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.