Photo courtesy - Brad Cooper
Welcome to all the OASIS members. Rather than putting together a newsletter, each week OASIS instructor Connie Falk sends members a reminder about harvest and distribution. These weekly reminders often include information about what's happening in the field, general news about organics and Community Supported Agriculture, and links to recipes or useful organizations.
Summer 05 student worker, Milagra, has put together a newsletter to be distributed along with the vegetables. Read the "local OASIS" news starting July 27, 2005.
Don't forget veggies this week. The newsletter has the results posted from the melon tasting contest. I suspect many of you know which ones were the best!
The OASIS class met today for the first time. Lots of students had difficulty finding the farm; it seems it is not on any campus maps, and students keep getting directions (I don't know from whom) to the "horse" farm rather than the "hort" farm. I think we need to post directions on our website, although most students are not aware of that website in time. We have 17 enrolled; only 12 made it out today, but they are an enthusiastic group and I'm happy to get started again this fall.
Some good news on research. Erin and I got a grant from the Risk Management Agency to study organic winter vegetable production and economics. She will evaluate varieties of four vegetables grown for January and February harvesting, in terms of drought tolerance and disease resistance. I'll be preparing cost and return estimates. We will grow these crops on sub-surface drip using organic principles. The project will start right away this fall.
Some folks from Rincon called this week; they are interested in putting in community gardens to try and address local health issues. They have expressed interest in visiting OASIS and possibly getting help from us. We look forward to the opportunity!
Happy eating! Connie
Don't forget your veggies today, and fruits if you bought a fruit share.
The long term suspended highschoolers from San Andres Learning Center are visiting OASIS today to participate in the harvest and flower bunching (watch for some creative bunches!). Their teacher, Amy Carpenter, hopes to introduce them to gardening and has plans to engage them in service learning activities that focus on improving the nutrition of elderly people in Mesilla. These highschoolers are suspended from every other highschool in Las Cruces, and Amy teaches English and drama. She also has taken these students to workshops on adobe remodeling in Mesilla, where the students learn adobe construction techniques from master adobe craftsmen from Mexico.
The book discussed below is by John Ikerd, one of the few agricultural economists in the country worrying about the environmental effects of neo classical economic theory. He is always an inspiration to hear talk, and has many worthwhile essays online available. I'll be ordering his new book, to see if I can use it any class I teach.
Subject: Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense
Friends and Colleagues,
Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense is now available from Kumarian Press. As many of you know, I have been working toward this book for a long time. Now that it is in print, I want to share it with as many people as possible. As anyone who has ever written a book of this type knows, it isn't a matter of money; it's a matter of reaching people with something that you feel is important enough to have claimed a significant part of your life.
Kumarian Press is a good publisher, but a small publisher. They don't have funds to support a book tour or even a major marketing program for the book, and I certainly don't have the funds to promote it on my own. However, I am willing to devote a good bit of my time over the next couple of years to help make the ideas in this book accessible to as many people as possible.
Specifically, I would like to visit as many college campuses as possible to promote the cause of Sustainable Capitalism. I have done a good bit of public speaking on issues related to sustainable agriculture over the past few years and I plan to continue with this type of speaking activity. In fact, I hope that I can combine future sustainable agriculture conference speaking engagements (which could cover my travel expenses from their conference budgets) with seminars or similar events on nearby campuses, at which I could engage faculty and students in issues related to this book. Of course, I would be glad to participate in on-campus events related to my book for any college or university that has the means and the inclination to cover my expenses for such a trip.
I hope those of you who are teaching courses for which the book would be relevant will consider using this book as a supplemental text and
will recommend it to other instructors. The book is relevant to courses in economics, ecology, sociology, cultural anthropology, sustainable agriculture, sustainable development -- any course addressing issues of ecological, social, or economic sustainability. Examination copies and instructor copies are available from Kumarian Press, as indicated in the press release below.
I hope those of you who are affiliated with various advocacy organizations will consider asking your organization to review the book for the benefit of its members. Its relevance certainly is not limited to an academic audience. The book contains no graphs, tables, or equations and it contains no disciplinary jargon that is not fully explained in common sense terms. I think it will be as accessible and useful to advocates and practitioners of sustainable agriculture and sustainable living as it is to students and faculty. Organizations interested in reviewing the book should contact Jacki Bush of Kumarian Press (contact information below) regarding availability of review copies.
Of course, I also hope you will buy a personal copy of the book and share it with your friends and colleagues. I also appreciate anything
else you might decide to do in helping me share this book with others. I have several speaking engagements already scheduled for the rest of 2005, but there are also several open dates on my calendar. With a couple of exceptions, my speaking schedule for 2006 is open. I am taking up some new themes this fall, which hopefully represent a natural progression but go well beyond the themes I have addressed in the past. The new topics so far include Mainstreaming Sustainable Agriculture, Toward an Economy of Sustainable Energy, and Outsourcing American Agriculture.
Thank you for your consideration of my requests. I look forward to hearing from you, even if it is just to comment on the book.
Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense by John E. Ikerd
"For years, John Ikerd's writings and speeches have provided precious insights into the economics of this nation's food system, exploding the myth that factory farms are economically imperative. In this brilliant book, he makes a powerful case for a new capitalistic economy: one that is environmentally sound, socially just, and economically sustainable." Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
*Addresses the philosophical and scientific roots of sustainability
* Examines neglected ethical and moral aspects of capitalist economic theory
* Advocates a new sustainable paradigm for all living organizations, businesses, economics, and societies
Over the past half-century, capitalist economics has deviated from its original ethical and social purpose. Recently, capitalism has mutated
into an amoral quest for economic growth at any cost. A relentless pursuit of profits and the "bottom line" poses a constant threat to civil society and the natural environment. The sustainability, indeed survival, of earth and the life upon it, is at risk under this brand of unfettered capitalism.
In order to maintain a new economics of sustainability, social and ethical values must be reintegrated into capitalist economics, thus restoring a sense of balance into the economic system that ensures that communities the world over will benefit and thrive. Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense suggests how capitalism can become a vehicle for these ends.
Both a penetrating critique of capitalism and an exploration of its vast and untapped potential for maximizing human welfare, Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense is written for a wide audience, including students and professors whose fields and interests embrace development, economics, ecology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. Those concerned with the future of our planet and the continued
viability of global capitalism will regard this book as a vital addition to their libraries.
" John Ikerd has shown an uncanny ability to address the very questions which need to be answered-now. This is a must-read book for students, teachers, and policymakers striving for a framework to ensure economic sustainability and intergenerational equity." E. Ann Clark, University of Guelph
Dr. John Ikerd spent the first half of his thirty-year academic career as a traditional free-market, neoclassical economist. He served on the
faculties of four major state universities during his career: North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri. Growing concerns for the lack of ecological, social, and economic sustainability of American agriculture during the 1980s led to broader concerns for the lack of sustainability for American society in general. As an economist, Dr. Ikerd eventually came to understand that growing threats to ecological and social sustainability are rooted in the neoclassical paradigm of economic development, which is inherently extractive and exploitative, and thus, is not sustainable. Dr. Ikerd spent the last half of his academic career and much of his time since retirement developing and testing the concepts and principles of an alternative development paradigm, the economics of sustainability, which are elucidated in this book.
Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense, published by Kumarian Press, August 2005, Paper $21.95 (1-56549-206-4)
To order visit
Or call 800-289-2664, or fax 860-243-2867.
Jacqueline Bush, Head of Marketing, email@example.com
Dept. Agricultural Economics and
MSC 3169 Box 30003
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Don't forget to pick up your veggies today. We should have two visitors at the farm today, both of whom are interested in starting CSAs. One of them is interested in starting a CSA in a group home for people with psychiatric problems here in town. The other is a former NMSU student who now works at the university teaching floral design. She also is a regular with her husband at the farmers' market downtown on Saturdays, selling potted plants and bedding plants.
I hope that more CSAs will take hold in Las Cruces, so that more people
can enjoy fresh, local, and organic produce. I think the more we reduce
transportation of food, the greater our food security. The more we consumer
our food from local sources, the more of a constituency there will be for
keeping farm land in production and not converted to houses and shopping.
CSAs are foremost about eating good food, but they also are relevant to issues such as how we use our natural resources, globalization and industrialization of our food supply, connecting us to nature in a small way, investing in local economies, and developing community.
Okay, enough soap box!
Today's distribution will consist of summer squash, tomatillos, green beans, eggplant, sweet peppers, tomatoes, okra, chile peppers, hot peppers, melons and watermelons. (remember: some items are only available on the miscellaneous crops table or by rotation) Herbs: basil, thyme, mint, stevia, oregano and rosemary.
Don't forget to pick up the newsletter! Featured today is the "Tomato Taste Test Results". And speaking of tomatoes....OASIS tomatoes are taste test approved by the toddler set! Member Rene's 4 year old daughter, Charlotte, did not like tomatoes and did not want to even try a tomato! Rene explained to her that she didn't like "store tomatoes" and that she should try an "OASIS tomato". That convinced Charlotte to taste it, and she LIKED IT and ASKED FOR MORE the following day! SUCCESS!
Connie asked me to attach the following article:
>ORGANIC & CONVENTIONAL
FARMING FACE-OFF IN 22-YEAR STUDY The July issue
> of the journal Bioscience reviewed a 22-year-long field study by the
> Rodale Institute which compared organic and conventional farming on
> similar plots of land with similar crops. The study found that in the
> initial five years of the study, the conventional crops (i.e. crops
> grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers) had slightly better
> yields than the organic crops. But during that same initial period, the
> organic farming practices were building up higher levels of soil mass
> and biodiversity which then allowed the organic land to generate yields
> equal to or greater than the conventional crops. The conventional crops
> collapsed during drought years, while the organic crops fluctuated only
> slightly, due to greater water holding potential in the organic
> enriched soil. The conventional crop also had pesticides leaching into
> the water at levels exceeding the EPA's safety limits. Over the 22 year
> period, the organic crops used 30% less fossil energy inputs than the
> conventional crops.
Also remember that we have a new website:
The old website is still there, plus I still haven't transferred all the resources and powerpoint presentations to the new site yet...it's still a work in progress!
Connie will be back next week with the reminder, I'm subbing this week!
Pauline and the students are planning a tomato taste testing tomorrow.
Tomatoes will be separated by variety and samples provided. A tally will be kept for the votes of your favorite varieties.
Milagra, one of the student employees, is handing out a little newsletter tomorrow, to introduce you to the student workers, provide recipes, a forum for members, detail our wish list, and share other news with you.
Expect melons and watermelons tomorrow, probably not enough for everyone though this week. Pauline had not decided last time I talked to her whether the melons would go on the rotating schedule or just be put out on the miscellaneous table for free choice.
We have a new website now, with our production database available for queries. Check it out at: http://agesvr1.soilphys.ad.nmsu.edu:8888/oasis/ If our website URL changes, I'll let you know.
Today I hauled 4 bales of chopped dry organic alfalfa from organic cotton farmer Dosi Alvarez, to Dr. Samani, an NMSU engineer who has developed a system of converting grass clippings into fertilizer using an anaerobic digesting process. He is going to make us some fertilizer using the same system to see if we can replace our fish fertilizer with the alfalfa liquid fertilizer. We inject the fertilizer into the subsurface drip lines. The fish fertilizer comes from the East Coast and seems like an unsustainable practice, even if it is organic. We should have the finished product in 2 weeks. If all goes well, we hope to build our own facility on the farm and be self sufficient in our own fertilizer production.
Take care, and happy eating! Connie
P.S. You may have seen this article recently in the news, but if not, here is one more reason to support organics.
CDC Body Burden Study Finds
Widespread Pesticide Exposure July 22, 2005
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday released
its Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals,
finding that more than 90% of U.S. residents carry a mixture of
pesticides in their bodies. Many of these chemicals are linked to
health effects such as cancer, birth defects and neurological problems.
Children, who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pesticide
exposure, had higher levels of some pesticides in their bodies than adults.
CDC sampled the blood and urine of thousands of subjects across the
country for 148 chemicals, 43 of them pesticides. This sample
represents just over 3% of the 1,284 pesticide active ingredients
currently registered in the U.S. that are formulated into tens of
thousands of pesticide products for agricultural and home use.
Pyrethroids were included for the first time in this study, and CDC
found one pyrethroid metabolite to be particularly widespread in the
population, occurring in more than 75% of the subjects tested.
Pyrethroids are insecticides widely used in agriculture, in home and
garden pest products, and for lice control. They are a synthetic
version of pyrethrins, a naturally occurring insecticide extracted from
chrysanthemums. Unlike pyrethrins, which break down in the environment
within hours, synthetic pyrethroids can last from days to months,
creating a much greater risk of exposure.
The health effects of pyrethroids are well documented. Exposure can
produce neurotoxic effects, vomiting, diarrhea and a tingling sensation
on the skin (paresthesias). Pyrethroids are also suspected endocrine
disruptors and possible carcinogens, and as a group are the second most
common cause of pesticide poisoning reported to U.S. poison control centers.
Some pesticides were found in the CDC study at higher levels in
children than adults. For example, the organophosphate pesticide
chlorpyrifos was found at higher concentrations in children, indicating
exposures more than four times the level EPA considers "safe." Home use
of chlorpyrifos was banned in 2001 because of concern over health
effects in children, but an estimated 10 million pounds continues to be
used in agricultural fields every year. In the 2001/2002 period covered
by this report chlorpyrifos was found in more than 75% of the population.
The organochlorine pesticides aldrin, dieldrin and endrin, banned in
the U.S. for decades, were included in CDC's study for the first time
and were detected in very low or un-measurable amounts. CDC also
sampled for breakdown products of the organochlorine pesticide lindane,
found in nearly half of the subjects tested. Unfortunately CDC did not
test for other organochlorines that continue to be used in the U.S.,
such as endosulfan and dicofol. Organochlorines are known to persist in
the environment, build up in people's bodies, and are passed from
mother to child in the womb and through breastfeeding.
A body burden study released last week by the Environmental Working
Group (EWG) reported findings similar to the CDC study, focusing specifically
on chemical exposures infants received before they were born. EWG
tested fetal cord blood of 10 healthy infants born at various locations
around the U.S. in 2004, revealing exposures to a total of 287
chemicals. Among the most pervasive pesticides found in newborns were
hexachlorobenzene, dieldrin and DDT (and its contaminants and byproducts).
PANNA issued a set of recommendations based on findings from the CDC
study. These include:
* Corporations like Bayer CropScience that continue to distribute
organochlorine pesticide products should withdraw them immediately from
the U.S. market.
* Policymakers should use CDC's biomonitoring data to help develop
policies that better protect public health, and particularly children.
* CDC should make more detailed data (such as location and timing
of sampling and occupational information) publicly available to help
policymakers set priorities and evaluate impacts of state-level
policies already in place, such as California's ban of lindane for pharmaceutical use.
* Consumers should choose organic food and pesticide-free household
and hygiene products to protect their families and support markets for
CDC's biomonitoring program is the largest in the U.S. and provides
invaluable information on chemical exposures nationwide. The agency
announced plans to expand the list of studied chemicals to more than
300 in the next study, to be released in 2007. This year's report
provides important insights into the widespread nature of pesticide
exposure in the U.S. and highlights the need to shift to less toxic
approaches to pest management.
See CDC Releases 3rd National Report on the PANNA website
PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and
reporting on pesticide issues that don't always get coverage by the
mainstream media. It's produced by Pesticide Action Network North
America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to
advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide. We gladly
accept donations for our work and all contributions are tax deductible
in the United States.
Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
49 Powell St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94102 USA
Fax: (415) 981-1991
Don't forget your vegetables tomorrow.
Pauline traveled home this week to see family so the students will be in charge this week! I hope to get out and help with flowers during the day.
Also, I'll be traveling to visit organic cotton farmer Dosi Alvarez who lives near La Union. I am planning to buy some organic alfalfa from him that engineering professor Dr. Samani has agreed to transform into a compost tea we can use in our drip lines instead of the expensive fish fertilizer we buy from the East Coast.
Did any of you see the Sun News yesterday with the article about organics on the front page? I found it amusing that the only NMSU faculty interviewed for the article was a College of Business professor who said he opposes organics, as money would be better spent elsewhere. The source of that comment, Chris Erickson, is a neighbor of mine, so I might have to have a neighborly chat sometime with him. If you think all of the pesticides used in conventional agriculture are just fine and dandy, read this article:
Edamame harvest is underway as I write this. Pauline will have recipes available for you at distribution. Edamame is edible soybean; they serve it at the Mix Express in case you want to try it in a restaurant sometime. It was a big hit last year with the members.
The students on the summer crew asked me to explain a little bit about rotating vegetables, for those of you who are new to OASIS. Once in a while, due to unexpected and uncontrollable weather conditions, our production is not what we planned. This heat this summer is one such case. It is affecting cucumbers, tomatoes, and maybe other vegetables. We also have a virus in the winter squash. Thus, some of the vegetables that you would expect to get every week are in such short supply we put them in the rotating program, so that we can keep track of who got what when. This ensures that certain people don't get all the tomatoes or something like that. Now a big of a problem can arise if two families split a whole share, and one of the families arrives and takes that whole share's weekly tomato allocation. We don't split whole shares for you. You get a price break for that reason. Whole share members who are sharing and don't arrive together need to work out how to deal with this situation.
Hopefully the monsoons will begin soon, the weather will cool off a bit, and summer production will really take off and we can abandon the rotating vegetables. The last forecast I heard was the rains would come around July 10. Let's hope so!
In the meantime, enjoy the edamame and the other vegetables dribbling out. Today I saw some lemon cucumbers in the harvest baskets.
This week I am sending a proposal to NMDA's specialty crop program to get funding to build a root crop washing station for OASIS. Ricardo Jacquez and Craig Ricketts in the College of Engineering have enthusiastically agreed to help supervise engineering students in the design and fabrication of the station, which will serve as a prototype for other small growers. The engineers plan to include a water recycling system to minimize water use. I hope we get the funding!
Anna will be bringing
12 to 15 pounds of fresh figs today. She said "Fresh
figs are very fragile and delicate. They only keep in the refrigerator
week. It might be a good idea to have a sign asking the individual customer not to pick up, squeeze, and examine the figs. They would quickly deteriorate, they are so soft."
A local foods enthusiast, Darroll Shillingburg (firstname.lastname@example.org) is putting together a web page listing all local food vendors he can find. If you know of anyone he should include on his new page, contact him directly. I have suggested to him OASIS, Jeff Graham, Anna Underwood, and Sally Harper. He's already got some egg vendors posted and is working on fruits and vegetables. I think this is a great idea, to promote as much as possible all local vendors of healthy foods. Darroll's web page is at http://www.darrolshillingburg.com/GardenSite/Local%20Food%20Site/localfood.htm
The heat and curly top virus is hitting us hard this year. Pauline expects a complete failure of winter squashes. Green beans are affected, and cucumbers and tomatoes have quit setting fruit in this high heat. We have already had twice as many 100+ degree days in June as last year, and the forecast for the rest of the week continues in that range. Pauline said that OASIS member and plant pathologist Rebecca Creamer said the worst of the curly top is yet to hit, as the beet leaf hoppers will come through again. However, our big tomato plants that have established a closed canopy should be safe. We think many of them survived the first flight of leafhoppers because of the reflective mylar mulch we used, and the kaolin clay treatment may have also helped. Pauline is pulling many affected plants, but we have some production at least.
So for the very near future, expect continued rotation of summer veggies. We go into rotation mode when we are short, due to unexpected weather events such as this. We'd have more production if it weren't so darn hot so soon.
