Farm Fresh Weekend Events

Categories: Events , Workshops | 1 Comment
Posted Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Check the Farm Apartment Calender for more details.

Tomorrow is jam packed with classes.  Take your pick. I’m going to be at David King’s workshop “What To Do And When To Do It” at The Learning Garden (This class is $25 with a discount if you buy a series of five classes).  He’ll be going over everything you need to do plan your summer garden.  On the East Side, Solano Community Garden is having a fundraiser garden sale starting at 8:30 AM.  Also, there are two free Fruit Tree Pruning Workshops: one in Westchester put on by The Environmental Change Makers, and other other in Highland Park at the Milagro Allegro Garden.

I don’t think anything says Valentine’s Day like “mold.”  That’s why on Sunday Joshua and I will be at The Wild Mushroom Festival at the LA Arboretum.  We even got tickets to see the Paul Stamets lecture “How Mushrooms Can Save The Planet.”  He’s not kidding either.  Stamets is currently working on a pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas, as well as a new set of new powerful antiviral medicines.  If you can’t make the lecture, you can download an MP3 of one of his most recent talks at http://www.bioneers.org which I highly recommend.


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Agents of Oranges

Categories: Events | 5 Comments
Posted Monday, February 8th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

On Sunday, I went to check out the kick-off event for EATLACMA, a year-long series of exhibits that examine the connection between food, society and culture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The events are curated by Fallen Fruit founders Matias Viegener, David Burns, and Austin Young.

If you don’t know, Fallen Fruit is an “art collaboration” that began by making maps of public fruit – fruit trees growing on or over public property. Like culinary treasure maps, they guide city residents to forage their own edibles in the urban jungle.


The project is a lot of fun. But, it also challenges people to see and interact with their neighborhoods in a new way: not merely as residents, but as the hunter-gatherers we all are at heart. (You know you feel it!)

For Apartment Farmers, this is a perfect way to live off the land. When my husband and I realized there was no Fallen Fruit map for Santa Monica, we spent one weekend beginning to make our own – carefully walking the alleys and byways of our hood. It was amazing how the sudden attention to detail changed the way we see our familiar landscape. Take a close look around, and the jewel tones of trees heavy with fruit start popping out of the landscape, like some Peter Max cartoon. But you’ll also start to notice how many trees are painfully out of reach, deep within the confines of private property – and simply going to waste un-harvested.


Fallen Fruit is seeking to change this with their “Plant The Perimeter” campaign. They ask us to imagine a neighborhood in which we could simply walk outside and pick all the fruit we need. What if the average distance to get a piece of fruit shrunk from the current 1,000 miles, to 100 feet? By growing fruit trees on the edges of property lines, instead of pointless ornamental shrubs, we could transform our city into an urban Eden.


So, to kick-off EATLACMA on Sunday morning, Fallen Fruit sponsored a fruit tree give-away. They started at noon, and had a huge turnout. By the time I arrived at 12:30, all the trees were already spoken for. (So sad!) But all the lucky early birds got a baby tree – complete with adoption papers. In these official-looking forms, the new “parents” promised to care for their tree and plant it in a publicly accessible spot. After all, the trees will still be here long after we’re gone.

People waiting to adopt a tree

Frankly, I found it odd, at first, to see fruit trees at the museum. Fruit and art seem to me like, well, apples and oranges. The museum is a place where objects are often taken out of their natural environment, stripped of context, and placed in a vacuum. And we all know how nature feels about vacuums. The museum is the antithesis of a thriving eco-system.

EATLACMA is trying to bridge this gap between art and nature, seeking to frame a new relationship between the museum’s permanent collection and the ever-changing natural cycle of growth in this exhibit. By bringing the outside in, these fruit trees represented a nexus between food, art, culture and politics. The trees create a new context in which to see the artwork, and force us to see the oranges-to-be through a new lens – as edible art.

I was finally able to make the connections: Art is fruit, fruit is food, art is food, eat art: EATLACMA.

Now that’s a sweet idea.


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Farm Fresh Events

Categories: Events , Workshops | No Comments
Posted Friday, February 5th, 2010 at 11:02 am

As always, there’s lots of fun/free stuff goin’ on this weekend.

Go to the Farm Apartment Calender for more details.  Please let me know of any events or classes you’d like me to post.


