Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy 2009! *Workshops & Conferences* + Urban Food Initiative + HENS

Here's the full post with additions on Sunday, January 11th! : )

Urban Growth Bounty 2009 - Sustainable Food Classes - Dates throughout the year!
North Willamette Horticulture Society Meeting - January 13,14 and 15
North Plains Community Garden Club - January 14
Modern Organic Farming on Small Acreage - January 17 to March 21
Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Workshop Series - January 21 to March 11
Permaculture Design Course - January 24 - June 20
Organicology - February 26 - 28
Let's Get Growing - March 19
Intensive Vegetable Gardening - April 16

I will be at the Organic Crops day of the NWHS meeting on the 13th and maybe half of the Vegetable day on the 14th. I'll be in North Plains on the 14th, where we farmed in 2007, speaking to the garden club at 10am. I'm excited to meet the people that grow such beautiful flowers at the intersections I used to drive through. This Thursday the 15th, is the first of the Master Gardener sections here in NE Portland (yay!!) that will compliment the Organic Gardening Certification I took this fall. So I will see some of you around at these and not so much in the shop this week.

On February 14th, I'll be speaking at the
Modern Organic Farming on Small Acreage class on soil amendments and fertilizer through WSU & Fresh Earth Gardens. Hoping to carpool to the Small Farms Conference in February. I will be at Organicology and hope to see you there! The Urban Bounty workshops all look excellent - definitely check them out and sign up, they'll add more depending on demand.


Neil and I went to a meeting on Food Sustainability this weekend and will share more about that as it unfolds. Invigorating! The Urban Food Initiative was described by Kat West, sustainability manager with the Multnomah County Sustainability Program. She said Mayor Adams wants to support urban agriculture, but has not heard much from constituents. That's you and me! Let's contact our new mayor to let him know we care about URBAN FOOD. Whether you write one sentence saying just that or write more in depth about what you want, what you're doing, community garden space & access (1,000+ on waiting lists), urban and rural farmers & land availability and affordability, food banks, food related non-profits, composting, farmer's markets, csa support - WRITE, CALL and/or EMAIL to tell him! He's eager to hear from you!

Learn more and share your thoughts at Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council meetings, open to the public. The next one is Wednesday, January 14th from 4-6pm in City Hall's Rose Room, 1221 SW 4th (second Wed of each month).

Check out the Sustainable Food Resources section on the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The Diggable City project, is an inventory of land suitable for urban agriculture. Their report opens with this quote,

“There is a need to bring life into the city, so that its poorest inhabitant will have not merely sun and air, but some chance to touch and feel and cultivate the earth.”

Lewis Mumford, 1961


If you plan to raise baby chicks this year, it's already a good time to be studying and preparing where you'll raise them indoors and the coop you'll build or buy for them to move into. Most shops will have chicks by mid February / early March. I'll try to keep you posted on that. On March 8th, I'll be teaching a chicken workshop at Pistils Nursery, check with them for more dates taught by others. In mid July I'll be teaching an advanced chicken care workshop through Growing Gardens with Lisa Ewing of the Avian Medical Center - she is awesome! Growing Gardens will have beginning workshops, too, as will Pistils Nursery, Livingscape and the Urban Growth Bounty classes. Additional sources to buy chicks are Linnton Feed & Seed, Aloha Feed, Burns Feed, www.mypetchicken.com, or buying 25 at a time from a hatchery to raise and share or sell yourself. I also know a local farmer who is raising chicks so you can buy them as pullets, contact me to find out more.

Remember in the city, buy sexed chicks for the best odds of females, not straight run - to minimize rooster heart break.


Another chicken keeping idea is to take on a few older hens looking for love. If you would like to adopt hens or have some up for adoption, please let me know and I'll help connect you. On a production scale, tiny or commercial, hens are often culled between 2 to 2 1/2 years of age. Something very important to think about before you decide to raise them - are you planning to cull them on a schedule or will you plan to care for them until they pass on naturally? They continue to make wonderful pets after their egg laying slows down. They are adorable with unique personalities, love healthy scraps from your kitchen, entertain all of us humans and provide awesome poo for compost & fertilizing your garden. Their feed at about 0.25 cents conventional or 0.50 cents organic, is a lot less than cat or dog food, which averages 1.00 to 2.50 dollars. With the right coop design, the poo maintenance is also much less than the cat litter box or walking the dog.

I hope you are enjoying this welcome spell of mild weather. We're working on a mobile greenhouse at home of old windows and salvaged wood (mobile, as in, we're renters who might need to smoothly dismantle all and move on short notice, hens, plants and all...) and have been cleaning up the garden. All 6 worm bins are rocking, the leeks are still delicious, most of the favas died, but their are some rogue survivors and the other cover crops are delighted. There is an endless amount of projects we dream of and try to work on. We think a lot about how in order to really live with and care for your plants that will sustain you over time, nurture your soil life, learn about and shape your micro-climate - you need permanence. We desire permanence. To be rooted in relationships with our neighbors and our walkable, bikeable community. Permanence to grow food and friendship. Permanent Agriculture that lead to the coining of Permaculture. That leads us to mort(death) gage(pledge). A desire to spend and pledge that debt on an empty city lot and build a tiny integrated home and grow as much as we can in every nook and cranny.

Warm new year wishes,