Man in Overalls helps you #GrowYourGroceries!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Edible Garden Tour

First, a few calendar events:

"Stories of the Food Movement: where we are and where we want to go" -- 6:30pm, Mon., Feb 28th at the Main Library. Nathan Ballentine, Man in Overalls with Tallahassee Food Gardens will co-present with Mark Tancig from  Damayan & Tallahassee Food Policy Council and TJ Shaffer from Tallahassee Sustainability Group.  Click HERE for more info.

Will Allen, MacArthur Genius, Farmer, Founder CEO of Milwaukee's Growing Power will be conducting a workshop, 12-6:30pm, Sun., Mar., 6th at the FAMU Viticulture Center out Mahan Dr.  Click HERE for more info.  He is a nationally and internationally recognized figurehead of the food movement.

Now for a report from the Edible Garden Tour to the Man in Overalls' Food Garden:

(I'll keep the words few and the pictures plenty-- Thanks to Mike for the images.)  Over forty folks from the Tallahassee Edible Garden Club, Indianhead Acres and beyond came by for a tour.  We started with introductions with our adjacent neighbors by sharing names and "What's the first memory you have of growing or raising food-- even if just a bean in paper cup at school?" and "What would you do if you didn't have enough food."

The tour commenced with Michael, a neighbor bee keeper, opening up our bee hive to show off the bees, talk about how to ID larvae, worker bees, drones, etc.  More than anything, he demonstrated that we need not be terrified of honey bees--especially on warm, sunny days when most of the bees are out gathering pollen and nectar.  A single hive can produce between one and five gallons of honey each year. Whoa!

Next we heard from Patty about a "Neighborly Community Garden" located in her front yard:

 To read more about a similar neighborly community garden, click here.  Following Patty's chat we took a walk around the yard.

Winter cabbages, collards with oats cover crop in the background.
Rain Barrel
Pummelo (or Pomelo) depending on who you ask.  A giant grapefruit without the sourness.  Yum!
Chicken Coop.
Chickens!  With seven chickens we get between three and seven eggs a day.  According to City laws, city residents are allowed to keep as many laying hens as they want.
Notice the oats (cover crop) in the foreground.

At this point in the tour, surrounded by waist high oats-- in sight of three different composting methods--we did a mini-workshop on cover crops and composting as methods to enrich soil and enable lazy (yet productive!) gardening practices. (Free SARE resource on Cover Crops.)  After that, the walking/pointing/looking continued:

Cabbages, Mustards, Collards, Root Crops, Oats, Apple Trees.
Octagonal Herb Garden.
Vertically Integrated Growing: Raised Bed and Grape Vines adjacent Sidewalk.
Lastly, we heard from Qasimah Boston with Project Food who will soon be heading to Ghana as part of her PhD research through FAMU's Institute of Public Health to investigate household food insecurity and how women are developing solutions to feed their families in spite of inadequate food availability:

I encourage you to become a follower of Qasimah's Project Food Blog.  And if you'd like to support her trip and work in Ghana, please send me an email.  Ms. Miaisha Mitchell (in the background with Qasimah), Director of the Frenchtown Revitalization Council also said a few words about her work with youth at the Second Harvest Food Bank garden.

If you'd like to be included in future announcements for the Tallahassee Edible Garden Club, email Elizabeth.  If you'd like to receive future announcements for the Edible Garden Tours, email Carol.

Thanks go to Michael, Patty, Qasimah, and Ms Mitchell for their mini-presentations and to Mike for the pictures.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Living in the Midst of a Renaissance

(A late-night email to a local co-worker in the Food Movement)


It's roll-time.  I am amazed every day by this blossoming movement of which we are part.  This morning I met with the campus chaplain--visiting-- from my Alma mater.  She tells me that her aspiration (at 44) is to go back to school or apprentice under a food activist because she wants to be integral to feeding people; she tells me the words "feed my sheep" keep echoing through her life.  Then, I depart, run into Red Eye Coffee where I exchange emails with four customers who I'm going to visit with on Tuesday to discuss projects.  Promptly, I jet over to TCC to fill out my paperwork so I can teach a "Community Garden Start-Up" short course through Workforce Development, starting on Feb 24th.  While I'm on campus, I track down a Ms Menzel to which Ms Mitchell referred me.  Turns out, she's the Special Projects Coordinator for the new Pres, and he intends to prioritize sustainability; thus, we're going to be in touch.  After TCC, I head to catch the tail end of the Thursday's WIll Allen working-group meeting.  On the way, I check my messages: Jake, one of the FSU sustainability/urban-ag boys says that he's interested in trying to link with the breadth of Leon County teachers who are doing school gardens in some form or fashion, to bring them together, to network them to further their efforts.  When I show up at the Purple House, HQ of the Frenchtown Revitalization Council, Ms Mitchell, Lindsay and Tabatha (a Social Work grad student at FAMU) tell me they've planned a "Fresh Dinner"-- a combo cooking demo + tapas + a screening of Fresh, the Movie.

Ms Mitchell and I also talk about linking Vince McHenry (who's been participating in the Will Allen Group) and Jake to co-lead the teacher-gardener networking projects so that part-and-parcel, embodied in the coordinators is a team that bridges the race and school divides (Jakes's at FSU; white, Vince is at TCC; black).  After the Purple House, I swing up to my church, Faith Presbyterian to meet Wendell, Ms Mitchell's son at the church garden to talk raised-bed installation work.  I'm looking to assemble a team of willing/able workers that I can call in a rotating fashion if/when I've got too much raised-bed business to handle personally-- especially since I'm looking to launch an "economy gardens" line consisting of 4x4 raised beds ready to plant-- complete with Food Garening 101 resources-- installed for $100.  Post that, I run home to print agendas and head to a community garden interest/organizational meeting out in Southwood.  In a single day.  That's not because I'm good; it's because there's that much going on in this town.  It's like we're living in the midst of the renaissance.

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