Friday, April 9, 2010

Sharing Crops - Fresh Pot - More Seed Starts

Good morning, I'm blogging from one of my favorite coffee shops: Fresh Pot on Mississippi. I'm here with my Wall Street Journal, decaf latte, and paper to plan out my seed starting project tomorrow.

I am really excited about a community movement I've recently joined. Currently, we call our cobbled group of gardeners and community activists SHARING CROPS. We meet two weeks ago under the common mantle of bringing the best, freshest, organic produce to those in the lowest income bracket. Often, when the budget gets tight, fresh produce is the first to go. Please see Food Inc. if you've not thought about the challenges of being on a tight budget and trying to eat "fresh." Sharing Crops elected me their fearless organizer and so far, I have been totally jazzed by the eager community support and enthusiastic volunteers.

Here's how the North Portland community has gotten involved: (1) A church in the St. Johns area of North Portland (Red Sea Community Church) has given our motley crew permission to farm a vacant lot they own across the street from their church. I think the sight is about one half acre of gritty rocks and weeds. (2) One of the local coffee shops, Anna Bannanas, has agreed to supply us with mega coffee grounds.

We have a vision to infect St. Johns with fresh produce. We are going to harness our collective gardening and leadership skills to help the community grow enough produce so that all of the immediate neighbors will be able to sample the divine fruits and veggies. We have our first big community work day on site April 24. This brings me to why I am at fresh pot this morning.

A guy who heard about our vision has offered his green house for us to nurture our seed starts. Are we late in the season for starting seeds? You bet. But, we are undaunted and hopeful to grow something this year. More importantly, we want to prep the property for an abundant harvest next year. We hope to blend planter boxes, a mini orchard, and open field, high yield farming to introduce the neighborhood to backyard garden delights.

I have thus transitioned from roof top loft gardening in Los Angeles to full on field gardening in Portland. Despite the differences, I am up for the challenge. I feel like I've read about one hundred gardening books since last season. Thus, I feel confident standing on the shoulders of how-to book and blog giants to serve the neighborhood of St. Johns. Here's hoping for success and more donated plots in the Portland area! Now to figure out when tomato plants should be placed in the garden here in Portland... feel free to chime in!

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