Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Awesome Farmers comes to a close & the best thank you gifts ever.

Last Saturday, under dark and stormy clouds, the Awesome Farmers crew harvested the last veggie box for 2009 at Garden for the Environment. Loads of greens, from arugula to dino kale, herbs, and snap peas among other goodies made it through last week's unusual frost to become the basis for a weekly family meal for G house, a youth homeless shelter.

Over the past year, the Awesome Farmers came together to see how many veggies we could really grow in our foggy, sandy spot at Garden for the Environment. A garden so close to Ocean Beach you can see it on a clear day from under the cypress tree. Our group was one of changing faces from the random volunteers who showed up on a Saturday looking to get into the dirt, to a core group of a handful of volunteers and the staff of GFE.

Planting calendars and garden maps were made. Seeds were purchased and started in the greenhouse. The soil was amended and tended. Plants were nurtured and loved. We watched diseases and pests descend and we battled them without the use of chemicals. We problem solved and documented. On the side, we planted fruit trees and tackled sprawling aloe plants, felled dying trees, revived worm bins, turned-chopped-and-watered compost, and rebuilt fences. We shared stories over Arizmendi pizza lunches on sun soaked Saturdays. We huddled in the crumbling greenhouse over hot coffee when the storm clouds rolled in. And it was good.

When we were faced with ultimate success--an overflow of harvest (in particular, a hill covered in summer squashes) we needed to find somewhere for all this food to go. We found out that G house could use our bounty. So, each week we lovingly packaged up a CSA box for them and took more photos than the paparazzi we were so proud. Food Runners solved our distribution problem and a new project was born.

Some weeks the box was light--some mornings as I did my initial walk through the garden I had no idea if we would be able to fill the box. But every week we made a beautiful box--a box tended by so many hands and hearts there are too many to count. That's the beauty of a garden tended by volunteers from all over the Bay Area.

Thank you to the hard core crew Dave (for your vision, heart and wicked mapping/ documentation skills), Thomas (for your tool cleaning, harvesting, good talks, and sheer brawn), Paul (for your inspired plantings, worm compost tea, and unparalleled slug sighting abilities), Blair (for your gorgeous photos, love of answering any bug question, and your excitement over every box) Hillary (for endless good advice, passing along latin plant names, and for pushing us one step farther), Nicole (for your inspired squash hill, compost workouts and mad plant propagation skillz), Suzi (for your guidance, support, diligence and sunshine!) and to so many other GCETP grads and volunteers who lent a hand.

Watch out--I'm an urban farmer!

Beginning in 2010, I'll be able to sleep in on Saturday mornings, just a little bit...because new Gardening and Compost Educator graduates are taking over this great project. I look forward to more garden adventures. But, now I'll be armed with my buttery Felco pruners--gotta break in that holster baby! THANK YOU!


phatty albert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phatty albert said...

I love the wild west pic, you should get two holsters or maybe even a bandalaro