Our School Garden! by Rick Swann, illustrations by Christy Hale
I read a lot of gardening books. It is very rare that a gardening book gives attention to food accessibility for low income families and food banks yet here those things are in a kids book. It’s not a standard story with typical narration although it does follow one story of a boy named Michael who is feeling alone in a new city and school but finds a home and connections through the school garden. The story is told through poems and standard narration with pages that also teach other concepts. There’s a lot of good information about basic gardening (like using the example of Three Sisters Gardens to talk about companion planting) and also great inspiration.
The illustrations by Christy Hale are wonderfully warm and engaging and show a lot of diversity that is often lacking in children’s books.
Here’s some photos I took of a few pages that give a feel of what this book is like…
I got this copy from our local library but it’s also available at readerstoeaters.com . There’s a lot of other titles there I am SO excited to check out (a kids book about Will Allen!)
Feed Fayetteville plants community garden in downtown commercial zone | Fayetteville Flyer
There are very few community gardens that exist in commercial zones. In my local “green” city, I walk by so many commercial properties with landscaping space like this bank in Fayetteville, Arkansas that are either poorly tended or just have impractical shrubs and inedibles. Cities and businesses need to follow the Fayetteville example here.
This concept supermarket has no packaged products, reduces #foodwastepsfk.com/2014/05/origin… via @PSFK
When the article refers to it as a “high end co-op” , that makes me think that it’s another concept that won’t benefit low income people.
“24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About ” by ow.ly/x6yRV via @CivilEats
[D]oes it really matter who writes the stories, and who makes the decisions about deploying resources and presenting news? Yes, I think it does. Here’s one small example of why: Women who write are more likely, according to the study, to quote at least some women in their articles. That diversity of outlook and that range of voices are worth pursuing because it better reflects the world.
I think it matters,too.
Hey, this might be good news? Enrollment in SNAP has started to drop. (But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about how GOP reps wanting to emulate California’s success in discouraging enrollment to many eligible low income people.… )
Safe prep for freezing, safe thawing…and the freezing food things you need to know. This info comes in handy when you hit a cheap produce bounty. Sorry I can’t do more to help with freezer space. Maybe some TARDIS magic to make it bigger on the inside?
Awesome urban gardening shot by @corneliadlabaja via
Urban Gardeners Rep
Becoming a water wise gardener is . . . GardenWise! Tips on conserving water pottsmerc.com/lifestyle/2014…
I was thinking about all of you gardeners out there with water issues the other day when watering my garden. We save rain water but sometimes even that doesn’t cut it. Grateful we don’t have a water shortage and that we don’t have to pay a water bill. Here’s hoping this year isn’t too droughty or too floody for us all.
I leave you with some relevant music… This is on my Homestead Mix playlist. Came on while writing this post, so figured I should share.
I’m pretty impressed with Will Allen and his organization Growing Power.
He had a few acres of land in Milwaukee and turned it into a farm in 1993. Growing Power now consists of six greenhouses, an apiary with 14 beehives, two aquaponics hoop houses ,250 chickens, and a few dozen goats. In that space, organic and non-GMO food is grown with the idea in mind that it’s accessible and affordable for everyone. The farm also serves as an educational “idea factory” and living classroom where people can learn about acid-digestion, anaerobic digestion for food waste, bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, small and large scale composting, urban agriculture, permaculture, food distribution, marketing, value-added product development, youth education, community engagement, participatory leadership development, and project planning.
Not only is Growing Power proving that small farms can be productive and practical, the farm is dedicated to food justice and breaking through barriers the factory farm and food industry have created to making healthy food accessible for those with low incomes.
via Growing Power’s Facebook page
This was a parking lot. This is a project done by a woman who bought an old ice house and renovated it to live in, in an urban area. The garden is her own space that goes with the property but I think it’s a great example of what can come from urban spaces. There are certainly obstacles when we’re talking about converting abandoned lots and parking lots … permission from the property owner,code enforcement… yadayada…but these things are easier to overcome when you get a few like minded people together to fight a little bit (or a lot) for the project. I find if you emphasize, “It’s for the benefit of our community “, you get farther and gain more support.
Ben Greene has this idea to bring fresh,locally grown produce to the city, especially where food deserts exist. The Farmery consists of stacked shipping containers and a greenhouse in the middle. The food will be grown and sold right there in one location.
In this video, Ben breaks down how it all works
Here’s another video that shows the actual concept
When I wrote about why poor people can’t just grow their own food, Ron Finley came to mind as an example of people helping people to overcome these barriers I talked about. Ron Finley is a guerrilla gardener who is tuning the South Central LA food desert into a place where bountiful harvest is possible.
He started turning traffic medians,curbs,empty lots…any vacant space…into edible gardens in his community. As he says in his TED talk, “The drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys”. He recognized that food is the problem but it’s also the solution.
THIS is exactly what happens when someone fully grasps what it is that makes a large percentage of Americans eat junk and has a passion and compassion for helping people. Crazy,right? You might have thought the answer was to bitch on Facebook about how poor people shouldn’t drink soda or passing state bills that stop people on food stamps from buying potato chips. How amazing that nope, that’s not how we help people eat better. We just simply make better food more easily accessible.
It takes work. Let’s hope Ron Finley can inspire than drive in others.
Ron’s TED talk is a 10 minute Must Watch:
The key points from his TED talk:
How Guerilla Gardening Can Save America’s Food Deserts | Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonian Magazine