Saturday, 2/6


Free Biodynamic Composting Class

23273 RED ROCK ROAD, TOPANGA, CA 90290

Another demonstration of how to make a biodynamic compost pile.  You can read about my experience at the the last demo here.

PLEASE RSVP via email to ecocentricliving@aol.com and I will send you the address more info.or  call 310.463.5323

“Eating food grown in Biodynamic compost will slow aging and heal the Earth.”

http://www.biodynamics.in/compost.htm

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Seed Swap at Venice Learning Garden

3000 Venice Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90066

Annual Seed Swap, in conjunction with Environmental Change Makers, The Learning Garden will host a seeds swap!  Swap out those seeds you didn’t use last year for something new and different! The Learning Garden will sponsor our first seed swap on our patio February 6th. Email the Gardenmaster, greenteach@gmail.com, if you have questions.

Sunday, 2/7


EATLACMA begins

LACMA – 5905 Wilshire Blvd,90036

What began as the mapping of fruit trees in LA neighborhoods grew into Fallen Fruit, a full-fledged activist art project and collaboration among David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young. Rooted in the notion that all of us deserve to have access to “public fruit,” Fallen Fruit holds a pair of public fruit-tree adoptions, officially launching EATLACMA, the museum’s year-long series of food-related talks, performances, exhibitions, and other events on culture, art, politics, and eatables. February 6, TreePeople Los Angeles sponsors the public fruit-tree adoption at Watts Towers, and on February 7, it moves to LACMA. Potential adoptive fruit parents are encouraged to arrive early for the best selection.  – Tanja Laden

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Thursday, 2/11


Immoveable Feast – Fruit Tree Discussion

601 Santa Monica Blvd., 90401

SM Main Library – MLK Auditorium

Fruit trees can produce well into their eighties, but their permanence can also be a liability when the effects of drought, insect invasion, changing customer demand and delayed innovation combine to decrease production. This panel of experienced tree fruit growers and experts will discuss how they protect flavor and quality by applying age-old growing practices to bold innovation in their search to grow “the perfect fruit.”

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EATLACMA Debuts This Weekend

Categories: Events | 19 Comments
Posted Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 4:25 pm

EATLACMA Debuts This Weekend: A Year-long Project From LACMA and Fallen Fruit

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EcoWorkshops.com

Categories: Events , Workshops | No Comments
Posted Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 11:04 am

If you’re an apartment-farmer, Darren Butler is someone you should know about. Consulting Arborist, Ecological Designer, Sustainable Landscaping Specialist, and Teacher, Darren is master eco-gardener.  Best of all, he wants to share his knowledge with you.

Darren has an exciting list of workshops coming up that will deepen the roots of your knowledge about all things organic gardening.

FarmApartment has arranged for Darren to lead a class in Small-Space Food Gardening on Saturday, February 27 at the Learning Garden in Venice.  In this all-day course for apartment, condominium, and other urban dwellers who lack land, Darren will introduce methods for growing edibles in spaces as small as a windowsill.  He will start with the basics and leave you with confidence to start your own apartment-sized farm.

Other workshops include:

Dormant Fruit-Tree Pruning, Grafting Basics, (double workshop), Sunday, January 31, 2010, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Tarzana

Home Greywater Use and System Design, Saturday, February 20, 2010, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Tarzana

Edible Landscaping and Perennial Food Gardening Certification Course, Sundays Feb 21, 28, Mar 7, 21, Apr 11, 18, 2010; 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM; Long Beach

Ecofriendly High-Yield Food Gardening, Sundays Feb 21, 28, Mar 7, 21, Apr 11, 18, 2010; 2:30 – 6:30 PM; Long Beach

7th Congress of Southern California Special Event: Launching the 50% Food Initiative, Saturday, March 20, 2010, 10:00 AM – 4:45 PM, Westchester  Link to email announcement

Because a garden is a terrible thing to waste.


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Farm Fresh Weekend Events

Categories: Events | No Comments
Posted Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 7:58 am

Go to the Farm Apartment Calender for more details.  Please let me know of any events or classes you’d like me to post.

Saturday, 1/30/10

Garden School Workday

Time: 9-12

2055 W 24th St Los Angeles, CA,90018

Come help out in the 24th Street Elementary School garden. They’ve transformed 1/4 acre of concrete into an edible landscape.

You can read about my experience here.

For more details, go to: http://gardenschoolfoundation.org/home/
or contact program director Nat Zappia: nat@gardenschoolfoundation.org

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Marmalade Making Class At Surfas

8777 W Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90230

Time: 11-12ish

Kevin West is my canning hero.  Here’s my post on the last class he taught.

Class Description:  Don’t be afriad of marmalade any longer! Come see how it’s done! Delicious results in one hour or less! FREE tasting to follow! Step right up! Come join Bettina Birch and me for a FREE marmalade demonstration at Surfas in Culver City.

Bust the recession and save the season by learning to make this innovative, time-saving, labor-efficient, one-step, no-soak TIME TO KILL CITRUS MARMALADE. As an added bonus, we’ll stir up a batch of VIN DE PAMPLEMOUSSE, a zingy aperitif of winter citrus.

Now tell me, how could you let such an offer pass you by?
(310) 559-4770

Monday, 2/1/10

Gardens of Gratitude kickoff event

SM Public Library – 601 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, 90401

Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm

Last year, Gardens of Gratitude connected volunteers with people who wanted to start gardens on their property.  It was a huge success and created lots of new gardens in the neighborhood.  They’re doing it again this year.

Event Description: It’s happening. Another Westside Permie Gathering at the SM library. Besides getting the chance to reconnect with old friends and have the chance to make new ones, we’re going to begin the planning of our next Gardens of Gratitude event. This year is going to be even bigger and better than last year.

Make your way down to the Santa Monica Main Library’s Multi-purpose Room on Monday February 1st, 2010 at 6:30pm-8:30pm. Let’s make this gathering one of our best ones yet, bring lots of food for potluck for all to share.

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Biodynamic Composting Class

Posted Monday, January 18th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

My gardening horizons have once again been expanded.  On Saturday, I got up early and went to a class on Biodynamic Composting I heard about through Sustainable Works.  As I’d just bought my worm composter from the City Of Santa Monica, I thought this was great timing.  In my horticultural naievete, I assumed “biodynamic” simply referred to the chemical process that happens as organic material breaks down.

Little did I know that I would be introduced to a holistic agricultural philosophy, almost a century old, that was developed by thinker, theologian, educator and agricultural expert Rudolf Steiner himself.  Yet again, my small inquiries have lead me into a much bigger world of belief systems and life philosophies.  I guess I should stop being surprised by that.

The class was taught in the backyard of a house in Venice.  As I walked up the driveway, I had to stop and admire the 3 or 4 raised beds overflowing with gorgeous fresh veggies in the front.  In the back I found a bunch of folks already working at breaking up a huge pile of straw and alfalfa.  It smelled wonderful, a bit of the country right here in the city.

Edelia, the owner of the house and the woman who organized the workshop, joked, “My husband won’t buy a farm so I’m bringing the farm to him.”

Soon, a pickup truck filled with soil backed into the driveway.  The driver, John McAndrew (biocompost@gmail.com) was going to be our teacher for today. He looked to be in his 70s, wore a plaid flannel and jeans, and had the stoic and wise air of someone who’d chosen to live his life outdoors and close to the land.

As we set to work shoveling the black dirt into wheelbarrows, we discovered that it wasn’t dirt at all.  It was, in fact, 100 % pure cow manure.  This surprised all of us because it didn’t smell disagreeable. In fact, it smelled kind of good – like the forest floor.  John explained that the pleasant aroma was because it came from cows that were grass fed and free of antibiotics.

After we finished shoveling the poop, we gathered around the picnic table set up with yummy pastries and bread baked fresh by Edelia’s husband (yum!), and set to learning.

John started his studies in 1970 when, while browsing the shelves at the Bodhi Tree bookstore, Rudolph Steiner’s Agriculture literally fell into his hands.  Taking it as a spiritual calling, he set out to put the principals to work in the real world.  Unable to find anyone in the L.A. area to mentor him, John wrote a letter to a Steiner acolyte in the U.K. (I’d like to take a moment of gratitude here for the invention of the world wide web which allowed me to connect with like-minded folks faster than I could press send on my iphone).  John finally found a man in the SF Valley who was practicing Steiner’s method on his farm, and tracked him down.

Forty years later John has read Steiner’s Agriculture over forty times and is still spreading the seeds of his knowledge. McAndrew is something of an iconoclast and a loner, choosing a simple life devoted to learning as much as he can about Steiner’s philosophy.

“I live in a trailer on the beach.  Poor me.” He chuckled sarcastically.

