Community Seeds Building Community through Gardening Developed by Kristin McGee, MSW University of Michigan — School of Social Work Good Neighborhoods Technical Assistance Center 2006 Revised, 2008
Table of ContentsDefinitions Newsletter #1Getting Started on Community Gardens Newsletter #2Garden Design Newsletter #3Composting Newsletter #4Veggies 101 Newsletter #5Using Your Garden to Build Community Newsletter #6The Community-Supported Agriculture Model Newsletter #7Taking Food from Garden to School Newsletter #8References and Additional Resources Newsletter #9
Community Seeds is a beginning. A place for community members, church mem-bers, young people, schools, and others to get some basic information on gardening andstarting a community gardening project.The first part provides the lay of the land: definitions and how to get started with commu-nity gardening. In the second part, the handbook looks at basic gardening skills: gardendesign, composting, and vegetable gardening. The third section teaches how gardeningcan be used to build a community, from farm-to-school programs and community-supported agriculture to marketing produce and reconnecting with nature. Each newslet-ter has Internet and readings listed as resources. There is a wealth of information on gar-dening in community settings. Also, take a look at the information the Good Neighbor-hoods Technical Assistance Center provided on how to access vacant lots that are in yourneighborhood.Community Seeds advocates for organic farming methods. “Organic” means thatplants and food are grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. These methods seekreconnecting with the environment, harmony with nature, and healthy food for all indi-viduals. Remember, the organic movement is ultimately about social justice — the basicright to clean, nutritious, and adequate food sources.A few ideas for using the newsletters in this manual:• Have group members find out about national and international community gardening projects and share that information. You could explore projects mentioned in this man- ual or add other projects to these pages.• Create a list of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and trees as well as information the group would like to have about these crops. It could be plant varieties, uses, planting requirements, growing guidelines, pest and disease considerations, and harvesting methods. Divide the list among group members and collect the information to learn about each crop. These reports will be an excellent addition to the Community Seeds newsletters.• Don’t forget about the Community Connections Small Grants offered through Good Neighborhoods. Plenty of money to get a project started.• Organize a visit to local community gardening projects as well as some hands-on activi- ties. The only way to learn how to garden is to get dirty!Most of all, enjoy yourself and enjoy connecting with others through something so basicand necessary to all of us: food. — Kristin McGee
DefinitionsAnnual: A plant that germinates, grows, flowers, sets seed, and dies in one growingseason. Versus a perennial plant that grows over multiple seasons.Biodynamic Gardening: Developed during the 1920s by Rudolph Steiner to helppeople work with nature to grow more healthful food. Bio-dynamics shares many goalswith organic gardening. Both methods avoid the use of synthetic chemicals. The recyclingof nutrients through composting is also common to both methods, along with raised beds,crop rotation, and companion planting. What sets bio-dynamics apart is the philosophybehind it. Biodynamic gardeners attempt to understand the true nature of their crops andlivestock – what each plant and animal needs to grow to its potential. In biodynamicterms, an ideal farm is a self-supporting system. Rather than emphasizing measurableyields, biodynamic farmers seek a healthful product produced with minimalenvironmental impact. The biodynamic concept also incorporates planetary influences onplant growth; for example, calendars of cosmic rhythms guide farmers.Blight: A bacterial or fungal disease in which leaves or branches suddenly wither, stopgrowing, and die. Examples include fire, early (alternaria), late (phytophthora), andbacterial blights.Canker: A fungal disease that forms on woody stems and may be cracks, sunken areas, orraised area of dead or abnormal plant tissue.Cold Frame: Rectangular, boxlike structure with a glass sash on top. Most have slantingsash “roofs,” with the high end toward the north, so that the sun’s rays strike the glass atabout a 90 degree angle, and water and snow slide off the lids easily. A lid with a slope of35-40 degrees catches the most sunlight year-round, while a 55-degree slope maximizesautumn’s low sun. Cold frames create an area of close-to-ideal conditions, enablinggardeners to stretch the seasons and to grow plants accustomed to warmer climates.Community Garden: A gathering of individuals willing to share time, space, and laborto garden; a garden owned by a city, university, or civic organization; individual plotsrented to gardeners for a small fee.Community-Supported Agriculture: A relationship of mutual support andcommitment between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer anannual fee to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, members receive a weeklyshare of the harvest during the local growing season.Companion Planting: Locating plants close to each other in order to take advantage ofa plant’s natural ability to attract beneficial insects, repel harmful ones, aid or discouragegrowth, and take advantage of certain chemical reactions among plants.Composting: The art and science of combining organic materials under controlledconditions so that the original raw ingredients are transformed into humus.Cooperative Extension Service: A unique partnership between college andgovernment, the extension service was established in 1914 to provide an educational linkbetween the public, the US Department of Agriculture, and land-grant colleges. Extensionoffices provide gardening advice tailored to your particular climate, soil, and growingconditions through publications, classes, and workshops. It also offers Master Gardenersprograms.
DefinitionsCotyledon: The leaf (or leaves), present in a dormant seed, that is the first to unfold asthe seed germinates. Cotyledons often look different than the “first true set of leaves” thatfollow them.Cover crop: A crop grown to protect and enrich the soil or to control weeds.Crop rotation: The practice of shifting crop locations in the garden from year to year toavoid crop-specific diseases and pests and to balance soil nutrients.Division: Separating a plant into several smaller new plants, used with groundcovers,clump-forming perennials, bulbs, tubers, ornamental grasses, and suckering shrubs.Double-digging: A soil preparation method in which you remove a spadeful of topsoilfrom a garden bed, loosen the soil layer below the topsoil, and then restore the topsoillayer. During the process, you can incorporate organic matter into the soil. Double-digging improves the structure and fertility of the top 2 feet of soil.Edible Landscaping: A form of gardening that produces food and makes yards or greenareas attractive at the same time.Fertilizer: Materials that feed growing plants. Common organic fertilizers include alfalfameal, blood meal, bonemeal, coffee grounds, compost, eggshells, fish emulsion, fish meal,grass clippings, kelp meal, peat moss, rock phosphate, wood ash, and worm castings.Foliar-feed: To supply nutrients by spraying liquid fertilizer directly on plant leaves.Green manure: A crop that is grown and then incorporated into the soil to increase soilfertility or organic matter content.Heirloom plants: Cultivars of plants grown in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and earlytwentieth centuries, essential for maintaining a vast and diverse pool of plant geneticcharacteristics. Heirloom tomatoes are popular, such as Brandywine and Striped GermanHorticultural therapy: The cultivation and appreciation of plants and nature torelieve an illness or disability. Horticultural therapy is practiced in such diverse settingsas rehabilitation and mental health centers, assisted living and nursing homes, schools,and hospitals.Humus: A dark-colored, stable form of organic matter that remains after most of theplant and animal residues in it have decomposed. When soil animals and microbes digestorganic matter, such as chopped leaves or weeds, humus is the end product.Inoculant: A seed treatment medium that contains the symbiotic rhizobial bacteria tocapture nitrogen when in contact with legume roots.Legume: A plant whose roots form a relationship with soil bacteria and can capturenitrogen available in the atmosphere.Loam: Soil that has moderate amounts of sand, silt, and clay. Loam soils are generallyconsidered the best garden soils.Meadow gardens: A full-sun garden that mimics the beauty of a natural meadow,composed of native warm-season grasses and flowering annuals, biennials, and perennialsthat will spread and self-sow to create a self-maintaining field of flowers and foliage.
DefinitionsNative plants: Plants that grow in the specific habitat in which they evolved.Natural landscaping: Designing all or part of your yard/green space with the aim ofre-creating the feel of a natural scene. After choosing a natural landscape that has thestrongest appeal for you, analyze that scene in nature to determine the topography,exposure, and soil. Identify dominant species and the way plants are arranged or layered.Nitrogen fixation: The capture and conversion of atmospheric nitrogen gas intonitrogen compounds, stored in the soil, that can be used by plants.NPK ratio: A ratio of three numbers that identifies the percentage of three majornutrients in fertilizers — nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).Organic certification: A process that assures consumers that foods labeled “organic”have been grown, processed, and/or handled in compliance with standards designed tokeep the food as well as the agricultural workers and environment free of harmfulcontaminants. Food and livestock sales earning more than $5,000 annually must becertified if they are to call or label their products “organic”.Organic Farming and Gardening: Organic farming uses nature’s cycle of growth,death, and decay. As plants and animals die, rodents, insects, earthworms, andmicroscopic soil creatures consume their bodies, and nutrients are released. Thesenutrients feed new generations of plants. There is no need for synthetic pesticides in anatural ecosystem. In organic gardening, similar cycles and natural balances exist.However, gardeners harvest and remove crops from the garden, breaking the cycle. Tokeep the natural processes that feed plants working, they add organic materials (compost,organic fertilizers). By encouraging biological diversity, they can minimize the need forartificial pest control. When organic gardeners do intervene, they choose control tacticsthat have little impact on natural systems.If you are new to the organic method, here are some basic suggestions to get you started:• Read• Use a plan and keep records• Learn more about your soil• Start a compost pile• Prevent pest problems before they happen• Learn to identify weeds and eliminate them when they are smallOrganic matter: Various forms of living or dead plant and animal material. Addingorganic matter to soil supplies nutrients to plants; facilitates better drainage; stores waterin the soil; helps increase air drainage; increases soil micro-organisms; decreases plantdisease; and encourages earthworms.Organic pest management: An approach to pest control that combines cultural,biological, physical, and certain chemical control measures to prevent problems or to keepthem in check. Organically acceptable chemical controls are a last resort used only whenall other methods are not adequate.
DefinitionsPerennial: A plant that flowers and sets seed for two or more seasons. Short-livedperennials may live 3-5 years while long-lived perennials may live 100 years or more.Versus an annual plant that grows for only one season.Permaculture: Coined in the mid-1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and DavidHolmgren, permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments.The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, whichprovide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in thelong term. Permaculture uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals combined withthe natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to produce a life-supportingsystem for city and country, using the smallest practical area.pH: The measure of acidity (acid) or alkalinity (base); pH affects plant growth byinfluencing the how easily soil nutrients can be used by plants.Propagation: Making new plants from existing ones. Propagation methods includeusing seeds, spores, plant division, cuttings, layering, grafting, and budding.Raised bed gardening: Garden beds are higher than ground level and separated bypaths. Plants cover the bed area and gardeners work from the paths. The beds are 3-5feet across to permit easy access and may be made any length.Rot: Diseases that decay roots, stems, wood, flowers, and fruitRust: A specific type of fungal disease, usually requiring two different plant species ashosts to complete their life cycle, that manifests with a powdery tan to rust-coloredcoating. Examples include asparagus, wheat, cedar apple, and white pine blister rust.Sand, silt, and clay: Tiny fragments of rock or minerals that make up nearly half thematerial in the soil. They are distinguished from one another by size. Sand particles arethe biggest, measuring from 0.05-2.0 millimeters in diameter; followed by silt particlesfrom 0.002-0.05 millimeters; followed by the smallest, clay particles, which measure lessthan 0.002 millimeters in diameter.Seed: A plant embryo and its supply of nutrients, often surrounded by a protective seedcoat.Seedling: A young plant grown from a seed.Side-dress: To apply fertilizer alongside plants growing in a row.Soil structure: The arrangement of soil particles in the soil.Soil texture: The relative proportions of sand, silt, and clay in the soil.Top-dress: To apply fertilizer evenly over a field or bed of growing plants.Transplanting: Moving a rooted plant from one place to another. You can transplantplants to containers or to the garden.Wilt: A fungus or bacteria that attacks or clogs a plant’s water-conducting system,causing permanent wilting and often followed by death of all or part of the plant.Examples include Stewart’s, Fusarium, and Verticillium wilt.
