Man in Overalls helps you #GrowYourGroceries!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Child of a Farmworker

My mother grew up in Jackson County on a small farm.  Her family grew cotton, corn, and peanuts like everyone around them.  Unable to pay the mortgage, her family planted crops in the spring; laid them by; headed to Michigan for the summer to pick cheeries, strawberries, peaches and the like before returning to harvest their crops in north Florida.  With the onset of winter, the family loaded up for a temporary move to south Florida to harvest citrus before coming back to north Florida in the springtime to repeat the process.

I was raised by a farmworker who taught me to identify with folks tending our food, to recognize the skill and ceaseless work necessary to grow and harvest the groceries we can easily take for granted. 

I was raised in a faith that is rooted in the cries of the enslaved Israelite people who were expected to make bricks without straw. From an early age, I heard words such as, "In Christ there is neither slave nor free...."

It is with such a background that I stand in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as they fast to encourage Publix to hold their tomato suppliers accountable for poor (i.e. outrageous) labor practices in Florida's fields, not least of which is modern-day slavery.  The coalition asks that Publix enter a three-way agreement with them and Florida growers to pay 1 penny more per pound for tomatoes that will deliver farmworkers the first wage increase they've seen since the 1970's.  Instead of 1.5 cents, they'll be paid 2.5 cents for each pound of tomatoes they pick.

I'll be passing up lunch this week to honor the CIW's dedication to just food. Learn more by watching the below video about their fast.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 2012 Natural Awakenings Features Man in Overalls and iGrow Buckets

Food Sovereignty
Nathan Ballentine
"Though we do not talk about it much in the food movement -- even, for that matter, amidst the Tallahassee Food Network -- what we are working on is the democratization, the decentralization of our food system, soil to seed to harvest to dinner.
        The big question is, "Who controls your food?"
        ...more on page 28 in Natural Awakenings.

Grow Your Groceries
"The iGrow Bucket is a self-watering mini food garden build using two five-gallon buckets.  It was a water-reservoir at the base that allows for bottom-up watering, which encourages the roots to grow down and helps ensure consistent moisture for maximum food production.

"The buckets -- a product developed by Wendell Mitchell and Nathan Ballentine of Tallahassee Food Gardens -- are being manufactured by the Frenchtown based iGrow- "Whatever you like"- Youth in order to underwrite their dream to start an urban farm in Frenchtown....

The iGrow team is making three versions of the buckets, all available for sale via their website ( and the below paypal buttons.

$32 Just Add Water 
iGrow Bucket. Filled with magic compost-mix. Pre-planted with heirloom tomato. Comes with built in trellis.
$24 Ready To Plant 
iGrow Bucket. Pre-filled with magic compost-mix. 
$20 Do it Yourself 
iGrow Bucket. Fill. Plant. Water. Eat. 
Feel free to email with questions."

Questions? Contact Us via

Email. Phone: (850) 322-0749. Facebook. Or, Form.