Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I attended the GroPhx Summit Yesterday - What a Great Day!

Dear Folks,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the GroPhx Summit by The Urban Farm U.

The speakers covered a range of topics from taking control of your food sources (your backyard and gardens) to Seed Sharing, Community Food Banks utilizing gardens, training food entrepaneurs, to raising chickens and goats, to building food communities one street at a time.

Greg Peterson started off the day with a great presentation on Food Systems and how YOU can make it sustainable.

How about the idea of having one community garden per street in a city?

My major take away from this day was this:

The SINGLE most important thing YOU can do in your garden this year (besides plant, harvest and use/share) is to SAVE your seeds each season.  I am going to do a separate post on seed saving/sharing because it is so important.

AND remember my Free Seed Share/Swap is this coming Friday (October 2nd) at the Mesa Community Farmers Market.

For me the other important take-away is how I am going to try and get involved with local food bank(s) to find a way to teach their clients to grow some of their own food - if even in a large pot.  SNAP benefits can be used to purchase seed and plants that grow food.  Spending a small amount of their benefits on food seeds and plants can provide more Food $ value down the road, and maybe, just maybe they can grow enough to have leftover to sell.


Greg Peterson - Urban Farmer and Local Enthusiast. Greg's Urban Farm U has online classes, free webinars (check for those coming up soon), books, and other helping tools and resources for getting your backyard farm/garden going and growing.

Kari Spencer - Master Gardener and Farmer at her "The MicroFarm Project" growing food and raising chickens and goats for eggs and milk.

Michael McDonald, from the Community Food Bank in Tucson talked about how they are incorporating food growing, food entrepreneur training, and food markets into the system of Food Banks to create a true community to tackle all the issues surrounding poverty, poor diet and poor economic communities.

Chad Hudspetch of Endless Food Systems talked about Aquaponics - fish driven food systems to grow food.   While many people raise the fish for food you can use the same concept to raise fish just for your own enjoyment.  The fish waste feeds the plants and the plant beds clean the water.  A Win/Win for growing your veggies.

Bill McDorman of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance detailed the loss of heirloom seeds, the concentration of commercial seed supplies to just a few - mostly chemical companies and the need for ALL OF US to share seed from our gardens, both locally and regionally to sustain precious varieties and keep us all in control of the future of seeds.  While Seed Banks and Seed Vaults are part of the idea, the real seed storage is located right in your back yard, in your gardens, waiting for you to harvest the next generation of regionally adapted food seeds.  MORE In my next post.

THERE is a cool opportunity to get seeds in bulk at the end of October. The Great American SeedUp sponsored by The Urban Farm.  Tickets are just $5 and they sell out fast!

Scott Murray, a 32-year Organic Farmer spoke on "Intensive Innovative Organic Production:" and how he has consulted on and built backyard to large farm projects utilizing organic methods and intensive and innovative ideas to secure the best food results.  One of the very fascinating new projects is growing coffee trees in an avocado orchard - in San Diego, California area.  Super concept!

Jake Mace provide a short Tai Chi exercise after lunch to loosen everyone up.

Check out the Speaker Bios here.

Two more organizations were present:

Whole Foods sponsored the breakfast for attendees to promote their which provides grants for school gardens, funds school salad bars and has a Healthy Teacher program to show teachers how to cook healthy, to set examples for their students.

IMPORTANT:  The WKF is now accepting applications for the School Garden Grants, so if your child's school wants to start or add to an existing one, get the info ASAP>

Our LocalFirst folks have a new tool for you to FIND FOOD.  Good Food Finder AZ is where you can search for any source for food, whether farmers market, restaurant, distributor etc.  Check it out!

 It was a great day for all those who attended to get started or increase their participation and control over their food supply.
. . .

Not part of the summit, this came to me in my email and I had to share this.  THE BEST homemade DIY Chicken Feeder - No Spill (or very little).  If you have or are considering getting chickens you do need to see this video.

. . . 

My planting info for October:
Beginning of Primary Planting Season -- Heavy planting possibilities:

Anise; Bay, Greek (Sweet); Beans, Fava; Beets; Bok Choy; Broccoli; Brussels Sprouts; Cabbage; Cabbage, Ornamental; Caraway; Carrots; Cauliflower; Celery; Chard; Chervil; Cilantro; Dill; Endive (and Chicory); Fennel, Leaf; Fruit Trees; Garlic; Kale, Ornamental; Kale; Kohlrabi; Lavender; Lemon Grass; Lemon Verbena; Lettuce (arugula, leaf lettuce etc.); Marjoram; Mints; Mustard; Myrtle; Onions, Green; Onions; Oregano, Greek; Oregano, Mexican; Parsley; Parsnip; Peas, Sugar & English; Potato seeds (not seed potatoes - use seeds) ("seed potatoes" or cut pieces of potato should be planted Nov 1-Jan 1); Radishes; Rosemary; Sage; Savory; Spinach; Tarragon, Mexican; Tarragon, French; Thyme; Turnips

EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:  Calendula; Carnation (Dianthus); Cornflower (Bachelor Buttons); English Daisy; Evening Primrose (Oenothera Berlandieri); Hollyhock; Jasmine Sambac (Arabian); Johnny-Jump Up; Marigolds, including Tangerine Scented (Tagetes Lemonii), Citrus Scented (Tagetes Nelsonii); Nasturtiums; Pansies; Primrose; Scented Geraniums; Shungiku Chrysanthemum; Snapdragons; Stocks (Matthiola); Sweet William (Dianthus); Sweet Alyssum; Violet

Aphids are a major problem with cabbage family - forestall infestations. Add a fingertip of Dawn to 1 quart of water. Shake, pour 1/4 cup down center of each plant once a week.

Check out my wall calendar for all the rest of the month-by-month planting help   When to plant all the veggies, fruits, herbs and edible flowers.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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