Category Archives: Grow

Avocado and Honey Podcast: Earth Is Your Mother Too

In this episode of #avocadoandhoneypod, Amber Tamm (@ambertamm) came through to share some of her experiences as a farmer, food systems, climate change, how both vegans and meats eaters are responsible and so much more! 

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As always, I appreciate you!

Intro Song: Tierra Whack “Fruit Salad”

Listen to the podcast here

Book Select – Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

In 1920, 14 percent of all land-owning US farmers were black. Today less than 2 percent of farms are controlled by black people—a loss of over 14 million acres and the result of discrimination and dispossession. While farm management is among the whitest of professions, farm labor is predominantly brown and exploited, and people of color disproportionately live in “food apartheid” neighborhoods and suffer from diet-related illness. The system is built on stolen land and stolen labor and needs a redesign.

Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. At Soul Fire Farm, author Leah Penniman co-created the Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion (BLFI) program as a container for new farmers to share growing skills in a culturally relevant and supportive environment led by people of color. Farming While Black organizes and expands upon the curriculum of the BLFI to provide readers with a concise guide to all aspects of small-scale farming, from business planning to preserving the harvest. Throughout the chapters Penniman uplifts the wisdom of the African diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described—from whole farm planning, soil fertility, seed selection, and agroecology, to using whole foods in culturally appropriate recipes, sharing stories of ancestors, and tools for healing from the trauma associated with slavery and economic exploitation on the land. Woven throughout the book is the story of Soul Fire Farm, a national leader in the food justice movement.

The technical information is designed for farmers and gardeners with beginning to intermediate experience. For those with more experience, the book provides a fresh lens on practices that may have been taken for granted as ahistorical or strictly European. Black ancestors and contemporaries have always been leaders—and continue to lead—in the sustainable agriculture and food justice movements. It is time for all of us to listen.

Read the Ebook online at Google 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leah Penniman, the 2019 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award, is a Black Kreyol farmer who has been organizing for an anti-racist food system for over fifteen years. She began with the Food Project in Boston, Massachusetts, and went on to work at Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts, and Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre, Massachusetts. She cofounded Youth Grow urban farm in Worcester, Massachusetts. She currently serves as founding co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, a people-of-color led project that works to dismantle racism in the food system through a low cost fresh food delivery service for people living under food apartheid, training programs for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous aspiring farmer-activists, Uprooting Racism training for food justice leaders, and regional-national-international coalition building between farmers of color advocating for policy shifts and reparations. She has dedicated her life’s work to racial justice in the food system and has been recognized by the Soros Equality Fellowship, NYSHealth Emerging Innovator Awards, The Andrew Goodman Foundation Hidden Heroes Award, Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, New Tech Network National Teaching Award, Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (New York finalist), among others. She has contributed to two published volumes, authored numerous online articles, and given dozens of public talks on the subject.

How Food Can Save You From A Corrupt Government

The most effective change-makers in our society aren’t waiting around for a new president to make their lives better, they’re planting seeds, quite literally, and through the revolutionary act of gardening, they’re rebuilding their communities while growing their own independence.

 

Every four years when the big election comes around, millions of people put their passion for creating a better world into an increasingly corrupt and absurd political contest. What if that energy was instead invested in something worthwhile, something that directly and immediately improved life, community, and the world at large?

The simple act of growing our own food directly challenges the control matrix in many authentic ways, which is why some of the most forward-thinking and strongest-willed people are picking up shovels and defiantly starting gardens. It has become much more of a meaningful political statement than supporting political parties and candidates.

Propaganda gardening, a combination of guerrilla gardening and political protest, is about developing self-sufficiency while making a simple, yet bold statement about the world we all share, and the rules we choose to live by. [Source]

http://www.Rd.comTake, for example, Ron Finley, the ‘Guerrilla Gardener’ from Los Angeles who inspires the world with no-nonsense truth about how the corporate food system enslaves us, while proving to us that the most effective weapon in this fight is fertile soil. He makes growing veggies cool again, as it should be, because food sovereignty is the very foundation of personal independence.

