January 2009

January 28, 2009

Meditation Mount

We are lining up the garden projects and I am excited to be a part of it. I live it because of the friendships I am building on. Also gardening is my therapy after a week of computer work. Love to share with you all!!!
Meditation Mount has expressed an interest. There is alot of potential there. We will plan a walk through soon as part of the Grow Food Party Crew play-time.
Julia Pfeifer

Jan 31st 2009 - Grow Food Party Crew, 3:00pm

Jan. 31: Grow Food Party Crew, 3:00pm @ 1215 Drown (above Grand, before Pleasant), Mary Aspinwall & Wayne Thompson. Potluck & bring garden tools AND seeds or cuttings to share as it is International Seed Swap Day. Mostly we'll be designing, but could do some initial soil work.

I think you all received meeting notes from Carol about our New Year Visioning meeting. If not, there are some central themes that were discussed:

1. Communication: Due some inconsistencies with the WiserEarth web format, we will continue to work with me sending out e-mail blasts. I will try to keep them short & sweet, relevant if they are third party generated. Julia will help me get stuff up on the Green Coalition webpage for F&A.

2. Structure: We will meet once a month for a General Meeting of information sharing, which will include reports from sub-committees. The sub-committees will do most of the work, in their area of interest. Those include: (a) Home Farming-The Grow Food Party Crew group; (b) Gleaning- developing a volunteer program for harvesting excess fruits & veggies throughout the Valley; (c) Events - Speakers, films, etc.; (d) Culinary - food preparation, progressive dinners, recipe swaps, etc. See end of memo for list of who's where. You can be on more than one committee until it all shakes out and you see where you want to spend most of your effort, or like me, just dive into everything as much a your schedule permits.

3. Goals: Becoming better home farmers, building fertility into our soils, succession planting, parties to work as teams in each others gardens and installing more gardens is still the foremost goal of the group. This isn't something you learn overnight, so playing in the dirt together will continue on season by season.
That said, expanding our efforts to develop a "gleaning" or harvesting program for the existing fruit trees in the Valley had equally as much interest and energy behind it for folks. The idea is to be ready for summer by setting up a phone number & e-mail address where people, who have a lot of unpicked fruit on their trees, can contact us and a volunteer team will go out to harvest it. Some gets left with the owner, some goes to the volunteers, the extra either gets made into products we can sell, or is given to food banks. This is also a good way to bring more youth into the fold, cuz it's fun, it's random and easy. A first step is to develop a simple survey that can go out to homes Valleywide.

4. Composting: In addition to each of us (whether you garden or not) building and maintaining a good compost pile - we are looking for ways to expand composting in the Valley. We have a lead on developing a horse manure program, and will develop a plan for harvesting the "green waste" bounty from restaurants. Their waste is our gold.

5. Inclusiveness: With regard to young people, we agreed to include them whenever possible - certainly on Party Crew days. Home schoolers, Roots & Shoots & charter school kids are good recruits. A few people have offered to help keep younger kids engaged at our meetings. We decided to make it a case by case basis on meetings, since they don't like to just listen to a bunch of talk.
We also talked about ways to integrate the Hispanic members of our community more. There are a lot of laborers who would be happy to work with us to grow food if they could also be fed. This also gives us a good opportunity to sharpen our Spanish as they learn English, bridging cultures through our food cousins.

6. Events: We decided that it would be good to open our Speaker events to the public, to make their information available to more folks. Our events committee is checking open dates for 2009. I think a nice combo might be to pair up a food film (there are LOTS of cool films out on food and farming) with a speaker, to increase attendance.

7. Misc.: Julia needs a truck to retrieve big (FREE) tubs, that she can use to do a giant container garden at Nordhoff High School . Wayne will research what it takes to do a successful Co-Op. Later, a possible Green Map. Barter and establishing a local currency were discussed. Developing a Succession Planting calendar - what goes into the garden, when, in the differrent micro-climates of Ojai Valley . Consider companion planting and lunar calendar for planting. Do bulk buying of seeds, bare-root fruit trees.

Jan 31st 2009 - Grow Food Party Crew, 3:00pm @ 1215 Drown (above Grand, before Pleasant)
These are our objectives:

1)Install a lettuce bed in the front by the drive. It will be 4 feet wide and 8 feet long (paralleling the driveway). We will remove the existing grass and establish the bed but not amend the soil (need compost) nor plant.

2) Install a cold frame green house on that southern wall. We will need about fifty liner feet of 1x1 wood and enough plastic to cover the entire frame and 4 medium size hinges for the lid to open. This an be consider another opportunity in establishing protocol for materials. I recommend we establish some guidelines for these process to “enable” recycled materials along the way. Finding some materials to mill at this late moment seems like more then I can accomplish. I will make a few calls today and ask about how simple this can be. I mentioned George as a potential Co-op core member for his construction skills. I will see if he has some ideas … ( Wayne may be able to get some materials from Ace Hardware as they kindly supplied offcuts for our chicken tractor - M)

3)Collecting 5 banana boxes to establish container gardens and provide a living example of what can be done for folks with NO Garden area.

4)The other grass we remove will be in the back by that door …we will install a key hole garden there. In this moment I just can‘t get the stones for this part, but breaking the ground is a first step. …this soil deserves to be amended too. It seems this party will focus upon bed preparation not so much plant installation. Amending your small sq footage is an easy task once we have the beds defined.

January 15, 2009

Food & Ag Meeting last Sunday - We Rock!

What a great meeting. There seems to be a good flow of communication, ideas and inspiration!
We are forming our sub-committees and have set up some meetings. Thank you to Dulanie for hosting the meeting!

Sub-Committee Meeting Times
All these times and dates will be posted to the calendar as well:
Food & Ag Home Farming subcommittee 3pm, Saturday, Jan 31 Ellen Hall's home 27 Taormina Lane. Bring seeds and cuttings to swap.
Food & Ag Gleaning subcommittee 8:30am, Wednesday, Feb 11 Farmer & the Cook.
Also, there is a soil building workshop at City Demo Garden in Feb. Info at ojaievents.com.