The NMDA Specialty Crop Program, directed by Craig Mapel, has suggested to OASIS to apply for some funds for a project. We are going to ask for money to build a washing station at the farm. The engineering students in the AMP program at NMSU will be able to design and fabricate the station. Craig said that small scale washing stations are needed by small growers through out the state, especially small lettuce growers who want to sell to the school systems under the new Farm to School programs getting underway state wide (and nationally). We don't wash our lettuce at OASIS; our real need is a washing station for root crops. However, I'm thinking we should build a prototype lettuce washing area as well, just to demonstrate, and maybe we can also wash lettuce. The main reason we don't wash lettuce is because we can dry it property, so it would be a big mess in the distribution room. Craig said most small growers wash lettuce in dedicated clothes washing machines, which spins the lettuce dry.
We are hunting for a small golf cart type vehicle to haul vegetables in from the field. The old John Deere Pauline was using that belongs to the farm is broken down, and we'd like to get our own. If you know where we can get something like this, please let me or Pauline know.
Don't forget to pick up veggies today. There will be more fruit from Anna Underwood available. The four fruit shares she has available have sold already, actually within a short time after I announced them last week.
As a reminder, the 2nd OASIS payment is due July 1, which is next week.
FYI: from the Center for Ecoliteracy
But I Am a Child Who Does, by Sandra Steingraber
Radio Series Featuring CEL Is "The World's Best Work" Award Finalist Janet Brown Essay Featured on Bioneers Homepage Native Communities Inspire Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders
June 23–27, June 30–July 4: The Edible Schoolyard in DC to discuss the School Lunch Initiative October 25–29: North American Association for Environmental Education
Visit the Center for Ecoliteracy Website
Thinking outside the Lunchbox: But I Am a Child Who Does, by Sandra Steingraber
Because of a series of coincidences, science writer Sandra Steingraber's children have grown up in the presence of fresh, locally grown food and the absence of television advertising. The result will surprise anyone who believes that the junk food industry simply takes advantage of children's natural aversions to green vegetables and proclivities for sugar, fat, and junk food.
Sandra Steingraber: "The images, jingles, and pitches of the food industry have, by and large, never reached [my children]. Their food preferences have, consequently, been entirely shaped by their direct experience with the food itself and the farmers who grow it.… Both my kids ask for sweet potatoes, baked with maple syrup drizzled on top, as bedtime snacks.Neither of them cares for soft drinks". Read article
See other articles in Thinking outside the Lunchbox
Radio Series Featuring CEL Is "The World's Best Work" Award Finalist. The most recent "Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature" radio series is a finalist in the New York Festivals competition to recognize " The World's Best Work" in radio programming and promotion. The Bioneers entry included "A Sense of Wonder: Ecological Literacy and the Facts of Life," with Center for Ecoliteracy co-founder Fritjof Capra, executive director Zenobia Barlow, and Esther Cook, cooking teacher at The Edible Schoolyard.
Established in 1982, the annual New York Festivals competition is the largest of its kind in the world for radio programming. 2005 winners, chosen from more than 1,200 entrants, including all the major networks, will be announced June 27. The Bioneers series of 13 half-hour programs is heard on stations in 200 cities across the U.S. and around the world.
Visit: New York Festivals
List of stations carrying the Bioneers radio series
Bioneers radio series V descriptions
Janet Brown Essay Featured on Bioneers Homepage. An essay by organic farmer and CEL program officer for food systems Janet Brown "Farming with the Future in Mind" appears this month as "Featured Content" on the Bioneers website homepage. The essay is part of "Voices from the Field," an ongoing series giving voice to the people who grow our food.
Janet Brown: "Farming isn't for everyone, but beautiful surroundings, physical invigoration, intellectual challenge, meaningful work, and a relationship with the natural world have appeal. Certainly, if more youngsters were exposed to the activities and benefits of farm life, more would discover their own affinity for it. As long as the farming experience is only available on the farm, farming will continue to be
the unconsidered option."
Visit: Bioneers homepage
Bioneers archive of featured content
Native Communities Inspire Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders Delegates to the annual Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) forum in June experienced the vitality of on-the-ground work in
northern New Mexico. Participants met at the Taos County Economic Development Corporation with advocates/activists from across the U.S., primarily from Native American communities working on sustainable agriculture and local food systems. Zenobia Barlow who represented CEL, reports that participants were especially inspired by college-bound Native American youth who embody indigenous values, a passion for sustainable agriculture, and a commitment to serve their pueblos after completing their studies. The forum included presentations and conversations about climate change, energy, water, youth and prospects for the next generation of farmers.
SAFSF, a working group of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, was formed by funders with a shared interest in economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsible systems of food production, processing, distribution, and consumption. The Center for Ecoliteracy is a member.
Visit: Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders
June 23-27, June 30–July 4: The Edible Schoolyard in DC to discuss the School Lunch Initiative The 2005 Folklife Festival at the Smithsonian Institution will feature an 8,000-square-foot recreation of The Edible
Schoolyard on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Daily discussions around a lunch table will include leading educators and policymakers. Chez Panisse Foundation and CEL are cooperating to create interest in the School Lunch Initiative through the exhibit and to inspire visitors to change the food in their local schools. Further information and a downloadable vision statement by Alice Waters will be made public at the School Lunch Initiative website below.
Visit: School Lunch Initiative
2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
October 25–29: North American Association for Environmental Education. This year's annual conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education will address "Sustainability and Environmental Education: Focus on the Future." The Center for Ecoliteracy has been selected to lead three sessions at the meeting, October 25–29 in Albuquerque, NM. Zenobia Barlow will present a workshop on the Rethinking School Lunch program. Jeanne Casella, principal of CEL grantee Mary E. Silveira School in San Rafael, CA will lead a roundtable on the school's EcoStars program, through which children, staff, and parents transform school grounds into outdoor classrooms. The Center is scheduled to lead an all-day workshop, "Farm to Classroom to Cafeteria," examining the Rethinking School Lunch program in more depth and offering hands-on exploration of selected food and nutrition education curricula.
Visit: National Association for Environmental Education
Rethinking School Lunch
If you have any questions, please email us
Copyright 2005 Center for Ecoliteracy
We'll be able to add green beans to the mix tomorrow, and eggplant are almost but not quite ready yet. We will also be able to offer about 20 pounds of Japanese plums grown by Larry and Anna Underwood's Sunflower Solar Farm in the North Valley. Anna will also be offering four fruit shares to our members this summer on a first come, first served basis. I will send out a membership form probably by next week describing the fruit shares. She wants to start very small this year but increase significantly the number of fruit shares next year. She has 90 trees on 3 acres in the north valley, all chemical free, in about 12 different varieties of plums, pears, apples, figs, quince, jujubes, and pomegranates.
Today a film crew
hired by the Risk Management Education (RME), which as I understand is
a sub-agency of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) was
out at OASIS after filming at Jeff Graham's CSA. They are focusing on the
grant money they awarded to the NM Organic Commodity Commission, and how
Joanie Quinn there used it to hold workshops around the state. It was at
one of these workshops last fall that Jeff (and Anna) attended, where they
decided to explore the idea of selling shares. Now Jeff has his own CSA,
and Anna will be offering fruit shares to both OASIS members, and through
Jeff's CSA. Collaboration works! Federal dollars can be spent well! :> RME
trying to communicate with their video that they seek to fund projects that are results oriented, rather than projects which are content to hold conferences without followup. They want to document that farmers are making improvements as a result of their attendance at sponsored events.
We are still in the spring summer gap, so Pauline is pulling out the barley! She's photocopying barley recipes now. We grew the barley on our biointensive plots last year and she's been saving it for a time like this when veggies are lean.
I'm meeting today with a teacher from the San Andres Learning Center to see if there are some OASIS projects that students from there can help with. I'm thinking that flower bouquet making might be fun for them.
A community food group is in the process of forming in Las Cruces. We are kicking around names for the group and our first project will potentially be organic research on a private farm, looking at weed management issues and replicated variety trials and development of cost and return estimates for organic producers. The World Wildlife Fund is also interested in participating in the project, to coordinate an agroecology approach to habitat improvement in riparian areas with organic production. Our vision is to manage the resources sustainably, create jobs, and help feed the local community, through Community Action Agency and other social service groups, with emphasis on fresh and local organic produce. It's an exciting and complex project that feels overwhelming, but full of potential for stimulating natural resource based sustainable economic development and improved local nutrition.
Lots of beautiful flowers today, as always. We're dead in the middle of the dreaded spring/summer gap. All but carrots have ended from the spring, and summer is just beginning. We have several kinds of zucchini squash today, all from seeds we obtained through the Organic Seed Partnership (OSP) grant that we are collaborators in. The OSP proposal was written by Molly Jahn at Cornell University, and it involves Oregon State and universities in Arkansas and West Virginia as well. Along with collaborator farmers in each state, all of us are growing out organic seeds from several commercial companies and from two university organic seed breeding programs. We'd really like your feedback on which of the zucchini you like best. So email me after you try them and tell me if any are best or if any are not good at all, etc. We will also be supplying to Cornell our production information.
I had fun this past week giving a keynote address at the annual Mexican association of agribusiness, a conference attended by faculty and students in the agribusiness area, from all over Mexico. The conference was held in Guanajuato, and about 300 people were there. It seems the CSA idea was brand new to everyone, and lots of people asked for copies of my presentation and information. Lots of students indicated they'd like to come study here and work in the OASIS project. It seems the big stumbling block for Mexican students is getting past the TOEFL test. They need to practice their English. It would be great if we could provide a network of homes where Mexican students could live for a couple of months in the summer, take the free English classes at the branch, and improve their English. One student I talked to was so excited about the idea of coming to Las Cruces for the summer, I wanted to invite her right away. Her dad owns a hotel on the back side of the Sierra Madre, along the Copper Canyon train route.
One of the things that really impressed me about the trip was the diversity of projects going on in Mexico to diversify agricultural production and help rural areas sustain themselves. Faculty there debate the merits of doing projects that are just for export vs. projects that address the socio economic needs of indigenous and isolated communities. It was a very refreshing and stimulating conference. There are new kinds of collaboration going on all over the country between universities, the private sector, and the government. SAGARPA was an agency mentioned over and over as providing financing of agricultural investments. In Leon, they are using a "tripartite" rule of investment, which means that three entities, say, the city government, the county, and the private sector, have to be interested in a project for it to get tax dollars invested. Leon was quite an impressive town, the leather capitol of Mexico. They have an entire mall devoted to shoes, and another devoted to jackets and purses. The entire shopping district, I don't know how many city blocks square, is all shoe shops.
University Communications sent a photographer and reporter to visit us this week, to feature OASIS in the fall issue of Panorama, the alumni magazine. Thanks to Barabara Wise, for making the suggestion to University Communications.
We have received one complaint regarding the distribution of flyers and notices at OASIS. Would everyone prefer that all distribution of notices and flyers be discontinued? Should we put up a bulletin board that anyone can put something on? We recognize that some of the flyers have tended toward the more liberal end of the political spectrum, and might be offensive to some. Let me know what you think.
See you! Connie
Connie is heading off today to a conference in Mexico where she will be presenting an hour long talk about the OASIS project. It is an impressive PowerPoint presentation and the slides of the garden are fantastic!
Vegetables today at the farm should be about the same as last week. The new crops last week were beets and carrots. NEW this week will be organic pecans purchased for resale through OASIS from Sally Harper, a local organic pecan grower in Mesilla. The price will be $5.00 for 1/2 pound. Be sure to pick up the small sheet "How to Keep Pecans Fresh", a short set of instructions that Sally follows to keep her pecans at top quality.
Have a good day and a great Memorial Day weekend.
I'm heading out to the field pretty soon. I'm not sure what's new this week, but it could possibly be beets or carrots.
I went to a fabulous conference in Tucson this past weekend, called "Saving the Wild Open Spaces" and learned a lot about how groups across the west are forming collaborative partnerships to promote sustainable farming, ranching, and forestry. I can't believe what kind of incredible projects are going on all across the West by committed and visionary individuals who put aside differences, find common ground, and locate the appropriate skill sets and resources to bring diversified and sustainable employment to remote rural areas, protect sensitive wetlands, restore grasslands, etc. I was so jazzed up by it I barely slept the entire conference. In Oregon, they are thinning the clogged forests of the small diameter timber and marketing sustainable flooring and paneling, and furniture to the new Whole Foods chains opening everywhere. In the Malpais region of southern AZ/NM, they are reintroducing fire to restore grasslands. The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service removed economically marginal farming from along a sensitive river in SE AZ, and native vegetation has returned, including beaver. Gary Nabhan in AZ got third party certification instituted for mesquite charcoal imports so that they are guaranteed not to contain ironwood, and an ironwood preserve was established in AZ. One of the most thrilling groups to learn about was the Sustainable Northwest organizers, who hold an annual conference in the NW with sessions on energy, food security, biodiversity preservation, sustainable building, rural employment, etc. I met Ray Powell at the meeting, who was former land commissioner in NM, and barely squeaked out a 3-set win in ping pong. He's looking for good ideas on how to operate the Valle Caldera in northern NM, which he has recently taken charge of administering.
A conference is being planned for October in Las Cruces, called Saving the Sacred, and they want OASIS to be on the tour agenda.
Recently, Pauline received a request from Margaret Scoles, who conducted the organic inspectors training in Las Cruces in April, and used the OASIS site as one of 4 area trainee sites. Margaret requested the use of Pauline's record keeping system for use in other states. IOIA is the Independent Organic Inspectors Association, and ATTRA is the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas organization (website at www.attra.org). Margaret wrote:
The CSA system you developed is elaborate and detailed but at the same time simple and effective. IOIA is collecting examples of effective forms for keeping adequate documentation for vegetable operations. If you don't wish to share with us, that is fine, too, just let me know...but I'll explain here the purpose and hopefully it will fit within your educational mission.
Our work is part of a project funded by the US government to assist transitioning organic producers in the states of MS, LA, KY, TN, and AR by developing decision-making tools, training materials, and recordkeeping forms. This area currently has very few certified organic operations and lacks good resource materials appropriate for the region. Organic vegetable production has good potential in this region, especially near urban centers as many of the farms are very small acreages and only value-added crops are feasible. Some states, such as KY, were historically high tobacco producing states and small farms were able to survive on the tobacco subsidies. This support is no longer available and (happily) KY is an example of a state that is using its tobacco settlement money to encourage organic production and to make certification affordable for small producers.
One of the most problematic areas for new producers that we've identified through surveys of certified producers and inspectors is recordkeeping. As you know, vegetable operations present some unique recordkeeping challenges.
If you share your Excel system with us, it will likely be used in trainings in the southern US states and/or in materials distributed by ATTRA.
So lots of people are looking to OASIS for inspiration, information, and leadership. I just wish the administration of the college and the university would support us!
See Chew Broccoli, Darth Tader, and Cuke Sykwalker below in the animated Grocery Store Wars short getting lots of circulation on the internet these days.
Don't forget tomorrow to pick up your veggies tomorrow. Pauline predicts this is the last week of lettuce, due to higher temperatures. I'm not sure if anything new is coming out this week; I'll know more tomorrow morning at harvest. We still haven't started carrots or beets, so they are possibilities.
I included the article below to give you an idea of what some universities are doing. I only wish we could do something similar here.
As a reminder, extra bouquets are available for members for $3.50/bunch and for $5 for the general public who may come in when they see the roadside sign. We now have enough flowers for all flower shareholders plus some. You will notice the flowers gradually shifting throughout the months as the season progresses.
Very soon I will be purchasing some bulk certified organic pecans from Sally Harper, a local grower, and offering them for sale to our members in smaller quantities. I hope to have them ready by next week.
May 10, 2005 - NY TIMES
A Dining Hall Where Students Sneak In
By ALISON LEIGH COWAN
NEW HAVEN, May 9 - The pizza is made from organic flour. The burgers
are made from grass-fed lamb and freshly picked mint. The seasonal
offerings this spring include chicken brodo with pasta and greens and
pork loin with fennel. And don't forget the roasted asparagus.
This is the menu at the dining hall for students at Berkeley College at
Yale University, where the scent of fresh, delicious food - homegrown
greens and pasture-raised beef - has been drawing students from around
the campus, much as the scent of the black-and-white cat lures the
amorous cartoon skunk Pepé Le Pew.
Non-Berkeley students try to sneak in the back door. They try to slip
fake identification cards past the Yale employees stationed at the entrance.
They don sweatshirts with the Berkeley insignia to make it look as if
they belong. Some even scavenge trays of half-eaten food, pretending
that they have already been there and only have seconds on their minds.
" Whatever they can get away with," said Catherine Jones, the dining
hall's executive chef, sympathetically.
But only the 425 students assigned to Berkeley College, their guests
and a few others are allowed into the well-appointed Gothic hall. That
means the rest of Yale's 4,800 students, those assigned to the 11 other
residential colleges, are mostly picking from the same old nonorganic
salad bars, scooping out the sugary cereals, and chewing on chuck-patty
hamburgers slipped into white-bread rolls.
The dining hall is the outgrowth of Yale's Sustainable Food Project,
which was started to support area farmers and promote healthier eating
by serving mostly locally produced, seasonal crops and organic ingredients.
If the meals were merely high-minded, the experiment might have been
short-lived. But they have won over those who want good food only if it
tastes good, too.
The hostess at last Wednesday's lunch, Annette Tracey, volunteered that
the students call her the "Berkeley Bouncer," as she turned away two
sophomores, almost to prove the point.
One sophomore who made it past her desk, Sarah Milby of Newark, Del.,
said she was gratified that her regular dining hall has been closed all
year for renovations. That allows her to vie for the few extra slots
that Berkeley saves for walk-ins from her college.
Still, she is tired of playing the odds and is considering starting a
petition to recommend taking Berkeley's approach campuswide. "It's
obvious the students want it," she said.
Those without any shame plead with the hostess. "If you stand there and
look disappointed enough, she'll take your card and swipe it," said
Patricia Herrmann, a senior, who got in fair and square on Wednesday as
Yale officials credit Alice Waters, the innovative chef from Berkeley,
Calif., for dreaming up the sustainable food project four years ago
when her daughter Fanny became a freshman at Yale and they discovered
the steam tables.
Early on, the like-minded people Ms. Waters recruited to get the
project off the ground turned a vacant lot into a lush vegetable garden
that doubles as their laboratory and helps students "get their hands dirty,"
said Melina Shannon-DiPietro, an associate director of the project. The
group also oversaw a composting experiment to see if students would
pitch in by scraping their plates.
The three-meal-a-day rollout came in September 2003, just in time to
make sure that hundreds of tailgaters at that year's home Harvard-Yale
football game feasted on grass-fed burgers and organic beer.
The ever-changing menu reflects Ms. Waters's philosophy that people and
communities thrive when meals consist of locally produced, seasonal
ingredients, rather than food that is shipped long distance or
processed so it keeps. She also advocates using organic ingredients and
production methods that keep the environment sound.
On Friday, she said she would still like to see the approach become
" part of the experience of every child who goes to Yale."
At Yale, the project's two associate directors, Josh Viertel and Ms.
Shannon-DiPietro, both 27 and friends from their Harvard undergraduate
days, try not to be doctrinaire.
Students are offered fair-trade coffee - hoping to provide higher wages
to the laborers who pick the beans - hormone-free and antibiotic-free
milk from cows that are allowed to graze, and fresh-cut potato chips
from organic potatoes grown in Connecticut.
But diners can also gorge on Hershey's chocolate syrup, sodas and
sports drinks. "There'd be a rebellion if they ran out of blue Gatorade," Ms.
Mr. Viertel, who worked as a shepherd and farmer before coming to Yale,
said the philosophy is to add rather than to take away. "We don't want
students to feel that eating well is suffering," he said.
Of course, there are adjustments.
Tori Truscheit, a Berkeley College resident, said she now grasps how
quickly the growing season for corn and tomatoes fades "when it's
winter and you're eating squash all the time."
As part of an effort to capture tastes from the warm months year-round,
Ms. Shannon-DiPietro has lined up a New Haven food-processing company
that is turning tomatoes into salsa that students can munch with chips next winter.
Knowing the farmers personally, she and her colleagues were also able
to find a garlic supplier with an easy-to-peel variety for the sake of
the kitchen staff, who had been told to stop using the jarred kind.
Sometimes the program's organizers have faced competing goals. They
debated, for instance, whether to buy organic avocados from California,
but settled against using avocados altogether because they are grown
outside New England.
Program exceptions were made for bananas and coffee, because students
expected them with breakfast.
As popular as Berkeley's food is, Yale officials noted that it costs
the university about 50 percent more than standard fare. "The real
question is, how far is the university willing to go with this?" Mr. Viertel said.
Ms. Waters said she understands that "real food costs more," but
neglecting health and the environment also has a price. She said that
the pursuit of "fast, cheap and easy" foods was "destroying our culture."
As a start, along with the occasional Berkeley culinary creation,
Yale's other dining halls now stock organic milk and granola freshly
made using honey and maple syrup.
" Students ask for this recipe with their diplomas," Ms.
2005 <http://www.nytco.com/>The New York Times Company
* NY Farms!
* NYC Wholesale Farmers' Market Study
This is a bit of a late reminder, but I was out harvesting lettuce all morning. The radishes have finished, but peas are abundant this week, enough for everyone to enjoy them tonight. There will be lots of salad greens, spinach, and lettuce, including the beautiful Freckles, Red Oaky Splash, and the mammoth Jericho.
A dish I like to prepare with the big spinach leaves involves using the leaves as wraps. Toast up some coconut, chop some peanuts, chop some dried shrimp (available in the Mexican spice section, the red and yellow bags), chop some fresh lime (no peel), and get out the hot sauce. Put the peanut/coconunt/shrimp mixture into the leaf, with some lime pieces and hot sauce and roll them up like a little burrito. They make a great appetizer!
We are in transition from class student help to the hired crew, so we are short handed today, which is why I was out helping all morning. I hope by next week we will have our new crew on board.
The rest of the student projects were very interesting this spring. One of our engineering students built a seed cleaning/processing tool and seed sifting boxes as she saw us cleaning barley by hand. Another student has added to our OASIS art collection, by designing two ceramic pieces that depict the xylem and phloem. Get out your plant science books!
I'm attaching a three-year summary in a PDF file in case you are interested in knowing some basics about our experience from 2002-2004.
Don't forget to pick up veggies tomorrow. Cabbage will be available for the first time this spring tomorrow, on top of all the other goodies you've already gotten. It will be another big haul as the warm weather has really spurred production. We haven't seen any bolting yet, but that could change soon.
I've pasted below the Goldwater Scholar news, because the recipient is an OASIS student this spring. Congratulations Marzyeh! Marzyeh made her class project presentation last week, about working with the Community Action Agency's Pregnant Teen Home to put in a vegetable garden. Marzyeh and other students in the class solicited donations from Wal Mart, Enchanted Gardens, and Home Depot to get seeds and materials to put in the garden, which was a hard pan of bare earth with debris strewn about when they started. Even though Marzyeh is a triple major (read below), she is interested in following up on the garden project for her Honor's thesis, which I consider a real honor that she is interested in pursuing the project. The CAA Teen Pregnant home advisor hopes the garden will provide the young women who live there with motivation to collaborate more and improve their nutrition among other benefits.
Other interesting topics presented last week in class were the new OASIS website, which will allow on-line dynamic queries from our production database, a website redesign, and a website translation into Spanish. Another student also presented an interesting analysis comparing the costs and techniques of producing Pima cotton organically and conventionally in southern New Mexico, after having interviewed two farmers in depth. In another project, the student ran lab analyses of OASIS produce and our two fish fertilizer products for any traces of e. coli in the case of the produce, and listeria and salmonella in the case of the fertilizer. All products received a clean bill of health, thankfully! In general, the student projects have been a real joy to listen to. Thank you OASIS member Bill Eamon for allowing the OASIS class to be part of the Honors College.
New Mexico State University student named Goldwater Scholar
New Mexico State University student Marzyeh Ghassemi has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, a $7,500 award that recognizes students for their academic merit in the areas of engineering, mathematics and science.
The scholarship, named for U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. This year, 320 students were chosen for the award out of 1,091 nominees.
" This scholarship will open up terrific opportunities for Marzyeh," said Jason Ackleson, associate director of the NMSU Honors College and
director of the Office of National Scholarships. "The Goldwater is one of the most competitive undergraduate awards in the nation. This goes to show the caliber of students we have here on campus. It also shows we have what it takes to be successful in these types of competitions."
Ackleson hopes the award will aid Ghassemi in her career and says it may be a factor in graduate school selection and other scholarships.
The $7,500 covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board.
Marzyeh is a 19-year-old senior pursuing degrees in electrical engineering, computer science and mathematics and will graduate in fall
2005. She plans to attend graduate school and medical school and is looking into the University of Houston or Rice University.
Marzyeh was enrolled at NMSU at the age of 15 after being home schooled at an early age by her mother, Maryam Ghassemi. Marzyeh said she wanted to learn to read at the age of four when another girl teased her that she couldn't.
Her father, Abbas Ghassemi, is the director of the Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium (WERC) at NMSU.
Marzyeh is involved in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery.
Marzyeh initially began pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. While taking a programming class as part of her major, she enjoyed it
so much that she declared computer science as a second major. She then found out she would only need a few more classes to have a mathematics degree, so she added it as well.
"I would really like to become a biomedical engineer because it involves problem-solving and applying concepts to human problems," said Marzyeh. "This scholarship will help me achieve my goal of doing research that will help people and have a social benefit."
In its 17-year history, the Goldwater Foundation has awarded 4,562 scholarships worth more than $45 million.
"Marzyeh Ghassemi was one of 320 students nationwide awarded
the Goldwater Scholarship for the 2005-2006 school year.(NMSU photo by
Go back toNMSU News Releases http://www.nmsu.edu/~ucomm/Releases_toc.html
Don't forget to pick up veggies today. Bucket loads of spinach, lettuce and radishes again, plus kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage and bok choi make their appearance. The warm weather is hastening crop production now almost too much. First it is too cool for too long and then whamo we go into the 80s. A few more weeks in the 70s would be better!
Today students made presentations in class on their semester projects. One student Crystal Jones, presented a 10-minute documentary she made on Jeff Graham at Mysterious Horizons, and his farming operations. Another student, Sara Williams, made a presentation on using cucumber peel extract to repel red flour beetles from penetrating little muslin bags of flour. She found a linear relationship between concentration of the cucumber peel extract on the muslin cloth and the number beetles inside the bags and dead beetles. It is quite exciting really, as she could verify the relationship with additional work, and produce a commercial product: little muslin cloths coated with cucumber peel extract. They could be used in canisters on your countertop to prevent beetles from getting in. In some countries, those flour beetles will ruin up to 30% of grain products in storage. Often the conventional alternative is to spray malathion, she said.
Some members have expressed interest in making donations to OASIS. With these funds, our priorities would be to buy a washing station so that Pauline and the students won't have to wash root crops in buckets. We would also eventually like to get our own tractor. We also want a flamer for weed control.
Here are the particulars for doing so. According to Barbara Wise (Major Gifts Officer for the College of Agricuture and Home Economics),the Organic Agricultural Students Inspiring Sustainability (OASIS) Program account has been established at the Foundation. The account number is 2.61214.102. Anyone may donate to the program by writing a check to NMSU Foundation with "OASIS" in the memo line.
If you are new to OASIS, you might think you didn't get very much last week, but be patient, the season always starts slowly as crops mature, and then really picks up as we move into summer.
I am using our listserv this week, and I am sending via CC this email to those who we determined have not signed up for the listserv. I hope everyone gets this message! If you decide to join the listserv, and need another invitation to do so, or just do it on your own, please let me know so I can delete you from the CC list.
Don't forget to pick up your veggies tomorrow. I haven't been to the field yet this week (class is tomorrow morning), so I don't know for sure if there will be anything new or not, but I'm betting on kohlrabi.
I got a call this week from the city planner in El Paso, on behalf of an El Paso group called Save The Valley, who apparently got their hands on 100 acres that they want to prevent going into houses. They want some advice on possibly starting a CSA! I might be asked to give a presentation sometime soon there. I'll keep you posted on these "developments." I only wish we had more space at OASIS to trial other crops we could recommend, such as berries, fruit trees, artichokes, etc.
Erin and I are working with OASIS member Christine Laney on possibly establishing some replicated trials on her new property in town. The research would focus on identifying leguminous cover crops that we'd plant in late summer and that would be frost sensitive. They'd die in the fall when frost occurs, and remain in the field as a killed mulch, which we could plant into later. This would help retain soil moisture, soil, and increase soil organic matter and fertility. Ideally, if the system looks promising and we can get funding to continue, we'd experiment with cover crops that might require a mechanical killing in the fall to enable an October planting of vegetables, for January harvest. A January harvest would be desirable for OASIS because spring students would have more field work opportunities earlier in the semester. From a commercial perspective, organic winter vegetables are very much in demand to the north of us. We got an inquiry from Denver last year from buyers looking to source from a closer region than California. Erin's idea is that the killed mulch system could benefit conventional farmers who leave their ground bare in the winter, but also for organic growers like OASIS. At OASIS, we need to work out a fertility program that reduces reliance on dairy manures and fish fertilizer injected into the drip tape. Manures bring salts to the fields, and sometimes weed seeds, and fish fertilizer is expensive, and not exactly a "local" source, coming from the East Coast.
HI OASIS members.
Distribution begins this week with some broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, spinach, herbs, and parsley. We would have had lettuce, except for the squirrel who ate the entire first round, and continues to evade capture. The broccoli and cauliflower are not as great as they have been in past seasons. The weather conditions have been very sub-optimal.
If you are new to OASIS, distribution takes place at the NMSU Fabian Garcia farm, which is just west of the RR tracks on University as you are driving to Mesilla. You take the second left turn into the parking lot, (or park along the chain link fence). The OASIS banner will be hanging from the distribution room. Distribution is 4-6 pm starting this Wednesday.
We have established an NMSU Foundation account for OASIS, entitled "OASIS Program." Contributions to the account are considered tax deductible charitable contributions. Barbara Wise is in charge of these accounts. Her email is email@example.com.
I won't be attending distributions until after classes finish this spring
as I teach until 5:45 pm on Wednesdays.
Welcome to the 2005 season of OASIS. We are beginning our 4th year of growing diverse vegetables, flowers and herbs for the local community, teaching students organic production methods, trialing organic seed varieties, and reaching out to the local community. I'm looking forward to another challenging and exciting year of improvements and changes at OASIS.
Each week during distribution, which typically lasts 34 weeks and begins in early April and runs through mid to late November, I send out a reminder to our members to pick up their goodies, and I provide news about what's going on in the project and the field. This is the first such installment.
We have a listserv at Topica.com. Some of our returning members are already
subscribed. I will be submitting this list of email addresses to our listserv
at Topica.com. If you are not already subscribed, Topica will sort out
what emails are new, and send out invitations to you. To subscribe
(free!) you will need to respond to that email invitation. If you don't subscribe, you won't get the weekly email message from me, UNLESS you make other arrangements with me. I have in the past cc-ed some people who for some reason preferred not to subscribe, but I won't know to do this unless you tell me. Of course, the fewer people I have to tack onto the CC list the better.
Okay, here's the latest news. When do we start?
Pauline hasn't given me a definite start date. In the past, we started either the first or second week of April. I don't think we are starting next week, April 6, but I am almost certain we will start by April 13. We have several issues which may be delaying slightly the beginning of the harvest. 1. A squirrel ate our entire first round of lettuce. 2. The heavy winter rains seem to have washed out some of the fertility in the field so things are small and growing more slowly than anticipated. 3. We don't want to ask you to come in for a distribution of a small measly bag of something the first week. We'd rather harvest say some broccoli, keep it a week, and supplement it the next week with some salad greens and maybe kohlrabi, all of which are almost ready.
However, in case we do start next week, I will definitely tell you as soon as Pauline confirms with me.
During the past 3 years, we grew 366 different varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs, on 2/3 acre, and generated about $57,000 in gross income. All of this production information we have kept, and our website will soon be updated so that anyone can download production information by variety. We've had some tremendous support from a couple of database classes that OASIS members Jennifer Kreie and Kerry Alt teach. If you would like to see more summary production details, let me know. I have everything organized in lots of nice tables.
The enrollment this spring increased significantly due to the Honors College adopting us and the Gen Ed program awarding us a G designation. We have 20 students, and they are great! The Honors students have to complete 10 hours of Service Learning activities related to food production or hunger in the community. One of our students, Vicki Nisbett, contacted the Community Action Agency, and got permission to put in gardens in the Tres Manos women's weaving cooperative in San Miguel, and in the Pregnant Teen Home that CAA operates over by Madrid and Alameda. I worked with the students over spring break putting in the garden at the Pregnant Teen Home, and it was a lot of work but lots of fun. The beds were prepared, and we're waiting on the transplants to get bigger to plant a summer garden there. Vicki also got Wal Mart and Home Depot to make donations for the gardens. Enchanted Gardens also contributed seeds (thanks Jackye Meinecke). Last semester, one of our students, Camella, decided to work with Sandy Degler, at Jornada Elementary, putting in a garden and compost facility for her class. Camella is continuing the work this spring, and turning the project into an Honors thesis. Several students this spring are also helping Camella for their work hours.
We have two journalism students in the class preparing projects about OASIS. One is a radio broadcast and one is a short documentary. Both include interviews with Jeff Graham, a local organic farmer who is converting part of his operation into a CSA this year with our help. We gave him our waiting list and all of our production and financial information, and Jeff has received volunteer help from several OASIS students. Recently he also hired one of them.
Jeff and I gave a joint presentation at the Rotary club recently, and afterward I talked with Bernadine from United Way. I am hoping we can start relationships with other agencies in town that might use our Service Learning student hours in interesting projects. Sometimes I'm a little slow. I just only recently realized that OASIS member Sandy Davenport is the director of United Way.
During January I met several times with the city grant writers, city landscape architect, and reps from Master Gardeners, RSVP, CAA, Community of Hope, and WesstCorp, about forming a city-wide or southern NM coalition on hunger/food security. We wanted to apply for one of the USDA Community Food grants, but did not have enough time to get organized for the March 30 deadline. We want to resume our talks this summer, and see if we can put something together for next year. The goal would be to increase local production for local consumption, improved local nutrition, job opportunities, economic development and open space preservation. I think we can put together a winning proposal with a broad base of support. OASIS has the production information and experience now to assist in several projects, but we need some kind of coordinating organization. I also think we need a community greenhouse to start transplants and maybe storage for community garden equipment (rototillers), tools, and materials.
Okay for the bad news. HB 90 did not pass in the last legislative session, and the bill would have funded Pauline's position. Although we receive funding from the Honors College and from a small grant with Cornell University (the Organic Seed Proposal in which we grow out organic seeds), we do not have adequate funding for Pauline's position. I had not anticipated that we'd run out of our savings from years 1-3 (in which the project was grant supported) so quickly, but we did. Not to make excuses, but my previous estimates indicated we were in good shape for a few more years. However, I get accounting information infrequently, and it is confusing when I get it, and I am only now in a position to estimate truly what situation we are in. We cover all of our farming expenses and then have a little left over, but even with our other two sources of income, we do not pay Pauline's salary. Without Pauline to run the farm, collect data, and help with class, the project will fold, and that could come at the end of 2005, which means we'd have to turn away two years of Cornell grant funds and close down the class. I don't know what to do about it. I've been busy looking for grants, along with Erin Silva, but ultimately I think we will need to convert Pauline's salary to hard money. The soft money treadmill is challenging, to find funding for a position to which it is difficult to attach new job responsibilities. The college so far has not been, shall we say, enthusiastic, about supporting OASIS. The possibility of expanding the project to generate more income is absolutely not a possibility, it seems. We have gotten permission to cut down those pine trees north of our field, but we will need that space to more effectively rotate vegetable production with green manure crops, and do some cover crop field testing and other organic experiments.
I have the vision that this project benefits the entire university, as well as the community, and I'd like to think the university would find a way to keep us going. But I don't know anymore to whom I should be talking. The New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, the state organic certification and regulatory agency, has a grant source in mind we can approach, but of course that is not a sure thing (I don't even know what grant agency it is at the moment). I sure could use some new ideas. Ideas anyone?
To remind you, subscribe to the Topica.com invitation when you get it to continue receiving OASIS updates on a weekly basis.
See you soon at distribution. I'll confirm when Distibution #1 starts. Connie
We are excited about the new year's adventures. With the help of OASIS students this spring, and Pauline's expert assistance, Jeff Graham will start a new CSA in 2005 with similar crops and prices. He is located near Picacho Hills, so if you live in that area, you might consider signing up with him if it is more convenient for you. We will pass on to him our waiting list after we hear from our renewing members and we know how many slots are available to waiting list folks (there are 60+ people on the waiting list).
So here are a few deadlines:
Feb. 15 deadline to notify Connie that you are renewing at OASIS. If you don't let me know, I'll assume you are not renewing.
Feb. 20 Connie notifies OASIS waiting list members whether they can join OASIS.
Feb. 25. Deadline for waiting list members to respond affirmatively they will join OASIS.
March 1. Deadline for Connie to pass waiting list names on to Jeff Graham.
March 31 Deadline for OASIS members to make full or half payment on shares.
If you know a 2004 OASIS member who for some reason unsubscribed from our listserv and would like to renew, please forward this message to them.
I look forward to seeing everyone again when we start distribution in April.
A journal article about the OASIS class is available on-line now (see link below). In addition, students from the spring 04 class and Chris Cramer will appear in a photograph on the cover of the journal when a print version comes out.
Next week I hope to get the OASIS 2005 season renewal forms sent out to the 2004 members. The class begins planting next Wednesday. We have a large and enthusiastic class this spring and I look forward to a very fun season.
Diversified Organic Crop Production Using the Community Supported Agriculture
Farming System Model Constance L. Falk,* Pauline Pao, and Christopher
S. Cramer An organic garden operated as a community supported agriculture
(CSA) venture on the New Mexico State University (NMSU) main campus
was begun in January 2002. Students enroll in an organic vegetable production
class during spring and fall semesters to help
manage and work on the project. The CSA model of farming involves the sale
shares to members who receive weekly assortments of the farm's output...
Thanks everyone for a great season. Below you will find some interesting essays, sponsored by the Center for Ecoliteracy, about food, school lunches, eating, and culture.
I talked today with Frank Cordero, who teaches cooking to DABCC and NMSU students, and he's excited about collaborating next year with OASIS. He wants to buy vegetables, herbs, and flowers for use in his classes and especially for the meals the students cook for the public. Frank said he thinks there are several students in his classes who have entrepreneurial spirit, and may set out to develop catering services and restaurants that feature local and organic.
We think we have lined up a local farmer to help with the excess demand for OASIS memberships (long waiting list) next year. We are talking to Jeff Graham, who operates a certified organic farm near Picacho Hills, about setting him up in business with a CSA. I also talked recently with Sally Harper, owner of Del Valle certified organic pecans, and she wants to offer OASIS members pecans next year, which I think we'll do.
Have a wonderful holiday season, and we'll be in touch about membership renewals in the early spring. Connie
Thinking Outside the Lunch Box
Food, Public Policy, and Strategies for Change
by Marion Nestle
Pleasures of Eating
by Wendell Berry
by Alice Waters
by Joan Dye Gussow
The Nature and
Purpose of Education
by Maurice Holt
I hope the weather continues to warm up today and the skies to clear for tonight's distribution. The farm has been very muddy the past few days, but the harvest has proceeded well. There will be live music tonight, more crafts and baked goods, and an attempt at starting something like an annual fall festival to celebrate the end of the growing season, a sentiment that also expresses appreciation for all the hard work everyone does and the bountiful harvest, and a desire to share good food with friends and family.
Next week Pauline, some of the students, and I will "glean" what's left in the field to give to El Caldito.
Tonight is the last 2004 distribution. You will be notified sometime in February or March about signing up for 2005. Renewing members are given priority for shares, and then after a period of time, the memberships are sold to people on the waiting list.
When our final numbers are in regarding OASIS production and economics, I will be emailing you a report that summarizes our first three years of efforts.
We will have visitors possibly today at distribution, as the participants in the NM Organic Commodity Commission workshop on transition into organic production are invited to join us. About 20 people showed up for the workshop on Monday and participated in the field trips yesterday. An interesting group of people, all very excited about organic production, participated the past few days, and many found connections among themselves. I hope each year that we co-host this workshop with NMOCC that participation increases.
After seeing Pauline and the students wash by hand in buckets all the root crops the past several weeks, I think I should make as a priority a fund-raising drive to build a washing station. I'm thinking we could use something like a commercial dish washing operation, which uses trays on racks with rollers, and overhead high pressure water spraying capacity, so you wash the vegetables with an overhead sprayer and the rack of vegetables rolls by. We could set it up so the water then goes to water one of our garden plots, possibly the one on the south side. If anyone has ideas about how to raise money for this, and how much it would cost, I'd appreciate any input/help on this project.
See you tonight!!!! Connie
Kate has forwarded carrot recipes, which must mean carrots are being dug. Rather than make paper copies, I'm pasting the recipes below. We can save paper that way.
Tomorrow is the second to last distribution. I looked at our annual poundage totals the other day, and we have harvested right around 16,000 pounds so far. Our first year we harvested 20,000 pounds, and about 16,000 in our second year, so we should get close to the 20,000 pound mark I think once carrots and sweet potatoes and the remainder of the heavy fall crops are in the total. At the end of the season, I'll send you a summary of all the important production and economic data so that you have an idea of how the project is doing. We don't weigh flowers, so the increased flower production is accounted for only in bunch production numbers, which you may have noticed, increased considerably this year, along with the flower varieties offered.
Traditional Glazed Carrots
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and roll cut*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1) In a steamer set over boiling water, steam the carrots for 4 to 8 minutes, or until they are just tender, and transfer them to a bowl.
2) In a skillet melt the butter with the sugar and the lemon juice, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and add the carrots.
3) Cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the carrots are glazed evenly and heated through, and season it with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.
*Note: To roll cut carrots: place the peeled carrot on a cutting board.
Make a diagonal cut to remove the stem end. Hold knife in the same position and roll the carrot 180 degrees (a half turn). Slice through it on the same diagonal, forming a piece with 2 angled edges. Repeat with remaining carrot(s).
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to grease loaf pan
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound spinach, cleaned, with stems removed
4 ounces grated Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Sautee the carrots slowly in 2 tbsp of butter until tender. Remove from pan and set aside.
3) Over high heat, sautee the mushrooms in 1/2 tbsp of butter for 2 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop carrots and mushrooms.
4) Sautee spinach in 1/2 tbsp of butter until wilted. Chop coarsely and reserve separately. When the spinach is cool, add 1 egg and mix thoroughly.
5) Beat together the remaining eggs and the cheese. Combine this mixture thoroughly with the carrots and mushrooms. Add salt and pepper. Taste and correct seasonings, if necessary.
6) Generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. (A comparable loaf pan will do). Fill the pan with half the carrot mixture, cover with the spinach, and top with the remaining carrot mixture. Cover lightly with foil.
7) Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
8) Invert onto a warm serving platter and remove the foil. Slice and serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings
I hope you got a chance to vote today.
Tomorrow is our third to last distribution. At the last two distributions, Nov. 10 and 17, we will have our first attempt at a Fall Festival. The students have organized a bake sale and crafts sale, and there are rumors that Joshua Rosenblatt is organizing some live music (contact him directly if you play an instrument and want to participate: firstname.lastname@example.org. On Nov. 17, the participants in the NM Organic Commodity Commission workshop on organic certification will be invited to join us at our final distribution.
I don't know what may be new tomorrow; I think there will definitely be cauliflower again. I'm not sure if carrots will start this week or next, and we will be having sweet potatoes sometime in the next three weeks, probably closer to Thanksgiving. We've planted garlic and leeks in our new 1/10 acre plot on the south side of University, which 2005 members will get. It will be our first attempt at garlic and leeks, which need to overwinter.
A student in the OASIS class will be conducting our annual Member Satisfaction Survey this week and next. I hope you can take the time to fill out the little survey so we have an idea of what you liked/didn't like this year.
If you are a member this year, you will have top priority for renewal next year. We will invite current members first to renew before opening up opportunities for people on the waiting list. Renewals will take place early in 2005. We are always looking for farmers who may want to collaborate with us. Our waiting list currently exceeds our production capacity if most of our current members renew.
We recently got permission to cut the pine trees just north of our main field, which will enable us to expand production some, but more importantly, rotate our field with a cover crop and possibly conduct some replicated field trials.
See you tomorrow! Connie
Cauliflower will make its fall debut today. The fall crops this year are very beautiful. It's such a joy, even in the mud, to be out there harvesting each week.
The students are organizing two weeks of Fall Harvest Festival, for the distribution Wednesdays Nov. 10 and 17. They will be baking things and making crafts. On the 10th, baked goods will be given out to members and crafts available for sale. On the 17th, both will be available for sale to members and to the public. A few musicians have indicated their willingness to play as well. If you are a musician, and want to jam, contact Joshua at email@example.com. Joshua is the new City water conservation specialist, and a long time professional guitar player. He is organizing some music for us!
To coincide with the OASIS Fall Harvest Festival, the NM Organic Commodity Commission is hosting an organic workshop Nov. 15-17. On the 15th, there will be presentations in the classroom at Fabian Garcia (our distribution room) and a tour of Dr. Joe Ellington's entomology lab and insectary. Dr. Ellington has been a leader in biological control in the state for almost 40 years and is engaged in some very exciting work. On the 16, tours of the Alvarez Farms and Del Valle Pecans will take place. The Alvarez Farms grow certified organic chile, alfalfa, and cotton on 750 acres. It is an impressive farm operation. The Alvarez sell to Switzerland and Japan, and are often seen wearing Patagonia shirts made from their cotton. Del Valle Pecans is a certified organic farm as well, operated by Sally Harper, widow of a former faculty member in the Ag. Econ. department, Wilmer Harper.
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, everyone who attends the NMOCC workshop is invited to attend our last 2004 season distribution and join our Fall Harvest Festival. Joanie Quinn, who is the marketing director at NMOCC, will be joining us that day, and helping harvest!
I don't recall if I mentioned this in a weekly reminder, but we have a tally now of crop varieties grown so far: 366 different varieties of flowers, vegetables, and herbs in 3 years. Quite a feat on less than an acre.
I hope to see you at distribution!
If you would like a brochure to sign up for the NMOCC workshop, or know
someone who would, let me know. I'll
take some brochures to distribution today. The workshop is entitled: "Going
Organic? A Practical Workshop on What You Need to Know to Get and Stay
Connie is out helping with the harvest this afternoon. She called in saying that green beans will reappear this afternoon along with cucumbers! Pauline planted some summer crops late and they are apparently doing very well. There will also be a new variety of lettuce in the mix today called Jericho, it is green but not quite as light green as the Black Seeded Simpson. The other crops will be the same as last week: beets, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, salad greens, herbs, turnips.
Enjoy your salads! Sylvia
The fall crops were beautiful this morning, glistening with dew drops. New crops today include beets, broccoli and cauliflower. The summer field is turned under....alas summer has come to an end, although eggplant will make its final appearance today.
Here are a few links to resources you might find interesting if you are concerned about farmland protection issues:
Two New Reports Look at Rural Smart Growth Strategies, Farmland Protection Tool in North Carolina
To help rural leaders across the state deal with growth and development, the North Carolina Smart Growth Alliance has published http://www.ncsmartgrowth.org/pgm/hrci/r&aguide/NCSGA_Resource_Action_Guide.pdf Healthy Rural Communities: A Resource and Action Guide for North Carolina (PDF /1.5 mb). The guide describes growth and development trends in rural North Carolina , and it provides examples, best practices and data that will help rural communities guide future growth and development. It also cites resources including leadership training opportunities, statewide direct technical assistance, technical assistance publications and online technical assistance resources. http://www.farmland.org/southeast/nc_vad.htm North Carolina Voluntary Agricultural Districts (VAD), a related document by American Farmland Trust, chronicles the progress of statewide VAD programs and highlights innovative VAD activities in counties across the state. VADs are a primary tool for farmland protection in the state.
http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=16575&folder_id=260 Nonprofits Collaborate to Protect Urban Ag Land in Massachusetts
The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, and Nuestras Raíces, Inc. (NR) announced Tuesday that TPL has acquired approximately four acres of riverfront land located at the corner of Main Street and Jones Ferry Road in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Nuestras Raíces (“Our Roots”), a grassroots organization that advances economic, human, and community development in inner-city Holyoke, has unveiled a promising plan for the property that will provide Holyoke with cultural events, economic opportunities, and a beautiful riverfront open space near the urban core. Over half of the land will be divided into one-quarter to one-half-acre plots, to be rented by 4-6 experienced community gardeners who will begin a transition to organic commercial farming. These urban farmers will be supported with technical assistance, business planning assistance, training, and access to farming equipment to make their future evolution to larger-scale farming possible. New farmer Luis Aponte says, “Farming here is about learning, about feeling the connection with Puerto Rico, and that we are all together.”
Flowers are still beautiful. See you this afternoon! Connie
Don't forget tomorrow is Wednesday and vegetable pickup day. I haven't been out to the farm this week yet, but I'm sure fall veggies are continuing to accelerate. I think Pauline is having the summer field turned under after this week's distribution, so it should be the last week for summer veggies. Tomatoes had a noticeable drop last week.
We recently were notified that the OASIS class will be included in the General Education program starting in the spring 2005 semester. However, for reasons I don't fully comprehend, the class was not allowed in the Honors program with a G designation. This project always seems to take one step forward and two back. I'm also thinking of our land constraint plight; after the spring 2005 crop, we will have access to only the 2/3 acre main field, and the 1/10 acre field. We lost the 4/10 acre field we were using for rotations. I wish the university could cut down some of those pine trees just north of our main 2/3 acre plot, but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears in the college so far.
I got a call yesterday from a vegetable cooperative operating (I think) in northern NM, Tres Rios. (They may produce in Colorado). Their representative Dan Hobbs called looking for organic vegetable growers in southern NM who would like to send vegetables during the winter window up to Denver. He said an Empire truck goes three times a week from El Paso to Denver, and could take organic vegetables along for $80/pallet. An opportunity for someone who wanted to move into commercial organic vegetable production. Dan said that the Denver market is currently bringing in its organic winter vegetables from much greater distances. If anyone is interested or knows of an interested farmer, I can pass Dan's contact information on.
The HNFS (human nutrition and food science) student club in the college is going to undertake a project to approach the university about organizing local procurement of veggies for on-campus food service. I have a student working for me who is in the club and wants to do the legwork on this.
If we are to provide
alternatives to the paving over of the last river bottoms in NM, we don't
have much time. The developers are turning their
sights on farmland. Did you see yesterday's front page article about the
300 acres (1200 homes) being developed in the north valley? I was particularly
galled by the EBID spokesperson declaring that such development is in effect
inevitable. There are also houses going up in a
stretch of farmland along Camino Real, east of Dona Ana Road, between N. Main and Dona Ana. It's inevitable only if no one cares. But once these fertile river bottom lands are developed all we have left is aquifer mining agriculture in NM, not sustainable long term. With the loss of irrigated agriculture in the river valleys, the state will lose an important aspect of its beauty, character, and potential, in my opinion. And don't get me started on food security issues.
The Sept/Oct 2004 issue of Sierra Magazine has an excellent article by Michael Pollan that many CFSC list members may find of interest. See the below website link to access the full article.
" The Cheapest Calories Make You the Fattest", The "Food Chain" Journalist Looks for Stories in Our Meals, September/October 2004
Hi everyone again. Today is the first day of fall, and on schedule, lettuce, spinach, and kohlrabi were harvested today! So you'll get lettuce AND tomatoes on the same day. We had a crop failure again with snap peas, but the snow peas came up. Pauline will plant twice a crop which doesn't come up the first time, but won't plant a third time. This is the second year fall snap peas didn't make it. She said the weather is the reason. It's too hot to plant when we need to in order to get a harvest in time by November, so that might be the end of fall planted snap peas. They do great in the spring however.
I thought this news might be interesting to some of you who are not on the community food security coalition listserv, which is were I got this.
See you! Connie
Editor's Note: Agricultural policy stressing high input farming, while initialing increasing yields, exhausts soil over time and productivity begins to fall off. Many farmers become embroiled with debts to incur ever more fertilizers and pesticides. In India last month, small and organic farmers from many parts of the country met to create a plan to help bring organic agriculture to the core of agriculture policy to address ecological destruction, farmer poverty and food security. This gathering in India comes on the heels of the First World Conference on Organic Seed held in Rome in July http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2004/47867/index.html
Organic Farmers Organize to Save India's 700 Million Farmers and Rural Villagers
Farmers' Meet On Organic Farming Gets Off To A Start In Dehradun Today
ASHOK B SHARMA
New Delhi, Aug 1
Country's growers engaged in organic farming are converging at Ramgarh village in Dehradun district in Uttaranchal for a two-day conference begining on August 2 for formulating an `India Organic Vision 2020.' The vision document will enable Indian farmers to successfully tap the $ 37 billion global market for organic foods.
The conference will also deliberate on the issue of recent suicides committed by farmers on account of being debt-trapped and use of spurious pesticides and fertilisers leading to crop failure. The event named `Vasundhara : A National Gathering of Organic Communities' is being hosted by Navdanya Biodiversity Farm in village Ramgarh in Uttaranchal.
More than 250 organic growers, seed savers and biodiversity conservers from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh are slated to participate in the event.
Speaking to FE, Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya said "we will work together to strengthen the solidarity among organic communities, identifying the strengths of the organic movement and the problems faced by organic growers. We will also set an India Organic Vision 2020. The objective of the Vision 2020 will be to put small and marginal farmers and organic farming at the centre of India's agriculture policy."
The organic farmers believe that much of the cases of suidicies committed by farmers are due to the use of suprious fertilisers and pesticides which has lead to crop failure. In such cases the farmers are unable to pay back the loans and become debt-trapped. Therefore, the alternate way is to go for organic farming which is less expensive, environment friendly and ensures higher yields.
The factor productivity decreases as the soil is degraded due to excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The crop
productivity and production gets plateaued after a certain level. But when the soil is restored back to health after use of different varieties of biofertilisers through organic farming, the crop productivity marks an increase. The productivity of sugarcane crop is found to increase by 25 per cent through organic farming. Similarly the productivity of some cereal and horticulture crops increases on account of organic farming. Besides the consumers worldover have become conscious of organic food having no pesticide residues and the global market for organic food has grown to the size of $ 37 billion.
In this context, Dr Vandana Shiva said "the need of the hour is to make an ecological transition to produce more food using fewer resources. This is possible only through adopting organic methods of farming. The success of our organic growers has shown that farm incomes can increase threefold by giving up the use of chemicals and by using inputs produced by on-farm biodiversity. It is irrational, irresponsible and unscientific to continue to destroy our vital resouces and fragile ecolological fabric of our planet through chemical farming and transgenic technology driven agriculture."
Dr Shiva said that Indian agriculture is in a critical phase. More than 300 farmers committed suicide in just six weeks during May-June, 2004 in Andhra Pradesh and more than 25,000 farmers in the country in the last five years. The agricultural crisis is aggravated by unfair practices of trade liberalisation and globalisation and the consequences of deepening farmers debts, she said.
She further added :"the present government has recognised the fact that farmers are committing suicides and have also taken steps in mitigating their distress and desitution. The path taken by the government to solve the agricultural crisis, however, takes the same route of liberalisation, providing more credit to farmers, deregulating the seed sector and promoting export-oriented crops. In our view, this is not the lasting solution. This would put the farmers off their fields by making agriculture less remunerative and increasing unemployment."
WHO WE ARE: This e-mail service shares information to help more people discuss crucial policy issues affecting global food security. The service is managed by Amber McNair of the University of Toronto in association with the Munk Centre for International Studies and Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council, in partnership with the Community Food Security Coalition, World Hunger Year, and International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture. Please help by sending information or names and e-mail addresses of co-workers who'd like to receive this service, to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Usually I like to send the reminders on Wednesday, after I've been to the field, but the last two weeks people have told me their reminders didn't arrive until Thursday, maybe due to hangups in the server. So I'll go a day early this week, and hope you don't forget tomorrow, if you get this today, Tuesday. I'm already confused!
This weekend we are taking the students on a field trip to the No Cattle Co. in Hanover, NM, which is a diversified organic farm along the Mimbres River, north and east of Deming. This farm was the first certified organic farm in NM by the state agency, NM Organic Commodity Commission. Sharlene Grunerud and Michael Alexander have a beautiful place, with a fruit orchard, fresh cut flowers, vegetables, cider making, greenhouses. The farm is nestled next to the Mimbres, with towering cottonwoods that often serve as perches for bears in the summer who come down from the Black Range looking for sweet apples. Some years the bear poop in the orchard is a significant organic fertilizer!
Sharlene will be selling her beautiful dried flower wreaths at the Renaissance Festival this year in Cruces, so look for her booth if you can.
Pauline said lettuce would start this week or next. I won't know for sure until tomorrow.
The fresh cut flower sales we have been doing lately, using the little sign by the side of the road, have brought in numerous requests to be on our waiting list next year. I am afraid that we will have way more people wanting shares than we are capable of serving. Today I talked to two local farmers who are leaders in the Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers of America, who are looking for new opportunities for a much neglected segment of the local farming community... the small acreage Hispanic farmers. I'm wondering how we might be able to expand OASIS in a way to let in more members, and find a market for these farmers, who seem interested in alternative marketing/commodities/opportunities.
There is an interesting description in a paper I have on my desk about international organic markets, that describes a scheme in the Netherlands, in which farmers take their CSA "bags" full of that week's veggies, to a local grocery, who distributes to the members. This makes it easy for members to do all their shopping at one place, and eliminates the need for farmers to have their own distribution setup. The grocery benefits because it brings in more people. I was thinking about Mt. View Harvest...Anyway, just an idea...
Don't forget your veggies today. It's Wednesday yet again. We have rodents in our tomatoes, chomping down on the prettiest ones, unfortunately. It seems they take one bite out of a perfect tomato and move on to the next.
I'm wondering if we'll make it to a distribution that includes both tomatoes and lettuce!
I visited a school garden in Albuquerque this weekend. It is very wild. The students all voted to plant crops for birds, and their teachers wrote a grant to get the 1st graders all binoculars, so now the students can identify gold finches and blue grosbeaks and other exotic birds that come to the garden for all the wonderful treats. The garden has all these neat little paths through it for the students to wander through. Quite a remarkable place, and very different from my own vision about what a school garden could/should be.
Just back from the field. Class enrollment held at 9, a good group this semester, from various disciplines. One of the students is studying nursing, and intends to start an organic garlic farm. He suggested we approach the local Kubota dealer to see if they had any small tractor repos we could get donated to OASIS. If this works, and we get a small tractor, we'd save money on tractor charges, and have more flexibility in field work, and be able to train students in field preparation. So thanks Greg for the idea! I'll keep you informed if we make progress.
We'll have a visitor today from Rocky Mt. Farmers Union, which assists farmers in CO, NM, and WY with farmer cooperative development. I've worked with RMFU some over the years doing feasibility analysis. RMFU is down here primarily to help the local chapter of the Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers Association, Inc. organize a local marketing cooperative for vegetable sales.
My new office will be complete after this weekend. Drop by starting next week anytime (except W and F mornings) to see it. GT 342.
See you at distribution! Connie
Don't forget to swing by today for veggies and flowers. The rains have hurt the chiles some, but really helped the weeds, yikes! Eggplants and beans were looking good this morning, tomatoes, too.
Chris Cramer has extended our "temporary" use
of the north, or lower, field that we used this year for the first time.
The only stipulation is that we work on organic onions, since he's an onion
It seems like a good arrangement. The biggest challenge, as I understand it, is that onions have big thrips infestations, so we need to work out some kind of thrips control, either by spraying pyrethrins or by managing them with cover crops (vetch is an option explored by a previous OASIS student). The lower field is about 4/10 acre, and we used it this year for some of the new crops like edamame, also for the sweet corn, some flowers, and the legume/sudan trials in which Pauline found that sesbania was quite a good leguminous summer cover crop. We are also using that field to rotate our fall planting into, instead of planting into the same ground that spring crops came out of. Now we can put in a winter cover crop in the spring field.
See you this afternoon! Connie
Remember to pick up your veggies this afternoon. Today’s harvest will look a lot like last week, summer crops are tapering off.
Have a good afternoon, Sylvia
Despite the rain, the summer crew has been able to get into the field and harvest, so distribution will continue as normal today. The crop selection is about the same, although quantities are starting to go down and will continue in that direction until it is too cold for summer crops. Fall crops were planted last week, right before the deluge, and Pauline is a little concerned that some seed may have washed away. Fall crops will be similar to spring crops, and hopefully, you'll have at least a few weeks of overlap so that you can have a salad with both lettuce and tomatoes in it at the same time!
School starts next week, and enrollment in the class is still worrisome. We have 8 at the moment. Ten is considered the minimum.
I completed all the paper work to get a "G" assigned to the course so students outside of the CAHE (College of Ag and Home Economics) can get Viewing a Wider World credit for taking the class: AGE/HORT 330 in the fall or AGE/HORT 331 in the spring. Also for the first time, OASIS will be offered as an Honors class this fall (HON 430), thanks to the diligence and commitment of OASIS member and Honors College director Bill Eamon. (Thanks Bill!). I haven't received confirmation yet that the G is totally approved starting in Spring 2005, but I am hopeful. Assuming that it is, and a student takes the class this fall, presumably they could petition to receive VWW credit for the class this fall, even though the G is not there yet. Honors students will, in addition to meeting regular class requirements, be required to participate in 10 hours of Service Learning with social service agencies that deal with hunger in the community, such as the Community Action Agency and El Caldito.
So if you know of students who may be interested in taking the OASIS class, tell them to either enroll, or talk to me! Erin Silva will be taking over for Chris Cramer starting this fall, as the Horticulture co-instructor. I'm very happy that Erin is here!
See everyone this afternoon! Connie
I nearly forgot to remind you that it's time to get your plastic sacks organized and your leftover egg cartons.
It should be another big haul again this week. I've been hearing good reports about the sweet corn actually being sweet, so that's good news. We didn't intend to plant corn this summer, as it took lots of field space last year and the yields were low and the quality poor, but the students in the spring class insisted we plant sweet corn again. And it turned out well! We put the sweet corn in our temporary north field, so it didn't take space from the main field.
I'll be moving my office in the next few days down the hall, after 15 years in the same space. I intend to redecorate, with a farming/food theme. After I get settled in, I'll invite you to drop by and visit!
See you this afternoon! Connie
The attached article in the New Farm magazine http://www.newfarm.org/features/0804/msu/index.shtml is about a campus CSA in Michigan. The marketing director of the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, Joanie Quinn, shared it with me recently. Speaking of NMOCC, we hope to be filling out our organic certification forms soon, for certification to take effect in the fall! Can you believe it has almost been three years since we started this project? We will be certifying through NMOCC, which is accredited in the National Organic Program (NOP), the federal program that certifies the certifiers.
Kate Hoffman, our summer student employee, majoring in nutrition, won the herbal iced tea challenge last week. She had the basil/mint/stevia brew. If anyone wants the tea combinations or recipes just let us know!
Some of you have placed orders for beef with a friend of mine, John L. Guldemann, who raises Longhorns without the use of antibiotics or hormones. Recently I inquired with John about sourcing natural pork. I personally won't purchase industrial pork anymore. I've just seen too many videos about the conditions in factory hog farms, not to mention the environmental effects of the large manure lagoons, and the fouling of neighbors' air.
John sent me this response. If you are interested, contact John directly. If one hog is too big, you might partner up with friends. Feel free to use the listserv to find someone to share with if you like. John's email is email@example.com.
See you this evening! Connie
About hogs, I have located 10 head. These pigs are raised all naturally, humanely with lots of access to the out of doors, with out the use of synthetic growth hormones or sub therapeutic antibiotics. They will cost
$185 and will weigh about 280-300 lbs. when finished. Mr. Jackson, the
processor, will kill and process for $150 which includes curring and smoking the hams and bacon. If you want one send me a $65 deposit and I will reserve one for you.
Talk to you later,
I had a long chat with Pauline in the field today, and learned about the results of our informal cover crop trials. Pauline planted 3 legumes by themselves, and each mixed 70%/30% with sudan grass. She feels an ideal cover crop combines the nitrogen fixing characteristics of a legume, with a more deeply rooted grass species. The legumes were cowpeas (black eye peas), crotoleria, and sesbania, the latter two relatively unknown crops in this or any region, which Pauline found in a seed catalogue. The sesbania was a winner it turns out, and can still be seen in the new north .40 acre field. The others were already turned under, (darnit I didn't get pictures). I plan to take pictures of the sesbania tomorrow. It's quite tall and only has barely started to flower. The other legumes could not outcompete the sudan grass, or they grew too slowly compared to the sudan grass, which started to flower and required them all to be turned under. Since the sesbania/sudan crop mix didn't do as well as just the sesbania alone (because of the earlier flowering sudan grass), Pauline thinks we should either play with the percentages of the combination or strip crop the two together so sudan grass planting can be delayed. Once the sesbania is planted and up, you can't go into the same plot and plant sudan.
Anyway I thought all that was interesting because cover cropping is something not researched in this region, and about the only thing used around here is small grains to rotate with chile, or sudan grass, or alfalfa, which is a nitrogen fixing perennial.
The good news for the week is that Cornell's grant proposal, The Organic Seed Partnership, of which OASIS is a collaborating project, was ranked 4 of 105 proposals to the new USDA organic research program. This means we'll get funding for part of Pauline's salary for 3 years, and money to hire students as well. What we'll do is plant organic seed of various crops that Cornell determines, like broccoli and cucurbits. We'll collect the data for them, which we do anyway on all our varieties. This project starts this fall! YEAH!!!!
Tomorrow the students are holding an herbal iced tea contest. They're each making about a gallon and Pauline will have little dixie cups for member evaluation. Come early to get a sample!
Tomorrow there should be more melons and watermelons, and edamame! Pauline will have edamame recipes available.
So don't forget to make distribution! Connie
Connie is out at the farm getting ready for this afternoon’s distribution. Summer veggies are here, so this week should be much the same as last…except that quantities are going up. There will also be flower bouquets for sale.
For the folks that chose to pay with 2 payments, it’s time for that second payment.
It's great to be home again.
Pauline says that everyone should get tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers this week as production has increased sufficiently. Several of our student workers are on vacation this week, so I'm heading out to make bouquets. We have enough flowers every week to sell additional flower shares, so if you know of anyone that wants 10 weeks of bouquets, for $25, tell them to let us know. We are considering bringing them to the Gerald Thomas lobby on Thursday mornings to facilitate sales.
I'll circulate a wider announcement later.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! Connie
Connie is winging her way home as I write this reminder. This week’s veggies will be about the same as last week: green beans, summer squash, basil, sweet peppers, herbs and some assorted rotating items. Beautiful bunches of flowers will be available for sale if you do not already have a flower share.
Connie is attending the Western Agricultural Economics Association meetings this week where she will be making a presentation about OASIS.
Pauline tells me that workers will be paving the parking lot so our usual entrance will be blocked there on University. Please use the entrance just EAST of the main gate today and keep an eye out for construction workers!
The recent rains are just what we needed to dilute the salt buildup from irrigation. Members from previous years will remember the problems that salt brought us last summer in particular. Harvest will be muddy today but it’s a small price to pay for the good that rain has done for us! Distribution today will consist of beans, squash, onions, herbs, and a rotating distribution vegetable.
Hello OASIS Members....
Both Connie and Sylvia are out this week so they asked me to send you a reminder to pick up your vegetables tomorrow (*06/23/04: Summer Squash, Beans, Basil, Onions, Herbs). Despite Connie's reminder last week, you probably won't all be getting eggplantt for at least a couple of weeks. Eggplant is one of the crops that is growing especially slow this year. However, I can report we will harvest one single eggplant tomorrow.
We need 70 units of any one crop in order to give Half Shares 1 and Full Shares 2. The summer crops won't produce enough for everyone to have a decent amount right away, although they should eventually. There's no point in giving everyone ONE tomatillo, right? We will therefore be assigning these miscellaneous items to you while keeping track of who gets what and when. They will be rotated this way until that certain crop produces enough in any one week for everyone. You will be told when you check in at the door whether you will receive a rotating item that week. For example, last week there were 22 units of these random crops (10 summer squash, 4 bags of tomatoes, 2 bags of okra, and 6 bags of tomatillos) which I assigned to some of you. At some point, I may put all these random items on a Miscellaneous Crop Table like you experienced this past spring. However, at least in the early summer months, I like to have the "Rotating Vegetable Table/Box" so it is fair for everyone whether you come to distribution right at 4pm or not until 6pm. If I put the few bags of tomatoes or okra or watermelon or whatever the coveted item may be that week on a miscellaneous crop table, I suspect they would be gone in the first 30 minutes or so.
I encourage all of you to take a look at your field so you can see the progress of your crops. That way, you can see why all of you won't be receiving eggplant just yet (the plants are small). Just ask one of us for a tour of the field and we will be happy to show you around. See you tomorrow...Pauline
The heat has picked up considerably it seems, and the summer crops are starting to respond. The spring field was plowed under, so now we are completely dependent on summer crops. A few new ones will start to trickle in this week, and hopefully will be in full swing by next week. Okra, bell peppers and eggplant are the newest summer crops to begin production.
I hope to see many of you at distribution. I was on vacation last week to Oklahoma, where it rained a lot and tornadoes zipped around.
Don't forget to pick up your veggies today between 4:00 and 6:00 pm! The recent heat should be increasing our supply of summer vegetables and, sadly, decreasing some of the spring favorites. I look forward to the weekly distribution to see what wonderful surprises are in store for the next week's meals.
Today is Wednesday! In case the holiday threw you off schedule and you forgot, today is OASIS distribution, and this is your reminder.
Spring continues to wind down, and the first summer crop, zucchini is starting to pick up. We hope the other summer crops also begin to pick up the pace soon.
The weed problem is quite challenging this year with three fields to tend. Erin Silva is planning to submit a proposal for funding to study the efficacy of using acetic acid (vinegar) in various concentrations through the drip lines to kill nutsedge before planting. Nutsedge is one of the more vigorous and difficult weeds, and it tends to harbor nematodes. Last year we had noticeable drops in okra plant size and yields, as it turns out, due to nematode damage in a section of the field with nutsedge.
Daniel Vallotton, who helped us put in the biointensive beds in the 1/10 acre perennial garden on the south side, has suggested we try using geese for weeding. We'd have to fence in the field, and provide shade and water. Geese apparently really love nutsedge, among other grasses. It's a tempting idea.
Cornell University has invited OASIS to participate in an organic seed growing proposal with universities in the NE, NW, Mississippi, and West Virginia. If funded, they would help pay part of Pauline's salary. It's an exciting project, and we have to thank Mary O'Connell in the Agron/Hort department for inviting Molly Jahn from Cornell to campus this spring, so that we had a chance to meet Molly, who is senior PI on the seed proposal.
Don't forget your nutrition packets and your used egg cartons!
The past two days have been nice for Pauline and the crew, with the overcast sky. Harvest was very pleasant this morning. New this week will be some green onions. There will be more carrots and arrugula and beets. Spring crops continue to decline, and summer is just starting to get underway. We hope by next week to have some significant zucchini.
researcher Molly Jahn, that NMSU faculty member Mary O'Connell, invited
to speak this spring on campus, has invited OASIS to participate in a
proposal that would fund organic seed trials around the
country. We are very excited about this opportunity, and I will be doing some mad scrambling to get all the paperwork through the central administration here in time to make the deadline. This project is particularly great because we'll get to incorporate the organic veggies in OASIS and the project will help pay Pauline's salary.
Well the heat is finally here, and all the lettuce is now bolted. So lettuce season is over until the fall. Our earliest summer crop is likely to be zucchini, which may be available in two more weeks. We are always nervous at this time, hoping there is not too big of a gap between the decline of spring crops and the onset of the summer crops. The summer/fall gap usually is not a problem as summer crops typically extend way into the fall, but the spring/summer gap potential is always there. Of course, we've barely started harvesting the root crops. You haven't gotten any carrots yet!
Our summer student crew starts this week. We've hired Stephanie Pritchett, Kate Hoffman, and we're happy that Alisha Antonio will be back for a second summer with us. We are also expecting to hire one more student by next week.
If you like art, and paintings of vegetables, there is a nice little exhibit at the Blue Gate Gallery on the downtown mall, next to the Black Box Theatre. Flo Hosa Dougherty and her daughter Amy Hosa have a nice exhibition of various subjects, including vegetables, flowers, and a nice painting of a cabbage harvest in front of the Organs.
Finals week is here. To celebrate the end of the OASIS class, we had a potluck brunch this morning, with beet cake (thanks Pauline!), Stephanie's famous greens, Chris' onions and raisin dish from Ghana, my organic chicken enchilada casserole, Oasis garden salad, and many other delicious dishes that the students brought. No one cared it was 8:30 in the morning.
I'm looking forward
to helping make bouquets today with all the beautiful flowers coming
out of the garden. There are a lot of agrostemma, but I particularly
like the baby blue Chinese forget-me-nots. Pauline expects
there to be extra bouquets for sale for those of you who did not buy a flower share. Otherwise, I might be taking them home!
Don't forget your veggies today. Kate Hoffman asked me to remind those of you who volunteered to participate in the nutrition analysis, to please return your packets today if possible.
This is the last week of classes, and next week is finals. We hope to be hiring our summer crew soon to help with weekly harvest and distribution.
I'm just now going out in the field, so I'm not sure what will be new today, if anything.
There will be several new veggies this week: chard, Chinese cabbage, regular cabbage, beet tops, and bok choi, in addition to lettuce, salad greens, radishes, cilantro, broccoli, peas, and kohlrabi. Get out your stir fry recipes! We're still waiting on the carrots, cauliflower, and beets to get bigger.
Last week Pauline didn't have enough time to get all the handouts ready, but this week they are ready, so be sure to pick them up.
If you volunteered to participate in the nutrition study, you might return the forms today.
If anyone wants a tour of the field, let us know. It's just across the street.
Happy eating! Connie
Here is your reminder to pick up veggies tomorrow.
Pauline will be providing handouts: (1) a calender of crops, so you know in which months we expect to see which crops harvested, and (2) a variety description booklet containing information from the seed catalogs. In the past two years, we've harvested 230 different varieties of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. The students are involved in variety selection each semester, so sometimes they decide to repeat "winners" and sometimes they decide to explore new possibilities. They finished most of their deliberations for the fall last week.
In addition, we may also provide a handout containing basic information on CSA principles.
Pauline said that some new members have expressed dissatisfaction about the quantity of produce being offered each week so far. We'd like to gently remind every one that volume and diversity increases as the season picks up. We plant as early as weather permits every possible annual crop. The rest is up to Mother Nature.
With the addition of our new 1/10 acre this year, we have begun plantings of perennial and overwintering crops. For example, we plan to put in some garlic which overwinters, and possibly asparagus, which is a perennial. We've already planted some perennial flowers and herbs.
Be patient with us! This is not a vegetable marketing business. It is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, whose objectives include shared risk taking. If you are unfamiliar with the principles of CSAs, I invite you to check out this website:http://www.csacenter.org/.
I look forward to meeting the new members and seeing returning members after school ends this semester. I teach a class until 5:45 pm on Wednesdays, so I can't be there during distribution.
Get your stir fry recipes out for the snow peas.
We'll also offer the usual early spring suspects: lettuce, spinach, cilantro, broccoli shoots.
The field is amazingly insect free this spring due to the weather, but we are noticing some phytopthera damage on one of the pea varieties. Erin pointed out in class today you can determine the damage is phytopthera by pulling the sickly plant and examining the root. If you see red pinpoints on the cross section, that is phytopthera damage. It rots the roots, hence the name phytopthera root rot.
OASIS member Ed Frederickson is offering some of his chicken and duck eggs for sale today at distribution. Here's what he wrote yesterday:
We should have 5 dozen chicken eggs and perhaps a dozen duck eggs by tomorrow. Because our hens are young and the eggs small we are asking $1.50 for the chicken eggs. Our duck eggs are much larger and are selling for $2.00. These prices are significantly less than those at the Co-op.
So you could fix a spinach salad with hard boiled duck eggs and snow peas if you like. I'd throw on some walnuts and gorgonzola cheese and some raspberry vinaigrette!
Take care, Connie
We will have a small distribution today of broccoli and some salad greens/lettuce/spinach.
If you are a returning member, you know we start slow but pick up speed as the weather warms, so be patient with us.
Only half of you came last week, so we had a lot leftover. I hope more can make it tonight!
We are finishing up a nutritional analysis for years 1-2 for OASIS, to evaluate the contribution to total RDA of each nutrient, mineral, vitamin, and lipid for which USDA publishes RDAs. We'll be sharing that with you sometime in the future.
If you know of any students who would like to go to Costa Rica during next spring break for credit (3 hours for undergrads, 1 for grad students), let them know there is still space in my AGE 380 class. Cost is about $900, which includes airfare, hotel, and in-country transportation. Additional money will be needed for some meals. Grad students will need to enroll in a special studies AEEC 596. My department head Octavio Ramirez and I will be co-teaching the class.
Please see the press release attached below.
ABC NEWS TO AIR ONE-HOUR SPECIAL REPORT ON GOVERNMENT AND FOOD INDUSTRY
ROLE IN AMERICAN OBESITY EPIDEMIC
" Peter Jennings Reporting - How To Get Fat Without Really Trying" Airs Monday, December 8, 2003 at 8:00PM EST
Today in the United States nearly two-thirds of the population is overweight and almost one third is obese. In this important hour-long ABC News special, Peter Jennings reveals how government policies and food industry practices are helping to make Americans fat.
" Peter Jennings Reporting: How To Get Fat Without Really Trying" will air Monday, December 8th at 8:00 pm EST on the ABC Television Network.