I live in a food prison.. It’s all by design just like prisons are by designed. I just got tired of being an inmate. So I figured, let me change this paradigm, let me grown my own food. This is one thing I can do to escape this predestined life that I have unwillingly subscribed to. – Ron Finley

Think about it. Creating your own food supply challenges the status quo in a number of important ways. Growing your own food:

-Decreases dependence on a polluted corporate food system

-Improves health and wellness by providing exercise and nutritious food, freeing us from dependence on a for-profit medical system

-Undermines Monsanto and the agro-chemical industry that is polluting our world and killing bees

-Highlights issues of political control by pitting homeowners and gardeners against government and ordinance makers

-Builds and heals community by providing a place and activity worth coming together over

-Works to repair the damage we are doing to the environment with our consumer lifestyles

-Protects us against insecurity and food unrest

-Facilitates a greater awakening by setting an example for others to follow

http://www.mnn.comWhen united, awareness and action create the kind of changes that a rigid control system cannot tolerate, and when extraordinary people like Ron Finley take the lead, a meaningful movement can take hold. This is real action, it is very effective, and as it becomes more mainstream to set up gardens in your yard and on your block, we will witness the re-emergence of the kind of society we just cannot create by playing by the rules of a rigged system.

I had sixty people putting in an urban garden while you all were marching. Now who do you think was more effective? – Ron Finley

Here’s Ron in a recent interview with Marc Angelo of the Superhero Academy:

Just a few generations ago, gardening for sustenance was not the fringe activity that it has become in recent decades, because it was a basic daily act of survival. One that will rise again as a controlled economy and engineered economic collapse will make it imperative to join forces with your community and defend your personal sovereignty.

Why don’t you churches get together instead of with your ‘my religion is better than yours’ bullshit, and get together and put in a healthy food market… isn’t that doing good business? If your people live longer, don’t you get more money? – Ron Finley

http://www.gamechangers.comWhat happens when you transform yourself by deepening your connection to nature?What happens when you then transform your community by bringing your neighbors together in the goal of providing something of immense value to all? What happens then when a nation of transformed communities sees their world without the boundaries of and limitations imposed on us by a corrupt system?

The four-year cycle of presidential politics in the US is far more effective at stealing the constructive energy of motivated people than it is at bringing about meaningful change to our lives, communities and to the nation as a whole. Time to try something far more effective and rewarding. Let’s overgrow the system, and transform our health and communities in the process.

For a sign that this movement is spreading across the nation, check out this homegrown music video, ‘Gardening is Gangsta,’ by Mark Jankins and Sifu Paul Davis.

I don’t rely on new food stamps. Cuz’ every season got me harvesting some new plants.

Read the full article at RealFarmacy.com 

Earthship Guide

An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires, pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds.

An Earthship addresses six principles or human needs[1]:

  1. Thermal/solar heating and cooling
  2. solar and wind electricity
  3. self-contained sewage treatment
  4. building with natural and recycled materials
  5. water harvesting and long term storage
  6. some internal food production capability

Earthship structures are intended to be “off-the-grid-ready” homes, with minimal reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. They are constructed to use available natural resources, especially energy from the sun and rain water.

  • They are designed with thermal mass construction and natural cross-ventilation to regulate indoor temperature.
  • The designs are intentionally uncomplicated and mainly single-story, so that people with little building knowledge can construct them

 

Book Select – The Hidden Life of Trees

The Hidden Life of Trees What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries From A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben (Black Inc.) has sold 450,000 copies around the world. Wohlleben, a forester in Germany, tells stories of how trees nurture and talk to each other and he backs up his years of observations with results from recent scientific studies.

He writes how trees are like human families and communities with tree parents living together with their children with whom they communicate, support, share nutrients and warn each other of impending dangers.

In the forward to the book Tim Flannery comments: “We read in fairy tales of trees with human faces; trees that can talk, and sometimes walk. This enchanted forest is the kind of world, I feel sure, that Peter Wohlleben inhabits. His deep understanding of the lives of trees, reached through decades of careful observation and study, reveal a world so astonishing that, if you read his book, I believe that forests will become magical places for you, too.”

