My seed order just arrived! Yes, I procrastinated a bit this year in getting my order in. Each year I like to try one thing new, this year its the Thai Red Roselle. Anyone grown it? Have any suggestions what to make with it? Other than teas and jams.
I am planning to try a lot of container gardening this year. Any advice?
In case you can’t read the packages:
Corn Strawberry Popcorn- great for kid harvesting, popcorn, and decorating
Country Gentlemen Sweet Corn- this one has mixed reviews, will try it this year and see
Little Marvel Garden Pea- it’s a bush bean, with a heavy yield. Going to try it in containers
I had a very hard decision to make this week. Harder than any that I have had in a long time. We had to break up with our CSA, which provided us with our meats, eggs, breads, fruits and vegetables. It was a very hard, sad day. When we signed up over a year ago now it was conveinent. My husband was working in the city so he could pick it up on the way home. Then my husband lost his job, relocated out of the city for his new job, and it became my responsibility to drive in the 45+ minute drive each way to pick up. Occasionally he would say he could do it and then get tied up at work and unable to pick up. After this last time I realized it wasn’t fair to us or to them to continue on this way.
I began researching CSA’s closer to home. None will ever hold a candle to the fondness I have for our previous one, but does anyone get over their first love. I found a farm that will hopefully fill our need. They are looking to expand what they currently provide, produce and eggs, into meat, dairy, breads, etc. Maybe I will be able to get involved more at the farm since it is closer or help them find opportunities. Who knows. Our new CSA starts in April. It delivers to our doorstep so no more worrying over who will find the time to go pick it up. And it is from a farm about 10 miles from our home so it really is more local.
Find a CSA, farm stand, farmers market, etc that works for you. There are many popping up every where. Perhaps contact an established one and see if you get a group of people signed up can you create a pick up spot more conveinent for you. Many accept SNAP so great, local food can be had. If you can’t find something now, keep checking back this is a growing movement and many more are popping up all the time.
Here are a few resources to help you find your local food:
And there are many more specific websites by state if you google your area.
We bought our house last August and part of my list of “things to do” was create our yard into an edible landscape. I was so enthused to stumble upon Love & Carrots and see what they have to offer. They can create it customized to you, where your yard is transformed into your own farmers’ market. You can be as hands on as you’d like through their different services. So whether you have a roof, a rowhouse, an embassy, or a townhome (or even a real yard!) these are the folks that can transform your space to feed you! And an added bonus…they work with a canner and preserver who can transform those goodies into year round bounty!
Founder Meredith Shepherd took a moment to answer a few questions. For more information please visit their website www.loveandcarrots.com
What is Love & Carrots?
Love & Carrots is a home organic gardening company that designs, installs, and maintains vegetable gardens. We help provide a hand to those who want to grow their own food, but lack the knowledge or time to make it happen.
When did you start gardening? At what point did you decide you wanted to make it a career?
I grew up in Vermont where my family always had a huge garden, so I was required to help seed and weed at a very young age! I’ve always been passionate about Environmental issues, but it wasn’t until i moved to DC in 2006 that I saw farming and gardening as a possible career. My first move was to gain as much experience growing food as possible, which led me to managing Chailey Farm– a small farm in Virginia that sold produce to various DC restaurants including Citizen, Sou’ Wester, and Komi. Chailey farm was still an hour away from the city, though, and I believe so strongly in Urban Farming.. Growing food right where its needed! Once the concept for Love & Carrots popped into my head I dove right in.
Do you have a favorite experience or garden you have done so far?
My absolute favorite part is seeing the client’s reaction to the transformation of their space. I see a lot of neglected, overgrown yards, empty patios, and people fed up with mowing- we get to fill these headache-spaces with a beautiful jungle of bounty! The satisfaction of making that happen, and thereby drawing people outside to appreciate a previously neglected space is just priceless!
There is a really cool food movement happening where a lot of people are getting back into gardening. What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to transform their yard into an edible landscape?
Sunlight is king. Find the sunniest spot possible and your garden will be worlds happier. Then make sure you prepare your soil well; add lots of compost, amend it appropriately, and create a raised bed- roots need drainage. Don’t be afraid to try growing what you want. If you are direct-seeding, make sure you thin! Finally watering well, sometimes daily, is oh so necessary. We install automated drip irrigations systems for that.
What is you favorite spring time meal?
Raw kale salad with turnips, home-made asian-style dressing, and nutritional yeast! It sounds so crunchy but its SO good! and Turnips. They are so underrated. A big, juicy hakurai turnip is good enough to eat like an apple!
Thanks, Meredith! Contact Meredith and her crew at www.loveandcarrots.com
Photo via Flickr
Yes, yes, yes. I neglect to oil my cheap wooden cutting boards- the nice ones get a much better treatment. So when they dry out or break I don’t throw them out I use them as smaller cutting boards. They have their benefits.
Put them across a plate and chop right onto it.
I also use them as small cheese trays around for parties, gatherings, or someone stopping by. I have been known to use them as a plate on occasion. Or as a serving platter. Or to go under bowls of different dips for appeal.
So don’t throw them out! They still have a job to do.
*Make sure you grease down your boards. Boos Blocks are my nice boards and I will admit I do by the Boos oil for them- it’s a psychological thing. But you can use mineral oil, beeswax, walnut or almond oil, or coconut oil to season your wooden cutting boards- even the cheap ones.