" Obesity is fast becoming the largest public health crisis in America," Mr. Jennings said. "The simple answer is to tell people to just eat less and exercise more. What few people know is how much of the problem with the American diet is a direct result of federal government policy and food industry practices."
Mr. Jennings begins in the farmlands of America, examining agricultural subsidies and their impact on the American diet. He found that most agricultural subsides go to the foods Americans should be eating less.
Nutritionists and health advocates say these policies are contributing to obesity. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson tells Mr. Jennings that agricultural subsidies are based on political
decisions that are not likely to change soon.
Mr. Jennings then examines what kind of products the processed food industry makes with all those subsidized farm ingredients. A packaged food industry representative tells Jennings that the industry is simply providing "choice" to consumers. Mr. Jennings finds however, that the vast majority of new foods introduced each year are those foods government says are the least healthy.
Finally, Mr. Jennings reports that aggressive food marketing is contributing to the growing obesity problem among children. He raises a surprising question: Just as children are protected from cigarette advertising, should children be protected from advertising for unhealthy foods?
Peter Jennings Reporting HOW TO GET FAT WITHOUT REALLY TRYING shows how the obesity epidemic in America is not only a health problem, but a problem of misguided public policy, failed political will and the
unintended consequences of at least 20 years of food industry practices that have all helped Americans to get fat - without really trying.
" Peter Jennings Reporting - HOW TO GET FAT WITHOUT REALLY TRYING" is produced by Keith Summa. Tom Yellin is the executive producer of " Peter Jennings Reporting."
ABC News Media Relations Contact: Cathie Levine (212) 456-4934
- ABC -
Here's some news I'm forwarding from Lucia Bond. She worked last year with farmer IG Prieto helping him set up a local CSA. This year she got a new job helping a local women's group from San Miguel earn income through sewing and weaving. In item #1 she is talking about a project that we cooked up with the Community Action Agency which serves more than 20,000 meals each year in this county. We want to help them grow fresh and organic produce for their food recipients, for distribution through all the regional food pantries. Lack of fresh produce is the top problem of all the social service agencies that distribute food, and Dona Ana County is
considered the most "food insecure" county in the nation.
The second item is from a local hydroponic grower who sold CSA shares last year in the winter, that some of our OASIS members purchased so they didn't have to go completely cold turkey in the winter.
Last, I learned
that the Honors program, headed by Bill Eamon, is very excited to "adopt" the
OASIS class starting next fall. He is enthusiastic to use the OASIS class
as a marketing tool to draw more talented students
to NMSU! He said it will be the first class of this kind in any Honors program in the country. So we are very honored at this news.
Have a great holiday. Connie
I have a few items to share with everyone.
We are going to apply for some food security grant money to set up an organic garden to help support our local food pantries with fresh produce. I am looking for land to lease and thought one of you may know of the perfect place. We need to know we have a place before we can apply to properly figure out our budgets. We are looking for 5-15 acres, with good well water that we can lease for approximately 10 years. We will be getting organic certification on it so it is important to have it for that length of time. We would also like it relatively close to the University or Mesilla so that it can be used by the students for research , etc. at NMSU.
The following is a message I received from Myr Andrews regarding the tomatoes they grow near here. Please contact her with any questions you may have. Some of you may have already received this:
We are going to start selling our produce retail. We found out from the zoning dept. that we can do that in a"road side stand" type environment. We will begin selling this week-end (Nov. 22nd) on Saturdays only to start. Our hours will be 9am to 1pm at the greenhouse. The address is 285 Carver Rd. We will have signs out to direct you there. We are directly across the street from Tombaugh Elementary school. Turn south off Carver Rd. and go down the hill past Heil Pump and Interstate Battery (on the left) then turn left when you reach the fence. Our prices will be less than the grocery stores retail prices. We will have pesticide free lettuce, tomatoes and basil to start with and peppers after the new year. Hope to see you there on Saturday.
--- Myr Andrews
The program I currently work for called Tres Manos under Community Action Agency, has just opened a retail location in Mesilla at the Old Tortilla Factory, the white building at the corner of Avenida de Mesilla and Boutz/Calle de Parian. We train low-income women residents of the colonias in textile arts to eventually help them start their own businesses. The store is selling the items they have made. We feature handwoven apparel (scarves, shawls, some jackets), handsewn items including an assortment of purses and handspun yarn and hats made from this yarn. We have also recently added a beadwork component and have an ever-growing selection of jewelry. We are open from Thursday-Sunday from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. We will be closed this Thursday and Friday but will have regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. Our looms for the store have just come in and I will be having demonstrations start in approximately two weeks a! s soon as I can get them delivered there. We would love to have you stop by.
Thank you for letting me share all of this information with you!
Hard to believe, but 34 weeks have passed since our first meager distribution. We'll have lots of cauliflower today, carrots, ripe and green tomatoes (!), peas, sweet potatoes, and some other crops. Pauline made cookies, brownies, and other treats for the final distribution for you, so don't disappoint. Try and make the last distribution!
I will email everyone a membership form for the '04 season soon and give you first crack at the limited memberships. Many of you indicated you will be renewing, so I look forward to seeing you again next season.
Today is the next to the last distribution. We will start our holiday sweet potato handout this week, and finish it next week. We have almost 800 lbs. of sweet potatoes so don't miss out. Unbelievably some summer crops such as tomatoes, eggplant, and chile peppers are still hanging on and will also be given out with our usual lettuce, peas, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, and turnips.
This past weekend
I was a judge at the MESA competition (Math, Engineering & Science
Achievement) for middle school and highschoolers. It was an interesting
experience. In particular, a conversation at lunch proved
unusual. Another judge, who is an EE major here at NMSU, and a former MESA student, said that the reason that KFC had to change their name from Kentucky Fried Chicken is because they don't start with real chickens
anymore. Instead, they grow the individual chicken parts using genetic engineering techniques. I related this curious anecdote to OASIS member Rhonda Skaggs, and she said it was a fairly common urban myth. Whew. And we were worried that young people don't know milk comes from cows.
I thought I'd pass on this link to the MEATRIX video about factory farming that came across the Community Food Security Coalition listserv. I think you'll get a kick out of it. There's also a link to sources of sustainably farmed meat as an alternative. I checked on NM sources, and didn't find a single one with a website. Seems like we could do something more here in the state to promote local meat from sustainable producers.
I'm back from my trip to the Food Distribution Research Society annual meeting, where I displayed the most recent OASIS poster. We heard an official from the USDA tell the audience that labeling for GMOs is not necessary in the US because the public is not interested. Then we heard a half a dozen speakers talk about consumer survey results that show the public overwhelmingly wants GMO labeling.
Then I went to, I have to be honest, the International Quilt Festival, in Houston, and was completely overwhelmed--1000 vendors, 37 quilt shows, 350 classes. I've been thinking for a while it would be fun to order quilted vegetable placemats from some of the local sewing groups organized in San Miguel and Sunland Park that try to increase poor women's income. Another project!! I could easily do the design work using quilt design software I have, EQ5. In fact I've already got the tomatoes designed. Anyone interested?
Don't forget your veggies tomorrow.
Heard of the Meatrix yet? Watch this great flash movie on factory farming at: http://www.themeatrix.com
Food irradiation is a key part of factory farming. By sterilizing meat at the end of the process, food irradiation perpetuates and even worsens the unsustainable, unsanitary and inhumane conditions found on most factory farms.
The Meatrix is a two-minute flash animation that spoofs the popular Matrix movies. But instead of Keanu Reaves, the Meatrix stars a young pig, Leo, who lives on a pleasant family farm ... he thinks. Leo is approached by a wise and mysterious cow, Moopheus, who shows Leo the truth about modern farming -- the truth about the Meatrix!
The film describes the problems with factory farming and offers viewers a solution - the final page of the flash directs viewers to the Eat Well Guide, a national online directory of sustainably-raised meat, which is available at www.eatwellguide.org.
If you want to take action against food irradiation, visit www.foodirradiation.org
If you like the Meatrix and/or the Eat Well Guide, we only ask for one thing in return - that you send them on to all your friends!
Enjoy the show!
A collaboration of the Global Resource Action Center for the
Environment (GRACE) and Free Range Graphics
Public Citizen, California Office
1615 Broadway, 9th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
ph: 510-663-0888 x 103 f: 510-663-8569
Keep irradiated food out of your child's lunch!
Visit www.safelunch.org to find out more. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Connie is attending the Food Distribution Research Society Annual Conference
Pauline tells me that this week's distribution should be much like last week's. New on the "Misc table" will be daikon. The cold weather on Sunday really put the brakes on the tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash and cucumbers. In the next couple of weeks, you'll be receiving end of the season green tomatoes. The flowers are just about done.
Enjoy your veggies!
The warm days are encouraging our lettuce to bolt, so enjoy while you can.
Some one has been harvesting in our OASIS field, and Pauline has posted a sign to try and deter the "illegal" harvesting. She said things here and there are missing, as if the person is trying to hide the fact, and it has happened more than once. It messes up our yield information terribly.
The New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission sponsored seminar this weekend at the Fabian Garcia farm was a lot of fun. Among the audience were representatives of the USDA 2501 Outreach program to disadvantaged farmers. They recently received a 3-year grant to address the needs of local small and disadvantaged farmers. I hope to make presentations about operating organic CSAs at events sponsored by the 2501 Outreach program in the future.
Today I attended
the luncheon for faculty senate leaders and the search company who is
assisting with the NMSU presidential search. We were asked to provide
our input on what we'd like to see in the next president, and what we
could tell potential candidates to attract them to apply. The search
company spokesman said there are many universities searching for presidents
right now, and many candidates need to be coaxed into even applying at
a place like NMSU which doesn't necessarily hit many radar
screens. If you have any ideas you'd like me to convey regarding the presidential search process, feel free to share them. If you know of people elsewhere in academia who you think would be a good president, encourage them to apply. Although it has not been formally announced, I was recently
elected by the faculty as one of two faculty members who are on the presidential search committee.
I thought I'd include this NY Times link to a story about pesticide residues that someone recently sent me.
Group Names Most-Contaminated Produce
October 21, 2003
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Apples, peppers, celery and cherries top a list compiled by an environmental research organization of the 12 fruits and vegetables it considers the most contaminated by pesticides. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/21/national/21PEST.html?ex=1067731697&ei=1&en=4af0958b26b8f1ad
Tomorrow is World Food Day, and there will be a program on campus, from 10 to 1 pm, Africa in Peril, in Milton Hall 169. I hope to go, and get the tape later for my honors class I teach in the spring on world food problems. See below some information about the event that came around on the Community Food Security Coalition listserv.
Lots of lettuce today again. The cilantro smelled nice coming out of the field too.
The new academic dean for the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, Wes Holley, will be visiting OASIS this afternoon, arriving before distribution begins. I am especially pleased he is taking an interest in the project and has expressed interest in going to bat for us to help institutionalize the class.
I went to the "Leadership Council" which is the department heads meeting with the dean of the College of Health and Social Services today, to make a pitch for the OASIS class. They will send an electronic version of our new class flyer to all their majors (300). Dean Brandon said that the social work and community health students will probably take an interest in the class.
We are picking spring crop varieties now with the class. If you have any variety requests, let us know.
See you at distribution! Connie
Lots of lettuce emerged from the field today. Please come by and get yours! Maybe 10 or 11 people didn't show last week and lots of lettuce was left over, which the field crew took home, but we prefer you get it. These weeks now are the prime lettuce weeks so don't miss out.
This week I have begun the conversations with the upper college administration, about the long term survival of OASIS. Next year is our last year of federal funding. The income we've generated these past two years plus next year's we are banking for use in our fourth year. So starting in calender year 2006, we'll need some help. The easiest way to cover the fixed costs of course is to expand and sell more memberships. More space is needed anyway to do proper rotation. Intensive vegetable production year after year without a cover crop or legume is just not good farming. There is no available space at Fabian Garcia, except there are some pine trees that, in my opinion, could be cut and which would free up enough space for us.
However, several things have to happen. First, enrollment in the OASIS class has to increase. Ten is the minimum number. People start to take the class more seriously if we have 15 consistently every semester. We have had as many as 14 in the class. This fall we have 7, and two are grad students, so you could say the number was actually 9 if you would like to count grad students as two undergrads. Still we have to get more students in the class and I need to do more marketing. I've talked to deans in the College of Education and College of Health and Social Services, and both indicated they thought with proper marketing, many of their students would be interested. I haven't made my pitch yet in A&S. However, an additional idea has emerged in discussions with Dean Brandon in HSS that a minor in food systems would be attractive to students in social work and in public health. So we are beginning discussions with various faculty to propose a food systems minor, that OASIS could be part of. Long term, I'd like to see a sustainable agriculture supplemental major, but a minor could be a first step, and possibly involve little more than some packaging of existing courses in ag econ and anthropology, possibly nutrition and/or cooking. I'd like to hear any ideas from faculty/students connected to OASIS on how to boost enrollment and course ideas for a food systems minor.
The next thing that has to happen is I have to create a "plan" on how additional space would make the project "sustainable." I've got a few ideas floating around my head, and my department head Octavio Ramirez, has certainly helped me to think about this in various ways. I would solicit any ideas from any members or students who would like to weigh in on the " plan." I think with 3 acres we could make it work. That's the scale I'm going to propose.
On another topic, I'll paste below the tomato data that Pauline sent me so you have an idea of what we went through this summer with tomatoes. We'll try a few new things next year, like growing some hybrids, which may better withstand the curly top. Pauline has indicated that most of the tomatoes you are eating now come from those commercial purchased transplants planted on June 23, and that most of the Aug. 5 planting is probably too late to yield much. Happy eating! Connie
were planted in April. 271 died from curly top and were pulled.
On June 23rd, 118 purchased, conventional transplants were planted. On August 5th, 92 transplants that I started from seed were planted in the field. So, the grand total number of replacements is 210. Pauline
Tomatoes are abundant this week, lettuce too. So get out your salad dressing. Gaynol suggested we use tongs to grasp the lettuce from the bins at distribution, which is a good idea, so I'm heading out shortly to get us some tongs.
I went to an interesting conference last week on Innovations in Food Systems Education. At WSU in Pullman, WA, they are planning to change their curriculum so that instead of majoring in disciplines, students major in an system focus. So they will offer one agriculture degree in the college, with a systems focus in enology/viticulture, one in ornamental horticulture, and one in organic foods. There were others mentioned although I don't recall them. The various departmental disciplines would contribute as needed to each system focus. At WSU they have a new program offering a two-year certificate in organic agriculture, that involves on-farm internships. We heard a presentation by a goat cheese farmer who has a classroom and a dorm at her farm, and she teaches culinary arts students everything about farming so they understand the connection between agricultural production and the ingredients they will use in their chef careers.
We also heard a talk by Joel Salatin, author of Salad Bar Beef and other books on successful small scale family farming. He also has a book on Poultry Pasturing. He was hysterically funny; I wish we still had the Distinguished Visiting Professorship program on campus. Apparently it was dissolved in the late 90s, but it was a highly successful program bring distinguished scholars to campus on multi-disciplinary topics. Another talk at the conference was given by Michael H. Shuman, author of Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. I'd also like to bring him to campus to give some talks. He's starting a venture capital company in Albuquerque to fund locally owned businesses. His book is very inspiring and well researched.
Kohlrabi and radishes are making their fall debut today. The fall crops in the past two weeks have really begun to flourish. Lettuce looks beautiful.
We hired a couple of students to help this fall to get the weeds under control and to supplement what the students in the class are able to accomplish, so you'll be seeing new faces at distribution.
The summer crops are starting to fade though. I think last week was the peak for eggplant actually. Now they are starting to get some disease; Chris said maybe it was blossom end rot, but we need a plant pathologist to help us out on that one.
I'm leaving for a conference in Pullman, WA, in a short while; the conference is for Food Systems Educators, and I'm taking a poster that summarizes the OASIS project for the past two years. I'll hang it in the distribution room after I get back, and a copy will be shown at the URC poster fair this Friday in Corbett.
Have a great week!
I thought you'd like to know our fall harvest started today, with some lettuce, salad greens, bok choi, and chard. The eggplant and tomatoes are really pumping now too. I picked four large buckets of Japanese Pickling myself.
The class took a field trip on Sunday to No Cattle Co. organic farm in the Mimbres River Valley. We saw Sharlene Grunerud and Michael Alexander's small irrigated farm, where they grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit. Their orchard was frozen out this year, so we didn't get to see any cider making, but we did see a field of beautiful dahlias and other flowers for the fresh cut market. Michael and Sharlene sell at the farmers' market in Silver City, and they in late spring they sell bedding plants to the public from their greenhouses. They experienced tomato losses from the curly top virus this year, but they found their hybrids more resistant than the heirloom varieties. They gave us tips on combatting gophers using gopher purge plants and castor beans.
I've pasted below an email that appeared on the CSA listserv, about a farm that presells meal options to consumers. It's an interesting idea. You buy a punch card, and the more you spend the more discount you get. You can use it to get produce from the farm at the farmers' market whenever you like, and for whatever you want, which frees the consumer up from weekly deliveries and provides more flexibility in crops. The farmer still gets prepaid, but can take their produce to the general public as well. At the end of the article, the farmer has his website posted.
up my second year, and I use a credits system. My main market
is Athens, GA, home of the University of Georgia. Most everyone there
is familiar with the concept of a "meal plan",
and indeed many restaurants use that concept to pre-sell food. So
I decided to borrow the idea for the farm.
I primarily sell at a farmers' market in Athens. The farm's meal plan takes the best from a CSA and the market and combines it into one system. Customers pre-pay an amount they are comfortable with, and they can come to the farmers' market and pick out the produce they want, at market prices. Like with the restaurant plans, they get more in credit than they paid. I've got a sliding scale, so they get anywhere from 11% to 21% more, depending on how much they pay. They can pay at any time and any credit they have outstanding gets rolled over to the next year. I send out notice of what will be available each week, and they can reserve items that are in short supply.
Describing it makes it sound complicated, but it's really not. The customers get the same "good feelings" they have through a traditional CSA by helping provide (literal) seed money for the farm up front. But they get tp pick up only the produce they will use on their own schedule (that is, they can miss a week of market without worrying about arranging for someone else to come pickup or notifying me). I come out ahead, even with the discounts, because market prices are necessarily higher than on-the-farm prices. Plus, I have start-up money and a friendly "captive audience". My meal plan customers have come out to help on the farm just for fun, they help me find heirloom varieties to grow (one even brought me back some seeds from a vacation she took).
This year I didn't
have to depend as heavily on their financial support as I did last year,
when I was literally carving the farm out of the wilderness. I haven't
needed to heavily market the notion, as the farmers' market and a farming
cooperative I belong to can sell everything I grow, but those that have
chosen to become meal plan customers have really added the community support
to the farm that strictly market farms can lack.
For more info, see my farm's website: www.boannsbanks.com
Well it was muddy in the field this morning weeding! I even forgot it had rained so I didn't wear the best choice of shoes. The tomatoes are putting on a late flush. Pauline said there are a LOT of green ones out there. She took the advice of one member who said the lower temps in the cooler were inhibiting flavor of the tomatoes picked several days before distribution (Pauline picks tomatoes MWF) and after getting the field heat out in the cooler, Pauline stored them at room temperature. They should be all ready to eat right away.
Pauline also planted a late planting of cucumbers and summer squash to see if we can get a fall harvest. Normally we wouldn't plant them this late, but they are relatively short season crops, and we might get lucky. The fall crops are getting bigger; the respite from the heat has helped and so have the rains. We're hoping the gap between the last summer crops and the first fall crops is not too great.
