Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Our first H.O.E. activity was a great success with the two teams—who named themselves “The Double Diggers” (after our Parking Space plot) and “The Earthworms”—quickly getting into the rhythm of using broadforks to loosen the soil. They worked together to weed, spread compost, and rake the beds smooth, then planted Mei Qing pac choi in 12-inch triangles. For the finishing touch, they protected their neatly planted beds with fabric row cover draped over wire hoops. The new gardeners were rewarded with the knowledge that the crops they planted would eventually take their place on the Airlie Center buffet, feeding future guests like themselves. And after an afternoon of hard work, they relaxed in the garden with locally-sourced treats. We’re looking forward to our next opportunity to break out the H.O.E.!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Participants at last weekend’s “Skills, Scale, Sustainability” workshop took home a whole new toolbox full of ideas and strategies for designing, managing, and enhancing a small-scale food-growing system. Facilitator Shane J. LaBrake drew on a lifetime’s worth of farming experience to inspire course attendees to put their sustainable agriculture dreams into motion.
During the 2.5-day workshop, Shane returned again and again to one of his favorite quotes from William McDonough—“Design is the first signal of human intention.” He showed participants how to apply that concept philosophically—in the way they set up and think about the integration of their farm system—and practically—as they lay out the beds and set the schedule for a vegetable garden. Shane’s approach to tractor operation and maintenance emphasized two simple policies: 1. Read the manual. 2. Safety, safety, safety. Attendees were empowered to understand how tractors work and feel comfortable operating them on their own farms. The workshop was a real success thanks to Shane’s depth of knowledge and the enthusiasm of the participants. View more photos from the weekend.