Man in Overalls helps you #GrowYourGroceries!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Table-Top Herb Garden + links & links

This is a quick post to share a picture  of my most recent project in addition to some links to stories, a conference, programs, organizations, resources, a magazine, etc that all relate to the urban ag/food security/community garden food movement.

First, a picture of one (of two) table-top herb garden's I completed on Friday for Mary Louise:

Next, a series of links:

From NYT Magazine: "Field Report: A Michigan Teen Farms Her Backyard"
Youth Build -- From their website: "In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16-24 work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas, learn job skills and serve their communities by building affordable housing, and transform their own lives and roles in society."
 (Put these together and imagine "Youth Grow.")

Urban Farm Magazine

Detroit Black Community Food Security Coalition Recognizing that 85% of Detroit's citizens are African American and the majority of the food movement leadership in the city was euro-american, this group has undertaken to develop black leaders to educate a largely black population in urban farming, community gardening,  food security, etc.

Community Garden Start-Up Guides from the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA)

Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) "Food Culture Justice: 14th annual conference in NOLA.  Or find the pdf brochure here.  These folks are at the forefront of local, state, and national efforts to work on food security policy and in using urban agriculture as a means to achieve food access amidst food deserts.  As a matter of fact, they wrote the primer on urban agriculture back in 2002 before it was a buzz-phrase.

The Garden Project is a community and home gardening program of the Greater Lansing (MI) Food Bank.  Ample Harvest is a website-tool to connect home food gardeners with extra produce to food banks and pantries that will distribute the food to folks who will eat it.

Science Daily article: "Organic Farms have Better Fruit and Soil, Lower Environmental Impact, Study Finds"

Growing Hope in Ypslanti, MI has provided me with inspiration aplenty in recent weeks.  I attended a workshop entiltled "What can grow in a 4x4 square?" in Atlanta at the ACGA anual conference presented by Amanda Edmonds, their executive director.

"Many Faces of Hunger" an NPR story about a photo documentary of hungry folks in the states.

Farm Together Now, a book project.  From their website: "Farm Together Now meets with people across the country who are challenging the conventions of industrialized farming and exclusive green economies. This part-travelogue, part-oral history, part-creative exploration of food politics will introduce readers to twenty groups working in agriculture and sustainable food production in the U.S. Throughout 2009 the authors visited twenty farms from coast to coast, talking to farmers about their engagement in sustainable food production, public policy and community organizing efforts."

Urban Agriculture Training at Michigan State University
We could have something like this here in Tallahassee, no?  Perhaps through TCC's Workforce Development or another venue?  A possible KCCI catylization?  How about join the organic ag training with a leadership development institute for community, school, church and neighborhood gardens?  Lastly, add on an entrepreneurial program for youth-- called "youth grow"-- and you'd have Tallahassee's very own Center for Urban Agriculture.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fall Is In the Air

The past two nights, I've slept with my windows open.  Pleasant temperatures are creeping in, and soon will be here to stay, which means: It's time to begin fall planting.

September and October are the primo months to plant fall/over-wintering gardens in Tallahassee.  If you're just getting started, you should also know that fall gardens are far easier than spring gardens.  Less heat, fewer bugs, more on-going produce.

Fall/Winter gardens are filled with green leafy vegetables, alums (that's the onion family), and root vegetables (just not of the potato variety).  Let me spell that out: green-leafy vegetables = collards, mustards, kale, cabbage, arugula, lettuces, spinach, and chard.  Garlic, onions, chives, garlic chives, green onions, and shallots are all in the alum family.  Fall root vegetables include radishes, turnips, rutabagas, beets, carrots, and parsnips.   Three categories: green leafy vegetables, alum, and root veggies other than potatoes.

A few extras for the fall garden are: cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and cilantro.  The first two-- in the brassica family-- are related to collards, cabbage, mustards, and kale.  Celery and cilantro are in the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) family that also includes parsley, dill and fennel (all three of which can also be planted in the cooler temperatures of September through May).  Carrots and parsnips are part of the same family.

So, if you want to get technical about it, there are five vegetable families/species that work well in fall/over-wintering gardens: 1)Brassicas (collards, kale, cabbage, mustards, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, brussel sprouts and others), 2) Alums (onions, garlic, chives, shallots), 3) Umbelliferae (also known as the carrot family includes: carrots, parsnips, celery, dill, fennel, cilantro), 4) Asteraceae/Compositae (lettuce and chickory), and 5) Amarantheceae (chard, beets and spinach).

But that's confusing as all get-out.  So, my recommendation is to stick with three categories: 1)green-leafy vegetables, 2) Onion-smelling alums, 3) root vegetables other than potatoes. And just know that there are a few stray things that don't fit into our non-scientific categories.

Last night I dug summer sweet potatoes, munched on fresh okra, smelled the basil, tested a hot banana pepper-- all while prepping a garden bed with compost to prepare for a patch of green-leafy vegetables and carrots.  I'll be planting seeds this evening.

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