Sage and sapience at Steele School Garden
Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure to participate in Denver Urban Gardens’ (DUG) annual bicycle tour in south Denver. Once a year DUG takes us on a cycling tour of some of their 80+ community gardens and then we have a potluck. Little secret here: the BEST potlucks are held by gardeners and foodies! Well, you can imagine. Like community gardening, the cycling tour was a way to commune with like-minded folks, make lasting friends, groove in the bounty of a summer’s garden and savor a morning in the sunshine! The weather couldn’t have been finer and did I mention the food? Yesterday’s tour covered about 8 miles of easy cycling. We started with our guide, Scot, from DUG at Rosedale Garden and then we pedaled on to South Grant Community Garden, Urquhart Memorial Community Garden, Steele School Garden, The Bridge Community Garden, and then back to Rosedale for our potluck. As will happen with firsthand observance and fun, I learned many interesting facts and insights about how community gardens and city farmers are flourishing! [Please visit the photo album at City Farmer’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/City-Farmer/139796795040]
Rosedale Community Garden
The Rosedale Community Garden
resides in the University Park neighborhood and is the largest community garden in the Denver metro area with 80 plots plus common areas including an orchard, grape arbor, beehive and picnic/gathering area. Their composting operation in the back has been well established and honed over the years. Among other amenities and resources, DUG provides its gardens with the expertise of a certified Master Composter. This garden was established in the 80’s and has a board of directors. The beehive is a new addition and is the only community garden beehive in the city. The bees here will produce 300+ pounds of honey this year! The hive is maintained by its owner who will share the honey harvest with the garden and will also donate sweetness to Project Angel Heart. There is also a resident fox and her cubs at the garden. She maintains the squirrel and rabbit population at zero. Ms. Fox lives in harmony with the gardeners – children, teens and adults alike – and the garden has built a protective fence around her den opening. Continue reading
Is it okay to waste anything?
I could NOT BELIEVE my eyes when I saw this sign on a fryolator at an airport food court the other day.Yes, I was in the food court…. I was desperate for food because I’d been waiting on stand-by all day and couldn’t get on a flight. I will know better next time and fill my tote with real food whether I think I need it or not.
Anyway, what’s with this company endorsed policy to waste? And look at the sign. It’s almost enthusiastic in the way it looks and reads. It’s like the message is “Go ahead! PLEASE waste the fries! And, while you’re at it, why don’t you waste everything?” Sure there’s plenty of money and shareholders and industrial agriculture. There are people who are desperate for work and they’ll eat a 99-cent burger if they have to. I know I have and I’m not ashamed to say it. And, yes, I realize that the intent of this sign is to ensure food quality and safety. And that is a good thing.
I am not opposed to companies offering affordable food and making a profit. What I grow and eat is largely MY choice. What I’m opposed to is this public display of sanctioned unsustainability. According to Slow Food Nation, in this country we produce 1-1/2 times the amount of food each year than is consumed. In addition to this gross agroindustrialism, our children receive fast food and crap for lunch – the ONLY meal of the day for some children. This is so sad I am verging on tears.
I ran across an article today at Civil Eats which brought to my attention a campaign developed by Slow Food USA called Time For Lunch. This campaign is petitioning Congress to add one dollar per meal per day to the National School Lunch Program. Please sign this petition at your earliest opportunity. I also urge you to have a conviction about how this dollar should be spent. In my humblest opinion, this extra dollar should be spent creating edible schoolyards such as the kind that Alice Waters, Chef Ann Cooper and the Chez Panisse Foundation have built in Berkely and, now, New Orleans. It is NOT enough to feed more dollars to a crippled system such as the School Lunch Program!
And it is NOT “O.K. TO WASTE”.