Time is flying by as we get busier daily and the temperature is steadily rising. This week we have been preparing for the arrival of the college interns who will be here during June and July, working with us on the Small Farm Unit and at other sites at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. It was an exciting week as this was the first week all eight of the Students Working For an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement (SWARM) were hired and were working here on the Farm. I will be working with Shorlette Ammons on this youth leadership program, mostly assisting with the development of farming skills and knowledge to compliment other food system education and community work they will be engaged in through August.
Last weekend I attended a Growing Power Plant the Pavement workshop at the Inter Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh and learned the Growing Power method of growing various mushrooms, micro-greens, as well as compost and soil for urban food production. The workshop was a good supplement to the things we are learning here at the Small Farm Unit because it was geared specifically for the urban farmer. It was a joy to finally meet Will Allen, a visionary out to get things done!
Me and Will Allen at Plant the Pavement workshop in Raleigh.
Growing Oyster Mushrooms with the Chicago Growing Power team. We learned to grow oyster mushrooms in bags, as well as how to grown various mushrooms in logs and in beds of wood chips.
Microgreens for Market- Growing Power Workshop
Learning to build soil for urban agriculture Growing Power style.
Myeasha and I have been working with Mark and Amanda at the Beef Unit, learning about pasture management and the needs of pasture-based beef. The pastures are beautiful this time of year, full of crimson clover and buttercup, but they are not good places to lose your phone! Fortunately, I did find it.
Moving into May, we now have vegetables in the field that are ready for harvest. This week we began harvesting for a CSA program we have developed with the local Extension agency. We’ll be working with them to teach families how to prepare and preserve fresh produce, and provide them with a CSA box to take with them.
Philip leading the CSA harvest bring and early this morning.
Finally, our home garden is also coming to life with lots of exciting crops I have never grown, such as callaloo, habaneros, tomatillos, purple potatoes, peanuts, and millet.