Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Together We Can End Hunger

Tuesday was an amazing day. I got a call from a local farmer telling me to come get 12 bushels of greens for Faith Feeds. I got word from another gleaner that together at all the sites we visited,  approximately 275 pounds of foodwere collected on Tuesday! That's ONE DAY of donations of fresh wonderful food given by Kentucky farmers to help feed the hungry.

The week ending June 26th, Faith Feeds collected 1,000 pounds of food! Kentucky farmers are really bringing it. I am so thankful.

Hunger is a problem we must tackle together. The farmers can't do it all. So next time you are at the Lexington Farmer's Market, the Bluegrass Farmer's Market, local you-pick or talking to your CSA farmer, Thank them. Thank them for working as hard as they do to provide you the food that you are purchasing. Thank them for donating to Faith Feeds. Make sure you thank them with your wallet. They have families to provide for.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer is in Full Swing Part 2

The kids have fully embraced the freedom of summer. Bedtimes are merely a suggestion as long as they can function and get chores done. Sometimes that means that the dishes get done at midnight after catching thirty billion fireflies and roasting marshmallows in the weber grill. So be it. 

Sunday my eleven year old decided to stay awake for twenty four hours straight. Do I need to tell you it didn't work? Yesterday afternoon he was passed out  face-down on the kitchen table with absolute bedlam surrounding him. The other children were "helping" him stay awake by shouting in his ear and banging on pots and pans.

My daughter is taking over the kitchen. As I am trying to prepare the kitchen for my work she shoos me out because she is baking something. It seems each day there is a new recipe to try. I think I'm going to slip a recipe for sourdough into her recipe box with a dollar and see if she makes it for me. Do any of you dear readers have a good recipe for starter? 

Monk, my youngest, is in jock heaven. All star baseball has begun and he has practice everyday and games every weekend. He spent all day Sunday after church at the ball field with Tom. After seven hours I went back to retrieve them and still had to push. Seriously, I don't get it but I love that he's active and has a bunch of friends with shared interests other than TV and video games. 

The days are a flurry of activities between the sports and the community gardens and our little urban homestead. Some days I get overwhelmed and I wish that we could move off to some rural nook where I could homestead in peace, but no one else would be happy. My children and my husband would not thrive in isolation. That isn't the path we are meant to be on. 

We are Urban Homesteaders.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer is in Full Swing

Wow. It's a good thing the days are longer in the summer, I wouldn't get anything done otherwise. This morning I spent three hours doing garden work that should have taken less than one because I had to keep running for cover from the lightning. I can work in the rain, but even I'm not crazy enough to be outside during the light show we had this morning. I've been in Kentucky for fourteen years and I've never seen a summer like this before.

Today I was clearing out the lettuce beds. The unseasonable weather had the benefit of keeping the lettuce around longer. Yum! However, it is past its prime and must make way for other wonderful veggies. I'm going to put buckwheat in that area as a cover crop to encourage pollinators and put in some more summer squash in the adjacent bed that is currently in clover. I want to keep my bees happy!

The kitchen is full of jars as I am trying my hand at several new skills this year. I have always been interested in food preservation, but I am fearful of putting all my faith into my chest freezer. We lost power for a few days in the winter due to storms and I lost a huge amount of food. All I had left were the tomatoes I had canned. This year I plan on drying quite a bit. I wanted to make a solar food dehydrator, but since it seems THE SUN NEVER SHINES to rain frequently, I don't think that is where I should start this year.

I received a book for Christmas full of food preservation recipes that do not involve canning or freezing, so I am reading about traditional/ old fashioned/ whatever you want to call 'em  preservation techniques. I made my first foray into the world of lacto fermentation yesterday. I have a excess of kohlrabi and dill, so it seemed  natural to make lacto fermented kohlrabi spears with dill. Although they could be called pickles, I refuse to call them such because of a family curse. I may elaborate some day, but for now just go with it.

I'll leave you with a picture and an empty promise to post more frequently:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So Crazy It Just Might Work...

Lexington has seen a spike in violent crime in recent weeks. Mostly gun related, but other stuff too. Gangs are out openly recruiting kids.The policy makers are freaking out and forming commissions and wringing their hands.

Many times when this happens people get so fixated on the symptom: violence, not the underlying problem: poverty. Incarcerating people won't work. Extra cops on the street won't work. We need to provide a means to lift people put of poverty. Desperate communities resort to violence. Empowered communities have better things to do.

