Over the Fence Urban Farm


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Validation by Six Year Old

An important mission of our farm is demonstrating that good food, lots of good food, can be grown within city limits. I am particularly excited about passing this knowledge on to children, so they might imagine a new future for our public and private spaces. And so, it was with GREAT joy that I opened this text from one of our CSA families this morning.

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And then…

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So yeah, I’m feeling pretty validated today. Thanks Ezra.

Note: This post was previously called “Validation by Text Message” but after thinking about it, I realized it wasn’t the texting that made this exchange so powerful, it was the sic year old behind it.

 

 

 


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We GREW Our Own Protein!

DSC_0074My freshman year of college, I heard John Robbins speak about his book Diet for a New America (1987). It was my first  introduction to the impact our food choices have on the planet. I was already a vegetarian, though I can’t remember why. After hearing Robbins and reading his book, however, I could articulate a clear rationale for giving up meat. Robbins cited quantitative comparisons between the amount of resources it takes to grow a vegetarian versus a meat-based diet. For example, 20 herbivores could live off the same amount of land it takes to feed just one carnivore. He argued fewer people would be starving to death if everyone ate less meat. His observations seem all the more relevant today in relation to current discussions about irrigation in California. The idea that one pound of factory-farmed meat requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce makes those one gallon almonds seem downright sustainable.

I’ve read countless other arguments for eating a vegetarian diet since that talk. I’ve been inspired by folks who have tried to grow a well-rounded diet including Quarter Acre Farm and Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, OH. And so it was with tremendous pride that I cooked a pot of chili tonight using beans we grew ourselves. Beans that were fed purely by rain showers.

IMG_2841Last year our friend and CSA member Pam brought us a packet of Scarlet Runner Bean seeds she’d saved from the previous season. She said they would grow pretty vines with bright red flowers (see top of post) the humming birds would coming flying for.

They did. And when they were gone, we gathered the beans and saved them to plant again this season. While we planted the seed beans all along one fence last year, this year we spread them throughout the garden in keeping with our goal of providing invitations for pollinators throughout the farm. The bees, birds, and beans have benefit.

With extra room to roam, the beans are flourishing. Last week Cora shelled a full cup of dried ones that I soaked and cooked to use in the chili in place of kidney beans. See this post from Eat the Weeds and Other Things, Too for more information on harvesting and processing these little gems. We’re looking forward to getting a few more cups this season and sharing seed beans with our supporters next year.

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Happy Hour Report – April 26th, 2015

We had a great day on the farm yesterday with lots of friends stopping by and helping us get through our chores.

Thanks SO much to Damon, Elizabeth, and Julian for completing the important, but not too exciting task of clearing weeds from the east and west pathways. (I promise to buy more wood chips like those we have in the central path to try to keep that task to a minimum in the coming months and years.)

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Thanks to Melissa, Julian, and Nina for setting up the trellis netting for peas, beans, cucumbers, and squashes.

Thanks to Melissa and Nina for helping harvest greens.

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And to Ezra, Asa, Cora, and Maya for harvesting our first (small) round of radishes! (There really are few things more magical than pulling edible roots out of the ground.)

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Thanks to Emily for mounding the soil up around our tender leeks.

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And thanks to Nina, Cora and all the kids for watering.

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See you next Sunday!


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2015 Post-Compost Post

I’m tired.

There’s still a pile of compost on the driveway, but it’s less than half the size it was this morning. And it’s only there because I didn’t let folks mulch non-farm related areas. Those feel like personal responsibility. Not because we couldn’t have moved it all in a single day. So, once again, I am amazed by what a small group of people can accomplish when we come together and set our head, heart, and hands to it.

Here are a few highlights from the day.

The kids went worm hunting,

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and they took the new wheelbarrow out for a roll.

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Henry and Marc assembled our new farm toy – the broadfork.
Then Henry, David, and Andrew put it to work.

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Cora, Melissa, Kate, Pam, Elizabeth, and I planted and transplated – leeks, cabbage, radicchio spinach, radish, kale, chard, peas, and fennel.

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Then Carrie and I put them all to bed under a nice frost blanket.

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And, of course, we moved about 7 yards of compost! (Go early team that didn’t get caught on film – Jess, Kathy, Damon, Emily, Mark, and Joanna, and Sarah!)

Looking Southeast – Before and After

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Looking Northwest – Before and After

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It was a VERY good day.


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CSA Workday Round-up

This just about sums up yesterday afternoon.

Via Facebook:
E.B. – “I woke up this morning feeling crummy, grumpy and anxious. I just got home from two hours at Over the Fence Urban Farm for a CSA work day and now I’m feeling energized, peaceful and content. I just needed a little garden therapy!
M. F. “Oh my goodness I brought the same feeling home with me! We came with a tired girl and an unhappy tummy. And left happy and well. . . It’s good therapy

We had seven folks turn out with was just enough to get a huge amount of work accomplished and not too many to manage at once.
Ready for the troops to roll in.

Ready for the troops to roll in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesley and Emily cleared the pea bed while Pam tended (her) tomatoes.

Lesley and Emily cleared the pea bed while Pam tended (her) tomatoes.

Maya taking her turn for the "Kids with Carrots" series.

Maya took her turn for the “Kids with Carrots” series.

Elizabeth, Maya, and Cora helped clear the carrots.

Elizabeth, Maya, and Cora helped clear the carrots.

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa and Jessie moving mulch...

Melissa and Jessie moved mulch…

Romaine starts read to go where carrots once were...

Romaine starts ready to go where carrots once were…

Kathy, Emily, and, Elizabeth trimming and grading garlic by size and condition.

Kathy, Emily, and, Elizabeth trimmed and graded garlic by size and condition.

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Jessie cleaning carrots.

Jessie cleaned carrots.

And, of course, the busy were as busy as we were.

And, of course, the busy were as busy as we were.