I saw in a news release from the college that valley wide the chile yields are expected to be lower due to the heat, which reduces the thickness of the walls of the chile. We've noticed the same phenomenon in our fruits, thinner walls.
Thanks for all the replies to my query about next year's intentions. I counted 29 full share equivalents from those who said they intended to renew. So I'm thinking to offer about 33 FSEs next year, to allow in a few new folks as well. We'll talk about it in class today and make the final decision. I average about one call per week from people who want shares in OASIS.
I thought there might be general interest in the forwarded email that is below, about a online composting class, that Lois Stanford forwarded to me.
In addition, I need to get a sense of how many OASIS members intend to renew next year. We are still struggling with number of members to plan for next year, and the students have been given their planning project instructions. The first number they need to work with is number of members. There is a sentiment to reduce memberships to 35 full share equivalents, even 30. We don't want to kick anyone out if avoidable, and we anticipate losing members. So if you could send me an email very soon and tell me whether you intend to renew, and whether it will be half or full share. If you don't respond, I will assume you DO NOT intend to renew.
This year we have 68 members, 39.5 full share equivalents, down from 41.5 full share equivalents, because one full and two halves dropped out mid-season, disappointed over the quantity/value relationship.
We are looking at various ways to make the summer distribution better next year. One way is to cut memberships.For those of you who were first-year members, you know summer 1 was way better than summer 2 (this year). (In year 1 we had one 100-lb week for full share members during the summer.) We would like to find a happy medium between those two years, a summer distribution better than this year but not as good as the first year. Spring and fall will probably be fairly similar. We are striving for an average cost per pound of produce of about $1/lb over the course of the 34 or 35 weeks of distribution. Last year full shares got ~1,000 lbs over the course of the season. By doubling membership, and keeping yields the same, full shares would have gotten 500 pounds and at $500, about $1/lb. However, summer yields dropped precipitously and unexpectedly. In year one, the average cost was $.47/lb. This year it will creep over $1/lb I think, although we still have weeks to go. We don't include flowers in that calculation. If you would like to see the weekly average distribution this season compared to last season, let me know and I can send you the file.
Another way to free up space to increase volume on many vegetables is to drop potatoes and sweet corn, both big space hogs with pretty poor yields. We hope to improve with our tomato production; we might try the kaolin clay that entomologist Rebecca Creamer has begun experimenting with on chiles.
The total income generation is a non-trivial issue. Our federal grant ends officially at the end of 2004, although we can get a no-cost extension if funds are remaining. Salary support for Pauline officially ends this calender year, 2003, although we have a nest egg from year one and year two income which is put aside for her in year 3. After year 4, which is calender year 2005, we will need institutional support to continue the production, the project, and the class. This will be especially true if we get no more space. I have not yet prepared my proposal to the college to get institutional support; that's another story.
All of this discussion is something I usually take up with the OASIS Advisory Committee, the class, Pauline, and Chris, and anyone else who wants to hear it. However, you the members also are a vital part of helping make this project possible and successful. Without your support there would be no project or class. So I think I need to share it with you and get your feedback.
Give me your renewal intentions and any other ideas you'd like to share.
FoodShare Toronto is hosting our second online workshop series,
this time on composting. It's free ;-) and starts this coming Monday, September
8 (though you can sign up after that date)
Sign up instructions and course outline are below.
Community Gardening & Urban Agriculture Manager
FoodShare presents the next in our series of online workshops-
THE REAL DIRT ON COMMUNITY COMPOSTING
September 8 - 26, 2003
This online workshop will give you the dirt on how to compost in a community setting. We'll cover composting basics and how to get the community involved - whether its your community garden, apartment building, or workplace. Case studies, checklists and worksheets to assess resources, composting readings, links and photos will help you to figure out the best composting system for you and your group.
Sign-up prepared to participate in online discussions about what you know about composting and what you'd like to learn from the facilitators and others in the workshop!
To pre-register send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "register for The Real Dirt" in the subject line.
Overview of the online workshop
Theme - why compost? why in a community setting?
Readings and Links
Assignment/Questions - What composting is going on in your area? municipality? plus Everyone introduces themselves and what stage they are at in setting up a community composting project
Theme - how to compost (vermi, hot cool)
Readings and Links
Assignment/Questions - worksheet to assess resources
Theme - choosing the right system
Readings (case studies)
Assignment/Questions - We'll play the community compost game (assign each person a character to role-play and provide them with a community composting situation)
Ravenna Barker - Ravenna is a long time volunteer with FoodShare who has a passion for composting. She has been composting for almost as long as she has been talking and loves to help friends and neighbors with their composting quandries. Ravenna is also the author of the upcoming FoodShare composting manual.
Mike Nevin - Mike is someone who would almost rather compost than do anything else. He's the key person at FoodShare's Field to Table Centre turning 700 lbs of wet waste into beautiful compost and has be given Food Action Volunteer and Thank You Green Toronto awards for his composting work.
Jennifer Reynolds - Jennifer is the Education & Outreach Coordinator at FoodShare. She has a background in organic agriculture, community food security and currently works on FoodShare's Online Learning Centre Project.
Wednesday came quicker this week!
We had an extended discussion today with the class about how many members to have next year. There is some sentiment that since we got the 1/4 acre where we can move flowers and herbs, and possibly some veggies, that there's no need to drop the full share equivalent numbers below 40, but there is other sentiment we should drop to 30 full shares, to have some breathing room next year in case yields again are low in the summer and/or to let us put some of the main field in a cover crop. We're thinking of pulling 10 beds and playing with a few cover crops. There was a mustard mentioned this week in Vegetables West that is used in California that grows ten feet high in summer, 4-6 in the winter alone. That would add a lot of organic matter to the soil. Vetch is the other possibility.
We have to find a good balance between adequate income and member satisfaction. Toward that end, one of the students for her semester project, will be organizing a member satisfaction survey very soon. We'll try and use a paired comparison approach so we can get some rankings. Last year we used a Likert scale and all the veggies except collards got an average. (Notice we didn't offer collards this year.)
We're battling the weeds this year. We are not winning. Lots are going to seed in the field. I'm hiring two students at 10 hours each to help out. If you know of anyone that wants to help us, the job is posted at Garcia Annex, and closes on Friday. Pay is $6.50/hour.
We have a good mix of students this fall in terms of farming experience, and educational background. Even though enrollment is lower than where we'd like it, I'm excited about the energy and questions the students are bringing to class.
Here's your weekly reminder.
I went to the Alcalde field day on Saturday, and was very impressed with the diversity and excellence of the research there. Ron Walser got some ground certified organic on the station, and has planted a lot of different raspberry, seedless table grapes, strawberry, and thornless blackberry varieties, not to mention various tree fruits such as apricots and apples. He said we could easily grow the thornless blackberries here; they are grown in Yuma, AZ. He also said until recently the thornless were not so sweet, but now some sweet varieties are available.
In his grape arbor area he's planted a permanent cover crop of clover. In the blackberry and raspberry area, he adds 50 tons of composted manure a year. We've just been adding 20 tons, so we might want to revisit this issue. They make their compost by mixing 70% cut alfalfa with 30% horse (really donkey) manure. We might also want to look at our C/N ratios in our compost. Sounds like a student project! They also make a compost tea and inject into the buried drip lines for the strawberries, and Ron said the strawberries love it. Another possible student project!
We are busy talking to the students about what we should do with our 1/4 acre next year, and some suggestions that have surfaced include the idea to put it in flowers, at least the border we need to create to have a 25 foot barrier away from anything conventional. Also, we could put all the perennial herbs there, and if we want to try thornless blackberries, that'd be an idea.
There's a possibility that the trees north of our plot will get cut down in another year or so; we might eventually get that space. However, until that time we are constrained, and we do need to get a cover crop on the field to add organic matter. I'm thinking next year to cut down the number of memberships in order to pull some of the space out of production. If herbs and flowers go to the new 1/4 acre, and we cut some big space hogs like corn, we might not need to cut too many memberships. Anyway, there's lots to think about (fret about).
School is here so quickly! Our first class with the new OASIS students meets tomorrow morning, and I'm excited to see who's in the class. I know we'll have a few graduate students, one from geography, so there should be a good mix of experiences and backgrounds.
Here's an interesting
article about a student in California who ate only what he could hunt/gather
for a semester, and it nearly drove him bonkers, but he stuck to it,
eating mostly figs and fish.
In October, the NM Organic Commodity Commission will sponsor a two-day seminar in Las Cruces on conversion to organic production. The first day will be presentations (I will give a talk on OASIS). Joanie at NMOCC is also trying to schedule organic cotton growers Norma and Dosi Alvarez.
The second day will include a field trip to Sharlene Grunerud and Michael Alexander's organic farm in the Mimbres Valley. They grow organic vegetables, transplants, fruit (apples, pears), flowers, pinto beans, alfalfa, oats, and this past year wheat. They sell veggies and cut flowers at the farmer's market (Sharlene is the director in Silver City), to La Montanita in Albuquerque, and direct from their greenhouse. Sharlene paints gourds with Mimbres designs, sells herbal soaps, tinctures, and beautiful dried flower wreaths, the past two years at the Renaissance Festival. Their farm is a paradise, huge cottonwoods along the river, sometimes with bears dozing high above the river after a good fill from the apple trees. If you know anyone interested in attending the seminar, you might pass this along to them. The dates are tentatively set for Oct. 18-19. I'll send along registration details as they become available.
Classes start next week and our summer crew will be replaced by a fresh crop of students taking the OASIS class. We have a lot to ponder in the class as we evaluate the 2003 season compared to the 2002 season.
I've had the following conversations with colleagues about the difference between 2002 and 2003. We have noticeably smaller fruits this year, particularly the eggplant, melons, watermelons and chiles. Pauline and I both think it is a fertility issue. She took leaf and soil samples to the SWAT lab to get some more specific information. However, Bob Flynn, who works in the Extension service, says salinity could be the cause, even if we haven't noticed any symptoms in the leaves of the plants, which Pauline thinks would occur. She thinks salinity problems would first show up in the leaves before fruit size would be affected. If in fact salinity is an issue, we'll find out from the lab tests. If it is the case, I'm thinking that the lack of rain could be part of the problem. Last year we had many rains by this time, and the rain of course washes salts farther down in the soil profile. Drip irrigation brings the salts to the surface.
Another conversation I've had recently is with organic friends of mine, Michael and Sharlene, who live in the Mimbres Valley, and were the first to become certified organic in the state under the NM Organic Commodity Commission. Michael was an organic inspector for NMOCC for 10 years as well. They have noticed a similar lack of "flourishing" in their crops which Sharlene attributes to the heat and lack of rain. So even with "adequate" irrigation, lack of rain can be a factor it seems.
There is so much to learn to be successful at organic farming. We've only barely scratched the surface. Your patience and support is very important to us and we appreciate your inquiries, suggestions, and comments. I am hopeful that the additional 1/4 acre we have obtained in the project will give us a little flexibility to incorporate some green manures into the rotation so we can add fertility and organic matter to the land without the addition of salts, which composted manure has.
I thought I'd pass along this article from the LA Times. It's always interesting to see how the media covers the CSA movement. Don't forget to pick up your produce today!
Forging Edible Bonds
Small organic food producers are finding a niche delivering directly to consumers, who offer strapped growers steady cash and devoted eaters. By Fred Alvarez , Times Staff Writer
As cutting-edge operations go, the one taking root at Tom
Willey's organic farm in the Central Valley is surprisingly simple.
In the shade of a tin-roof shed, workers wedge bunches of sweet carrots, stalks of broccoli and other chemical-free crops into cardboard boxes headed straight to family dinner tables. Willey runs the equivalent of a home-delivery service for organic produce, a new way that small growers are making ends meet.
" I think there are ways to survive and leverage your
smallness into something that corporate producers can't mimic," said
Willey, 55, who delivers fresh-picked produce three times a week to more
than 200 Fresno-area customers. "Educating people to eat locally,
to eat seasonally, to have a personal relationship with the grower and
the land the food comes from, I think that is the best [hope for] the future
of the small farmer."
The grass-roots approach is rapidly winning converts. Thousands of Californians now pay farmers to pick, pack and deliver produce just for them.
The movement began in Japan decades ago and migrated to the United States in the mid-1980s. Nearly 1,000 so-called community-supported farms have sprung up across the country, and as many as 100 are now doing business in California.
In most cases, the produce is trucked to central distribution points, such as schools and natural foods stores, where customers collect their deliveries. Subscribers pay in advance by buying memberships in the farm's food club, which supplies a portion of a grower's production expenses upfront.
Some of the largest food clubs have more than 700 subscribers, and many of the programs regularly invite members to take part in life on the farm through tours, potluck dinners and cooking classes.
" It's like Christmas each time a package arrives," said Jo Tarantino, a 70-something grandmother who gets weekly produce deliveries at her La Crescenta home via UPS through a Fresno food club.
" The food is absolutely awesome - I mean a carrot really tastes like a carrot," she said. "It's picked one day and you get it the next. You can't beat that."
The prices are pretty good, too. Researchers have found that customers generally pay less for produce through subscription programs than they would at supermarkets or organic food stores because there is no middleman.
Still, the food clubs are not for everyone.
Selection is limited to what is grown seasonally on any particular farm. In addition, some customers complain that they receive more produce than they can consume and that they often get stuck with food they don't like or can't use.
At Tierra Miguel Foundation Farm in San Diego County, manager Robert Farmer said he conducts twice-annual surveys to determine what consumers want and tracks turnover to find out why customers drop out.
" That's one of the good things about [the subscription program], customers have an active role in deciding how it runs," Farmer said.
The trend comes at a time when corporate growers have moved into the fast-growing organic industry, forcing some family farmers to shift to direct -marketing strategies.
But, at least in part, it is also a component of a larger movement aimed at changing America's relationship with food and farming - in essence forging personal ties between environmentally conscious growers and consumers.
" It's really a philosophy of life," said Karrie Stevens, program director for the Davis-based Community Alliance with Family Farmers.
" Most [farmers] see it as an opportunity to make a connection with their customers," she added. "It's one thing the big guys can't do. And that's the only way that small- and medium-scale farmers are going to make it in the California market."
It's an approach that Willey and his wife, Denesse, embraced late last year at their 75-acre farm near Madera.
Although most of their business has come by word of mouth, they have also promoted their enterprise at special events and through brochures placed at local wineries and restaurants.
The pitch won over Sherri Lewis, who drives 30 miles each week from the Sierra foothill community of Tollhouse to retrieve her produce in Fresno.
" We want to support our small farmers," said Lewis, who arrived at a vitamin store recently with her three daughters in tow for her weekly pickup.
" I don't believe in using pesticides or chemicals â€” it's bad enough we have to breathe it, we shouldn't have to eat it," Lewis said. "I wish all farmers would be this conscientious."
On a delivery route that takes him from the exclusive subdivisions of San Juan Capistrano to the edge of inner-city Long Beach, 46-year-old farmer Mil Krecu basks in the aroma of basil and soaks in the scent of sweet onions.
" I wasn't really looking for a driving job," said Krecu, who racks up more than 500 miles a week making deliveries in a big blue pickup better suited for a rutted road than an urban freeway. "But you've got to get your produce to the people who are supporting you or you're not going to make it."
Krecu is a founding board member of the Tierra Miguel Foundation Farm, a nonprofit organic venture launched in early 2000 on 85 acres in San Diego County's Pauma Valley.
About 80% of the farm's revenue is generated by its community-supported agriculture program, with produce trucked each week to distribution points in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties for 260 subscribers.
About half of those customers are in Los Angeles County, living along a route that takes Krecu and other drivers two days and 18 stops to complete.
Customers pay $111 a month for a small assortment of produce,
$133 for a large.
There is little advertising involved; most subscribers sign up after learning about the service from someone else.
" I love that they are organic and I love supporting anything that doesn't harm the planet," said Joiline Hardman, whose Montecito Heights home near downtown Los Angeles serves as a drop-off site for 10 of Tierra Miguel's produce boxes.
After learning about the food clubs on public radio, the mother of three searched for years for one to join before stumbling upon Tierra Miguel a couple of years ago. She has since spurred others to sign up.
" I really trust what they do and I get to support the farm directly," Hardman said. "They can count on me and I can count on them."
What customers can count on each week depends on the weather and what is in season.
For Krecu's recent trek, his truck was loaded with lemons and oranges, strawberries and Swiss chard, red potatoes, cucumbers and carrots.
The veritable salad was picked the previous afternoon, cooled overnight and packed into boxes shortly after sunrise on delivery day, ensuring that it would travel from farm to family within 24 hours.
" It can't get any fresher unless you pick it yourself," said Krecu, a construction inspector turned farmer, who by 10 a.m. is dropping off his third load of the day: 11 bags of veggies at the Waldorf School of Orange County in Costa Mesa.
He leaves the produce on a table in front of the school, stuffing into each bag a leaflet with a list of its contents and recommendations on how to put the week's supply of arugula and zucchini to good use.
Subscribers will arrive throughout the day to retrieve their shares, making it the next best thing to home delivery.
" That's why the [community-supported agriculture program] is so amazing, there is no way big competitors can compete in this market," he said. "This is one of the few places where the little guy still has the advantage."
The little guys need all the help they can get. While small farms remain the majority in organic agriculture, the biggest producers are the ones really cashing in on what has become the fastest-growing segment of the food industry.
The top 2% of California's 2,100 organic growers generate half the organic produce sales, estimated at $450 million a year. Big growers also dominate distribution channels and shelf space at supermarkets and organic-food superstores.
The competition has forced small growers to find new ways to survive.
" It can work if you stay modest in scope and don't try to conquer the world," said Ojai Valley farmer Steve Sprinkel, who runs an organic restaurant and store, and recently launched a small food club in his community.
" It's a consequence of the [fast-growing] marketplace," he said of the squee ze on the small farmer. "You can complain about it if you want, but it's not going to go away."
With shopping centers on one side and subdivisions on the others, Fairview Gardens is surrounded.
Yet the organic farm near Santa Barbara keeps pumping out produce, bursting this summer with French filet beans, four kinds of beets and skin-blemished, but very sweet, apricots.
Fairview launched one of the first community-supported agriculture programs on the West Coast in 1988, a time when such ventures were still rare. It started with about 30 subscribers. Today, 130 families take part and there is a waiting list to join up.
Unlike most programs, subscribers pick up their produce at the farm, where the tractor runs on recycled cooking oil and the office is a tepee-like structure known as a yurt.
Farm co-manager Michael Ableman likes his subscribers to see for themselves how this 12-acre urban garden has kept development at arm's length.People should know who grows their food, he said. Farmers should know who they are feeding. And children should know that their food comes from the soil, not the supermarket.
" I think there is something that happens in this kind of exchange that never happens down the sterile aisles of the supermarket," Ableman said. "There's a sense of the land, and its health and well-being. This is such a brief, passing moment in the lives of busy urban people, yet such a powerful one."
For more information on community-supported agriculture or to find a food club in your area, contact the Community Alliance with Family Farmers at http://www.caff.org.
The vegetables at distribution today should be about the same as last week.
The "new news" is that we have a new worker, Sheilla Parr. An alumni of the OASIS class, she is well acquainted with the project. Welcome back, Sheilla!
If you haven't looked at the OASIS web page lately, there are some nice changes. Our webmaster Phani, has added new links, tables, and images. It is really looking good!
I am back from vacation and happy to see all the beautiful produce coming out of the field this morning. There will be a lot of melons and tomatillos today, and the corn harvest has started this week as well.
