirement role; maybe he couldn’t see it either. Today I had to call Roy’s friends to tell them the news, one friend remarked that perhaps God needed a good farmer in heaven – he sure got one in Farmer Roy.

Rest in peace, Roy – you will be missed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break

With Spring Break coming to an end I want to thank the teenagers in the GRUB Program for putting in so many volunteer hours on the farm this week. What an amazing, unselfish bunch of teens we have in GRUB! I don't know too many junior high and high school students who would give up their vacation from school to do manual labor on a farm.

Here is a great big THANK YOU to GRUB! The farm manager, Debbie Cline, actually told me we were caught up with the work. I rarely hear those words from her!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Update on Farmer Roy

Farmer Roy made it through surgery with flying colors! He will be in I.C.U. for a few days before transferring to a "regular" hospital room. Unfortunately, the surgery did not paint a brighter picture of the prognosis than we already had. Roy is fortunate to have such a wonderful family support group. When I entered the surgical waiting room I knew immediately which cluster of folks was Roy's family - it was the BIG group. He will be well taken care of. We love you Farmer Roy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Farmer Roy

Tomorrow, Wednesday - March 10, 2010 - Farmer Roy will have surgery for a brain tumor. Our thoughts and prayers are with him. He has been my mentor and my touchstone for years. I hope he will feel my presence during his surgery and hospitalization as much as I feel his presence in my life everyday. We are all thinking of you and are with you during this time of physical challenge. We love you Farmer Roy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Prayers for Farmer Roy

Farmer Roy is having surgery on Wednesday, March 10. He was diagnosed Saturday, March 6 with Stage Four Astrocytoma. Please keep him in your prayers and thoughts as he goes through this rough stage in his wonderful life.
We love you, Roy - Your GRUB family

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We Love Our Volunteers

Producing nearly 100,000 pounds of produce on a 5.5-acre farm would be impossible without our great volunteers. Drip irrigation lines were laid on Saturday by one volunteer group so another volunteer group can plant on Monday. THANK YOU!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Farmer Roy

Get well soon Farmer Roy, we miss you. Love, GRUB

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tomato Man

Sometimes the creativity of the GRUB youth is overwhelming!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables!

On the GRUB Farm we grow awesome vegetables. The majority of the growing season labor is provided by teens in the GRUB Program. One day the staff realized that the teens were not eating the vegetables they were growing. When asked why they weren't taking advantage of the availability of the beautiful vegetables, most of them told us the didn't like vegetables. We knew we had to change that!

Giving the GRUB teens the opportunity to prepare delicious recipes using our fresh GRUB produce was the catalyst for change. I am proud to report - The GRUB teens are eating their vegetables!