Read an extract of The Hidden Life of Trees below.

TREE SCHOOL

Thirst is harder for trees to endure than hunger, because they can satisfy their hunger whenever they want. Like a baker who always has enough bread, a tree can satisfy a rumbling stomach right away using photosynthesis. But even the best baker cannot bake without water, and the same goes for a tree: without moisture, food production stops.

A mature beech tree can send more than 130 gallons of water a day coursing through its branches and leaves, and this is what it does as long as it can draw enough water up from below. However, the moisture in the soil would soon run out if the tree were to do that every day in summer. In the warmer seasons, it doesn’t rain nearly enough to replenish water levels in the desiccated soil. Therefore, the tree stockpiles water in winter.

In winter, there’s more than enough rain, and the tree is not consuming water, because almost all plants take a break from growing at that time of year. Together with belowground accumulation of spring showers, the stockpiled water usually lasts until the onset of summer. But in many years, water then gets scarce. After a couple of weeks of high temperatures and no rain, forests usually begin to suffer. The most severely affected trees are those that grow in soils where moisture is usually particularly abundant. These trees don’t know the meaning of restraint and are lavish in their water use, and it is usually the largest and most vigorous trees that pay the price for this behavior.

In the forest I manage, the stricken trees are usually spruce, which burst not at every seam but certainly along their trunks. If the ground has dried out and the needles high up in the crown are still demanding water, at some point, the tension in the drying wood simply becomes too much for the tree to bear. It crackles and pops, and a tear about 3 feet long opens in its bark. This tear penetrates deep into the tissue and severely injures the tree. Fungal spores immediately take advantage of the tear to invade the innermost parts of the tree, where they begin their destructive work. In the years to come, the spruce will try to repair the wound, but the tear keeps reopening. From some distance away, you can see a black channel streaked with pitch that bears witness to this painful process.

 

Read the full PDF or Go to DailyReview for a preview

Underground Green House

 

The word Walipini, derived from the Aymaran language and an indigenous Bolivian tribe, is translated as “a place of warmth” and is an earth sheltered cold frame or transparent-roofed enclosure.

roots of walipini

This underground greenhouse was created for the cold regions of South America to maintain food production year round, but is now being adopted by gardeners of all skill levels across the world. Most say that Walipinis should be at least 8’ by 12’ in size, but many people build even larger. Searching online you can find all types of plans and blueprints on how to design your underground greenhouse.

earth shelter Walipini

The temperature six to eight feet below the surface fluctuates from 50 up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit! If you are in an especially cold climate you would want to lay the inside of your walipini with stone, earth bags of lava rocks, or any dense material able to store heat. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like concrete, bricks and tiles, they are therefore said to have high thermal mass causing the walls act as a battery and release heat to keep the crops warm at night or on days with little to no sun.

wal

Reasons to Build a Walipini:

Cost effective: The materials to build a greenhouse are estimated to cost between a couple thousand dollars up to $12,000 to $25,000 to complete, yet the walipini will cost merely $300 with some designs.

Pests: An underground greenhouse has a huge advantage because it is almost impossible for pests to get on your produce compared to your typical greenhouse.  A typical greenhouse will protect plants from the cold and strong winds but it doesn’t protect them from damaging insects.

Minimal up keep: Seeing as the walipini is sheltered by the earth the materials will not wear as quickly. On a typical greenhouse maintenance is done pretty regularly and at least once annually, on a walipini only an angled roof is exposed to the elements which makes it much less necessary for routine maintenance.

Although walipinis require minimal effort to maintain, it is important to be thorough with waterproofing, draining and ventilating your underground greenhouse sanctuary. Be knowledgeable about the water table and be sure to build your greenhouse at least five feet above it otherwise it could lead to disaster. But if you keep all of this in mind, there should be nothing stopping you from growing luscious greens, fruits, and veggies year round no matter the temperature!

Check out this video to learn more: