Check out Growing Food and Sustainability’s (Middleton, WI) snazzy new infographic featuring our accomplishments for the 2013 season!
Category Archives: Local Initiatives
Dining for Good
This is Gabrielle reporting in as Growing Food and Sustainability’s Youth Farm Director (if you don’t know us yet, we’re a Summer of Solutions program and Local Initiative in Middleton, WI). A big goal of ours is to provide fresh, local produce to the Middleton community. To that end, we have donated over 2,500 pounds of produce to the MOM Food Pantry (all by bike trailer!) in the past two growing seasons. We also love donating our produce to other good causes, like the Middleton High School Ecology Club’s Annual Organic Dinner!
Last year was the first year that Organic Dinner featured produce grown right at the school. This year, we teamed-up with Ecology Club to make it even better: all of the produce used in the meal was grown at the Youth Farm, and all of the cooking was done by the students themselves! We had a great dinner featuring pasta with pesto and tomato sauce, bread, kale salad, and ice cream. Many local businesses supported our efforts and 130 community members turned out for the dinner. What a success! Continue reading
Back to Work
I’m sitting on a beach in South Carolina. It’s been three days since leaving August Gathering. My grandma is inside, watching TV with her caretaker. The horizon line is an extended blur in the haze, somewhere between the dark water and the dark sky. I’ve seen two shooting stars.
I’m having that odd realization that the things I’m seeing – stars, the ocean – exist on a scale beyond imagination. Somewhere across all this wind and water there is another mass of solid land. Quite possibly, someone else is on the edge of that mass, looking towards ours and wondering what it’s like over here. Continue reading
Breaking Bread with One Another
Heidi, a program leader in East Tennessee has started a new job at Second Harvest and is blogging about her experience. Below is a recent post.
Well, my worst fear happened today. The very first day of service we ran out of food. It was an easy fix, we survived and even managed to just be 15 minutes off schedule the whole day.
The drive home was particularly beautiful after a stressful day and I realized why I love it here so much. I realized why I love coming home no matter how far I’ve gone. It’s the view. Every where you turn rich blue hues and many shades of green dazzle your eyes. The mountains surround us in this fantastic hug. You can’t help but feel at peace and protected by the mountains. Continue reading
Soulardarity Taking it to the Next Level in Detroit
All good things must come to an end, and the Community Organizing grant from Grand Aspirations is no exception. But to quote another piece of folk wisdom, as one thing ends another begins, and that Soulardarity is very nearly prepared to launch into a fundraising campaign for a community-owned city-wide infrastructure project (and, hopefully, pay salaries) is evidence of this statement’s truth.
Extra garden veggies? Pickle them!
Lexy here from East Tennessee. I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with lacto-fermentation. There are definitely times when multiple shelves in my fridge are filled with jars of homemade pickles. Since we’re heading into the summer months, when garden produce is overwhelmingly abundant, I thought I’d share this with you. Our community garden plot is currently popping out radishes, so what follows is a radish pickling recipe. You can pretty much lacto-ferment any vegetable, so don’t be afraid to try this with anything you have a bunch of.
Last year, Build It Up hosted a pickling workshop with our partners at Shakti in the Mountains (a women’s community organization in Johnson City) and it was one of our most popular. We just had a great meeting with Shakti to plan another series of food and gardening workshops. So far we are planning pickling/kraut making, container gardening, backyard bees, low cost chicken coops, and oyster mushrooms in buckets. I’m looking forward to planning a summer of workshop fun!
Kids in the Garden and Community Support
It’s already been a busy month in Middleton!
Kids in the Garden: We just wrapped-up our first after school program! We had a wonderful five weeks learning about the greenhouse and seed starting, planning dream gardens, preparing the garden for planting, and cooking!
Showing off their dream gardens
We made many tasty seasonal dishes with the kids including carrot muffins, apple crisp, spinach frittata, and oven fries. Our snack for the last day of the program was 5 weeks in the making: we planted greens in the greenhouse back in April and they were finally big enough to harvest for a tasty salad. We made a home made balsamic vinaigrette dressing and enjoyed the fruits of our labors 🙂 Continue reading
Hope4Green uniting to help restore northeast Detroit
Northeast Detroit is an area stricken with environmental degradation, illegal dumping, and an unreliable trash management system. Because of this, months of trash and debri starts to pile up in our communities leaving the health and safety of our residents at risk.
However the team of HOPE4GREEN Detroit is pushing to restore Northeast Detroit with community clean-ups, urban gardening, and boarding up abandoned homes that are open and dangerous.
Improving the Soil
If a person puts a shovel in the ground almost anywhere in the South, like as not, they will bring up red clay soil. In East Tennessee it is a bright, redish orange and it supports a thriving brick making industry in my hometown. Show it to a professional grower and you’ll get a strong negative reaction. Clay is no good, they’ll say. You’re better off digging it up and buying topsoil, whatever that might cost. Our soil is dense, easily compacted, often waterlogged and quite acidic. In the spring, it is cold and boggy. In the summer, it can bake so hard that roots have no chance to grow through it.
Transforming the native soil into something more friable takes a lot of patience, hard work and respect for natural processes. It is often worth the effort, as improved clay soil will hold nutrients and moisture far better than its sandy counterpart. I don’t mean for this blog post to be about the technical aspects of improving soil—I just want you to know more about the ground we are standing on here.
Picking the Best Beehive
Despite the rain and the cold, summer in Bulgaria is approaching fast. Our team is trying hard to get things ready for the SoS and beekeeping season.
We are encountering the first difficulties with meeting our goals and deadlines…As we need to purchase some initial equipment; we turned to advice to local beekeepers and friends, who could direct us to the best source. One of our mentors recommended a Bulgarian company that makes demonstration beehives with a glass wall and a lid to cover it. Those would be perfect, we thought. The glass wall is covered, and light cannot bother the bees too much. They have a good design and are interactive—easy to show children, and a good asset for the University Botanical Garden, who have accepted our request for outdoor space. We managed to see how these look like and take a picture in front of the Hilton Hotel. Continue reading