Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spring veggies for sale!

Joyous after our first big harvest of 2011. Thank you to Clarkston City Council member Dean Moore for these beautiful pictures.

Showing off some of our spring vegetables -- and Venance with our impressively fancy scale.

Super vendors Maria and Halieth with Susan at the Grant Park Farmers Market.

The Burundi women sold out at their first day at market. Thanks for all those who bought veggies from us! Grant Park reported that 1800 people came to the market on opening day - wow!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Farm Mapping

How do you create a farm map with 15 people who don't speak much English? Part of the issue is the too-many-chefs-in-the-kitchen aspect, and the other part is the challenge of translating something complex like crop rotation. This approach ended up working pretty well.

We spent about an hour gathered around the picnic tables discussing our selling plans to determine what vegetables we would plant this summer.

Next, we began looking at our farm map to see what would be possible. Using two large sheets from a flip chart, we created a paper model of the farm.

It became a bit like a puzzle to put all the pieces together. Having flash card pictures of all the vegetables (image on one side, English word on the other) helped us get around the language barriers.

Here is our almost finished product -- looks great!

Shiitake Shrooms

Over the slow winter months, we decided it would be a great idea to start a small shiitake mushroom farm! We got supplies, found some perfect white oak, then gathered the women to what is now called "the mushroom house" -- Susan's house, that is. We had a ball! And with any luck, we'll be seeing our first mushrooms in the next few months. All in all, we've inoculated 35 logs so far.

Drilling holes for the shiitake spawn. First time using a power drill - oh yeah!

Plugging the holes using the inoculator tools.

All together now!

The women got the hang of it very quickly.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Announcing the Global Growers Network of Georgia

Refugee Family Services announces the


Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program will support food and agriculture projects in Metro-Atlanta’s refugee community

(Stone Mountain, GA) – In 2011, Refugee Family Services will lead the creation of the Global Growers Network of Georgia. The Global Growers Network will provide linkages and support for existing urban agriculture and community garden projects that involve refugee newcomers to DeKalb County. It will also support the development of refugee leadership for new growing projects in the refugee community, as well as link garden and farm projects with volunteer support, growing expertise, job/business training, and community resources. The Network also supports the development of a Clarkston Farmers’ Market so that food producers and growers will have a place to sell their food, and so that more people will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables familiar to their cultures. Our goals in the refugee community include: increased incomes; access to quality and familiar food; better physical and mental health; independence; and community integration.

The Global Growers Network will also work with key food systems stakeholders such as the DeKalb County Board of Health and the Atlanta Local Food Initiative to strengthen urban agriculture, increase access to healthy foods, and work towards the prevention of chronic disease through active living.

The Network will:

  • Meet with refugee and mainstream project leaders to develop Network plans and strategies.
  • Support the development of a local farmers’ market and ensure refugee participation in the market, a project led by the Clarkston Community Center.
  • Identify and secure land for growing space.
  • Establish a “Garden Center” to support growing needs.
  • Support Network projects with education and training.
  • Host workshops to exchange knowledge and information about growing and selling.
  • Support the development of refugee project leaders.
  • Coordinate volunteers to assist project needs.

Our Community Farm Project is extremely excited to be a part of the Network. OCFP played a key role in the development of the Network, and we were able to leverage the success of this project in order to expand our work in the refugee community. Robin Chanin, the coordinator of Our Community Farm Project, is moving on to lead the creation of the Network, which will allow her to continue to play an active role at the farm as well as in supporting other food projects. Please contact Robin for additional information.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Resting Farm

We’re finally putting the farm to rest for the winter. We harvested the last of our protected winter and African squash fruits. Now they’ll cure at least a week so their sugars develop and the fruit will be even tastier. The severe frost this past week bit many of our lettuce and cabbage plants. In the spring, we’ll break up and mix in the decomposed plants that belong in the Brassicaceae (Mustard) family to increase the health of our soil. Cabbage, collards, bok choi, and broccoli all belong in this family.

We appreciate the folks from Slow Food Le Cordon Bleu and Slow Food Emory!

Julie Shaffer, Director of Southern region Slow Food, is helping prepare veggies for market.

They mulched most of our farm paths with wood chips, and donated two bags of composted cow manure. Thank you! All-star volunteer Laquita finding worms by the handful. Thanks goes to our beautiful compost.

So now it’s time for our cover crops to take over. We have Johnny’s Fall Mix out in the field. I just took a soil sample so we know what amendments need to be added so our soil and plants will be healthy. Want to test your own soil? See the University of Georgia’s recommended steps:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Farm Stand Update

Our farm stand at The Atlanta Friends Meeting is off to a successful beginning. It's exciting to hear from repeat customers who are enjoying our greens at home during the week. Bunches of customers were happily buying greens for their family feasts. The Burundi women are doing a great job of setting up our farm stand, keeping track of inventory, taking payment, making change, and breaking down the farm stand. Our salad mixes and bok choi have been fast sellers. In the coming weeks, we'll be giving out a recipe for arugula pesto. We hope to see you there soon.