Getting Started on Community Gardens This newsletter will share the history of community gardens, ways to begin your own community garden, and considerations for urban gardeners. The History of Community Gardens from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening & Garden Mosaics From the late 1800s through the 1940s, the main purpose of community gardens in the United States was growing food.Special pointsof interest: • Potato Patch Movement (late 1800s): Cities were growing rapidly and many people were out of work. Across the county, cities began• At peak production in offering garden plots to so residents could 1944, 20 million grow their own food victory gardens grew 44% of America’s fresh produce. • Liberty Gardens (early 1900s): The U.S. gov- ernment recruited people to grow gardens• A community garden during World War I as a way to contribute to the war effort. starts as a gathering of individuals willing to share time, space, • Relief Gardens (1930s): With the Great De- and labor. pression affecting the nation, these gardens were promoted to improve people’s spirits as • Improve neighborhoods: People in cities turn vacant lots into beautiful gardens.• Urban gardeners must well as to provide work and food. keep in mind space, light, soil, theft and • Victory Gardens (1940s): Growing food in • Express cultural traditions: Many immigrant vandalism, and soil World War II’s “victory gardens” was a patri- and heritage groups bring plants and cultural contaminants. otic duty. At peak production in 1944, 20 traditions to the gardens, creating multicul- million victory gardens grew 44% of America’s tural mosaics. fresh produce. The American Community Gardening Association From the late 1960s to the present, community (ACGA), a national not-for-profit organization of gardens have served many different purposes. gardening and open space volunteers and profes- Renewed interest in energy and environmental sionals, was started in 1979 to encourage commu-Inside this conservation, rising food prices, and growing con- nity gardening and greening. The ACGA offers cern about chemical additives and residues in proc- guidelines to help gardeners understand how com-issue: munity gardening works. Check them out at essed foods have made homegrown produce more appealing. Gardens are also used to: http://www.communitygarden.org.Finding & AcquiringLand 2Forming a Garden 2 What is a community garden?Urban Gardening 3 Since there in no real agreement go to grow food either collectively valuable, ends.Urban Innovations on what makes a community gar- or on their own plot of land. An 3 Inuvik Community Green- den, let’s hear what the gardens essential element is that they are house, Northwest Territories, themselves have to say: developed and run by the commu- Canada: “We began by convert-Urban Land Trusts 4 Green Thumb, New York City, nity in a process where people and ing a decommissioned building USA: “Community gardens pro- nature learn from each other to into a community greenhouse asInside Story vide green space and easily acces- grow food and steward the land. a focal point for community de- 5 sible recreational opportunities in Denver Urban Gardens, Colo- velopment. The objective was toInside Story the areas that need them most. rado: “Community gardens are utilize this space to allow for the 6 Vancouver Urban Agricul- not just for growing vegetables. production of a variety of crops ture, British Columbia, Canada: While tending a garden may be in an area where fresh, economi- “Community gardens are part of the initial goal, empowerment, cal produce is often unavailable. the “commons” where people can self-sufficiency, and pride in the neighborhood are the true, and
Page 2 Getting Started on Community GardensFinding & Acquiring Land from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningFinding land is often a matter of persistently • Visibility for safety and publicity; Few sites will have all of the amenities, sopursuing a variety of sources. If you see a decide which are most important to yourpotential site for a garden, find out who • Safe soil (not polluted by former gardening group.owns it and convince them that gardens uses); Once your group finds a site, get permis-make great tenants. • Long-term availability; sion and a written lease to use it. If your • Access for gardeners, volunteers, and garden plan includes physical improve-City and county agencies that may grant possibly delivery trucks; and ments such as fencing, creating raisedaccess to garden space include park commis- beds, or adding soil, try to obtain at least • Nearby restrooms, telephone, and a 3-year lease. Your group should be ablesions and public housing and community parking. to use the site long enough to justify thedevelopment offices. State departments oftransportation, agriculture, or housing may investment.also have land to offer. Your group may need to have public li-Schools, churches, railroads, nature centers, ability insurance before a lease is granted.community colleges and universities, utility Garden insurance is new to many insur-companies, senior centers, and other com- ance carriers, and their underwritersmunity centers are other potential garden hesitate to cover community gardens,site providers. despite their risk-free history. Decide what you want before talking to agents,Look for a site that will contribute to garden- and use an agent who handles severaling success. Desirable features include: carriers. Best results have also been• Full sun with nearby shade (for weary found when several gardens get liabilitygardeners); insurance together (much like group health insurance) and with local insur-• A water source; First Quincy Street Garden ance carriers• Neighborhood support; New York City, NYForming a Garden from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening Our purpose is to improveA community garden starts as a gath- bilities are clear. Topics covered by garden rules the neighborhood andering of individuals willing to share may include conditions of membership, assign- provide a place to garden fortime, space, and labor to garden. ment of plots, maintenance of common areas, and food and recreation.Make the most of human resources even ways of enforcing the roles. Leave room for Membership is open tosuch as knowledgeable mature gar- rules to grow along with membership.deners and energetic kids. A plan- everyone in thening committee allocates group re- neighborhood. Peoplesources and should accomplish these Analyze what the group wants before touching the site. Develop a clear plan, including plot sizes, within a 2 block radius willtasks: common area maintenance, and group activities. be given priority, if there is a• Identify the need and desire for Evaluate what your group’s resources are — what waiting list. Our 3 leaders a garden do you have? What do you need? Assign members to gather missing elements before gardening be- are elected annually, 2• Involve the people who are to gins. months before the garden benefit from the garden in all phases of the program season begins. Meetings are• Organize a meeting of interested A few final tasks will improve garden relations held 3 times a year and people during the growing season. Plan a work day for decisions are made by site cleaning and plot• Select a well-organized garden assignments. Keep majority. Attendance at coordinator records of plot loca- spring and fall work days is• Approach sponsors, if needed tions and users; mark mandatory for all members. plots clearly with gar- If you cannot attend, you deners names. IdentifyOnce a committee has addressed the and prepare common must send a friend orinitial issues, involve all participants paths and common complete a task assigned byin setting rules, electing officers, and areas, then open for the officers. Membershipdetermining dues and their uses. planting. Use aCommunity gardens run best when dues are $10 per year for a bulletin board to holdmanaged by the gardeners. New 10’ x 20’ plot announcements and agardening groups need structure, garden map. — makeespecially the first year, to make sure Green Chicago, Chicago sure it is sheltered orwork is divided equally and responsi- Botanic Garden rainproof
Getting Started on Community Gardens Page 3 Tips for City Gardeners from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening Urban gardeners face different challenges of daily sunlight to produce flowers and maintained, repair damage immediately, than their rural and suburban counter- fruit. harvest ripened vegetables daily, and parts. Urban gardeners need ingenuity to Soil: Most urban soils are compacted and plant more vegetables than you need. garden in spaces with blocked sunlight, clayey, and have a high heavy-metal con- Plant a poor soil, and unreliable water sources. tent. Improve soils by adding compost, portion of Soil and air pollutants, theft, vandalism, peat moss, aged sawdust, or other types of the garden and politics further complicate city gar- organic matter. Many cities make compost for others dening. On the other hand, the near ab- or mulch from tree trimmings and leaf and make it sence of wildlife damage and a frost-free pickups. Contact local parks or street de- with a sign: season as much as a month longer than partments about these often free soil “If you surrounding areas are some of the advan- amendments. Another alternative is to must take tages of urban gardening. City gardeners bring in soil for raised beds or containers. food, please can also turn yards, rooftops, fire escapes, take it from Theft & vandalism: Most urban garden- and a variety of containers into fields of here”. ing takes place in densely populated or plants. Soil contaminants: Excessive lead, publicly accessible places. While fences Space: Design your garden to maximize keep honest people honest, involving area cadmium, and mercury levels are com- growing area while preserving living space. youth and adults in gardening is a more mon in urban soils. Sources of such pol- Make the most of your garden space by effective tactic. Make a sign for the garden lution include leaded paint, motor vehicle growing compact cultivars. Build trellises and let folks know that it is a community exhaust, and industrial waste. Poisoning and fences to utilize vertical space. Inter- project. Create a shady meeting area and from eating contaminated produce can plant fast- and slow-growing vegetables. spend time there. Plant “less popular” affect all gardeners, especially young chil- Light: Select plants and a design to suit vegetables along sidewalks and fence lines. dren. See the article below for more each location, based on the total light it Share garden space and knowledge with information on this important topic receives. Most plants need at least 6 hours your neighbors. Keep your garden well- What’s in your dirt? Environment pollutants and contaminants are a real back on your soil.If your yard is too possibility for many community gardens. Gardens If after having your soil tested you find you have con-small or too shady close to major roads are effected by motor vehicle taminated soil, avoid planting root crops and leafyor your free time exhaust, while lead paint chips from older homes greens, which tend to concentrate the worst bits of too little, there and buildings are harmful to our health. the pollution. Instead, it isare alternatives. The first step for any city safer to grow fruiting vege- Consider gardener is to get to know tables, like tomatoes, pep- container the history of your garden pers, squash, and peas. If site and to get your soil contaminant levels are gardening, tested. City and county excessively high — mean-shopping at local land offices can help you ing highly concentrated, farm stands and figure out what your land garden in containers andfarmers’ markets, has been used for in the raised beds filled with u-pick farms, past. Likewise, Michigan clean soil and wash crops State University’s Wayne thoroughly before eating community- County Extension office will them. supported be able to tell you where you can get soil testing You can reduce the amount of contaminants that the agriculture, or done. Contact the laboratory and ask for any spe- plants absorb from the soil by adding organic matter food cific instructions that may be required. Be sure to and mulching heavily. In addition, planting food cooperatives. note that you want an “organic garden” analysis and crops away from streets and keeping soil pH levels at testing for heavy metals to get more detailed feed- 6.7 or higher will help prevent plants from taking up
American Community Gardening Association: http://www.communitygarden.org City Farmer: http://www.cityfarmer.org/ Community Gardening in South Australia Resource Kit: http://www.canh.asn.au/community_gardening/ Detroit Agriculture Network: http://www.detroitagriculture.orgRESOURCES Garden Mosaics: http://www.gardenmosaics.cornell.edu/ Green Guerillas: http://www.greenguerillas.org/ GreenNet Chicago: http://www.greennetchicago.org Green Treks Network: http://www.greentreks.org/allprograms/roughterrain/urbang ardening/index.asp Land Trust Alliance: http://www.lta.org National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: http://attar.ncat.org Neighborhood Gardens Association: http://www.ngalandtrust.org/ NeighborSpace: http://neighbor-space.org/about.htm Philadelphia Green: http://www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.com/phlgreen/Land Trusts: Not Just for the Countryside from the Land Trust Alliance and NeighborSpaceA land trust is a non-profit organization ment. A conservation easement is a legal that the environment they worked so hard tothat, as all or part of its mission, actively agreement between a landowner and a create will no longer be vulnerable to rede-works to conserve land by undertaking or land trust or government agency that velopment. The community group remainsassisting in land or conservation easement permanently limits uses of the land in the “site manager” with a local non-profitacquisition, or by stewardship of such land order to protect its conservation values. organization serving as fiduciary. Neighbor-or easements. Land trusts are independ- Space provides basic liability insurance.ent, entrepreneurial organizations that Land trusts are not just for rural commu-work with landowners who are interested nities. Many cities and urban neighbor- While it may seem complicated, there arein protecting open space. However, land hoods recognize land trusts as a vital many organizations available to walk youtrusts often work cooperatively with gov- method for protecting their land from through the process — including Detroit’sernment agencies. poor planning and sprawl. For example, Community Legal Resources. NeighborSpace, in Chicago, IL, works toLocal and regional land trusts, organized acquire and own land on behalf of local The important thing to remember is thatas charitable organizations under federal partners (community groups) who have land trusts support community control oftax law, are directly involved in conserving created urban “Edens” in their neighbor- open spaces, including our precious commu-land. Land trusts can purchase land, ac- hoods. Once NeighborSpace comes into nity gardens.cept donations of land, accept a bequest, or ownership of these sites, residents andaccept the donation of a conservation ease- local community leaders feel confident
