Two weeks away and I come back to...
Well, let's be honest: the first thing I noticed was the 90+ degree oven-breath that greeted me outside the airport. Whew. Florida in the summertime.
That's not all that greeted me upon my return from North Carolina and Philadelphia, however. This morning I rose to wakefulness by strolling through the garden to nibble and harvest: 10+ pounds of tomatoes, a zucchini the size of my left leg, three cantaloupe-sized pumpkins, green beans, dry-soup beans, banana peppers, cayenne peppers, basil, 3-5 pounds of fresh apples, cucumbers, a spaghetti squash, a handful of blueberries and one remaining super-late strawberry. Not a bad way to start a summer day. (I'll get some pictures up when I relocate the camera.)
By the way, Wednesday up in Philadelphia, I visited Mill Creek Urban Farm located in West Philadelphia. I went there with a handful of young people from my church to volunteer-- all part of a week-long summer service-trip. Surrounded by poverty, corner-stores, unemployment, urban decay and some great neighbors, Mill Creek Urban Farm plays as a host site for school groups to learn about healthy eating, sustainable practices like cob-construction and green roofs, urban agriculture and bee keeping. It also provides healthy, fresh food to a neighborhood (through sales and food pantry donations) that is otherwise quite the "food desert." Mill Creek Urban Farm, adjacent Mill Creek Community Garden, and Aspen Farms Community Garden, right around the corner, are amongst the only means neighbors have to procure fresh food within several miles of row houses and closed-down industry.
Due to a church emergency, I had to return unexpectedly on a flight yesterday afternoon. Some of the church folks remaining will work with City Harvest, another urban farming/community gardening endeavor in Philadelphia. Super cool: it's a partnership between the Philly Horticultural Society, their prison system, a local farm and coop, Philly's major food bank and others. Among other things City Harvest coordinates a seedling operation at the prison; afterwhich the baby plants are distributed to community gardens throughout the Philadelphia area. Also, City Havest coordinates the distribution of community garden surplus to food cupboards throughout the city.