I love the opportunity that I have had through urban farming. Things are getting ready to expand yet again. Water at the big field is going to help the hunger ministries a great deal, but how can we save these kids from the gangs?  How can working with a couple of kids for a couple of hours a day counter the other twenty two they have mostly unsupervised? What about all the other kids?

I have an idea. It is big and crazy and expensive and there is no way I can see how to make it happen.

This thought came to me when I was driving the support car for the bike ride. We passed a farm for sale really close to the neighborhood we serve. 

What if we could get a small farm near by...

We could have animals.

We could grow even more veggies.

We could host kids like a camp to get them off the street during the summer. They could grow food to bring back to their community. They could get experience that will help them get into college or get a good job. 

I know it is crazy. I think it's so crazy it just might work. Just got to figure out how to come up with $

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bike to Battle Hunger Video

The music isn't great. I need to learn to edit sound files. However, this isn't about my abilities. These riders kicked serious butt to ensure people can get access to fresh healthy food!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


So, we have a hydrant at the big field at the church. There is no water hook up yet, but progress is progress. Here are some photos of the installation.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cultivating So Much More

Yesterday I was blessed with a most wonderful experience. A local farmer I know had an abundance of kale, rainbow chard, turnip greens and lettuce. 38 bushels to be exact. She knew that I worked with Faith Feeds and could get it to those who needed it. This food would spoil before her next CSA distribution.

It was hard work. It was super hot yesterday and that is a huge amount of greens to harvest and pack. She and her crew worked for hours to GIVE IT AWAY FREE. I met them at the farm at two.

This is my van fully packed. It was a sight to behold. 

I was able to deliver these glorious organic greens to FOUR emergency food agencies here in Lexington. We have each one as much as they could handle. This one donation is going to feed HUNDREDS of people.

At each stop people marveled at this beautiful, fresh from the field, nutritious food.  They were overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the donation.

 At my last stop, there were several men who receive services from the EFA helping me unload. One was crying. He was a big guy, bald and was covered in tattoos. Not a likely candidate for waterworks. He hadn't had fresh greens for years. He told me about how his grandmother used to have a small garden and those were the best greens he ever had. He offered to help the kitchen manager prepare them the way his grandmother did. The reaction of everyone who received this donation was awe and thankfulness. They could not believe that a farmer would give away that much food. 

 I kept being asked "Why didn't the farmer sell this?"

My answer was "Because it is for you." 

I can not put into words how blessed I was by being able to deliver this harvest to those who needed it most. All I did was drive it from the farm to the EFAs, but I was able to meet wonderful people and experience their joy. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

The rain stopped!

Kentucky didn't have a spring. We had monsoon season and then it got HOT!

Planting is going like crazy, so I have had no time to post.

Here is what we've been up to:

We've set sweet potatoes, onions, and more greens, planted okra, carrots and are receiving more transplants for the community garden today thanks to our wonderful KY farmers. Faith Feeds has been instrumental in getting the word out to farmers and making it possible to get plants and food that would otherwise be wasted into the hands of those who need it.

A plumber is coming today to set the frost free hydrant that is needed for irrigation of the big field. I will post pictures of the Bike to Battle Hunger event later, if it storms. I can't make any promises about today.

On the home front, we have put in cilantro, basil, peppers, tomatoes, carrots and pumpkins! The kids are really excited about the pumpkins. To be honest, I am too. I think it is my favorite plant this year because its potential for family fun.

The front yard is going to get some new beds this year. The landscaping close to the house has blackberry brambles that volunteered last year that I didn't have a chance to clear out, so I'm not going to clear them now. They are setting fruit! That area is such a mess right now, but I can't justify wasting food. I was going to replace the landscape plants with herbs, but I have transplants now and they can't wait. I have created a small circular bed in the front lawn for my basil and surrounded it with German Chamomile. They are both quite happy. I plan on creating more of these small beds for my herbs.

I have already been able to harvest basil and cilantro and today will be the first day for sugar snap peas. The rain really slowed them down. I hope to be able to get a few good harvests from them, but I am not optimistic. It is super hot here. I really wish we'd had a spring this year.

Speaking of hot, I must get to work now. It will be oppressively hot by 11am today. Chores beckon. I love my life! Next post will have pictures. Promise!!