Garden Design This newsletter explains basic design principles & those specific to vegetable gardening Design Styles and Principles from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningInside this issue: Formal vs. Informal: For- tion when their scale is in a bring an object or scene closer. mal gardens exhibit classical good relationship to their Cool colors tend to recede and symmetry. Flower beds, ter- surroundings. For example, push objects father away races, pools, and other fea- a large clump of 9 ft. reed (which will make a small gar-Planning 2Considerations tures are generally rectangu- planted in a bed with low- den seem bigger). lar, or sometimes round. growing 3 ft. perennials Height: If planting in front ofSelecting Plants 2 Walks are straight. Formal would be out of proportion. a fence or backdrop, plant the garden need not be large; As would a huge shed in a tallest plants in the back, theDrawing your 3 even small garden spaces can small yard. shortest in front. If the shapeDesign be formally designed. Infor- Repetition: Repeating an is free-form, use tall plants at mal gardens have curved, element — color, texture, the widest parts of the beds.Vegetable Garden 3 free-form beds that follow the shape, building materials — In island beds, tall plants go inDesign land’s features. Shapes are throughout a garden adds the center, with shorter plants irregular. If the lay of your unity to a design. The parts around the edges.USDA Hardiness 4 land is irregular, it will lendZones of the garden will fit more itself to an informal design. Form: Form refers to shape closely together. For exam- All well-designed gardens — round, vertical, creeping,Vegetable Garden 5 make use of three essential ple, repeating the color red at weeping, for example. FormMapping intervals in a flower bed leads principles: can describe the entire plant the eye through the design. or just the flowers. Inter- Balance: When elements on You can repeat the sameResources 5 sperse different plant forms two sides of a central point plant or use different species throughout the garden for are similar in size or visual with similarly colored blooms harmony and interest. Form weight, they are balanced. to achieve the same effect. can be used like color, al- This doesn’t mean your gar- Plant characteristics are also though its effect is more sub- den has to be symmetrical. important to consider, espe- tle. Several good-sized clumps of cially since all plants change a plant can balance one large Texture: Plant leaves can season to season and year to one look coarse, crinkled, glossy, year. Proportion: Garden fea- fuzzy, or smooth. Flowers can Color: Strive for a balanced tures (plants, flowers, beds, be feathery or waxy. Using a distribution of color. Hot terraces, etc) variety of textures will add and warm colors appear to are in propor- interest to your garden This informal garden shows many design principles: • Plants are in proportion to their surroundings • Color and form is repeated throughout the design • Tallest plants grow along the fence and in back, shorter plants in front • The garden has a variety of forms — round, creeping — and texture — glossy, fuzzy
Page 2 Garden DesignPlanning Considerations from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningBefore you start buying and planting, take tween the garden and a overall plan is that nothing is plantedtime to decide what role you want the gar- road or sidewalk, deter- haphazardly.den to play in your overall landscape. mine the size by walking Time & money: Consider how much around your space and time you want to devote to weeding,Site Characteristics: Learn everything studying where the larg- staking, watering, andyou can about the site you’ve est plants should go in pruning. If you want tochosen. Is the soil sandy or order to accomplish your purpose. Smaller keep these tasks to aclayey? Well-drained? Rich shrubs and plants can connect the larger minimum. Choose low-in organic matter or does it plants into a continuous border. For a maintenance plants.need improving? Is the site in Plants and supplies also flower garden that blooms in all seasons,full sun, part sun, or shade? Once you know cost money. Decide you’ll need enough space to accommodateabout your site’s conditions, you can match how much you want to a variety of flowering plants. About 125the plants that will thrive. spend before you start square feet will give you enough room to to dig. Plan your gar-Size: Keep in mind what landscape purpose mass flowers for a succession of color. den so that you willthe garden is to serve. For example, if you Beds should be kept to at least 4’-5’ wide have time to enjoy it!need a shrub border to create privacy be- for a lush effect. The beauty of having anSelecting Plants from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningOnce you’ve decided on the type of garden Shrubs and small trees may need from 9- If you want easy-care plants, cross offthat you want and studied your site, it is 25 or more square feet. those that need staking or dead-heading.time to make a plant list and develop the If you want to save on water, cross of Selecting the plants for any garden is a plants that need supplemental watering.design. For this you will need: challenge. There are thousands to choose Next, make a chart to help identify• Regular and colored pencils from! Start with a list of favorite plants, plants that will add the most to your• A tablet of paper then add ones you’ve admired in other design. The chart will capture plant• Graph paper gardens, nurseries, markets, books, etc. name, bloom season, height, color, or Leave plenty of space between plants for other interesting characteristics. See the• Tracing paper example below.• Eraser notes. Jot down the plant description,To get an idea of how many plants you’ll growing tips, bloom time, height, color, When you finish, look over the chart toneed, consider the approximate size at ma- hardiness, and culture. Don’t worry about make sure you have a fairly equal repre- making the list too long. You will periodi- sentation of Xs in each column. Willturity of the types of plants you want to cally review your list and cross off plants some flowers of each color be bloomingconsider. Perennial plants generally need in each season? Are there a variety of2-4 square feet at maturity, meaning you that won’t grow well in the site and don’t fit your needs. If you have only shade to heights? Lastly, number the plants oncan fit 30-60 of them in a 125-square-foot your list. Use these numbers to fill in thegarden. offer, cross off anything that needs full sun. spaces as you draw your garden design.Plant Name & Bloom Season Under 1’ 1’-3’ Over 3’ Yellow Red/Pink Blue/ White Attractive Lavender FoliageSPRINGDentaria laciniata (Cut- X X X Xteethed Toothwort)SUMMERAscelpias tuberosa (Butterfly X Xmilkweed)FALLRudbeckia tribloba (Three- X X
Garden Design Page 3Drawing your Design from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningDraw an outline of your garden to scale list, study its “profile” and decide where To visualize how your garden will look aton graph paper. Use tracing paper over you want to plant it. Transfer its number each season, put a sheet of tracing paperthe graph paper so you can easily start to the corresponding shape(s) on your over your completed design. Trace theover if you need to. Begin drawing drawing. Do this with all the plants on plants blooming during one particularshapes on the paper to indicate where your list. As you work, you’ll have to season (e.g. spring). Then color themeach plant will grow. Instead of draw- decide how many of each plant you want appropriately.ing neat circles or blocks, use ovals and to grow. Consider your budget. You may Strive for a balanced composition inoblong shapes that flow into one an- also want to follow the “rule of three” for every season, with color evenly distrib-other. Arrange plants, especially peren- small perennials. Three plants will makenials and small shrubs, in clumps of an attractive clump when matured. uted throughout. And expect to have toseveral plants. Remember balance and re-do your design several times before Mix up heights to create interest. Letrepetition — you’ll want to repeat you have it right. Each time will bring some tall plants extend forward into theclumps of some species. you closer to a beautiful garden! middle group, and medium-sized ones upBeginning with the first plant on your front. Mix shapes, colors, and textures.Vegetable Garden Design from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningThink about these elements when de- Row planting: A row garden, in which Vegetable gardens adhere tosigning your veggie garden: vegetables are planted in parallel lines, is easy to organize and plant. However, it is many of the principlesFull or almost full sun: In warmclimates, vegetables need at least 6 not space described in these pages. And efficient. they can be designed to behours of direct sun each day. In cooler You mayclimates, they will need a full day of visually appealing, especially if also spendsun. The best sites for vegetable gar- more time they’ll be in a public space.dens are usually on the south or west weeding. But, vegetable gardens alsoside of a structure. The design have their own specialGood drainage: A slight slope is will resultideal. Avoid low places where water in less yield per acre. Row planting is considerationsaccumulates — these spots are favorites generally good for large plantings offor garden diseases. crops such as beans and corn. small bed of saladLimited competition from nearby Beds: These raised planting areas are greens and herbs neartrees: Tree roots take up huge amounts enriched with organic matter so they can a kitchen. Tuck vege-of water. Leave as much space as possi- be intensively planted. While they re- tables into flowerble between large trees and your gar- quire more preparation time, they save beds. Dress up toma-den. time when it toes with under-Easy access to water: If you can’t get comes to plantings of nastur-water to your garden site, don’t plant weeding and tiums and marigolds.there. mulching Containers: Many later in theAccessibility: Your garden will need season. dwarf cultivars willto be accessible by truck, cart, or wheel- You’ll also get grow well in pots orbarrow for bringing in mulch, manure, a higher yield planters. Gardenor other bulk materials. than with the traditional row garden. catalogs include dwarfHidden Problems: Don’t locate your Beds should be no more than 4’ wide so tomatoes, cucumbers,garden over septic-tank field lines, bur- you can easily reach the center for plant- peppers, and evenied utility cables, or water lines. ing, weeding, and harvesting. A fun way squash. Vegetables to make sure: when working with others,Once you’ve decided on a site, think make sure you can shake hands across that are naturallyabout the type of vegetable garden you the bed. small, such as loose head lettuce, scal-want. Possible layouts range from tra- lions, and many herbs also grow nicely inditional row planting to intensive raised Spot gardens: If your space is small, containers.beds and container gardening. look for sunny spots where you can fit small plantings of favorite crops. Plant a
Page 4 Garden Design UDSA Hardiness ZonesThis map is indispensable in letting early spring when soil can be worked Zone 7 0F to 10F Spring: February 15-farmers and gardeners know which April 15; Fall: September 15-November Zone 3 –40F to –30F Spring: Aprilplants will thrive in their areas. Use 15 15-June 15; Fall: August 15-October 1average annual minimum tempera- Zone 8 10F to 20F Spring: January 15-tures as well as spring and fall dates to Zone 4 –30F to –20F Spring: April March 1; Fall October 1-December 1figure out what zone you are in. Most 15-June 15; Fall: September 1-Octoberseed and plant catalogs will make ref- 15 Zone 9 20F to 30F Spring: January 1-erence to the zone numbers or tem- March 1; Fall October 1-December 1 Zone 5 –20F to –10F Spring: Aprilperature. 15-June 15; Fall: September 1-October Zone 10 30F to 40F Spring: JanuaryZone 1 Below –50F Sow seed in early 15 1-March 1; Fall: October 1-December 1spring when soil can be worked Zone 6 –10F to 0F Spring March 15- Zone 11 Above 40F Spring: January 1-Zone 2 –50F to –40F Sow seed in May 15; Fall September 15-November 1 March 1; Fall: October 1-December 1Here is how hardiness zones are used in a seed catalog (in this case, Johnny’s Selected Seeds)Bee Balm Monarda spp.Days to Sowing Time Seeding Light Plant Height Plant Spacing HardinessGermination Method Preferences Zones7-14 days Spring Direct or Sun to part 36-48” 8-12” Zones 4-10 transplant shade
All-America Selections: http://www.all- Resources americaselections.org/Default.asp Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: http:// www.rareseeds.com Johnny’s Selected Seeds: http// www.johnnyseeds.com Native Plant Societies of the United States and Canada: http://www.newfs.org/ nps.htm Native Seeds/S*E*A*R*C*H: http:// www.nativeseeds.org/v2/default.php Seed of Change: http:// www.seedsofchange.com USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map: http:// www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ ushzmap.htmlVegetable Garden Mapping from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningGenerally, vegetables can be divided Try some historical heirlooms. Culti-into cold weather, warm weather, and vars endorsed by the All-America Se-hot weather crops. lections (AAS) also are good bets.Consider the length of your growing As you fill in seed order forms, it’s wiseseason — the period between the last to map planned locations for yourfrost in spring and the first one in the crops. Consider these points as you fillfall. Consider seasonal rainfall pat- in your map:terns and other environmental fac- • Are you growing just enough of ators. There are many fast-maturing crop for fresh eating, or will you beand heat– or cold-tolerant cultivars preserving some of your harvest?that allow gardeners to try their fa-vorite crops. • Are you planning to rotate crops?Have fun when choosing vegetables • Are you going to plant in springfor your garden too. Make some of and again later in the season for ayour selections for beauty as well as fall harvest?for flavor… Yellow wax beans, red- Draw your vegetable garden design inribbed Swiss Chard, Chioggia and the same manner described for orna-Golden Beets, Japanese eggplant… mental gardens on page 3.
Composting This newsletter will explain the uses for and construction of a compost pile The Basics of Compost from Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic The process of decomposi- the correct proportion of to all parts of a compost pile is tion occurs constantly in carbon for energy and nitro- another key element to en- nature. With a compost gen for forming protein; couraging thorough decompo- pile, the gardener simply this proportion is known as sition. Frequent turning is the intervenes to speed up the the C/N ratio. The ideal most straight-forward way to process and create a valu- C/N ratio of 25-30:1 is eas- do this. You may also con- Inside this able soil amendment. ily reached by building your sider building a base of coarse issue: Here’s how composting pile with alternating layers materials or poking holes in works. of high-carbon (woody) the compost with a garden Materials 2 materials and high-nitrogen fork or crowbar. Your goal in building a (green) materials. In addi- compost pile is to provide Warmth: A minimum size of tion, the greater the variety Building the 2 the best possible conditions 3 ft. in each dimension is of items you include, the compost pile for hardworking micro- needed in order for heating to greater your certainty of organisms. These organ- creating a balanced prod- occur. Given the proper C/N Using your 3 isms are introduced with a uct. ratio, moisture, and aeration, compost starter culture or finished compost. They need what Water: All living organ- your compost will heat up Compost inno- 4 we all need: a balanced diet, isms need water, but too even in cold winter weather. A vations water, air, and warmth. much moisture drives out hot compost pile will produce Resources 4 air, drowns the pile, and satisfactory results if it cooks A balanced diet: In or- washes away nutrients. at about 120˚ F. der to function efficiently, micro-organisms require Air: Supplying enough airDos and Don’ts:• DO chop up long stems and big leaves. Composting Advantages & Disadvantages• DO limit the height and width of the pile to avoid Composting has many ad- wastes are put to use, in- sider the innovations dis- compression. vantages. It improves the stead of ending up in local cussed on page 4 in order to structure and drainage of landfills. choose a composting• DON’T use human or pet all soils, contributing to method that compliments wastes — they may Nevertheless, composting improved fertility, aera- can be labor-intensive and your garden and your gar- carry disease. tion, and moisture reten- deners. time-consuming. The nu-• DON’T use meat scraps tion. Since decomposition trient content of compost or fatty materials — they has already occurred, may also vary a great deal, break down slowly and compost becomes immedi- given the materials and attract animals. ately available as plant preparation methods food. used. Maybe there is not• DON’T include stubborn weeds, especially those Composting reduces gar- enough vegetation avail- that easily sprout from dening costs. Good crops able in the garden’s area. small pieces of root. can be obtained without Use principles of site de- store-bought inputs. sign (described previously• DON’T included diseased Home, yard, and garden in this section) and con- plant material
Page 2 Composting Materials from Sustainable Agriculture Extension Manual for E. & S. Africa • Various types of vegetative materials • Topsoil • Animal manure • Prepared (old) compost • Wood ash • Water • 1 long, sharp, pointed stick • Wheelbarrow • Watering can • Hoe • Large clippersProcedure from Sustainable Agriculture Extension Manual for E. & S. Africa1. Select a location close to where 6. Put on a 3rd layer of biogas slurry, with a layer of topsoil, about 4 you want to use the compost. It animal manure, or prepared com- inches thick. This layer prevents should be sheltered from the post. All of these materials contain plant nutrients from escaping wind, rain, sun, and runoff. micro-organisms necessary for the the compost pile. Lastly, cover decomposition process. Water. the pile with dry vegetation, such2. Measure a rectangle 4 ft. x 5 ft. as straw or hay, in order to re- It can be longer than 5 ft. de- 7. Sprinkle a layer of wood ash. It duce moisture loss. pending on the amount of mate- contains valuable minerals, includ- rials you have, but keep the ing potassium, phosphorus, cal- 12. Take a long, sharp stick and dry width at 4 ft. You must be able cium, and magnesium. it through the pile at an angle. It to work on the compost without should pass through all layers. 8. The next layer should be green ma- stepping on it. This stick is the compost’s ther- terials, 6-8 inches thick. Use green mometer. After 3 days, decom-3. Dig a shallow pit about 1 ft. deep. leaves from high-nitrogen crops, position will have started and Put the soil to one side. You will such as pea and bean plants, clover, the stick will be warm. need it later. alfalfa hay, grass clippings, and table scraps. Water. 13. Check the pile’s progress from4. Begin to building the compost time to time. pile by putting a bottom layer of 9. Sprinkle a little topsoil or prepared rough materials, such as corn compost. Both contain bacteria 14. Water the pile every 3 days, de- stalks, hedge cuttings, or wood that are useful in the decomposi- pending on the weather. chips. This layer should be about tion process. With this layer, you 1 ft. thick. Chop up any materi- have completed one round of the als that are too long in order to compost pile. improve air circulation. Sprinkle 10. Now start over adding with adding this layer with water. the layers. Begin with the dry ma- Remember to water each5. Add a second layer of grass, dry terials, then add animal manure, layer. vegetation, or hedge cuttings. wood ash, green vegetation, and Pine needles, paper, sawdust, or topsoil. Build the pile up to 5 ft. Good compost is about as straw would also work. This high. A well-made pile has almost damp as a moist sponge layer should be about 6 inches vertical sides and a flat top. thick. Water layer. 11. To complete the pile, cover it all
Composting Page 3 Procedure continued 15. After 2-3 weeks, turn the pile fresh, earthy smell and should over. Take to keep the compost contain no grass, leaves, or ani- pile’s shape. Do not add fresh mal manure. materials. You must turn the 17. You can store the compost by pile if the thermometer is cold or covering it with a layer of straw if it has a white substance (powder) on it. Turning the pile or plastic sheeting. is important because it aerates Finished compost the compost, making decomposi- tion faster and more complete. should have a fresh and 16. The compost should be ready in earthy smell 4 to 6 weeks. If the stick still feels warm, the pile is still de- composing and not ready. Fin- ished compost should have aUsing CompostIn general, incorporate compost cloth bag full of compost in a simply let rot. Other garden-into the top 1-2 inches of all an- watering can or barrel for a ers don’t even till the compostnual beds. Apply compost during couple of days. Dilute the into the soil. They continuethe growing season as a mulch or resulting solution to a weak to apply it in strips, formingside-dressing. tea color. Reuse your “tea raised beds. They then plantConsider these techniques too. bag” a few times, then apply seeds or transplants into the the remaining solids to your beds, and cover them with• For trees and shrubs: garden. finished compost or a heavy Top-dress with compost mulch. around the root zone and • In-garden: bore plugs of compost into Many well-known the soil around the drip line. organic gardeners To determine the “drip line”, are firm advo- imagine a circle drawn on the cates of no- ground where the tree or digging garden- shrub branches end. ing. Start with finished compost.• For potting mixes: Screen Spread the com- your compost to remove large post evenly on pieces and mix the fine com- your garden plot, post with sand, peat moss, or sprinkle with other amendments to create a high-nitrogen custom mix. substances• With double-digging: Ap- (manure tea, ply 3 wheelbarrows of com- feathermeal), and post per 10 m² of bed. water. Mix with a garden fork, or• As compost tea: Soak a till shallowly, and
Page 4 Biodynamic and Organic Farming Re- Resources source Site: http://www.biodynamic.net City Farmer: http://www.cityfarmer.org/ How to Compost.org: http:// There is so much to learn about www.howtocompost.org composting. National Sustainable Agriculture Infor- This list will help you get started. mation Service (ATTRA): http:// www.attra.ncat.org/ US Composting Council: http:// www.compostingcouncil.org Worm Digest: http:// www.wormdigest.orgComposting InnovationsCompost systems range in size from Compost pens: A 10’ length of 4’ compost for their homes and gardens.small, home-built buns to industrial welded wire fencing forms a circular Worm bins: Kept in a cool, darksystems capable of handling municipal pen slightly larger than 3’ in diame- place, a worm bin provides a com-waste. Your choice of composting ter. Fasten the ends with wire or re- posting system for kitchen scraps.method depends on what materials usable clips. Turn the pile by unfas- You can raise earthworms indoors inyou plan to use, how much money you tening the pen and setting it up next a modified garbage can, washtub, orare willing to spend, how much space to the free-standing pile. Turn into wooden box. Make a drainage area inyou have available, and how much the now-empty pen. the bottom of the bin, separate fromtime and effort you want to devote to Pit composting: This method is the worms’ living quarters. Fill theit. useful in areas with low rainfall and a bin with 2 parts cow manure, 2 partsWood and wire compost bins: long dry season. Dig a pit 4’ wide, 2’ sawdust, and 1 part shredded leaves.Construct a 3’ x 3’ portable bin using deep, and as long as you need the pile Garden soil may also be added. Mixsides made of wood and wire hardware to be. Build a pile in the pit, using the well and dampen thoroughly. If thecloth. Hinge one of the sides and place method described above. Turn every mixture heats up, wait a few dayshooks and eyes on the edge opposite 2 weeks. You can produce a regular before adding worms. Introduce thethe hinges, creating a door for your supply of compost by digging 3 pits worms to their new homes. Feedbin. Set the bin up close to your gar- side by side. them chopped vegetations mixedden. When it is full, move it to another with water. After 60 Community-supported com-convenient location and begin a new days, your bin post: Create a community compostpile. Wooden pallets can also be used should be full of rich collection initiative. Families con-to make this type of compost bin compost. tribute the materials and get finished
Veggies 101 From Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening All the basics to get your vegetable gardening started Preparing the Soil Most vegetables are fast- Use care when cultivating planted in the fall, grown growing annuals. They the throughout the winter, andInside this issue: need garden soil that pro- soil. If the soil is too wet or tilled under in the spring vides a wide range of nutri- (3-4 weeks before planting).Planting 2 too dry, cultivation can ruin ents as well as loose soil Alternatively, if your area soil structure. For example,To direct seed or to 2 that roots can easily pene- working with wet soil, espe- typically has a wet spring,transplant? trate. till the crop under in the cially those with a high clayCompanion planting 2 late fall and let it decom- Start by testing your soil. content, will compact it in- pose over the winter.Care during the 3 Most vegetables prefer soil stead of aerating it. Simi- with a pH of 6.5-7.0. A soil larly, excess cultivation in- Green manure legume cropsOff-season 3 test will reveal soil pH and troduces large amounts of include alfalfa; cloversmaintenance any nutrient imbalances. oxygen, which can speed (crimson, red, white/Organic pest 4 Most Cooperative Extension the breakdown of soil or- Dutch); hairy vetch; soy- Service offices offer soil ganic matter. beans; white sweet clover;Crop rotation 4 testing free or for a small and yellow sweet clover. See the composting news-Rotating veggie 5 fee. Non-legume crops includefamilies letter to learn about this annual ryegrass; buck- If you are starting a new fundamental gardening wheat; oats; rape; Sudan garden, you’ll probably be skill. grass; and winter rye. tilling under sod or bare Choose a green manure that ground. If you are working is best suited to your gar- with an established site, you den. Consider using inocu- can take steps to replenish lants with legume crops. soil nutrients and organicPoints of interest: matter. In late fall, sow Remove all crop residue• Not all insects are bad seed of a green manure crop and rake the soil free of for the garden. or cover the garden with a crops, If possible, sow seed Green manure is a crop thick layer of organic when rain is forecast. Seed• Over a number of grown and then incorpo- mulch. In the spring, sim- can easily be broadcasted by years, you can actually rated into the soil to in- reduce the number of ply incorporate the green hand. Rake the seedbed to crease soil fertility or or- weed seeds present in manure or mulch and start cover fine seed or cover lar- ganic matter content. your vegetable garden planting. Alternatively, you ger seeds with 1/4-1/2” of Green manure crops are an can spread as much as 6” of soil. After seeding, tamp• To learn more about excellent supplement to the growing prefer- compost or well-rotted ma- the soil with the back of a your garden if you can’t get ences of specific crops, nure over the garden in the hoe or spade to ensure good animal manures or if your use the resources on spring. Work it into the soil contact between seed and compost is in short supply. page 5 and then wait a few weeks soil before planting. A green manure crops is
Veggies 101 Page 2PlantingPlanting is the busiest time for a vegeta- the pathways into the raised beds or (carrots, onions). Vegetables and flowersble gardener. To help you remember rows. Mulch the paths with leaves or can be interplanted in a zigzag pattern.what you have planted and how culti- straw to keep down weeds. You can also practice succession crop-vars perform, keep written records. Fill The ways to arrange your planting is ping — growing two vegetable crops inin planting dates on your garden map. practically limitless. In traditional row the same space in the same growing sea-Make notes of harvest dates. If you gardens, a single species of crops is son. You’ll plant one early crop, harvestwould like to keep more detailed re- planted in a single row. Other methods it, and then plant a warm– or hot-seasoncords, use a journal to detail when the (raised beds, permaculture) interplant crop afterward. To avoid depleting thesoil warms up, when problem insects crop varieties and use a variety of spac- soil, make sure one crop is a nitrogen-emerge, and when space becomes avail- ing patterns. Trellis beans and peas in a fixing legume (e.g. peas, snap beans,able for replanting. double row. Matrix planting — rows of shell beans, lima beans) and the other aOnce the soil is prepared, lay out your 2 and 3 — is good for leafy crops light feeder (spinach, beets, radishes,garden paths. Rake the loose soil from (lettuce, spinach) as well as root crops squash).To direct seed or to transplant?Some vegetable crops grow best when seeds will sprout in cold soil. If soil is Since seedlings are not exposed to wind,seeded directly in place. Other crops too wet, seeds can rot before germinat- fluctuating temperatures, and intensewill benefit from being grown in a shel- ing. Be sure to plant seeds at the rec- sunlight, they need to be “hardened off”tered state during the seedling and then ommended planting depth and firm the before transplanting outside. One weektransplanted into the garden. soil with your fingers or hand tool after before planting, move them outside to a planting to ensure good contact between protected place outdoors.Direct seeding: Direct-seeded crops the soil and seed.often germinate too well or not well Follow these soil temperatureenough. When germination is excel- Starting seeds indoor: If you want to guidelines for seed-sowing times:lent, thin plants. Plan for poor germi- get a head start on the season, providenation by setting some seeds aside so optimal conditions for certain vegetable 45-60F Sow beets, carrots, peas, pars-you can go back and replant empty crops, or try rare and unusual cultivars, ley, radishes, spinachspaces. start your seeds indoors. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, 65-80F Beans, corn, cucumbers, mel-Soil temperature and moisture play cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions, ons, squashimportant roles in the germination of celery, and head lettuce are almost al-vegetable seeds. Very few vegetable 80-90F Field peas, okra, peanuts, ways handled this way. shell beansCompanion PlantingWe can use other plants to support our • Creating a habit for beneficial in- aphids, mosquitoes, and mites. It alsovegetable production. Here’s how: sects acts as a fungicide and slows the growth Common sources of repellent (masking) of milkweed bugs. Nasturtiums deter• Masking or hiding a crop from fragrances include the following plants: whiteflies and squash bugs and can be pests Use French marigold (Tagetes used to trap aphids.• Producing odors that confuse or patula) and plant them as thickly as deter pests Host plants that provide shelter and food you can in a vegetable garden. Cabbage• Serving as trap crops that draw for beneficial insects too. Yarrow pest insects away from other plants pests and aphids dislike catnip, mint, (Achillea spp.) attracts bees, parasitic and other members of this fragrant• Acting as “nurse plants” that pro- wasps, and hover flies. Morning glory vide breeding grounds for benefi- family. Use potted mint plants set in (Ipomoea purpurea) attracts lady bee- cial insects your garden since they can grow out of tles. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) will• Providing food to sustain benefi- control. Interplant sweet basil attract lady beetles predaceous beetles, cial insects as they search for pests (Ocimum basilicum) in gardens to repel and parasitic wasps.
Veggies 101 Page 3Care During the Growing SeasonGet in the habit of taking regular garden stakes, wire cages, and the like, the leaves izer on plant leaves — is another option. Kelp-walks to thin crops, pull weeds, and check and fruits of many plants easily become based fertilizers contain nutrients, enzymes,for signs of insect and disease problems. diseased. Vining plants as well as top- and acids that enhance reproduction. They are heavy, single-stemmed plants benefit most effective when plants are already getting aWeeding: Start weed control early. Re- from staking. Choose stakes and supports good supply of nutrients at their roots.move all weeds within 1’ of your plants. that match the plant’s needs. They mustWhen hoeing around young corn, potatoes, Harvest: As a general rule, harvest your vege- be tall enough and strong enough to sup-tomatoes, and squash, scatter loose soil tables early and often. Many common vegeta- port the entire mature plant when wet orover the root zones of the plants. Once the bles, such as broccoli, garden peas, lettuce, and wind-blown. They also must be firmlygarden soil has warmed, mulch around corn, are harvested when they are at a specific inserted into the soil. Take care not toplants to suppress weeds and short-lived state of immaturity. Also be damage plant roots while inserting the prompt when harvesting crops that fully matureWatering: Supplemental watering will be stake. If you are growing plants from on the plant, as do tomatoes, peppers, melons,needed from midsummer to fall. Most seed, install the support before planting. and shell beans. Use the “days to maturity”vegetables need 1/2-1” of water each week. In the flower garden, choose supports that listed on seed packets as a general guide toHow can you tell when your plants need are as inconspicuous as possible. In the estimate when vegetables will be ready to pick.water? Leaves that droop at mid-day are a vegetable garden, sturdiness is more im- In summer, harvest vegetables in mid-morning,warning sign. If the leaves wilt at mid-day portant than appearance. after the dew has dried but before the heat ofand are still wilted the next morning, plants Fertilizing: Vegetables that mature midday. Dig potatoes, carrots, and other rootare suffering. If this happens, slowly (more than 50 days) often crops on a mild and cloudy day so they won’t bereplenish soil moisture gradu- benefit from a booster feeding in exposed to the sun. To make sure your home-ally over 3 days. In terms of midsummer. Plan to fertilize to- grown greens are as nutritious as possible, har-water usage and economy of matoes, peppers, and corn just as vest and eat them on the same day wheneverlabor, drip irrigation is the best they reach their reproductive stage of possible. Remember that there are also plentyway to water. You can even make growth. Rake back the mulch, spread a of crops that “wait for you”: onions, leeks, pota-your own irrigation lines by punch- 1/2” layer of compost or rotted manure toes, garlic, many herbs, kale, beets, popcorn,ing holes into short lengths of garden over the soil, and then put the mulch back hot peppers (for drying), pumpkins, winterhose or plastic pipe. You can also punch in place. Liquid fertilizer, such as manure squash, carrots, and shell beans (for drying).holes into plastic jugs and position over the tea or fish emulsion, can also be used Plan your garden accordingly and you’ll neverplant’s root zones. every 2-3 weeks throughout the season. be frustrated by missing your special crop’sStaking: Without the support of wooden Foliar fertilizing — spraying liquid fertil- peak moment!Off-Season MaintenanceAfter you harvest a crop in your vegetable As garden space becomes vacant in late Another rite of fall is collecting leaves, whichgarden, either turn under or pull up the summer and fall, cultivate the empty can be used as a winter mulch over gardenremaining plant debris. Many garden spaces and allow birds to gather grubs soil or as the basis for a large winter compostpests will over-winter in the skeletons of and other larvae hidden in the soil. If heap. If possible, shred the leaves and wetvegetable plants. If you suspect that plant several weeks will pass before the first them thoroughly to promote leaching andremains are housing pests or disease or- hard freeze is expected, consider plant-ganisms, put them in sealed containers ing a green manure crop such as crim- rapid decomposition. You can also till shred-for disposal in your trash, compost them son clover, rye, or annual ryegrass. ded leaves directly into your garden soil.in a hot compost pile, or burn the plantresidue and compost the resulting ash.
Veggies 101 Page 4Organic Pest Management (OPM)Organic pest management is an approach Physical controls: Control measures that able to pick effective control measures. Addto pest control that combines cultural, prevent pests from reaching your plants or possible control methods to your list. Also addbiological, physical, and certain chemical remove them if they do. Floating row cov- what times during the pest’s life cycle each con-control measures to prevent problems or ers, fences and nettings, cutworm collars, trol is most effective. Once you have all of yourto keep them in check. Organically- root fly barriers, and tree bands are some options in front of you, make a comprehensiveacceptable chemical controls are a last examples of barriers to prevent pests. Traps plan. Start by noting when cultural controls areresort only when all other methods are include colored sticky traps, apple maggot effective, and when they need to be done. Fol-not adequate. Some definitions to help: traps, cherry fruit fly traps, yellow water low with biological and physical controls. Note traps, food traps, and trap crops. Many of what chemical controls are available in yourCultural controls: Gardening practices these methods can be made at home. In- local garden store, in the event that they be-that reduce pest problems, including sects and diseased plants can also be re- come necessary.keeping plants healthy, selecting well- moved through weeding, handpicking in-adapted cultivars, and keeping the gar- Make a habit to walk through your garden at sects, using a strong spray of water to knockden clean. Proper spacing, staking, and least once a week — daily is best. Look at the pests from plants, pruning diseased shoots,pruning will also help keep pests and entire plant and those around it. Is just one and pulling up diseased plants.disease away. plant affected by pest or disease or the entire Chemical controls: Control methods that row? Is the whole plant affected or just part ofBiological controls: Pest control involve substances that kill pests. Organi- it? Does it seem to be random or is there ameasures that use living organisms to cally acceptable chemical controls are natu- distinct pattern? Check the undersides offight other living organisms, including rally occurring minerals or plant products leaves and the stems, flowers, and roots forreleasing, attracting, and protecting natu- and they tend to break down into harmless insects, eggs, webs, or damage. Examine theral insect predators (insects, birds, and substances faster than synthetic pesticides. affected areas with a hand lens looking for tinyanimals) and using microbial spray to However, they do have toxic side effects and insects or fungal growth. Collect sample insectscontrol infections (Bacillus thuringiensis are used only as a last result. or damaged leaves for later identification. Lookvarieties). Learn to identify your helpers for all the signs and symptoms you listed, andand what they like. Provide food and An organic pest management program go over your list to see what steps you need tonesting sites. You can also buy beneficial starts with a plan. The first step is to iden- take. If you are not sure what is causing theinsects and introduce a small population, tify the problems you have had in the past problem, there are many excellent referencewhich will become permanently estab- or that are common to your area/crop. books (see Resources). Keep notes during thelished to suppress future generations of Make a list of these problems. Learn as season, including what works and what doesn’t,pests. Remember to release only native much as you can about each one. By know- what controls you used, how much you used,species! ing how pests and diseases overwinter and and where. when they attack your plants, you will beCrop RotationCrop rotation is the practice of shift- phorus. Follow a soil-building crop a rotation plan to discourage specific typesing the locations of crops within the with a heavy-feeding crop, and follow a of pests and to rebuild soil.garden each season so that the same heavy-feeding crop with a root crop or The next page lists the seven familycrop does not grow in the same place another soil builder to balance nutri- groups most often planted in vegetableyear after year This technique helps ents. gardens and ideas for rotating them.manage soil fertility and helps avoid Disease and pest prevention:or reduce soilborne diseases and Many diseases and pests are host-pests. specific: they attack only a certainNutrient balance: Leafy and fruit- plant or family of plants. Although iting crops are heavy feeders and rap- may be difficult in a small garden, it isidly use up nitrogen. Root vegetables best to avoid planting the same plantand herbs are light feeders. Peas, family in the same location each year.beans, and other legumes add nitro- Green manure crops can be included ingen to the soil but need a lot of phos-
Veggies 101 Page 5 Resources This website should be your first stop: ATTRA’s Resource Guide for Organic and Sustainable Vegetable Production: http:// www.attra.org/attra-pub/vegetable- guide.html#a25 Recipe Michigan State University Extension: http:// Marigold or Hot Pepper Spray www.msue.msu.edu/portal Fill 2/3 of a small container with the cut-up Ohio State University, College of Food, leaves and flowers of marigolds or the fruit of Agricultural, and Environmental Science: hot chili peppers. Fill the rest of the http://ohioline.osu.edu container with water Cover and let sit University of Georgia Entomology: http:// for 5-7 days. Filter the contents and www.ent.uga.edu/pmh/ Horticultural_Crops/ add 1 ounce of liquid dish soap Organic_Pesticide_Guide/ (organic) for every 5 quarts of water. Organic_Pesticide_Guide.htm#vegetable Use diluted. For young plants you can dilute USDA Cooperative State Research, Education,one part of this solution with 5 parts water. For and Extension Service: http:// older plants, dilute one part solution with one www.csrees.usda.gov part water. CAUTION: WEAR GLOVES WHEN HANDLING PEPPERSRotating Vegetable FamiliesFamily Common Crops Rotation RelationsNameCruciferae Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, High level of soil maintenance required for good root health. Heavy kale, turnips, radishes feeders. Precede with legumes; follow with open cultivation and compost.Cucurbitaceae Cucumbers, melons, squash, pumpkins, water- For improved weed and insect control, precede with winter rye or melons wheat. Follow with legumes.Gramineae Wheat, oats, rye, corn Plant before tomato– or squash– family crops to control weeds and improve soil’s ability to handle water.Leguminosae Beans, peas, cloves, vetches Beneficial to soil and have few pest problems. Rotate alternatively with all other garden crops whenever possible.Liliaceae Onions, garlic Rotate with legumes, but avoid planting in soil that contains un- decomposed organic matter.Solanaceae Eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes Heavy feeders with many fungal enemies. Precede with cereal grain or grass; follow with legumes.Umbellifereae Carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, coriander Moderate feeders. Precede with any other plant family, but condi- tion soil with compost before planting. Follow with legumes or heavy mulch.
Using Your Garden to Build Community This newsletter will explore different ways your neighborhood garden can be used to build your community Gardening for Social Justice from www.gardeners.com Sean Phelan first got involved in think is conducive to gardening. an urban community garden for When Sean took over the Judkins the same reason many people do: Park P-Patch, the garden wasInside this to grow flowers and vegetables. overgrown and many plots lay But soon he discovered an even fallow. In four years, Phelan hasissue: better reason. led the garden to a rebirth. In an area the size of three city lots,Reconnecting 2 "There were all of these different Judkins Park boasts over 100with Nature people in the neighborhood - gardeners, programs for school- older white women, African children, extensive plantings of Americans, gay men - who native shrubs, a greenhouse con-Your Garden as a 2 structed from reused materials,Local Food Source wouldnt look at each other on the street," Phelan said. "But worm bins and compost piles. . . when they were in their gardens, Sean is a Master Gardener, aWhy Support 3 all of a sudden they were talk- Master Composter and a NativeLocally Owned ing," Phelan said. "They just had Plant Steward. . . He leads a spe-Businesses to know what kind of tomato that cial program at Judkins Park was or what had been done to about beneficial insects. He even those cucumbers. The garden finds time to help youth centersStart a “Buy Local 3 and nonprofit groups around cial justice. Gardeners at theFirst” Campaign was the bridge." Seattle plan gardens at their Judkins Park Pea Patch include facilities. people from different ages, back- From those first experiences 15 grounds, races and a dozen dif-Organizing Field 4 years ago, Phelan has continued “Sean lives and breathes for shar- ferent countries. And, most im-Visits to use gardening as the medium ing organic gardening with the portant to Sean, they talk to each to get people to talk to each community of the world. One other and learn from each other. other. Since 1997, Phelan hasGetting Young 4 could say he has green shoes, been the coordinator of the Jud-People Involved! leaving his organic print every- "The garden provides a common kins Park P-Patch, a tiny commu- where he goes," wrote Sandy interest for the everyone," he nity garden in an inner-city sec- Pernitz when nominating him for said. "And proves what a com- tion of Seattle. And he hasResources 5 the Garden Crusader Award. For munity can do when they care shown what is possible even in Sean, gardening is a tool for so- deeply about something." an area most people would not Gardens — Centers for Neighborhood Change Community gardens have al- quality of life for neighborhood This newsletter will highlight ways been about a lot more residents, provide a catalyst different ways neighborhoods than food. As we’ve seen in the for neighborhood and commu- can connected their gardens to previous pages, gardens pro- nity development, stimulate broader community issues — duce nutritious food, reduce social interaction, encourage making them centers for family household budgets, self-reliance, reduce crime, neighborhood change. Many of preserve green space, and create income opportunities these ideas come directly from beautify neighborhoods. and economic development, Good Neighborhood residents and provide opportunities for who participated in our Elimi- However, community gardens intergenerational and cross- nating Food Deserts in Detroit often fulfill even more impor- cultural connections. seminar held March 2008. tant roles. They improve the
USING YOUR GARDEN TO BUILD COMMUNITY PAGE 2Reconnecting with Nature from Training for TransformationWhen working with your gardening • What have human beings done to de-group, neighborhoods residents, or youth, stroys or pollute it?one first step could be to think about therole nature plays in our everyday life. Try • Why have humans been devaluing it in this way?out this simple activity • What will be the consequences if weBegin with a field trip to the most beautiful continue to devalue it?and fertile place within reach. Even if • What could we do to save this crucialtransport is a problem, many cities have element now and for our grandchildren?beautiful parks, lakes, or quiet places — like When the group re-gathers, ask each groupyour own community garden. Advise eve- to choose a spokesperson. Anyone in theryone to wear their most comfortable shoes group can add things they thought about.and clothes. Give each group a chance to report, but keepFind a comfortable meeting place in the the atmosphere conversational. Though theshade where participants can leave their their topic: observations of the groups are usually ex-things. Ask them to divide into groups, tremely interesting, it is important that theeach of which will focus on one of the fol- • Why is this thing (Water, Air, Earth, facilitator keeps the process moving.lowing topics: Water, Air, Earth, and Trees. Trees) so important in our lives? Ask participants to share any songs or poemsThere should be 2-5 people in each group. • In what ways do we depend on it? they remember about nature.Give them time (30-60 minutes) to wander • In what ways do we show that we Time: 2 hoursabout in their group thinking about and value it?discussing the following questions about Materials: Transport, poems, and songs.Your Garden as a Local Food Source from Institute for Agriculture and Trade PolicyCommunity gardens are at the front line of Cooperative Grocery Stores — A co- bles could be used as tools to educateimproving access to healthy foods for operative grocery store is equally owned patients about healthy habits, nutrition,neighborhood residents. As your garden and controlled by each of its members. and staying healthy.gets established and you are thinking of Co-op members support it with their pur- Emergency Food Providers — Emer-expanding the scope of your project, con- chases, are actively involved in decision- gency food providers are increasinglysider the following options and check out making, and share in the store’s profits.the websites listed on the last page of this Cooperatives are often a source of new struggling to obtain produce. Many have turned to local gardens and growers tonewsletter. jobs, buy from local farmers, and support provide for their needs. community activities.Neighborhood Farmer’s Markets —Growers sell directly to the public and Connecting with Neighborhood Con- Mobile Stores — Mobile stores serve neighbor-typically operate weekly during the grow- venience Stores — Neighborhood con- hoods bying season. Farmers benefit from estab- venience stores work with local growers tolishing face-to-face relationships with their incorporate fresh produce into their bringing local meat, pro- NO NEED TO STARTcustomers while the consumers get stores. Store owners cut “middlemen” duce, andfresher, healthier food than they often find costs while getting the freshest produce. BIG!in the supermarket. Growers supplement their incomes with dairy prod- ucts to drop 1/10 OF AN ACRE another sales location for their produce.Community Supported Agriculture spots or right (THAT’S ABOUT 4,000— Known as CSA, this method involves Neighborhood Churches and Com- to your door-residents investing in a particular farm or munity Centers — Neighborhood step. Mobile SQ. FT.) CAN PRODUCEgroup of farms. Through the initial pur- churches and community centers could stores could 6,000 POUNDS OFchase of farm “shares”, the farm is able to purchase local produce to be sold to con- be full-service FRUITS ANDpay for up-front costs and be guaranteed gregants and members following service market pro-an income. In return, residents (or share or community events held at their facili- viders or just VEGETABLES A YEARmembers) receive fresh produce from the ties. sell fruits and AND SUPPORT OVERfarm each week. See the entire newsletter vegetables in Community Clinics — Community 350 DIFFERENT PLANTdedicated to Community Supported Agri- an ice creamculture clinics could provide access to patients truck fashion. SPECIES!! during clinic visits as part of a nutrition education program. Fruits and vegeta-
USING YOUR GARDEN TO BUILD COMMUNITY PAGE 3Why Support Locally Owned Businesses? from the Institute for Local Self-RelianceSupporting locally-owned businesses — in- Keeping dollars in the community — Com- Environmental sustainability — Localcluding local gardens! — has a lot of long- pared to chain stores, locally-owned businesses stores help to sustain vibrant, compact,term advantages: recycle a larger share of their revenue back into walkable neighborhood centers — which in the local economy turn are essential to reducing sprawl, auto-Local character and prosperity — Com- mobile use, habitat loss, and air and watermunities that preserve their one-of-a-kind Jobs and wages — Locally owned business pollutionbusinesses and distinctive character have an create more jobs locally, and in some sectors,economic advantage provide better wages and benefits Competition — A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best wayCommunity well-being — Locally-owned Entrepreneurship — Entrepreneurship fuels to ensure innovation and low prices over thebusinesses build strong communities by economic innovation and serves as a key means long termsustaining community centers, linking resi- for families to move out of low-wage jobsdents, and contributing to local causes Product diversity — A multitude of small Public benefits and costs — Local stores in businesses, each selecting products based,Local decision-making — Important deci- neighborhood centers require comparatively not on a national sales plan, but on their ownsions are made locally by people who live in little infrastructure and make more efficient use interests and the needs of their local custom-the community and who will feel the impact of public services relative to big box stores and ers, guarantees a much broader range ofof those decisions strip malls product choices.Start a “Buy Local First” CampaignMany people give little consideration to where local business owners, along with a few indi- with fairly substantial dues rates while othersthey buy. They do not know the benefits to viduals and leaders of relevant organizations opt for a modest initial membership fee andthe city’s economy of choosing local busi- raise it in subsequent yearsnesses and are unaware of the many hidden Set a date for a kick-off event — This willcosts of opting for a the big box stores. give the committee an initial concrete goal. Hold your kick-off event — ConsiderBroadening awareness of the consequences of Press conferences work the best, but the event having a large poster made of your logo thatour shopping choices is an essential strategy might be a gathering or a workshop you can unveil at the event. As many com-to turning the tide of chain retail expansion mittee members as possible should be there,and rebuilding our local economies. Devise a name, slogan, and logo — Your ideally wearing campaign t-shirts. Send out aBy far the most effective “buy local” cam- media advisory a few days in advance and a group’s name and slogan should be positivepaigns are those that have been started by and proactive, and press release the day before. A few com-local business alliances and associations. mittee members should speak briefly at your logo should beThese associations include hundreds of busi- professionally de- the event about the importance of localness owners and citizens working together to signed. Consider businesses and the goals of the campaign.prevent the displacement of local stores by asking local design-chains. Their campaigns have focused on: ers if they might Begin recruiting members — You• Building support for locally owned busi- volunteer their ser- might start by sending out a letter, signed nesses through educational campaigns vices in exchange by one or more prominent members of for free member- your steering committee, inviting busi-• Making “locally owned” a strong brand ship. Your logo nesses to join the campaign. The steering that can counter chain store advertising could incorporate committee should each take on the task of recognizable fea- contacting a dozen business owners —• Engaging citizens in shaping the future tures of your com- perhaps those they know personally or economic development of their city munity. whose businesses are located in the same part• Influencing city officials and shaping of town policies that support local enterprise Develop a campaign kit — This is the• Stimulating more media coverage and packet of materials that businesses receive Once you reach a critical mass of businesses, providing a strong voice for independent when they join. It might include a welcome the campaign needs to focus on two areas of businesses in local news stories letter, a window decal with the logo for their work: organizational development and storefront, tips for promoting the campaign, spreading the campaign’s message. Organ-• Working with banks, developers, com- frequently asked questions, a list of participat- izational development involves incorporating munity organizations and others to cre- ing businesses, and a poster. Again, ask local the organization, forming a board, adopting ate opportunities for local business de- print shops and web developers to volunteer bylaws, drafting a budget, and other tasks velopment their services in exchange for membership that will establish a firm foundation as the campaign grows and develops. With spread-Here are the steps for getting started on your ing the campaign’s message, the more people Define membership — You should deter-“Buy Local” campaign: learn, see, and hear, the greater the impact. mine which business are eligible to participateForm a steering committee — Talk with You will want to create posters, advertise- in the campaign. Contact the American Inde-key business owners about the benefits of ments, banners, shirts, thank-you cards, pendent Business Alliance (AMIBA) for exam-launching a buy local campaign. Identify bumper stickers, flyers, and more. You will ples for how other buy local efforts definethose who would like to be involved and ask also want to organize events and develop a “locally owned” and “independent”. Also,them to join a steering committee. The com- website with an online searchable directory of you’ll need to decide how much it will costmittee should include 6-15 people, mostly local businesses. businesses to join. Some alliances start out
USING YOUR GARDEN TO BUILD COMMUNITY PAGE 4Organizing Field Visits adapted from the Sustainable Agriculture Extension ManualField visits involve a group of gardeners share their experiences with others. 6. Implement the visit. Ensure that thevisiting other gardeners, either within the objectives are clear to all people in-same locality or father away, in order to To organize a field visit: volved. As much as possible, facilita-share information about a specific tech- 1. Become familiar with the specific socio- tors should keep in the background,nologies or ideas. If done after a training economic, cultural, and environmental allowing host gardeners to describecourse, the main aim may be to enable issues where both communities live. their experiences and the visitors tofarmers to see the methods taught during ask questions.the course. Field visits are particularly 2. If the field visit will be part of a traininguseful in building confidence and motiva- course, plan the course and develop 7. Immediately after the trip, get feed-tion and establishing garden networks. training materials relevant to the issues back on the visit from participants identified. (hosts and guests). Ask about logis-Field visits are often part of a broader tics and what they have learned.extension program. They may be organ- 3. Work with community members to Identify ideas or techniques thatized by an outside group, such as the ex- determine when and where to imple- community members can try in theirtension service or social service agency, or ment the course and field visit. Include own gardens. When necessary,by the community members themselves. both successful and not-so-successful brainstorm about modifications to gardens in the visit. Make sure that the the techniques to suit local condi-Advantages: Community members learn gardeners being visited are willing and tions. Encourage participants toby seeing and doing. Seeing successful ready to receive visitors and to explain discuss what they have learned withexamples motivates visiting gardeners to what they are doing in their gardens. other community or family members,try out ideas themselves. The visits help Avoid organizing these events during especially to avoid misunderstand-build relationships and networking among busy times of the year or growing sea- ings.community gardeners. The visits also son. Make sure the timing suits bothbuild the confidence of the gardeners the hosts and the guests. 8. Provide information and support tohosting the field visit. The visitors can see gardeners as they try out the newand learn many things other than the 4. Invite community gardeners to partici- techniques.specific technologies they came to see. pate in the course and field visit. 9. After a determined length of time,Disadvantages: The costs for training 5. Carry out the training. It should be evaluate the results to find outand transport may be high. Community short and simple, focusing on 2-3 main whether the techniques have actuallymembers may be unable to bear some of things that the visitors will see during been adopted. If yes, which ones? Ifthe costs. Gardeners may hesitate to the field visit. no, why not?Getting Young People Involved!Gardens are an excellent opportunity to It sits on 2 acres of land, offers a wideget youth involved in their communities. variety of programs, and houses a com- munity kitchenCheck out some of these programs takingplace across the country: • The Food Project (metro Boston area) has a mission to grow a thought-• Seattle Youth Garden Works ful and productive community of youth empowers homeless and under- and adults from diverse backgrounds served youth through garden-based to work together to build a sustainable education and employment. It is a food system. It grows food for local market gardening program for shelters and for sale as CSA farm youth ages 14-22 and its goals are to shares and at area farmers’ markets. connect youth to housing, health They market their own value-added care, education, jobs and commu- products and work with other urban nity. growers to remediate lead- contaminated soil• Moab (Utah) Youth Garden Project cultivates personal growth, • Growing Hope (Ypsilanti, MI) offers self responsibility, and community a Roots & Shoots after-school program awareness in youth through organic for middle-schoolers where they learn gardening, experiential education about nutrition, leadership, entrepre- programs, and community service. neurial skills, and local history
