|MIO demonstrating how to plant tomatoes.
Two years ago my friend Daniel Sherman (a student at FAMU at the time called me up): "Nathan, I've got a project in mind. I wonder: would you be willing to help me get a garden started for the seniors at Bethel Towers?" "Absolutely," I responded. Daniel has since left town--moved back to the Orlando near his family-- and launched a growing marketing firm. Before he left, he ensured that I'd carry the torch. Accordingly, Ms Bessie (who calls me "her son") and I (and of late: Lindsay; sometimes youth from my church, and others here and there) top-dress, plant and maintain the garden. Ms Bessie a Bethel Tower's resident is always available to direct us, tell stories about Tallahassee's old Farmers or "Curb" market, how to shell peas and can blackberries.
A couple weeks back, I stopped in for a chat with Mark Mahoney, a Florida High parent who coordinates their garden club, a project of their PTSA. Looking good: about 20'x40'. There's is a well maintained prototype for other area school gardens.
The following pictures chronicle a visit to the Havana Community Gardens that I made with the leadership team of the SouthWood Community Garden. Seeking to learn the ins and outs of what makes a community garden "tick" the SouthWood folks headed to Havana with questions such as: How do you handle watering? Who is your treasurer? Who is your fiscal agent? What tools do you-- as a garden-- have on hand for gardeners that want to stop by to tend their plots on their way home from work? How do you communicate with your member gardeners? How did you raise funds? How did you recruit gardeners? amongst other questions.
April 10th, I joined the Tallahassee Edible Garden Club for their monthly Edible Garden Tour, this month to the home of Libby and John Penrod. Below are pictures of their gorgeous gardens including their bountiful mushroom logs. (In case you were wondering: The answer is yes: I'm able and ready to install a similar food garden at your home.)
Amidst the largest projects on my docket these days is the SouthWood Community Garden. Back in the fall, Brian Ramos, SW Cub Pack Leader and Chief Brand Strategist with Think Creative recruited me to assist SouthWood in the development of a community garden. Over the months, the team of neighbors and partners has grown. On Thurs., April 14th, the garden leadership team secured landuse approval from the Community Development District. In partnership with All Pro Landscaping, the SouthWood Community Garden already has a professional design (below). Other partners include: the YMCA, ACE Hardware, and Crossbridge Church. Mark your calendars: the ground breaking will be May 14th.
Lastly, to keep you in the loop: a growing network of folks (including myself) are increasingly exploring the possibility of starting an urban farm in Tallahassee, possibly along the Lafayette corridor, possibly in Frenchtown or on Tallahassee's southside. I foresee that such a venture could morph into a social enterprise modeled after Portland's Your Backyard Farmer or City Farm Boy in Vancouver. Would you be willing to purchase vegetables from such a urban farming enterprise?