Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
Gardening in winter and looking forward toward spring!
Update from our farm (by Will Summers and Kitty Ufford-Chase)
Greetings from the winter wonderland that is the Stony Point Center!
What a winter it's been. In the past month, we've had snow, snow, and more snow. And it has just kept piling up.
During one recent 24-hour stretch, we probably got about 18 inches! My major concern in a blizzard like that is the greenhouse. It's not what's inside the greenhouse that I'm worried about in a snowstorm, but the greenhouse itself. More than a foot of heavy, wet snow has the potential to damage the entire structure.
After this particular snowstorm, Matt and I spent an entire morning clearing snow off the greenhouse roof and then removing all the snow that had piled up on the sides that continued to put pressure on the plastic and the frame. We had to dig in the snow by hand because snow shovels can very easily puncture the greenhouse plastic. It was quite a day-I was soaking wet after spending the entire morning essentially waist-deep in the snow.
Despite the polar vortex, our greenhouse crops continue to grow. We've taken extra precautions by double-covering them when weather forecasts indicate temperatures will be in the single-digits (which has been quite frequent this winter). In just the past week, our greenhouse spinach has really started to grow quickly as the days get incrementally longer. We're still harvesting kale, collards, chard, and arugula from the greenhouse as well.
Recently we've put a lot of energy into preparing our greenhouse for spring seeding. In fact, by the end of February, we will have seeded lettuce, spinach, and onions that will be transplanted in the fields in March or April (assuming, of course, that all that snow eventually melts!).
Needless to say, here at Stony Point Center, all of us on the farm crew are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring.
Peace and winter blessings,
Will (the Stony Point Center Farmer) and Kitty
That evening I sat on my front porch and stared at my green grass and budding bushes. I wanted to throw a 2 year old style tantrum, of not understanding why the world was so unfair. I was ready to take control of my food system. I was ready to get back to the dirt and simpler times. I was ready to turn my yard into a demonstration of how to do so. But for reasons beyond my control, I could not.
How was it that the ecological revolution I saw budding in myself and my backyard was so easily derailed by the previous industrial one of my predecessors?...
We have been honored to be able to support Huerto de la Familia through donations to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Huerto is a dynamic initiative which works in Oregon to expand opportunities and training in organic agriculture and business creation to families with the least access, but whom have great potential to benefit. Many of these families are Latino, thus the Spanish name. I learned a lot from these wonderful short videos Huerto created this year, and you may too.
The first film in a three-part series, Harvest of Pride: Cultivating Community features the stories of families, social workers and community practitioners. While news media continue to focus mostly on the “hunger problem”, the film points to the largely ignored epidemic of food insecurity among Latinos and immigrants.
Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden) is a partner organization that PHP supports. They do wonderful work to expand opportunities and training in organic agriculture and business creation to families with the least access, but whom have great potential to benefit. Huerto de la Familia is bringing life-changing opportunities to families in their community. Learn more about their mission, their work and how to support Huerto’s programs.
And watch their fabulous film series, "Harvest of Pride," on their website!
A couple random items
FRESH the Movie, in addition to being a great film (which you can borrow from PHP for showing) is a great resource for other things like extending the freshness of your produce!
Where you have strawberries, tomatoes or sweet corn, here are ways to store all those fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re trying to avoid using plastic bags, from the Berkeley Farmers Market.
And you can find out about hunger in your own county with this map from Feeding America which covers the entire country. I looked at the stats for the county where Louisville is located and was intrigued. The data is from 2010.
Carol Howard Merritt, who recently wrote about Michelle Obama's healthy food initiatives and her visit to Western Presbyterian Church's Miriam Kitchen, just turned me on to this ECOTONE blog - subtitle, "Experiments in Agriculture and Industry" by C.J. from Joelton, Tenn.