Photo via Flickr
The movie opened proposing the question “Why do we eat organic?” Some of those interviewed responded with good health, good for the environment, they had kids and wanted them to eat healthy, pesticides, and one said she thought it may be bull. The numbers show that 73% of people in the US eats some kind of organic food and in 2011 it had $28.6 billion in sales, but it is a word thrown around a lot like “fresh”. So “Is it better and more nutritious?” The movie went around to different people, organizations, schools, farms, and cities throughout the US to find those answers.
The film explores what it takes to become certified organic, how and why some farmers have made the change to a certified organic farm, what are some of the “organic” guidelines that the average consumer is not aware of. The popular ”do you spray?” question came up and I am so happy they touched on that. Most farmers spray, it’s what and how often you should be asking. Another point that pleased me to see covered was that the government charges for the certified organic label annually, but the conventional farmers who are destroying our eco structure aren’t paying a dime. There is also a lack of whistle blowing when they are paying you, as a result no one has lost USDA certified organic status. It also explained how those organic processed foods manage to get the labels- if you have the money and ware willing to jump the hoops it’s yours- and large companies are willing to do this because it is such a profitable niche. As a consumer we need to smarten up on just what that “certified organic” label means.
I loved that this film explored the options of how/where to buy the real “organic” food and what to do with it. The movie showed that it isn’t more expensive to eat organic, and the long term of conventional really is detrimental to our health and our environment. It showed it is so easy to get the kids real food in schools without it costing more if we just put the right people in place, even having the kids growing their own foods. We need to get more accessibility of electronic payments and EBT to farmers’ markets because there is a growing demand. Urban areas are becoming growing communities using empty lots to grow their food.
When Bernie Prince of “FreshFood Markets” spoke after the film she said that Kip is intending to break the movie up into different segments for communities, schools, etc. I think that is a great idea. I would love to be able to share the Chef Bobo segment with you now for your own inspiration! (I get very tired of hearing ‘but kids won’t eat that’) And as we, those excited to make this change, take action segments of this film would be fantastic to be able to show. There are great parts for all ages and all food beliefs.
This is a good food film. There are a lot of food movement movies out there, but ”In Organic We Trust” has a good message especially using a very familiar word that makes me cringe “organic” and talking to you through a conversation that I believe could be heard by even the biggest doubter of local, “organic” food or person who is eating “certified organic”. It also provides the how to fix it. In popular food films like “Food, Inc” it took “Fresh” to give us the follow up as to how to make the change. This film provides the how from many different areas from farms, schools, organizations, food deserts, urban sprawls, to corporations.
A Few Questions with Kip Pastor, Director of “In Organic We Trust” (via email)
How familiar were you with “Certified Organic” before making the film? Why did you decide to tackle “organic”?
I was not very familiar with certified organic when I started my journey. I would recognize the label in stores, but it was not until I started shopping at farmer’s markets that I started to wonder the difference between “organic” and “certified organic.” I think that growing food in a sustainable way is fundamental to our health and the health of the environment. I created “In Organic We Trust” to shed light on the many positive steps that are being taken toward a more sustainable agriculture.
What did you learn in your journey creating the film?
Too many things to share. I learned that pesticides are even more dangerous than I could have imagined. I learned that certified organic has become big business. As organic farming operations have scaled up or been bought out by corporate agribusiness to meet the demand for organic products, the principles on which certified organic was founded can be neglected. From a health, environmental, and social justice perspective, we are in deep trouble. Chronic disease, contamination of our water supply, and the exploitation of farmworkers are jeopardizing our future. However, the most important and empowering thing that I learned was that people are finding new solutions to all of these problems. Compassion, ingenuity, and the desire to create a better world for everyone are at the center of this food revolution. Urban farming, roof top gardens, school kitchens, farmer’s markets, and school gardens can have a huge impact moving forward.
During audience questions Bernie said you are planning to break the film down into segments for different distribution options. What area of the food movement do you think would most benefit from IOWT?
Many films seek to uncover injustices and conspiracies. We learn about what’s wrong and are left groping for answers. Although there are a lot of injustices and conspiracies in agriculture, In Organic We Trust exposes the solutions – what is working. Nearly 50% of the film is about things that you and I can do in our daily lives to improve our health and the environment. Many of these solutions can be stand alone segments – urban farming to increase healthy food access, school gardens and edible education to reconnect children with their food, and farmer’s markets to build community around food. The film benefits anyone who’s interested in achieving these goals.
What has you most enthused throughout this movement?
Change. Things are changing quickly. More people are getting involved. Almost every day I read about a grassroots victory related to public health and the environment. The push to get “pink slime” out of school meals, the removal of methyl iodide (a cancer causing pesticide sprayed on strawberries) from the market, one million signatures gathered by the Just Label It campaign to label GMOs – and these actions have happened in just the last 30 days. But there’s a lot more we still need to do – end unfair subsidies for commodity crops, fight for local food funding in the Farm Bill, get healthy, local food in school lunches, and teach more young people how to farm sustainably.
The Campaign and Tour! We are going to bring the film to six cities in June – NYC, DC, SF, San Diego, Aspen, and LA. We have built three mini-campaigns to tackle defining organic, urban farming & healthy food access, and school gardens & nutrition education. We will be writing petitions, holding screenings and events, and promoting action on local and national issues. Once I have some time to rest and recoup, I’ve sketched out the next film which will deal with garbage and new solutions to waste.
I would recommend, no matter how many food films you have seen or never seen, to go see this as it travels the country. I hope to be able to share segments with you soon! To find a local screening or to get involved visit www.inorganicwetrust.org