I came to understand that I was actually at a very unique event.  Even today there are few people who know about Biodynamic Farming, and even fewer teachers. John is certainly one of the few people in the US who has worked with these methods for as long as he has.

So what’s biodynamic farming?  I found this nice definition here

A basic ecological principle of biodynamics is to conceive of the farm as an organism, a self-contained entity. A farm is said to have its own individuality. Emphasis is placed on the integration of crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, maintenance of soil, and the health and well being of crops and animals; the farmer too is part of the whole. Thinking about the interactions within the farm ecosystem naturally leads to a series of holistic management practices that address the environmental, social, and financial aspects of the farm.

This reminds me of Polyface Farms which was beautifully described in Micheal Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and highlighted in Food Inc. Farmer Joel Salatin said that he was less like a farmer and more like an “orchestra conductor”, an analogy that really gets at the essence of this type of farming. A biodynamic farmer sets up a system in which all the processes of nature, both visible and invisible, can work in together in the most harmonious and efficient way possible.

At this point, I felt a little like I’d gone from kindergarten straight to graduate school.  Just that morning, my first lettuce sprouts had emerged from the seeds I’d planted a few days before. I was delighted and amazed by the miracle of this biological process.  Now I found myself surrounded by gardeners who had gone “beyond organic”, embracing a biodynamic system that mapped every last detail of the chemical interactions involved within a functioning ecosystem.   It was fun to play with the big kids.

This project may be beyond the scope of most apartment farmers.  However, it’s perfect for your garden share or community garden plot.

If you’re interested in reading more, there were two books recommended.  The first is “the bible” of biodynamic farming, Agriculture by Rudolph Steiner. However, I have tried to read Steiner’s books on his educational philosophy and found his writing to be so esoteric and complex that it was almost impenetrable.

Grasp the Nettle was offered as a much easier to understand, hands on guide.

You can download my class notes here and read them below.

To begin a bio-dynamic compost pile, here’s what you’ll need:

- Compost starter – 10$ a packet.  Email John McAndrew at biocompost@gmail.com or call 310-729-7205

- Rainwater

- A bucket

- An old broom

- Cow manure (from grass fed, organically raised cows) *

- Straw and alfalfa

* The closest grass fed cow manure is in Corona, a 150 mile round trip.  You can coordinate with John on how to get it delivered to you.  Other manures can be used, however, cow manure is by far superior and John emphasized that it should be used whenever possible.

Ideally, you’d start with 1 ton of manure and 1 ton of straw.  At this class we had a half ton of each.

Begin the day before by making the compost starter.  The starter bacteria take about 10 hours to, well, get started.  Also, can only be mixed with rainwater, as the chlorine in tap water will kill the beneficial bacteria. John passed it around for us to smell, and once again we experienced a pleasant, earthy scent which immediately took me back to the redwood forest in Santa Cruz.

Map out a 12 by 5 foot rectangle on the lawn.

- Mix 1 teaspoon of starter with a 1/2 inch of rain water in a 5 gallon bucket.

- Now you’re ready to make a “compost lasagna” with the following layers.  Each layer is about 1-inch thick – a thin layer basically.

- Dip the broom in the bucket with the compost liquid

- Sprinkle it on the ground within your rectangular compost area.  Sprinkle is the operative word.  These bacteria are powerful and you don’t need much.

- Spread the straw/alfalfa

- Get a regular garden hose and spray the layers with water so that it has the consistency of a wrung out sponge.  Not soggy, but not too dry either. Wait for about a minute so the water can aerate.  (Exposing the tap water to air kills the chlorine  so it can’t kill the bacteria in the starter.)

- Sprinkle more starter with the broom

- Sprinkle a layer of the cow manure on top of that .

- Spray water from the hose, using method above

- Sprinkle starter

- Repeat

So, in short, the layers go like this:

1) Bacteria (the starter)

2) Carbon (the straw)

3) Water

4) Bacteria (the starter)

5) Nitrogen (the manure)

6) Water

And repeat.

Then you just let it sit for about 3-4 months.  Soon you’ll have “black gold” – compost that will make your plants jump up and yell “Biodynamite!”

More Pics Here!


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Three Free Classes Tomorrow

Categories: Events | 4 Comments
Posted Friday, January 15th, 2010 at 10:39 am

I have tons to write about this week: planting seeds, starting a worm farm, my Intro to Horticulture class.  However, I’ve picked up more than my share of freelance writing work so these stories will have to wait until next week.