Healthy Corner Stores Network: www.healthycornerstores.org Community Food Security Coalition: www.foodsecurity.org Minnesota Farmers Market Association: www.mfma.org (find information on how to start your own farmer’s market) HOPE CSA — www.hopecsa.org People’s Grocery — www.peoplesgrocery.org (This is an amazing organization in Oakland, CA — check out how theyR ESOURCES got their mobile market started) Big Box Toolkit — www.bigboxtoolkit.com Institute for Local Self-Reliance — www.ilsr.org American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) — www.amiba.net Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) — www.livingeconomies.org
The Community Supported Agriculture Model Adapted from Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Community Supported Agriculture What is Community-Supported Agriculture? A simple equation CSA = Community-supported agricul- ties they serve. No two are of project (e.g. work required Food Producers + ture (CSA) is a connection be- exactly alike. or not, with a core group or Food Consumers + tween a nearby farmer and the First and foremost, the level of not, mechanized or worked by people who eat the food that member participation in either hand/horse, weekly share de-An Annual Commitment to each other the farmer produces. The es- growing or distributing the livered or picked up, etc.), and sence of the relationship is the food varies tremendously from by years of operation. mutual commitment: the farm farm to farm. At one extreme Lastly, CSAs have many rea-The CSA model is pertinent feeds the people, the people are CSAs that require all shar- sons for becoming what theyto community building as a support the farm and share the ers to do some work as part of are. Some CSAs present anway to restore a commu- inherent risks and potential their share. At the other are alternative to agribusiness.nity’s connection to food,provide a source of fresh bounty. what have come to be known as Others seek to reconnect peo-and nutritious foods, sup- For the masses of people in the “subscription” CSAs, where the ple to the land and create com-port local businesses, and United States, this connection farm crew does all the work munity, while some hope tomaintain environmental between community and and members simply receive a heal the earth.health for future genera- farmer has been broken. Most box or bag of produce eachtions. people do not know where or week. how their food is grown. Most CSAs range somewhere inThis newsletter will discuss Meanwhile, farmers alone have between, with members volun-forming a CSA as well as been shouldering the risks of teering for special work dayscreative applications of the the increasingly ruthless global on the farm, helping with dis-model and will provide market, which has forced mil- tribution, or defraying part ofresources for learning lions of them from the land. their payment with “workingmore. CSA offers one of the most shares”. hopeful alternatives. Similarly, CSAs vary by geogra- The design of a CSA is as varied phy, by size of the farm, by type as the farmers and communi- Inside this issue: Steps to Form- 2 Everyone Wins: Benefits of CSA ing a CSA The shareholders receive more aware of their relation farming practices, and are CSA Voices 2 fresh, contamination-free to the land, farm life, and nurtured into fertile land. Nurturing a 2 vegetables and herbs, pay processes that make our life The greater community Solid Core close to (and sometimes less possible. benefits from having open than) supermarket prices, The farmers are given the spaces, is strengthened by the CSA harvest 3 know where and how their opportunity to make a viable bringing together of people food is grown, have an oppor- income and have the pleasure who are concerned about our CSA models 4 tunity to partake in growing of knowing who their product future, and gets an economic food, are provided with a is going to. boost when food dollars re- Resources 5 structure through which they main within the community. The farms are preserved can contribute to a healthy, from development, harmful local economy, and become
PAGE 2 THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE MODELSteps to Forming a CSA1. Initiators — either farmers or a Will there be a work require- quired). group of non-farmers — issue a ment? What commodities does 7. Establish the legal status of the call to form a CSA. the group want? CSA. Think about consumer2. Hold exploratory meeting of pro- 4. Organize a core group to: decide cooperatives, proprietorships, spective sharers and farmers. on farmer, growing site, and how corporations, nonprofits, and The agenda may include: What is food will be distributed; divide farmer-owned co-ops. a CSA? Why eat locally grown up member responsibilities; ap- 8. Determine capitalization of the food? Why do small farms need prove the budget; set fee policy farm. Options include: farmer support? What is the level of and payment schedule; clarify capitalizes, members capitalize commitment among partici- expectations; set guidelines for through fees, the group seeks pants? youth participation; decide who grants, or the group seeks loans.3. At this meeting or a subsequent owns any equipment purchased. Options for meeting, come to agreement on 5. The core group recruits members land tenure the group’s values. Does the for the first season. include pri- group want to eat organic food? 6. Members make a commitment to vate holding, Local food? Does the group want pay in advance of receipt of food, land trust, or racial, ethnic, and economic di- regardless of quantity or quality lease agree- versity among members? Is it due to weather conditions and to ment. important to involve children? participate in CSA work (if re-A CSA share member speaks: For four hours we worked. We picked broccoli,corn, beans, and greens. We hand-weeded and hoed, making a way through theclumps of earth for tiny seedlings. The sun beat down, the mosquitoes bit, thesweat ran. It was wonderful!During the week as I prepared meals, I noticed a different feeling, a change in per-spective. I found myself preparing the vegetables in a loving manner. I plannedwith passion so nothing would go to waste. I began to compost. When, for the firsttime, I ate what I had harvested, it was both an awakening and yet, a deepening ofthe mystery. I clearly understood how this food was becoming a very part of me…The old liturgical declaration — fruit of the vine, work of human hands — took onnew meaning. I understood that the Earth was alive and that it gave and sustainedother life. I knew that the vegetables and myself were both children of it, joined ina wonderful kinship. Food would never be the same for me again.Nurturing a Solid Core GroupFor CSAs to be more than just an- may be a challenge to many farmers. handle distribu-other direct marketing scheme, the Develop an outline of clear work tion. Each coregrowers and the eaters need to work responsibilities — Have a job de- determines itstogether to build an institution they scription for every function of the own budget, over-can share. “Core group” is the name core group. sees work shifts,given to the grower-member council recruits new members, handles fee Develop a decision-makingthat runs a CSA. collections, and does bookkeeping. process.Here are some considerations for Remember to celebrate — many Keep meetings short, efficient,building a strong core group: CSAs have summer and fall festivals, and fun.Designate the group’s power — pot luck dinners, and other commu- In situations where the farm is lo- nity events.what role will the grower have versus cated far from members, CSAs reallythe member? Keep in mind that let- depend on their city core groups toting go of some of the responsibility
THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE MODEL PAGE 3This calendar will give you an idea of what crops could be included in a CSA share, when crops come into season, and the annual quantity per share — all helpful when planning a CSA. Harvest Calendar & Annual AmountsSource: Richard DeWilde, ATTRA websiteCrop Qty per May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec ShareAsparagus 5#Rhubarb 5#Leaf lettuce 6 headsGreen onions 6 bunchesWashed salad mix (6 oz bag) 18 bagsBunched Radishes 2 bunchesWashed leaf spinach (8 oz bag) 10 bagsParsley, Italian and curly 2 bunches eaCilantro 6 bunchesPeas, snow and snap 2 # eachMixed sauté greens (8 oz bag) 6 bagsStrawberries 6 quartsBeets; red, Chioggia, gold 15 #Broccoli, broccoli Romanesco 15 #French petite green beans 10 #Edamame (edible soybeans) 4#Zucchini and summer squash 35 smallCucumbers 15Onions, red and yellow 30 #Chard, red and rainbow 6 bunchesGarlic, green garlic, scapes 36 bulbsCarrots 30 #Bicolor sweet corn 3 dozMelons 10 to 15Basil 2 to 3 #Eggplant 10Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes 20 #Peppers, sweet and hot 50 and 20Cauliflower 5 headsRaspberries, gold and red 4 pintsTurnip; scarlet, gold, purple top 4#Daikon and winter radish 5#Asian greens; tat soi, bok choi 3 headsCabbage; red, green, savoy 6 headsSweet potatoes 10 #Fresh herbs; sage, oregano, thyme 1 bunch eaKale; green, red, lacinato 6 bunchesWinter squash; butternut, delicata 15Shallots 2#Potatoes 25 #Parsnip 5#Rutabaga 5#Brussels sprouts 4#
THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE MODEL PAGE 4Matching Biodiversity with Social DiversitySocial justice is embedded in the move- eral seasons. Similarly, CSAs are join- the Connecticut Department of Agricul-ment for sustainable food systems. ing forces with community food secu- ture, and other agencies to develop theMany CSAs are finding creative ways to rity programs. Connecticut Farmers Market Nutritioninclude members who have little money The Hartford Food System (HFS) is one Program. Organic foods are being in-to spend on food. The simplest way to of the nation’s oldest and most success- corporated into public school lunches.make sure some CSA food reaches low- ful food security endeavors. To help Supermarkets have been established inincome community members is to do- save area farmland by improving the low-income neighborhoods.nate leftover shares to food pantries. earnings of local farmers, while increas- Last but not least, HFS created a 16-Some food banks have even established ing the supply of fresh, nutritious food acre CSA in which half of fruits andtheir own farms. for city residents, HFS rallied Hartford vegetables cultivated went to low-CSAs will also develop a sliding scale city agencies and community organiza- income Hartford residents. HFS’s am-for farm shares, accept food stamps, or tions to establish the Downtown bitious plan exemplifies all that is possi-set up scholarship funds. Buddy sys- Farmer’s Market. ble with the CSA model.tems, where long-term members are To enable low-income people to shop atpaired with new CSA members, are these markets, HFS worked with WIC,helpful in retaining members over sev-Case Study: New York City’s Just Food IN PEACE WITH THE LAND,Just Food assists community-based consists of 7-10 types of vegetables,organizations and regional farmers to enough for a family of 2-3 people. Over JUSTICE AMONGcreate viable, dynamic CSAs. the course of a season members get at OURSELVES, MARTY least 40 different types of vegetables,Just Food partners a city group with a usually organic, always fresh-picked and STRANGE ASKS, “WOULDregional farmer. During the winter and changing with the seasons. WE BE COMFORTABLE WITHspring, the CSA farmer sells shares in A DUAL FOOD SYSTEM INher/his farm’s upcoming harvest to The exact share price varies with eachindividuals, families or institutions. farm. Factors including soil quality, WHICH THE RICH PAID AThe share price goes toward the cost of farm location, available equipment, PREMIUM FOR FOOD GROWNgrowing and distributing a season’s labor costs and mortgage paymentsworth of produce and paying the farmer affect the share cost. Share prices will BY AGRONOMICALLYa living wage. vary according to sliding scale arrange- WHOLESOME MEANS, WHILE ments worked out between the commu- THE POOR ATE CHEAP FOODEach week, from June through Novem- nities and farmers. CSA members mustber, the CSA farmer delivers the week’s commit to the entire CSA season. Pay- PRODUCED BY MAKING WARshare to a central neighborhood distri- ment Options include: Food stamps, ON THE LAND?”bution site in NYC—usually a commu- Revolving loans, Installment plans,nity center or house of worship. Mem- Sliding-scale share fees, Scholarshipbers collect their food at their neighbor- shares, and Work shares.hood sites. Typically, each week’s shareCSAnythingCSSeeds — Traditionally, farmers have old Farm in New York began Commu- composting model as a demonstrationselected, saved, and traded their own nity Supported Seeds. Within 4 years, to other farmers and as a service toseeds. Yet, saving seed for an entire 21 farms were contributing over 100 their community. To make memberfarm is a major undertaking. For or- varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flow- participation easy and odorless, theganic and Biodynamic growers, buying ers. In exchange, they received seed farm distributed 1.5 gallon bio-seed that is not treated with chemical credits. Several hundred growers, from degradable bags so that food scrapsfungicides has been an ongoing prob- home gardeners to farm-scale opera- could be returned to the farm. Twolem. “Terminator Technology” allows tions participate by paying a small sub- local restaurants that feature the farm’sindustrial seed companies to sell seeds scriber fee. produce also return scraps. 15-18,000that do not reproduce. In order to take CSA Compost — Quail Hill Farm pounds of organic matter are returnedback farmers’ control of seeds, Thresh- wanted to create a practical on-farm to the farm each year.
ResourcesAlternative Farming Systems Information Center: http://afsic.nal.usda.govAppropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas: http://attra.ncat.orgBiodymanic Farming and Gardening Association: http://www.biodynamics.comCommunity Food Projects: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/food/in_focus/hunger_if_competitive.htmlCommunity Food Security Coalition: http://www.foodsecurity.orgCommunity-Supported Agriculture in Michigan: http://www.csafarms.orgE.F. Schumacher Society: http://www.schumachersociety.org/Equity Trust: http://www.equitytrust.org/index.htmlGarden City Harvest: http://www.gardencityharvest.org/index.htmlHartford Food System: http://www.hartford.orgLeopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture: http://www.leopold.iastate.orgLocal Harvest: http://www.localharvest.orgRobyn Van En Center for CSA Resources: http://www.csacenter.orgSeed Savers Exchange: http://www.seedsavers.orgSmokey House Center: http://vermontel.net/~shc/index.htmSustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program: http://www.sare.orgWorld Hunger Year: http://www.worldhungeryear.orgPublicationsFarms of Tomorrow Revisited: Community Supported Farms, Farm Sup-ported Communities, T. Groh and S. McFadden (1997).A FoodBook for a Sustainable Harvest, Elizabeth Henderson and DavidStern (1994)Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Community-Supported Agriculture, E. Hen-derson and R. Van En (1999).How to Set up a Vegetable Box Scheme. Briefing Paper. Soil Association,2002. Full-text available online.
