There is an article on gleaning, "Picked Clean," by Angela Sanders in this winter issue. I am definitely a gleaner, picker, salvager and I think a lot of you are, too... so many goodies out there to be treasured. A very charming documentary to watch is The Gleaners and I, by Agnes Varda and the Part 2 follow-up also on the dvd and you can think of yourself as a glaneuse...mmm. This review in the NY Times is a perfect description.
The Portland Fruit Tree Project just had a really nice fundraiser with a silent auction, cider pressing, yummy food, milking goats to nuzzle. And now is a great time to register any fruit trees for future pruning & gleaning and learn how to be involved. You can also donate to them in Willamette Week's Give! Guide 2008. The guide is a source on many of the non-profits in town that benefit from your support. Another great group to donate to and volunteer with is Growing Gardens! There is another related article online from Edible Portland in 2007, "Finder's Keepers," which also features Urban Edibles, the cooperative network of wild food foragers...
"Bean Man," by Ellen Jackson, starts by saying, "Today, 95 percent of what's grown in the Willamette Valley is non-edible." Wow. There's another article on Oregon's top 8 ag commodities. The one on Harry MacCormack's Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project also brings to mind two projects here in the north. Josh Volk of Slow Hand Farm and Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm, (check out "Beans in Depth"!)," have a forum on Small Scale Grain and Pulse Production. The other is Sunroot Garden's urban Staple Crops Project. This is such an important part of our sustainable food future and one that's even harder to figure out in the urban landscape.
A new face around here is Mary, our new part time shop assistant, who will be helping out with projects this winter and helping in the spring when all of you get busy on the farm and in the garden again. We may be looking for a new part time warehouse worker in February, because Kyle may farm full time this year. It's hard for me to try to convince him not to.
It's been so dry, but the rain and maybe snow this weekend in the valley, are coming and it's a good time of year to research ways to manage it. The City of Portland has all kinds of neat information on managing stormwater. Many great pdfs on Stormwater Solutions.
The Organic Gardening Certification Program just wrapped up this weekend. I learned many things and met a lot of neat people. And I was inspired to plant my garlic and cover crops earlier this year. I put 200 cloves on a ridge to the left of this photo in mid October after we planted out at Luscher Farm and cover crops everywhere I could clear or fit them in. Then a few weeks later, still in deep garlic fever, I planted another hundred along the chicken run and cover crops down below the path where black turtle beans had been. OSU and Oregon Tilth did an excellent job with this first course. They are working on how to connect it with the Master Gardener program and looking through feedback to figure out what the best structure will be for the course in the future. Hopefully it will be offered again in the fall of 2009. There were a lot of hands on learning experiences, a diverse group of instructors and 60 really interesting people taking the course. They've set up a way to complete the Master Gardener portion, too, which I'm taking this spring in NE Portland.
I made samples of our products to share during the amendments and fertilizer section and wrote down some of my thoughts on organic gardening, with my top 11 favorite amendments and fertilizer. Just ask if you'd like a copy. The photo is from the workshop I did in October. We've got half of the center wall down and will be starting the roof repair soon. So it will still be a bit with the renovation work, but there will be more fun workshops in our spiffed up space : )
Mark your calendars for Organicology, February 26 - 28, 2009 at the Lloyd Center here in Portland!
I will be catching up on some time off this month before busy season, so if you have any questions for me, you're welcome to email if you don't catch me at the shop. This weekend I will be enjoying seed catalogs and plotting out my current and future dream gardens and going for a wintery hike...
Happy full moon!