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Showing posts from May, 2010

School Garden here, School Gardens there

There is more food movement work going on here in Tallahassee than anyone-- including myself-- knows.  Take for instance the number and quality of school gardens here in the Tallahassee area.

Here is a list of the schools at which I know there are school gardens: Hartsfield Elementary, Astoria Park Pre-K, Cornerstone Learning Community, Richards High, Fairview Middle, Nims Middle, Ghazvini Learning Center, SAIL High, Apalachee Elementary, Magnolia Elementary and Middle, School for Arts and Sciences, Grassroots School, Kate Sullivan Elementary, FAMU High, PACE and Roberts Elementary.  Additionally, there are gardens in the works and/or planned at Riley Elementary, Leon High School, Fort Braden, and another garden being dreamed at Astoria Park for the 4th graders.  In no way do I believe this list to be all inclusive; these are just the schools I know and am currently remembering.  *(PS- It should be noted that the Damayan Garden Project has helped start and continues to periodically …

Crop Mob

Who's up for organizing a Tallahassee Crop Mob?

USA Today, by Judy Keen

The mob descended on Chris Wimmer's farm on a rainy Saturday bearing pitchforks and shovels. They went to work quickly, relocating a compost pile, digging weeds and hauling fencing.
The Jefferson County Crop Mob, a group of mostly urban volunteers, spends one Saturday a month sweating for small-scale farmers such as Wimmer. In return, they learn about the food they consume and tips about organic and sustainable farming.
"It's like farming 101," says Derek Bryant... Click here for more.

Of Interest

Folks for whom I put in food gardens have been kind enough to send me updated pictures and/or invited me back to take pictures of their crops in full swing.  They clearly are holding up their end of the bargain.  Wow.  The first is Carol's garden:

Next is a picture of Ted, Andreas, and Sandra's garden:

The following photo I took of Mr. Orbien and Ms. Ingram:

This pictures shows Faith and Derry's garden:

The last photo, taken by photographer Inga Finch shows her young tomato, eggplant and squash plants a few weeks back:

Also of interest are the following links and resources related to Community Gardens:

-How to Start a Community Garden (from the American Community Gardening Association
-Start up guides, How to manuals, Sample Forms (also from the ACGA)
-Greater Lansing Food Bank's "Garden Project" administers, facilitates, and supports over 25 community gardens in their area.  They also offer at-home garden consultations and assistance to low-income residents

"Who loves being a farmer?"

Over the course of this spring, I've had the awesome pleasure of gardening with two different sets of young people-- aged two to eleven.  I.E., I hosted two groups of kids' workshops in my front yard. 

Back in February/March, we met to build, fill and plant raised beds complete with shallots, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.  In April when we gathered again for our monthly workshop, we tended the garden: identified and pulled weeds, staked tomatoes, etc.  Finally, we're meeting in May to do some early spring harvesting.  Our main crops are potatoes, shallots, and green beans.  Although a few banana peppers are ready, the tomatoes are not.  Give it another couple weeks.  In addition, every week, we checked in on the bees in my backyard--managed by Heather Gamper, my neighbor and beekeeper extraordinaire.  Lastly, the workshops visited with my family's new chicken flock-- acquired just two weeks before the first set of workshops.  The kids have nearl…

Food Movement! Food Movement! Read all about it!

Every time I turn around, I learn about some new piece of the food movement.  It's abuzz like nothing I've ever been apart of before.

A few weeks ago, my mother brought home and showed me a box of triscuit crackers.  On the back, there were three pictures.

One picture showed a few people in a vegetable garden, and the other two depicted a single person tending container herb gardens in their window seal.  Under the pictures, the box read: "Join The Home Farming Movement."  The small print is worth quoting at length:

Everyone should have the chance to experience the simple joy of growing your own herbs and vegetables, no matter where you live.  Whether it's in your own backyard, on your windowsill, or in a plot you share with your neighbors, that's what home farming is all about.  Triscuit is working with Urban Farming to create over 50 community-based home farms across the country.  To find tips and to connect with other home farmers, visit…

Hartsfield's HAWKS visit the Garden

On Wednesday this past week, Hartsfield Elementary's Hawks, one of Hartsfield's after-school groups came for a visit to my garden.  We chatted about everything from legumes fixing nitrogen to pollinators to varieties of corn to seasonally available produce to bees and chickens.  They were especially interested in the methodology of grafting fruit trees.  Meanwhile, we tasted snap beans, fennel, sorrel, horse-radish greens, basil, and smelled rosemary and thyme.  What a great afternoon!

The Hawk's visit was part of a larger program they're doing to investigate healthy food options via research on local and organic vs. conventional agricultural practices and by maintaining the Hartsfield school garden.  The culmination of their project will be to plan, prepare and serve a healthy meal to their parents that integrates local and organic produce.

They were shepherded by their incredible teachers Mr. Landrum, Ms. Elsaka, and Ms Olivia.  If you know these folks--or someone e…

Food Gardening-- The Age Defying Workout

Grand Opening:  Tallahassee 
ABSolute Food Garden Gym

Regular cardio exercises can help keep you fit, but food gardening is an essential, age-defying activity that should be a consistent part of your weekly routine. Food gardening not only will help chisel your body into a bathing-suit-worthy physique — it will make other activities like holding your kids, climbing stairs and carrying your groceries much easier down the line.

"Food gardening should be one of the central components of your entire existence," says the Man in Overalls, a personal trainer at the Tallahassee ABSolute Food Gardening Gym. "When you food garden, your whole life is going to be easier. It will even make everyday activities more fun."

Food gardening also improves cognitive functioning and helps prevent bone and muscle weakening — not to mention that it will give you a confidence-boosting midsection that looks good in (and out of) your clothes.

Food Garden with the Man in Overalls
Just click to s…

CIW Freedom March - Food Justice

Two weekends ago, I marched with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers ( in overalls.  They were marching to hold Publix accountable for the supply chain from which they purchase their tomatoes.

Centered in the town of Immokalee, FL, the tomato fields of Florida are home to some of the more blatant injustices of our day.  Folks-- folks I have been getting to know over the past year-- must pick 2.5 tons of tomatoes to earn $50.  In the worst cases-- cases that have been tried and led to prison sentences--farmworkers have been forced to work without pay; they were chained at night to prevent escape.

The thought that keeps returning to me as I consider my weekend marching with farmworkers, students and church allies is this: "How absurd is it that folks who handle thousands of pounds of food a day go hungry on a regular basis?!"

The reason I started Tallahassee Food Gardens was to highlight and work towards a food resilient community, one in which whatever might ha…