In the meantime, I want to direct your attention the the Farm Apartment Calendar.  There are three great classes tomorrow that would make any urban farmer do a jig in the car port.  So go easy on the whiskey tonight, get up early and you just might learn somethin’.

9 AM

Biodynamic Composting Class

1375 Lake St. Venice, CA 90291

Learn all about biodynamic composting in this free class open to the public.
For more information, please call 310.359.2876

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10:30am

Intro to Urban Chickens

The Learning Garden Venice Blvd. at Walgrove Ave. Venice, CA 90291

“This class will cover the basics on keeping chickens in the city.
We’ll cover some regulations, basic housing and feeding needs and
where to get chickens and supplies. The class will run approximately 1
hour, including time for questions.”
There is a $10 suggested donation for the class.

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12 PM

A Revolution in the Heart of Nature

Santa Monica Public Library, Multipurpose Room in second floor. 601 Santa Monica Blvd. 90405

Please join Barbara Bosson and Sara Nichols for a Saturday, January 16, 2010, gathering of Los Angeles Bioneers, people dedicated to re-imagining the future of our planet. Bioneers are biological pioneers who are working with nature to heal nature and ourselves.  Our guest speaker this month will be Dr. David Orr, Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College.

Dr. Orr is best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his recent work in ecological design. He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College, a building described by the New York Times as “the most remarkable” of a new generation of college buildings and selected as one of 30 “milestone buildings” in the 20th century by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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A Seedy Scene

Posted Monday, January 11th, 2010 at 11:05 am

On Saturday morning a group of about 15 folks gathered in the community room of the very groovy Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Westchester for a free, 90-minute, information-packed class on how to plant seeds. What I learned about starting seedlings was a lot. I could hardly believe my luck.

The class was taught by writer, gardener and founder of Environmental Change-Makers, Joanne Poyourow.  Joanne is also a leader in the LA Transition Movement, a worldwide network of people and communities who are preparing for the one-two punch of the end of “peak oil” and climate change.  That is, when the days of our energy surplus are over and we’ll have to adapt with a more sustainable, self-reliant lifestyle.

It’s gonna happen, people, so start knitting!

The movement encourages communities to organize “re-skilling” classes that teach basic skills which have been forgotten in our highly industrialized, energy sucking culture – like bread-baking, sewing, and organic vegetable gardening.

Once again I am amazed that my innocent investigations into learning how to garden so quickly get swept up into the complexity of international environmental politics.  It’s incredible how chopping up homegrown basil has become both a culinary and revolutionary act.

The first part of the class was spent with Joanne lecturing and demonstrating the methods for gathering seeds, using recyclable materials in the garden, starting seedlings, and then transplanting them to the soil once in flower. After the class, we walked around the small but impressive organic vegetable garden outside the church, where Joanne showed us how to tell our various seedlings apart.

Raised beds neatly laid in geometric patterns were filled with a colorful array of fresh vegetables and flowers in combinations that allowed for their highest growth potential.  The thriving foliage resembled an artist’s palette in bloom.  My husband wandered around the garden taking pictures, while I thirstily drank in every word that was said.


I have to say that the urban cynic in me is highly suspicious of the simplicity of the whole seed-planting act.  Just put the seed in the dirt with some water and something will grow?  Am I really supposed to believe that?  Well, we shall see.

I scribbled copious notes on everything I learned this weekend. Today, I actually went out to the local nursery and bought seeds. And soil. And a spray bottle. Yes, friends, your friendly neighborhood apartment-farmer is ready to do the deed. It’s time to plant something.

In case you’re following along with me, I’ve typed up my class notes for your benefit.  You can download a word doc here.   I’m also going to put them in a separate post.

I also highly recommend joining me for the next class in the series on January 23rd, on Soil Building.

Check out the Farm Apartment Calendar for details.

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Hungry Filmmakers

Categories: Events , Films , New York | 1 Comment
Posted Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

HFPoster

Farm Apartment Is In New York!

I get to travel here a couple of times a year since my husband, a die-hard New Yorker, still has his roots here and his parents have a farmhouse about two-hours north of the city.  On this trip, I am excited to check out the urban gardening scene – to see how people are claiming the land in this most densely populated metropolis with the most expensive real estate in the country.

