Our friend Mark Stewart, Senior Project Manager at the University of Maryland Office of Sustainability, turned us on to a great website this morning: FoodMyths.org. If you haven’t visited the site before, it is most definitely worth a lunch-time browse. It is filled with resources, facts, suggestions, tool kits and ideas for getting involved in positive transformations of the food system. Here’s a video from their “Mythbusters” section, Hunger & Food Security, that gives a taste of what the site has to offer:
“Oooooohh look at this happy little caterpillar I found! I’m just going to move him over to the fennel where he will have plenty to eat, k?”
Not exactly. Although the pollinating butterflies these cuties become are very welcome at organic production farms, their larva stage is better nurtured in say… a nearby demonstration garden or conservancy. Lucky for me, I just landed a gig working in a new Loudon County, VA community, Willowsford, built around conservation, sustainable cultivation, real food, really cool farmers, and a really great garden.
Chances are, I will be doing a lot of posts born from experiences at Willowsford Farm throughout the 2012 growing season so for now, here are the top ten highlights from Week One:
10.) The masterminds behind this community are incredibly down-to-earth, determined, and committed to conservation as much as they are committed to the growth of the farm (in terms of acreage, value-added products, biodiversity, and profitability).
9.) The bees and their keeper are going to be producing local honey and educate the community on the importance of pollinators.
8.) The garden is bonkers amazing and already includes: tons of berry bushes, herbs, fruit trees, tomatoes, flowers, and gated entrances as adorable as the open-air structure slated for a classroom/market/shed.
7.) Somehow, I have not picked up a single tick yet – which leads me to number six…
6.) Not only is there deer fencing around the farm – it is around the garden too!
5.) There are tons of Mexican sunflowers, zinnias, and other butterfly-attracting plants in rows between tomatoes, peppers and other edibles which makes times spent harvesting extra beautiful.
4.) Pretty much all-you-can-eat fresh and healthy “seconds” all day long.
3.) Everyone I have met is keen on bringing our beloved Eco-Goats out to help clear weeds!
2.) Fellow Farmers: Nick, Jen and Kathryn and Farm Manager Mike Snow are pure sunshine – even in the hardest, back-breaking moments, and have gone far out of their way to teach me tricks of the trade, welcome me to the team, and accept the fact that they may have to kill my share of tomato horn worms.
And the number one thing to come out of Willowsford this week (worthy of a photo):
1.) Husk Tomatoes. Sometimes called “Ground Tomatoes” because you harvest them from the ground once they have fallen off of the plant. If you have not yet tried one, step away from the computer and head to the closest farmers market.
Hope everyone is having a beautiful Earth Week and has something enviro-friendly planned for the weekend to celebrate Earth Day. In case not, here are some local happenings:
The Science Center’s Earth Day celebration on Saturday: There will be container-garden making with Baltimore Contained, herb cooking with Carrie Murray Nature Center, experiments with the American Chemical Society and plenty more eco-awesomeness with local green groups.More info can be found on the Science Center’s site here: http://mdsci.org/events-calendar/events/EarthDay.html
Severna Park Earth Day on Saturday: http://severnapark.patch.com/articles/9th-annual-earth-day-expo-at-spms#pdf-9379365 Where the Eco-Goats will be!
Localize It: Baltimore Free Farm Block Party on Sunday: The second annual block party celebrating the value of local artists, musicians, food and social movements at its flagship project, the Ash Street Garden in Hampden. The event will include local craft and food vendors, street performers, live music and family activities. The block party’s special attraction is ChiliBrew V, a home-brew competition and chili cook-off organized by BaltiBrew. More info can be found on their website http://www.baltimorefreefarm.org/2012/03/11/localize-it-ii/
180 Documentary, narrative, animated, archival, experimental, and children’s films selected to provide fresh perspectives on environmental issues facing our planet. This year, the festival selections examine the critical relationship between health and the environment with 75 film makers, 115 special guests, and extraordinary cinematic work from 42 countries. Download the full schedule here. Don’t you wish you could see them all?!