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Natural growers offer Earth Day program in Worthington

| Thursday, April 2, 2015, 3:11 a.m.
Sara Bozzelli, owner of  Five Elements Farm in Worthington, waters young plants in the greenhouse.
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Sara Bozzelli, owner of Five Elements Farm in Worthington, waters young plants in the greenhouse.
A rooster roams the grounds at the Five Elements Farm in Worthington that is owned by Joseph and Sara Bozzelli.
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
A rooster roams the grounds at the Five Elements Farm in Worthington that is owned by Joseph and Sara Bozzelli.
Joseph and Sara Bozzelli, owners of Five Elements Farm in Worthington, are pictured in an herb garden with their home in the background.
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Joseph and Sara Bozzelli, owners of Five Elements Farm in Worthington, are pictured in an herb garden with their home in the background.
Joseph Bozzelli, owner of Five Elements Farm in Worthington, talks about the solar powered electrical system that runs to a converter installed in his basement.
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Joseph Bozzelli, owner of Five Elements Farm in Worthington, talks about the solar powered electrical system that runs to a converter installed in his basement.
A framed hole in the wall at the Five Elements Farm house in Worthington shows the straw that is used to insulate the walls.
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
A framed hole in the wall at the Five Elements Farm house in Worthington shows the straw that is used to insulate the walls.

Sara and Joseph Bozzelli of Five Elements Farm are using hard work and organic methods to germinate more than fresh produce — the couple is also hosting their second annual Earth Day event on April 18.

“Our focus is on families and kids — to make it accessible and get kids excited,” Sara Bozzelli said.

The two-hour educational and community outreach program at the farm that straddles North Buffalo and West Franklin will include a guided tour, with an explanation about solar energy given by Zero Fossil Energy Outfitters of Pittsburgh. The demonstration will include how to power electronic equipment using a bicycle.

Participants will also learn about native pollinators and plants, have an opportunity to create nature journals, make seed bombs and learn how to turn plastic bottles into art.

The Bozzellis are certified natural growers of vegetables and herbs who work to educate families and individuals about sustainable living. They sell produce at farmers markets and as part of the Community Supported Agriculture Cooperative that certified them as natural growers.

Through the cooperative, they cultivate weekly supplies of produce during the growing season for customers who provide up-front costs for the labor.

“It's freshly picked and gives customers that connection with where their food comes from,” Joseph said.

Sharing that connection and enthusiasm with children is vital, his wife added. The couple has two children: Jordan, 16; and Samson, 7.

“It was important for us to have our children have a relationship with the land,” Sara said. “We thought it would be nice to have more families participate in caring for their greater home. There's a lot you can learn from books, but when you taste freshly picked peas or hear the chickens and see that a potato comes from the ground – it will stick with you more.”

When the Bozzellis moved from Allegheny Township and bought the 10-acre plot along Hogg Road in 2007, there was nothing on the property but weeds. Fast-forward eight years and their sustainable farm now boasts a brick-faced home with thick walls insulated with straw and powered by 43 solar panels. The barn is also solar powered. Rain water collected in tanks in a greenhouse provides an ample supply for seedlings.

Chickens roam and forage outside a fenced-in herb garden and large vegetable plot. Young apple and elderberry trees dot the landscape. In a wooded section at least half a dozen upright logs will eventually sprout shiitake mushrooms. And there's still plenty of space to accommodate future plantings like grape arbors and a blueberry patch.

“There's a lot you can do with 10 acres,” said Sara, who also makes homemade herbal vinegars and organic soap.

Joseph Bozzelli pointed out the asparagus patch and the rows that in the late spring yield crops of kale, lettuce, peas, spring onion, chives and bok choy. In summer the field blossoms with zucchini, yellow squash, peppers and tomatoes.

“This is where the magic happens,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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