Taking Food from Garden-to-School This newsletter will lay out the major concepts of garden-to-school programs as well as helpful tips for how you can start one in your neighborhood. Benefits and Constraints of Farm-to-School from ATTRA’s Bring Local Food to Local Institutions Selling to schools provides kets, and other venues. This has small-scale farmers and commu- a positive ripple effect on the nity gardens with dependable community. These programsInside this markets. Since consumers are also provide opportunities for essentially disconnected from students in related educationalissue: their food sources, as farmers and community-based activities,Getting a Farm-to-SchoolProgram started 2 enter these new markets, con- such as composting, recycling, sumers gain access to higher- and harvesting.Case Study: EdibleSchoolyard 2 quality, more healthful food. As a consequence, more food dol- While schools a generation agoCase Study: The Food 3 lars are invested in the local relied heavily on local productsTrust’s School Market for meal planning and prepara- The farm-to-school saladProgram community. tion, the majority of today’s bar at Malcolm X MiddleCase Study: AgrarianAdventure 3 Local produce means fresh food schools use food obtained School in Berkeley, CA from a known source. Breakfasts through national distributors. shows that the fresh tasteMichigan’s Farm-to-SchoolPrograms 4 and lunches provided at school Many schools don’t even have of local produce appeals are often a major source of nutri- kitchens! Most of the food is to all agesResources 4 tion for children. Consumers processed and prepared by food who have access to local food at service companies, thus elimi- the introduction of fresh salads, school may become more aware nating the need for cooking staff fruit plates, and other dishes of the local food system and may and kitchen facilities. Simulta- prepared from local produce. be encouraged by the superior neously, the huge growth of fast taste and quality to increase foods industry has affected food To be successful, farm-to-school their purchase of local foods at preferences for both children programs must have a good buy- farmers’ markets, mobile mar- and adults. Students often reject ing, selling, and distribution Buying, Selling, and Distributing Produce from ATTRA’s Bring Local Food to Local Institutions Food service buyers want to Here are several distribution schools make their purchases using a methods that have worked • Farmers’ markets serve one-stop shopping approach for farm-to-school programs: as central locations that allows them to order, • A farmers’ cooperative where schools pick up receive, and pay for produce acts as a distributor and farm product in a fast and cost-effective broker, collecting pro- way. Farmers want a de- • A local wholesaler acts as duce from individual distributor and broker, pendable buyer who pays farmers them a reasonable price, picking up, processing, while not requiring them to • A nonprofit organization and distributing food to absorb excess processing or acts as distributor and schools distribution expense. broker, serving as liaison between farmers and
Page 2 Taking Food from Garden-to-SchoolGetting a Farm-to-School Program Started from ATTRA’s Bring Local Foodto Local InstitutionsWhile specific steps in implementing a forming a food advisory committee. For a • Assisting farmers to diversify theirsuccessful farm-t0-school programs will farm-to-school program, the committee produce selection and extend their could include farmers, school food pur- growing seasondiffer from school to school, the common chasers, kitchen personnel, school boardtheme in all steps is building a trusting members, representatives from any coor- • Ensuring the program maintainsrelationship between buyers and sellers. dinating organization, parents, and stu- professionalism, accountability, and dents. This committee begins by: strict adherence to food safety and To build trust, quality standards These concepts it often helps to • Examining logistics and manage- ment of school meals, such as type of • Helping integrate food appreciation start small — can be used to food served, cooking and prepara- into school curriculum one school, one tion facilities, food preparation skills get local food cafeteria, or of kitchen personnel, amount of From here, farmers and food service di- into any even one type produce school can use, etc rectors wanting to establish a farm-to- • school program can learn from the ex- community of food (like a Addressing issues identified in a perience of established programs. The salad bar) — feasibility study institution — remainder of this newsletter will focus on and then build • Identifying or establishing a coordi- successful farm-to-school programs hospital, clinic, nating position/structure on successes.prison, college, • Assisting schools to identify and and more Often the first obtain exemptions to standard com- step involves petitive bidding requirementsCase Study: Edible Schoolyard, Berkeley CA from their websiteThe Edible Schoolyard, in collaboration Garden classes teach the Principles of subject areas into the preparation of foodwith Martin Luther King Jr. Middle Ecology, the origin of food, and respect from the garden. The kitchen programSchool, provides urban public school for all living systems. Students work integrates students’ recipes and strives tostudents with a one-acre organic garden together to shape and plant garden beds, include food from their rich variety ofand a kitchen classroom. Using food amend soil, turn compost, and harvest ethnic background.systems as a unifying concept, students flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The acrelearn how to grow, harvest, and prepare garden is planted with seasonal produce, Through engaging activities, studentsnutritious, seasonal produce. Experi- herbs, vines, berries, and flowers. It also understand the cycle of food production.ences in the garden and kitchen foster a included a seed propagation table, Vegetable, grains, and fruits, grown inbetter understanding of how the natural chicken coop, tool shed, and pizza oven. compost from last year’s harvest, areworld sustains us, and promote the envi- elements of seasonal recipes prepared byronmental and social well-being of our Student participation in all aspects of the students in the kitchen. Students andschool communities. Seed to Table experience occurs as they teachers sit together and eat at tables prepare beds, plant seeds and seedlings, decorated with flowers from the garden,This cooking and gardening program tend crops, and harvest produce. adults facilitate conversation, and clean-grew out of a conversation between chef up is collective. They complete the Seedand author Alice Waters and former prin- In the kitchen classroom, students pre- to Table cycle by taking vegetable scrapscipal Neil Smith. Planning started in 1995 pare and eat delicious seasonal dishes — back to the garden at the end of eachand within three years, a garden was it is an experiential classroom that fo- kitchen class. The Seed to Table experi-growing and the 1930s kitchen had been cuses on the relationship between food ence exposes children to food production,refurbished. and life. Daily educational opportunities ecology, and nutrition, and fosters and are designed to integrate culture, history, appreciation of meaningful work and of biology, language, ecology, , and other fresh, natural food
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 3Case Study: The Food Trust’s School Market Program from their websiteThe Food Trust is based in Philadelphia, PA. munities. In its simplest form, this school-The Food Trust is responding to the contem- based food market is based on a lemonadeporary epidemic of diet-related disease and stand model, where children sell fresh fruitsmalnutrition by working to increase access and vegetables to their friends, teachers,to affordable and nutritious food and help- parents and neighbors.ing people to improve their diets. Foundedin 1992, the Trusts mission is to ensure thateveryone has access to affordable, nutritious Students:food. • Own and operate the marketThe Food Trust provides nutrition education Through the School Market Program, • Make business decisionsservices to communities through seasonalfarmers’ markets and school markets. The students create, own and operate markets • Learn about nutrition, agriculture,Trust also helps to expand the supply of food in their schools, where they sell fruit and and healthy foodsresources available to low-income communi- vegetable products to fellow students andties through advocacy, by creating model teachers during the school year. In the classroom, students learn from aprograms, and by undertaking research proven curriculum that inspires buddingstudies on food disparities and disseminat- The School Market Program is a hands-on entrepreneurs, increases knowledge abouting their findings to government officials learning curriculum that teaches students the food system from production to con-and policy-makers. to: improve their diets, develop employ- sumption, teaches good nutrition, and ment and entrepreneurial skills, and edu- gives practical business experience in aOne of The Food Trust’s most innovative cate themselves about issues that affect student-run, for-profit fresh food market.programs is the School Market Program. their health and the health of their com-Case Study: Agrarian Adventure, Ann Arbor MI from their websiteThe Agrarian Adventure partners with K- in food preparation, gardening, and lead-12 schools to enrich students connection ership. This program meets weeklybetween the foods they eat, their personal throughout the school year and studentshealth, and the health of their communi- form the core student leadership of theties and the environment. Through expe- school garden.riential education in sustainable food andagriculture, local food, and healthy learn- Educational Events & Communitying in the cafeteria, we connect students Outreach — We develop, sponsor, andto the sources of their food and empower participate in collaborative educationalthem to transform their lives and the food-related events for students and thefood culture in positive ways. local community to cultivate school and community interaction, authentic learn-Our program areas are: ing opportunities for youth, and generateOrganic Schoolyard Food Produc- awareness and support for local initia-tion — We have been creating and sustain- Curricular Integration & Teacher tives to improve the school learning envi-ing a bountiful and diverse school garden, Partnerships — We provide essential ronment. We organize these food-relatedused as an educational community and resources to make the food system and educational events alongside youth and useschool resource throughout the last four health a part of the academic curriculum them as a vehicle to welcome and includeyears. We have built a large, production and school day throughout the school community participation in our publicstyle, passive solar greenhouse as an exten- year. We help integrate experiential and schools. In the past, this has included:sion of the garden to extend schoolyard food agricultural lessons into the curriculum by hosting renowned chef and food activistproduction and grow fresh food throughout working with interested teachers, focusing Alice Waters for a community presentation;the coldest months of the year. The garden on specific lessons, units of study, or sponsoring two annual school garden har-& greenhouse serve as an educational re- classes to supplement and enhance core vest dinners in which students cultivated,source for students, teachers, and commu- learning objectives. Over the years, these harvested, prepared, and served a family-nity members within the district. partnerships have impacted the school style dinner to over 120 community and and classes at Tappan Middle School in school members featuring school-grown Ann Arbor throughout all of the disci- and local foods; and two spring festivalsFarm-to-School — One effective way of plines including Language Arts, Social which engaged students in creating andincreasing student access to healthy foods is Studies, Science, and Math, and electives hosting a community event which had overto connect students with local farmers by such foreign language, physical education, 25 local organizational and business spon-serving locally produced, fresh fruits and health, and music. sors.vegetables in the school lunch program. TheAgrarian Adventure has been leading effortslocally, and networking regionally and na- After-School Enrichment — We con-tionally, through the creation and implemen- tinue to develop and support a vibranttation of Farm-to-School efforts in public after-school enrichment program focusedschools. on developing middle school student skills
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Ser- vice (ATTRA): www.attra.ncat.org Edible Schoolyard: www.edibleschoolyard.org RESOURCES Community Food Security Coalition: www.foodsecurity.org (LOTS of resources, includ- ing case studies and funding sources) The Food Trust: www.thefoodtrust.org (check out info on their School Market Program) Agrarian Adventure: www.agrarianadventure.org Food Circles Networking Program: http:// foodcircles.missouri.edu National Farm-to-School Program: www.farmtoschool.org Cooking with Kids: www.cookingwithkids.comMichigan’s Farm-to-School Programs from National Farm-to-School websiteA 2004 Michigan farm-to-school survey working to link farm to school initiatives • Mixed Greens — A Children’sshowed that 73% of Michigan school food throughout the state in order to improve Vegetable Project: The mission ofservice directors that responded were communication, build policy support, Mixed Greens: A Childrens Vegeta-interested in purchasing food directly share resources, and learn from each ble Project is to teach the children offrom local producers; this interest in- other. the Grand Rapids area the value ofcreased to 83% (or nearly 300 food service health and Michigan agriculturedirectors) if local food products were Current farm-to-school programs in through the growing, preparing andavailable through their current vendors Michigan include: sharing of food using school gardens(Izumi et al., 2006). Over 10% (nearly 40)of the food service directors reported that • Brighton Area Schools: Brighton and kitchen classrooms.they had already purchased foods from a schools have purchased fresh fruits • The Food Systems Economiclocal farmer. and vegetables from local farmers Partnership: FSEP is a non-profit since 2006. Schools also run gardens collaboration of urban and rural on school sites, waste management community and business leaders thatSchools and school districts, farmers, food and recycling programs, and in-class exists to catalyze change in the foodservice professionals and providers, and education sessions in the 9 area system of a five county region ofdistributors are working together in sev- schools Southeastern Michigan. FSEP iseral areas of the state to overcome thechallenges of farm to school and improve • Elk Rapids Schools: Elk Rapids coordinating a pilot farm to schoolthe distribution of local products and Schools have purchased fresh fruits project in three school systems, aavailability of seasonal produce for school and vegetables directly from local large, contracted school district, ameals programs. State government agen- farmers since 2005. The produce is small, self-operated school districtcies, agricultural commodity groups, and served in all 4 schools of the district. and an urban charter school.community organizations such as the • Grand Rapids Public Schools: • Traverse City Public Schools:Michigan Land Use Institute and the The Michigan Integrated Food & The Broccoli, Books, and Bread Pro-Food System Economic Partnership Farming Systems Food Secure Fu- ject is a partnership between theare supporting their efforts, and state tures Project has co-sponsored a Michigan Land Use Institute and thelegislators have begun showing interest as summer garden and school project Traverse City Area Public Schools.well. The C.S. Mott Group for Sus- with Grand Rapids Public Schools The project goals are to improvetainable Food Systems at Michigan and will be pursuing an expanded child nutrition and eating habitsState University is developing tools to effort through a W.K. Kellogg grant. while developing a new market forhelp support farm to school initiatives and local farms.
ReferencesBradley, F.M. & Ellis, B.W. (Eds.) (1997). Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.Henderson, E. & Van En, R. (1999). Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Community- Supported Agriculture. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company.History of Community Gardening. Garden Mosaics. Retrieved October 15, 2006 from http://www.gardenmosaics.cornell.edu/pgs/science/english/historycg.aspxHope, A. & Timmel, S. (1999). Training for Transformation: A handbook for community workers. London, UK: ITDG Publishing.Mollison, B. (1991). Introduction to Permaculture. Harare, Zimbabwe: Fambidzanai Training Centre.Recording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A manual (1996). Silang, Cavite, Philippines: International Institute of Rural Reconstruction.Sustainable Agriculture Extension Manual for Eastern and Southern Africa (1998). Nairobi, Kenya: International Institute of Rural Reconstruction.
Additional ResourcesAdditional ReadingBerry, Wendell – The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture; What are People for?; The Art of theCommonplace: Agrarian Essays by Wendell Berry; The Way of Ignorance: And other Essays; The Collected Poems ofWendell Berry; A Place on Earth: A Novel; Given: Poems;Diamond, Jared – Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed; Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of HumanSocietiesPollan, Michael -- The Omnivore’s Dilemma; The Botany of Desire; A Place of My OwnShiva, Vandana – The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics; EarthDemocracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; India Divided: Democracy and Diversity Under Attack; Water Wars:Privatization, Pollution, and Profit; Stolen Harvest; Bioprivacy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge;Additional Internet WebsitesFood First: www.foodfirst.orgMichael Pollan: www.michaelpollan.comNavdanya: www.navdanya.orgFood Routes: www.foodroutes.orgLocal ResourcesGardenworks Organic Produce and Sprouts: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M5602Tantre Farm: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M5684Frog Holler Farm: http://www.froghollerorganic.com/index.htmCommunity Farm of Ann Arbor: http://www.communityfarmofaa.orgGrowing Hope: http://www.growinghope.net/Project Grow: http://www.projectgrowgardens.org/index.htmWashtenaw Community College Organic Gardener Certificate: http://www.wccnet.edu/Slow Food of Huron Valley: http://slowfoodhuronvalley.com/sfhv.phpFood Gatherers: www.foodgatherers.orgDetroit Agriculture Network: www.detroitagriculture.orgDetroit Garden Resource Program: http://www.geocities.com/detroitag/Detroit Summer: http://detroitsummer.blogspot.com/Earth Works Gardens: http://www.earth-works.org/The Greening of Detroit: http://www.greeningofdetroit.com/Sustainable Detroit: http://www.sustainabledetroit.org/home/index.php