As it turns out, New York is turning into the Big Organic Apple.  Last night, we went to the standing room only “Hungry Filmmakers” event, an evening of provocative documentaries about the new generation of dedicated agro-warriors, scrappy urban-farmers and uber-locavores on the forefront of the new agrarian movement.

All proceeds went to benefit Just Food, which “works to promote access to fresh, seasonal, and sustainably grown food for all New York City residents.”  Delicious.

After a scrumptious dinner at the Spotted Pig and a red velvet cupcake from Magnolia (sometimes I love this city) we walked through the wintery cold to the Anthology Film Archives in the East Village.  The place was jammed packed – standing room only.  Surprised, in a good way, by the vibrant community here, we walked in and took a seat in the aisle as all the theater seats were taken.

Clips from six unreleased films were being shown:

WHAT’S “ORGANIC” ABOUT ORGANIC? by Shelley Rogers – untangling the complexities of this baffling word.

BIG RIVER and TRUCK FARM by Curt Ellis & Ian Cheney – they started a mobile farm in the back of a pickup truck in Brooklyn.  Hilarious.

THE GREENHORNS by Severine von Tscarner Fleming – examines the lives of new farmers

GROWN IN DETROIT by Manfred & Mascha Poppenk – an award-winning documentary about teen moms becoming urban farmers in Detroit.

FACES FROM THE NEW FARM by Liz Thylander, Kat Shiffler & Lara Sheets – three women bike from D.C, to Montreal, interviewing farmers along the way.

[AS YET UNTITLED FILM ON CLIMATE CHANGE & FOOD SYSTEM] Sara Grady

While all of the films made these issues come alive, we were both particularly inspired by  “The Greenhorns” a film which explores the lives of young farmers – kids who are basically going for it, with little knowledge and big ideals.

The couple that were interviewed in the short clip we saw were in their 20s, a few years out of college.  The wife described moving to their farm with only their principles, a remark that got a fist pump from her husband. At first, her husband was determined to do all the work with nothing but hand tools – scythes, axes, hacksaws.  He’d even built his own woodfire oven using found materials.

However, she went on to say that it wasn’t long before reality set in.  “We just bought a chainsaw last week.  It’s fine to have your head in the clouds as long as you’re willing to look down every once in awhile.”

During the panel discussion after the screening, the director, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, was asked about the idea of compromising on ideals in the face of real world problems.  She gave a truly thought provoking response.

She talked about the “logistics of courage”, a phrase that beautifully illustrates the challenges faced by these agricultural pioneers.  We all want to be brave, and fully intend to be.  The trick is how to stay courageous when the difficulties of manifesting our ideals set in.

Von Tscharner Fleming (love that name) poetically described how these young farmers were entering into this lifestyle with innocence and purity and dreams – which she likened to “sugar”.  Soon they realize that in order to sell their “sugar” to stay afloat, they need to engage in marketing and other business tactics, to engage the community and create a customer base.  She called this interaction between people and the farmer an “organism.”

She explained that when these folks are using the sun to make “sugar” with their bodies, or farming, the organism of their business model forms around them.  The organism is a very “honest animal” and takes the shape of whatever matrix it’s in, the business matrix, the cultural matrix, whatever.  It’s up to the farmer to live with the organism, and keep it alive while staying as true to their original vision as possible.

Whoa dude.  I never knew the farming business could be so psychedelic.

Her website, which she calls a hub “for adaptive young Americans…and hopeful greenhorns,” is definitely worth checking out.

This whole question of negotiating one’s values comes up a lot around the topic of food.  I’ve been educating myself on how the USDA came up with the federal standards for Organic Certification, which set a new standard for compromise.  So much so, that organic farming, as defined by the US government, can be just as damaging to the environment as industrial practices, but for different reasons.  For more on this, read the Big Organic section in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Yet this new agro-movement is so energized and motivated, it’s hard to discount the progress that is being made.  Yes it’s slow, like good food, but it’s progress nonetheless.

After the screening there was a get together at Jimmy’s 43, but our brains and our stomachs were already full.  On the walk  home my husband said that he could see us moving to someplace like Detroit and raising children and farming the land.  Although it sounds so romantic, and like a possible dream life, the whole point of urban farming is that you don’t have to dramatically change your life, uproot and isolate yourself to grow your own food. You can find ways to do it right where you are, on the land beneath your feet or at the very least, in the back of a pickup truck.

So, for now at least, we are remaining city kids.

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