Skip to main content

Greetings from Switzerland

Just a quick note to say hey from Switzerland. On this leg so far, we flew into Madrid, and then spent two weeks with friends in the south of France. Tomorrow, we're headed to Zurich, then to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and back to France, where we'll spend a couple weeks in Paris before we head back to Madrid at the beginning of June to catch our flight back to the States.

Everywhere we go we're learning! In Madrid: Spanish recipes (Tortillas, yum!). In France, bread making, stone walls, old architecture (that orients towards the south to maximize passive solar... that then informs where the garden goes: also to the south), home-made, gravity pressurized irrigation, cheese, and did I mention cheese! We saw countless coops, one example of how businesses can operate pairing the ideas of community benefit and economic viability, a way to to ensure sustainability for the long haul-- which reminds me of the economic development happening in N Florida around good food.

Here in Switzerland, we're amazed at how they use ALL their space, even little stretches between the orchard and roads for growing wine grapes.  Look to my page for pictures.

And, of course, there are thriving gardens, farms, and markets EVERYWHERE! Oh the stories to tell...

- - -

Back in Florida, it's right about that time when you start encountering pests, so here's my Pesky Pests and What to Do About Them.

Happy Growing,

PS- Lest I forget, in February in Ecuador, we visited with great folks at FENOCIN, an organization of campesinos (small farmers). Be sure to check them out. They're doing amazing work with small farmers, women, youth development, and national ag policy.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Can I Eat Bread in France, but not the USA?

Updated 10/31/2017 as the National Organic Standards Board meets in Jacksonville, FL. This may well be the most important thing you read this year for your health. (Originally written in 2015 while I was traveling-- and eating bread-- with my wife in France.)

I've got a food riddle for you from Paris, France: Why can I eat bread over here when it makes me sick at home?

I'll share my best guess in a minute, but first, a little personal background.

Since my senior year of high school, I've not been able to eat much bread at all. For five years, I was severely hypoglycemic, and everything I ate had to have more protein than carbohydrates. That meant, in effect, that I spent my years of college beer-less and eating lots of salad with meat on top. I ate tons of vegetables, very little fruit, basically no carbohydrates to speak of, meat, nuts, eggs, and cheese. If I accidentally ate, say, meat loaf that was, unbeknownst to me, made with bread in it, I'd spend the next 2-3 da…

Man in Overalls - The Valley of Food & Ag Startups: Warren Wilson College

If you're interested in tech, pay attention to Silicon Valley. If you're interested in food and agriculture, Swannnoa Valley, more specifically Warren Wilson College, is the place to keep on your radar.
I'm an alum and proud of it, class of 2008. I studied community organizing, wrote a 140 page thesis about social movements as my capstone.
It's a work college, one of seven in the country. Think universal work-study, so in addition to whatever one's academic track, students are also working in the cafeteria, the library, admissions, as carpenters, lock smiths, lab techs, and-- per the agricultural legacy of Warren Wilson-- as row crop, animal, and vegetable farmers, gardeners, and edible landscapers.  Personally, I worked on the electric crew and then on the landscape crew where I led the edible landscape sub-crew in managing a 1-acre edible (Permaculture) landscape around the "Ecodorm."

Per the "triad" of Warren Wilson's educational system,…

Man in Overalls - Growing Great Soil

Good soil will basically grow your groceries for you, but how do you build great soil? 
The answer is that there are two options: a quick & easy way and a DIY, hard(er) way. 

So we're on the same page, I'm continuing my #GrowYourGroceries The Easy Way series by digging into the how-tos of growing great soil. These stories and techniques will likely make the most sense after reading Geeking on Good Soil, my last update. (I outlined where I was headed in The Big Picture.)

As I was saying, the easy way to build a great soil is to fill raised beds with a terrific compost-based soil mix like my Magic Mix to jump start your food garden productivity from year one. From there, seasonally, you simply top-dress each season before planting with another few inches of compost-based soil mix. This is how I manage my own food garden and those of my customers. Why? Because at the root of things, I'm a lazy food gardener, and long ago I decided to embrace it. 😎

But if you're not in th…