Sunday, June 27, 2010

Field Trip

Two Saturdays ago (6/26)was our big trip to Truly Living Well, a certified organic, urban farm located in East Point, GA, with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. It was a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about alternative farming practices and marketing techniques.

Mr. Rashid Nuri the owner of Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms gave us a tour of one of his farms.

Our first group trip together with everyone who works at OCF.

The children came along and shared in the experience as well!

The women and men were interested, engaged, and asked many questions while the kids explored the farm on their own.

Mr. Rashid demonstrating the importance of ventilation in a compost pile.

The women were especially keen on learning about Mr. Rashid's cinder-block worm farm.

The brave and curious examining Mr. Rashid's bee hives.

We ended the day with the women singing a song to show their appreciation to Mr. Rashid for hosting them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lots of activity

On Saturday the women learned the English names for all the different types of squash we grow at the farm. Among them the women found the patty pan squash most amusing to pronounce ("Pah-DEE pan sqwashh!").

A handsome patty pan squash the size of my hand.

There were many teaching examples to from which to choose after the big harvest this week. We literally had a cascade of zucchini bouncing off the table before figuring out a good way to pile them.
It's amazing how much the farm has grown... From looking at pictures taken just a few weeks before, you could barely say it was the same place! The best part is, people from around the farm are noticing it too.

Over the course of the week we acquired a ridiculously heavy contraption that would allow us to convert water from a nearby hydrant into low-pressured, usable water for irrigating the farm. The next step is figuring out how to best rig up a watering system with hoses.

Robin and Mr. Obede discussing watering solutions.

The tomatoes are looking good! A few of them are looking ripe for the picking soon.

Also, this week I learned how to set up a climbing system for the beans with the bamboo poles, and how to do a Florida weave to trellis the tomatoes.

Of course, one of the best parts of the day- lunch!

Those watermelons really hit the spot.
Susan made a beef-and-beans stew to show everyone that our kind of beans (although not quite as hard as the African variety) are also edible and quite tasty. After lunch the women divided the harvest.

Mr. Obede (also known as Papa Roza in the community, a title that comes form the anme of his eldest child) and one of the daughters helped divvy up the squash and bean harvest between all the women who participated this week.

To the victor goes the spoils!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Women's Day Off

Last Saturday was the women's first day off from the farm in many many weeks.

Mother nature waits for no one! Susan, Robin and I still had a Saturday work day on the farm.

Robin had harvested some wild bamboo the day before, so our first job of the day was cutting the extra branches off to make some sturdy trellising posts from these guys.

We also had a surprising stream of visitors that day, including a local journalist. It's good to see the community showing so much interest in our project.

The zucchini was literally rolling off in bucket loads.

Contrary to popular belief, BIGGER does not always mean better. Zucchini grows tougher as it gets larger. They also accumulate bigger and larger seeds.
However we did find a very impressive-looking one which had grown to roughly the size of a baseball bat.

Susan showing one of the men the right size to harvest a zucchini.

We managed to pick a bucket of green beans, which was promptly distributed to the happy folks in the career center next doors.
The men had to leave soon after they arrived, leaving quite a bit of work left to do. On an immediate note is trellising the beans and tomatoes!! Hopefully we'll have an extra-productive workday next week.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First crop of the season!

The women have been working hard the last couple of weeks and viola! We saw our first squash harvest this Saturday.

Unfortunately, the poor thing got eaten soon after the picture was taken.

The consistent afternoon showers this week has done wonders for the farm. The corn and beans have really sprouted literally overnight. Soon the women will be able to bring home some fresh veggies every Saturday.

Despite some minor setbacks this week (i.e. lawn workers mulching the new compost heap, pests munching out the cabbages) the women are continuing to work undeterred. A few women expressed interest in planting potatoes, which will have to wait until the cooler season.
A previous supply of eggplant sprout-lings were unable to be delivered so as of now, we still need some new pants to replace the cabbages in the two empty rows.

In any case, the tomatoes are definitely the high-maintenance stars on the farm.

Almost 200+ of the smaller tomatoes have been staked and tied, so they'll be no more floppy stems for the moment. Unfortunately, Lowes ran out of bamboo stakes and we still need at least 100 more. Hopefully we'll get some more permanent trellising in this week.

That's all for now!