Man in Overalls helps you #GrowYourGroceries!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Below I've copied my Resources Page because I've grown aware that a lot of folks don't know I've got one and/or don't know where to turn for a go-to destination on the web related to food gardening and food movement resources.  Take a quick (or long) look through.  In the short or long-term future, you can come back and find them by clicking the "resources" link just over to the right under the google search box.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz...

Tallahassee Food Gardens Quick Reference Guides
What Can You Grow in a Square
- Square Foot Gardening (in raised beds), plant spacing, seasonal varieties
Food Gardening 101
- The Basics: local planting dates, how to prep beds, plant, water, etc
Cover Up that Soil
- Primer on the what, why, when, and best practices of growing cover crops
Types of Community Gardens
-Outlines the three major models of community gardens with local examples

Additional Quick References
Just Fruits and Exotics' Vegetable Planting Guide
- Planting dates, depths, yields, days to harvest, row spacing
Just Fruits and Exotics' "Just the Facts" about N FL Fruit Trees
- Locally adapted fruit trees, berries, grapes, kiwis and more
Native Nurseries' Pest Solutions
- A table that lists pests on one axis and available pest products on the other.
Just Fruits and Exotics' Beneficial Insect Guide
- Most insects are on your team.  How to bring the good ones in.
Cornell's "Home Composting"
- Composting Essentials, How to compost yard waste, food scraps, etc

Community Garden Resources

Local Sources (From which I secure 90% or more of my supplies)
Capital City Lumber (2501 Lonnbladh Rd, (850) 385-0315)
J H Dowling (705 W. Madison Street, (850) 222-2616)
Capital Cash and Carry (1021 Railroad Avenue, (850) 224-2131)

Vegetable and herb plants, Seeds, and Soil Amendments:
Gramlings Seed Store (1010 S. Adams Street, (850) 222-4812)
Native Nurseries
Tallahassee Nurseries
Heinz Nurseries
Natural Matters (local Fertrell -organic- Fertilizer distributor)

Fruit Trees, Berries and Grape Vines:
Just Fruits and Exotics

I Also occasionally Order Seeds, Tools, Extra Supplies, etc from
Bountiful Gardens
Seed Savers Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
A M Leonard

My Top Three "Go-To" Food Gardening Books
1)Down to Earth Gardening Down South (Tallahassee native, Lacy Bullard)
2)How to Grow More Vegetables (John Jevons)
3)Square Foot Gardening (Mel Bartholomew)

For Aspiring Community Food System (Food Movement) Facilitators
On Community Organizing and Facilitating:
The Long Haul (Myles Horton)
     - the best book I've read about building and sustaining social movements
Growing Communities Curriculum (from the ACGA)
    - "How to" on Community Garden Facilitation and Com. Organizing
Ripples from the Zambezi: Passion, Entrepreneurship...
     - Great stories about facilitating vs doing thing "for" others
Change by Design
    - use design-thinking in your efforts to grow a new food system

Understanding the Food Movement
"The Food Movement, Rising" (Michael Pollan)
"A Good Food Manifesto" (Will Allen)

Urban Agriculture
CFSC Urban Ag Primer
City Farmer (Urban Ag News Blog)
"Start an Urban Farm" (ATTRA/NCAT publication)
Beginning Farmer's Amazing resource of Urban Ag Links

To Understand the Current Industrialized Food System
Food, Inc. (movie)
King Corn (movie)
Fresh (the movie)

Addressing Privilege and Oppression amidst the movement
"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" (Peggy McIntosh)
History of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Growing Food and Justice for all Initiative on Race and the Food System

Organizations to Track and/or Join, which offer great conferences
American Community Gardening Association (ACGA)
Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC)
Growing Power
Seed Savers Exchange

Urban Ag; Micro Ag Educational Opportunities and Resources
Georgia Organics Urban Ag Training (Atlanta, GA)
Growing Growers (Kansas City)
Michigan State University Student Organic Farm
San Diego City College Urban Agriculture Certificate Program
SPIN (Small Plot INtensive) Farming
Grow Biointensive/ Ecology Action
Beginning Farmers Blog
"Start a Farm in the City" (joint effort between ATTRA and NCAT)
Also See SARE publications (below)

Additional Books and Resources on Sustainable Food Production
  Weedless Gardening (Lee Reich)
  The Organic Manual (Howard Garrett)
  How to Grow World Record Tomatoes (Charles Wilber)
  Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (Bradley, Ellis, and Phillips)
  Permaculture: Principles and Pathways (David Holmgren)
  Introduction to Permaculture (Bill Mollison)
  Edible Forest Gardens (Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier)

  National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA)
  Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE)
SARE Publications-- free to download
  Building Soils for Better Crops (Magdoff and Vanes)
  Managing Cover Crops Profitably
  Manage Insects on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies
  Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual
  Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms...
  How to Direct-Market Your Beef

  Land and Power: Sustainable Agriculture and African Americans

Our Very Own Local Food Raising Experts
FAMU's CESTA (agricultural extension)
UF's IFAS (agricultural extension)
Farmer Pam at Backyard Farm in Monticello, FL
Damayan Garden Project
Front-Yard Farmer in Niceville, FL
FSU's Tallahassee Sustainability Group (a student organization)

Friday, December 9, 2011

And We Think We're Starting Something + another couple tidbits

In partnership with a group of young folks in Frenchtown calling themselves iGrow, I'm increasingly exploring urban farm possibilities.

