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Showing posts from October, 2009

Economy of Kale

If I'm not mistaken, this past summer, the universities' budgets in town were struck by 95 million dollars. Add to this the collapse of the housing boom and reductions in state government spending, and what you get is a Tallahassee economy heading for hard times. In fact, for many, times are already tough. This is our current reality. In the midst of such a financial situation, does it make sense to food garden? Is it worth it to shell out a few extra bucks upfront to either a)hire someone to plant a garden for you or b)to dig, sweat, make a run to the seed store, and plant your own garden? If money is already tight, if we're facing a tough economy, is growing food a good idea? Think for a moment about the places hardest hit economically over the last several decades. If I had to brainstorm such a list of US cities with the worst economic fortunes, I'd name towns like Flint, Michigan, Detroit, New Orleans and inner-cities in New Jersey. Interestingly enough,

A Little Note on the Weekend with Damayan

I spent this past weekend at Lichgate with the Damayan Garden Project to receive folks stopping by as part of the 2nd Annual New Leaf Farm Tour . Amidst guiding folks through the demo garden, talking about good soil and compost, encouraging folks to peruse the silent auction tables, pointing out the labyrinth, and providing snacks, we volunteers had a bit of time to brainstorm. One idea that came up was this: as an organization, Damayan could increase its notoriety and ability to encourage food gardening by attending neighborhood association meetings all over town with a standard presentation. Said presentation would highlight a) WHY we should garden; i.e. the reasons (economic, health, environmental, communal) for food gardening, b) HOW we can garden; i.e. models of home and community gardens, and lastly c) THE WAYS DAMAYAN CAN HELP get things rolling. Thus, if you serve on a neighborhood board and would be interested in having Damayan present, please let me know-- or email Dama

"Tallahasseean Gothic"

" American Gothic " was painted by Grant Woods from 1930. The key components as you can clearly see are a farming couple, the pitchfork, and the background cottage "with a distinctive upper window." Notice, the man in overalls . According to Wikipedia, the painting "is one of the most familiar images in 20th century American art and one of the most parodied artworks within American popular culture." You don't say. Let's call it " Tallahasseean Gothic " staged from 2009. The key components as you can see are a food gardening couple, the pitchfork, and the background capital "with distinctive upper windows and dome." Notice, again, the man in overalls . (...with major thanks to my partner in crime, Mary Elizabeth... and my mother who's behind the camera...)

Bringing Garden Dreams to Fruition

A friend wrote me to ask, "Are you getting any business amidst all the 'awareness-raising' that you're doing?" I am, I'm happy to report. Below is one garden project I worked on this past week: a food garden in Carol's backyard. Carol wanted two raised beds with a small fence around them to keep her pups from digging up her winter greens. The day before I started digging, she called with a question: "Are you familiar with the Square Food Gardening (SFG) method?" "Yes," I responded,"more or less." Many people have called my attention to Mel Bartholomew's gardening approach over the years, and I'd just perused his website at length the week before. Additionally, without even knowing it, I'd been incorporating many of his ideas into my own practices in my home garden. Carol offered me Bartholomew's book, which she'd purchased thirty years previously. "I wonder," Carol submitted, "if

Homecoming and NC Community Gardens

This past week, I made a trip up to North Carolina to my alma mater, Warren Wilson College for homecoming with two friends, fellow alums. Warren Wilson is a work college, which means that all students on campus have a 15-hour-per-week job. Most of the routine maintenance and tasks are performed by students. For example, there's a plumbing crew, a library crew, cafeteria (dish-washing) crew, etc. And, as there is a working farm and a three-acre garden on campus-- both which supply food to the dinning halls-- there are farm and garden student crews as well. I actually didn't work on either. Instead I spent two years on Electric and two years on Landscaping. As part of my duties on Landscaping, I managed an edible landscape around a student dorm. The extended weekend was a great chance to catch up with friends, professors and old crew-bosses. I shared the "dollars and cents" of Tallahassee Food Gardens with four friends who are investigating the possibilitie