As we investigate possibilities, partnerships, land, business accounting, marketing, proposal pitching, and the works, we're manufacturing and selling iGrow Garden Buckets as a joint venture to raise seed money.

Amidst the conversation, we've been talking about "starting the first urban farm in Tallahassee."  Well, goodness.  What's that phrase?  "There's nothing new under the sun." Something like that.  The idea of "starting something" or "being the first at something" sounds so cool.  It offers a legitimacy, a sense of "originalness" that's appealing, but too often in claiming such statuses, we-- whether intentionally or unintentionally--tread on those who came before us.  Such was our mistake, my mistake, really.

It's silly, really, that'd I'd blunder with such language.  There are, of course, the farmer/gardeners at the FAMU Community Garden who have been raising food for 35+ years.  Since the beginning of my foray into the food movement-- indeed most of my life-- I've been aware of the FAMU growers.  I also have friends with urban ag gigs on 6th ave, at Salvation Army on Jackson Bluff, and tucked away on Paul Russel near Richards high school.  Why this didn't put a stop to my saying "first urban farm" with the iGrow youth, I'm not sure.  But I'll tell you what did cause me to stand-corrected.

A few weeks back, Wendell, my co-worker and I were cutting through NW Frenchtown on the way to High Road north of Tharp.  Tucked away, a turn here, a turn there, another turn, seemed like we were driving in circles; we happened upon two giant gardens-- urban farms if I ever saw them-- in the northern heart of greater Frenchtown.

After seeing the farms, I got to asking around.  Mr Bellamy, president of the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association and Ms Mitchell, Executive Director of the Frenchtown Revitalization Council -- both partners and mentors amidst the Tallahassee Food Network-- said "Ed Duffee. One of them's Ed Duffee."  This past Tuesday, riding with Mr Bellamy, I got the privilege of meeting Mr Duffee who's been growing on the space for 20-30 years.  He inherited his farm space from an uncle, about 1/2 acre, who had been farming it before that for who knows how long. (As an aside, you should know that Mr Duffee was Tallahassee's first black lawyer.)

He's got mustards and collards growing; his sugar cane-- though already harvested and pressed into syrup-- keeps trying to grow back up.  Over the summer, he had tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, egg plant, and all manner of other stuff growing including potatoes in 5-gallon buckets because Mr Duffee says it makes harvest easier.  He sold some stuff at the Frenchtown Farmers' Market this past summer, primarily tomatoes, which is the reason we were there: Mr Bellamy wanted to make early contact with Mr Duffee to make sure he'd be up for selling again next year.  Mr Duffee told us that he gives most of his stuff away to seniors across the street at Miracle Hill a nursing home, but, yes, he's willing to come to the farmers' market again when it starts back in March. 

(While I was there, Mr Bellamy and Mr Duffee got me thinking a lot about Food sovereignty: theirs is a story of a local grower, growing regional produce, selling at a neighborhood market to the adjacent community, a local market that was/is organized by indigenous leaders).

So, the upshot of it is that the iGrow Youth-- though still noteworthy that as high schoolers they're exploring urban farming from an entrepreneur angle-- will in no way start the "first" urban farm in Tallahassee (if they do indeed choose to pursue a market farm venture).  Given Mr Duffee and his Uncle before him-- when you add on the Victory Gardens before that and the Liberty Gardens before that-- my best hunch is that farming and food production has been part of the mosaic of Tallahassee since it's founding in 1824, maintained as a living tradition by folks like Mr Duffee.


That same day, Mr Bellamy and I stopped in on Ms Washington who's got a gorgeous garden in her back yard on 7th Ave.  Neither Mr Bellamy or I knew her.

Purple mustards (Mr Bellamy's new favorite), turnips, collards, cabbage, onions, grapefruit, tangerines, she pointed everything out.  "I just like trying things she said."  She's been gardening her whole life.  Turns out she's the mother of my mother's co-worker.  Small world.  When I came around the side of the truck, she hollered from her front porch, "Have I seen you on the computer? My daughter's Gloria; she works with your momma at the hospital; you baked her cookies when you were just a young'in."

Food, bringing folks together.


Take a look.  Couple cool things worth clicking at:
Grow Gainesville. A seed library in Gainesville gets started.
(Did I mention that both Mr Duffee and Ms Washington are seed savers?)

Urban Ag Policy Report from Georgia Organics. Profiles of urban ag policies from 16 top-of-their-game cities.

Fredando Jackson-- from Koinonea Farms, which is the community that gave rise to Habitat for Humanity-- has been in touch about spreading "my model" of food gardening education and support to Americus, GA. Was quite honored by the call; we're going to be working to develop a bare-bones approach to enable as many folks as possible (youth, churches, communities) to get into growing food.

Baltimore's Can-Do Approach to Food Justice (they're making awesome strides in terms of urban ag; inspiring article).

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