I have attached a small news item below that looks interesting. Unfortunately, the websites did not work. Interesting idea, huh?
on vacation, it was not easy finding good food to eat. We'll probably
never see the day when you can travel on the interstate
system and encounter fresh healthy food along the road. I have been craving
fresh fruits and vegetables since I got home.
This from David Schaller's sustainability newsletter. If
you want to get his one pagers every so often, tell him at email@example.com
Iowa Town Prohibits
Sale of Non-Organic Produce. The town of Vedic City, Iowa, has become
one of the first cities in America to
ban the sale of non-organic food. The city plans to build about a hundred
of greenhouses to supply the town and beyond with organic produce. "It
is something that can be used as a model for other places, and we aren't
necessarily going to limit it to 100 acres, according to city spokesman
Bob Wynne. The city is issuing $3.3 million in organic agricultural revenue
bonds to help with the funding. (Argus Leader, June 14, 2003)
I am leaving soon for a week's vacation so I thought I'd send out the weekly reminder a little early.
I found beets in
my fridge this weekend that had been hiding out since the
spring. I was surprised to see they were perfectly fine, so I made a
yoghurt and mint dish with the beets to accompany a Tandoori chicken
(organic of course) and tomato/onion curry on rice dinner. I baked the beets in the oven wrapped in foil, and then chopped them before adding them to the yoghurt and fresh chopped mint. Finally, I added sauteed garlic to the mixture. It was delicious!
Pauline and the crew were busy weeding this morning again. We decided to spring for a weed wacker today, because keeping the irrigation ditch weed free is a huge chore.
Chris Cramer has
very graciously offered about 1/4 acre of his onion research area for
OASIS's use, which we'll be looking at after I get back.
We might trying putting in various cover crops this summer and planting
into it in the spring. Land is very tight at Fabian Garcia, and especially land already in drip. It's a topic of concern to several folks who want to do new projects there but don't have any space available to them.
OASIS will be on
the program July 31 when Fabian Garcia and Leyendecker research projects
are featured in a half-day field tour. The tour is by
invitation only, mostly for administrators across campus, so that they
become more familiar with various projects.
An article about
OASIS will be published soon in a Mexican journal: Revista Mexicana de
Agronegocios. The journal editor Alfredo Aguilar Valdes, was
visiting NMSU for the past 10 days to meet potential invited journal
article authors, and helped Sylvia and me with the translation and preparation.
Have a great week and I should be back the Wednesday after this one for harvest and distribution.
The harvest is picking up! Pauline thought she'd give out sweet potato tops today and see if people like them. We got the idea from a Philippino family last year that visited OASIS and they went wild for the sweet potato tops. They are a favorite green in the Philippines; they are used for soups. Pauline has a recipe to distribute today as well.
The guajillo and pasilla peppers are coming off starting this week in addition to the Anaheims. There won't be many this week however. I got the idea of planting these varieties (and the mulattos) from reading Rick Bayless cookbooks where he uses these chile varieties to make salsas and moles. I wanted to make a mole during the holidays and the only commercial brands in the stores are from Mexico and one of them is mostly just oil, so I thought why don't we plant some of these more unusual chile varieties and experiment with recipes. I will try and get a few Rick Bayless recipes for you using the unusual chile varieties by next week.
Happy eating! Connie
Sylvia (OASIS member and my secretary) added up the responses to the various questions I sent out last week and the responses are posted below. This does not take the place of a formal survey of member satisfaction that we intend to conduct in the fall after you've experienced more of the season. However, it's a kind of barometer of interest in a few issues. Pauline struggles with what to do in the lean weeks, which actually we've not quite experienced before like we are now. Pauline said this time last year watermelons were coming off, so those high winds that whipped the watermelon plants in the spring had an effect.
I don't know exactly what the harvest will be like tomorrow, but I will find out in the morning when I go out to help. If there is any exciting news, positive or negative, I will let you know.
We are still struggling with the need to rotate out of our existing field and put in a cover crop. We have no place to rotate to at the moment. It appeared there were some unused fields at Fabian Garcia, but it turns out that the "owner" of those fields was reluctant to relinquish them and I have no influence in the matter. At the moment we have no choice but to continue intensively farming our 1-acre, which means our fall crops go back in the section where the spring crops were planted this year. If we had some flexibility, we could put in a cover crop where the spring crops came out, and put the fall crops in another field (and ideally it would have had a cover crop until fall crop planting, which is in late July/early August).
11 members wanted more variety
4 members wanted more quantity
2 members said it really didn't matter, they would be happy either way
9 members wanted to continue flowers
3 members did not want to continue flowers
5 members wanted to continue herbs
2 members did not want to continue herbs
Well the heat is here! Pauline is out in the field now tallying up tomorrow's distribution and harvest schedule. Some of the diva cucumbers are starting and the tomatoes are picking up. Several chile varieties are putting on some big fruit.
As you may or may not know, our membership this year is roughly double what we had last year. Last year we had so much produce relative to members we had complaints about the volume. One week in July last year full shares took home 95 pounds. This year we have similar variety, more members, and a bit of a late season, so the distributions have been rather thin compared to what our returning members are accustomed to receiving.
So we have a question for you. When there is not enough of a crop to go around to everyone, would you rather have more of that crop and fewer crops that week, or more crops and smaller amounts of each? Pauline and I talked about this and we have two different viewpoints. When she eats green beans, she likes a big plate of them. When I eat green beans, I throw a few into a soup or a salad or a stir fry, with lots of other stuff. So Pauline likes bigger amounts of fewer crops; I prefer more diversity and smaller amounts of each. What do you prefer? Don't be shy!
We have been talking about what we'll do differently next year. I suggested cutting back the number of shareholders. Pauline suggested cutting back a lot of flowers and herbs, and some of the vegetable diversity (no okra, no honeydews, one kind of green bean, fewer tomatoes). We have to balance several competing goals. The most important objective is operating the class in spring and fall. Another objective is to trial varieties. We also want to demonstrate organic gardening, on drip, and of course we want to study and demonstrate the CSA model. If land permitted of course, we could get much bigger, which financially I would welcome because we could cover more of Pauline's salary that way. However, land is not readily available at the Fabian Garcia farm. We might get another acre here pretty soon but we'd use it for rotation purposes and class experiments. I really want to put in a cover crop after this season in our existing field and rotate into a new location, and then regularly rotate with cover crops. Another caveat is that getting really big (since when is more than one acre really big??) means we are potentially taking customers away from any private farmer who might want to engage in the business.
Last week Rhonda told me her potatoes were very bad. So I guess we might have made a mistake distributing them. Pauline said when they are small they can have a bad flavor. Did anyone else have a distasteful potato experience?
Volunteer weeders are still welcome. Pauline said one member came out already (I'm sorry I forgot who but I will find out) and showed the students what hoeing was all about. The volunteer even brought her own hoe. Pauline was noticeably impressed.
Well I guess that's all. The Master Gardeners are visiting the field tomorrow so that should be exciting.
It's that time again! Summer monsoon season with all its attendant weed problems. Does anyone want to help the crew do some weeding? If so, just email me and we can schedule you in. A few hours here and there by a couple of volunteers here and there could help a lot. I could hire another student, but it's hard to hire someone just for weeding. Pauline's out in the field now hoeing away.
I learned from OASIS member and Extension Specialist Denise McWilliams that the Mesilla Valley is about one week behind in degree heat days, a concept I don't fully understand, but it means that our summer crops are a little behind because of lower than average temperatures both in the day and night. So that helps explain the noticeable gap between spring and summer crops that we are experiencing last week and this one. There will be more beans and squash this week, but the cucs, eggplant, melons, tomatoes, okra, tomatillos, etc. are still behind.
We are debating on the potatoes. They are harvested and we know you like potatoes, but they are small and we'd like to keep them for fall seed crop. On the other hand, we can buy organic potatoes on the open market for seed potatoes in the fall (added expense) and round out tomorrow's offering a bit with some potatoes. The potato harvest was unusually poor this spring compared to last year for unknown reasons.
London rocket, leafhoppers, and curly top virus. This is an important and difficult topic. Do you have London Rocket in your yard? (It is a mustard plant with yellow leaves. It is ubiquitous through the winter in the valley, about the only green thing around. It's not green now anymore.) This plant is the overwintering host of the brown leafhopper, which spreads curly top virus to crops in this valley and apparently, according to OASIS member and entomologist Rebecca Creamer, to a multi-state region as far away as Oklahoma. Once leafhoppers spread the virus, the chile and tomato plants are doomed. There's no remedy. You just have to pull the plant. Rebecca has fashioned a predictive tool to determine the likely damage level of leafhoppers each year, based on fall precipitation. That rainfall then has a relationship to London rocket populations, and then the likely size of the leafhopper population. This year she predicted VERY BAD (or something more scientific). And if fact, it is VERY BAD. We have lost about 250 of 300 tomato plants. We are thinking of buying some non-organic tomato plants on the open market if we can't find organics, just to get more tomato plants in the field. We need to spread the word in the winter for people to remove all the London rocket they can. We need some kind of a London Rocket Emergency Task Force and SWAT Team. Rebecca said that only chile growers who planted before mid-March have any chile this year. And if you plant that early, you run a one-month risk of early freeze, so it's quite a gamble. Leafhoppers apparently don't like dense canopies so another strategy is to get the transplants in as large as possible to get the canopy formed quickly. In addition, Rebecca said spraying a kaolin clay causes the plants to reflect light in a way that also deters the leafhoppers. We might try both these methods next year.
I'm pasting below a news item about the new national organic research database that's now available. All the papers on the database are in PDF format. Quite an excellent resource!!!
See you tomorrow! Connie
June 17, 2003
We are pleased to announce an exciting new resource for information on organic agriculture: http://www.organicaginfo.org. OrganicAgInfo is an on-line database of research reports, farmer-to-farmer information, outreach publications, and more. The database can be searched by keywords, region, crop or livestock type. All information on this web site can be accessed free of charge.
Best of all, if you have information on organic agriculture that you think would be useful to others, you can upload it to the site yourself. To add your (or your organization's) work to the web site, please click where it says "We encourage submissions to the site" on the home page. You will need to create a user name and password during your initial visit. Any information submitted on-line will be reviewed by our team of reviewers before being posted. This unique feature will allow the information in the database to grow through participation of the community it serves.
Those using the site also can rate and comment on information already posted on the site. We hope you find these unique, interactive aspects of the site useful.
OrganicAgInfo, which is being hosted by North Carolina State University, was funded by a grant to the Scientific Congress on Organic Agricultural Research (SCOAR) and the Organic Agriculture Consortium (OAC) from the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) through the USDA CSREES. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kathy Bielek of the Organic Agriculture Consortium at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Brise Tencer of the Organic Farming Research Foundation at Brise@ofrf.org, (831) 426-6606.
We urge you to help grow the public knowledge base for organic farming systems by submitting your materials to OrganicAgInfo. We look forward to receiving your valuable contribution..
The OrganicAgInfo Working Group
Kathy Bielek, Organic Agriculture Consortium
Andy Clark, Sustainable Agriculture Network
Mary Gold, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, National Agricultural Library
David Henry, NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management, North Carolina State University
Nancy Matheson, National Center for Appropriate Technology ATTRA program
Sally Miller, Ohio State University
Grayson Schaffer, Organicvolunteers.com
Alex Stone, Oregon State University
Brise Tencer, Organic Farming Research Foundation
Bill Thomas, National Agricultural Library
Acting Policy Program Director
Organic Farming Research Foundation
P.O. Box 440, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
831-426-6606, 831-426-6670 fax
We are right smack in between the spring and summer veggies. New crops are coming in but will probably be distributed through some sort of list system.
Crops being harvested this week are: carrots, beets, cabbage, zucchini, green beans, herbs and flowers.
Pauline tells me that the distribution tommorrow will be another light one. There will be some carrots (small), beets and beet greens, a miscellaneous table with some chard and cabbage, a mixed herb table, and a few flowers. Zucchini and yellow crookneck squash are just getting started, so they will distributed through a list (like the flowers). There will also be some non-organic onions given to us after the gleaning.
There will be another onion gleaning on June 14. Pauline will have a notice posted with more information about that event. Your help would be greatly appreciated!
Keep cool and remember that this heat is going to bring on the summer vegetables! Connie bids you "Happy eating" from Washington, D.C.!
Get your borscht recipes out. Beets are coming in this week! We didn't harvest beets last week because of labor shortage. Last week was finals week and we had not hired our summer crew so Pauline was stretched a little thin.
The lettuce is also bountiful this week, but will be slowing down very soon due to hotter weather. All leafy things are starting to bolt. This is probably the last week of cilantro. We're crossing our fingers there is no noticeable gap between end of spring crops and start of summer crops. According to last year's records we are still two weeks away from summer squash.
Our new webmaster is going to work this week and we are very excited about getting our production results posted on the web, by variety, and turning that information into a publication, complete with a production database burned on a CD Rom. People who might want to try one of the more than 140 varieties that we've grown in the past year can either get our database or check our website and find out yield, plant spacing, direct seeding and transplant dates, weeks of harvest, seed source, seed cost, number of rows per 22 inch bed, and comments about insects, bolting, and diseases. We hope this information will "plant the seed" of increased agricultural diversity in this valley!
Don't forget to put on your schedule tomorrow your weekly veggie distribution. You'll see many of the same vegetables that you've already received, plus you should also get peas for the first time. Beet greens and chard are also likely to make their appearance.
Despite the wind, the students tell me the attendance at our booth on Earth Day was good, and we gave away a lot of plants and seed packets. All of our flyers advertising the OASIS class (AGE/HORT 330) for fall were given away, but we're still short on enrollment for the fall...so if you know of a student who needs to add a class, please tell them about our OASIS class. We'd also like getting your help in adding the class to various degree plans on campus, where possible. I can see the class being valuable in many curricula, such as education 9in California there's a Garden in Every School program), anthropology/sociology, agricultural extension, business, nutrition, hospitality and tourism (one of the growth areas in the high end restaurant business is organic gardens operated next to the restaurant to supply fresh ingredients), biology, family and consumer sciences. Personally, I think all students should take a class in organic vegetable production because it opens their eyes to many issues related to health and nutrition, community food security, challenges of small farming, natural resource use, land use planning, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture.
We'll be handing out the award certificates to the winning logo design contest winners at 5:30 tomorrow at distribution. The judges will also be there as well as pictures of the top three designs.
We nearly have a database ready to go that provides production information for the 2002 growing season, by crop variety. (We grew 124 varieties of vegetables alone last year.) We'll be posting it to the web so that local growers interested in our production data can access it. My secretary (and OASIS member) Sylvia did most of the work getting the database ready and I really appreciate her help. We also plan to publish the results in journals.
Starting next week when classes are over, I'll be able to participate more in distribution and get to know our members better. I look forward to meeting all of you!
According to CNN, winds hit 130 MPH at White Sands. I don't know what we got at Fabian Garcia, but it looks like it blasted the basil, tortured the tomatillos, and pulverized the sweet potatoes. Pauline is cautiously optimistic some of the plants will recover; others will have to be replaced.
Apparently at least one of our members, who will remain nameless, did not understand that all greens are not created equal. Salad greens can be eaten uncooked; turnip greens should be cooked. Here's what one of our OASIS gourmets has to share regarding turnip green preparation (I assume the same goes for beet greens once their harvest begins):
I took a little olive oil and added a bunch of slivered garlic to the pan, let it sauté for a minute or so and then dumped in the cut up greens and a little chicken broth. Also very nice. The slight bitterness to the greens is a nice contrast to the mellow flavor of the garlic.
Tomorrow we will have broccoli again, with a small amount of cauliflower mixed in. Also returning are the radishes, salad greens, lettuce, and turnip greens. New for distribution tomorrow is kohlrabi. I like kohlrabi chopped fresh on top of salads. Some people like to sautee it and even toss it with a vinegar type dressing.
A week from today is Earth Day. OASIS will have a booth, on the horse shoe lawn in front of Hadley, from 10 to 4. We'll be giving away free organic seeds from Seeds of Change and some leftover transplants, so get there early if you want one. We'll also have some articles about sustainable agriculture, organics, and community supported agriculture. OASIS students will be staffing the booth.
We have several spots left in the OASIS class in fall 2003. The class is crosslisted as HORT/AGE 330, for 3 hours credit, and the class is 8:30 to 10:30 am on W and F. If you know of any students who want to take a fun experiential education class, let them know about OASIS. The class features various guest speakers, hands on organic farming, a fun field trip to an organic farm, and lots of good jokes.
The logo contest winners have been decided. The winners are logos #13, #10, and #8 in that order for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize. We have not notified the winners yet, but they will be receiving cash prizes of $125, $50, and $25, respectively.
Pauline said the little plants are really being whipped around out on the farm today with the high winds. We planted some of our summer transplants last week. What doesn't kill them makes them stronger!
Disribution this week will include broccoli again, and some radishes. Pauline will determine today if lettuce is ready. If it is, you'll get lettuce and salad greens. If the lettuce is not ready, the salad greens will wait another week for the lettuce.
If you are not yet signed up on the listserv, please do so when you get an invitation. I will submit all emails on the Cc list to the listserv so you will get an invitation to join. The fewer names I have to type in to the Cc list every week, the easier.
I hope everyone liked the broccoli last week. Pauline said a significant number of members did not show up. If you know you are not going to show up, and you let us know ahead of time, it would be helpful.
Generally I'll try to remind everyone about distribution on Tuesdays, but sometimes it will be on Wednesdays.
Well the broccoli is ready; some heads are even wanting to flower. Come tomorrow to the Fabian Garcia farm, just west of the RR tracks on University. If you are traveling west, you take the second left turn, towards the buildings. Our OASIS sign should be there on the front of the door.
If you want to see the field, it is across the street, on the north side. You can go alone and look if you promise to walk in the furrows.
Bring a bag (small one) to take home your broccoli. We may MAY have salad greens and radishes. Pauline is on annual leave today so I haven't been able to confirm the greens and radishes. Consider this week a kind of dry run to get everyone acquainted with the system.
Distribution time is 4-6 pm tomorrow, and continues every Wednesday, from now until we can't take it any longer!
You might not take a lot home tomorrow, but be patient! It is our first distribution.
I won't be there tomorrow. I'm giving a talk on the OASIS project in Torreon Mexico at a student agroecology conference.
Hi Vivian, and all our OASIS members.
Is it a watermelon radish because it can get really big?
We finished variety selections for the fall season in class today. Soon we can provide all the members with a complete variety description book for the whole season, with a bar chart calender on expected harvest periods for each major crop. Last year we gave out these handouts at the first distribution. We will also hand out receipts at the first distribution, to save on postage and mailing.
Speaking of the first distribution, we were predicting we could get in a week earlier this year (that would be April 2) since we planted earlier this year. But for some reason (possibly cold weather we're having, possibly because the south end of the field we are using is somehow different from the north end we used last year for spring) the plants are not close to being ready. We are tentatively planning the first harvest for April 16, one week after our first harvest last year. Lettuce is always the first thing ready, and it is really not ready yet. If any thing changes, of course, I'll let you know.
The people whose emails are listed in the Cc are not subscribed to our listserv, according to what Sylvia (my secretary, and a new OASIS member!) was able to ascertain as of yesterday. I had Sylvia make a list of everyone who had not subscribed so we could determine who is not receiving my updates. (I might have failed to submit your email previously.) I will submit all of your names today (those not currently subscribed) to the Topica listserv and you will get an invitation to subscribe (it's free). If for some reason you don't want to subscribe, but do want to receive a weekly reminder through the season, you'll need to let me know. I'll have to pop your emails into the Cc of each outgoing email. The fewer people in that category, the easier it is for me.
My records show we have 1 full share equivalent left. Right now there are 64 members. I think after today's mail we should be full.
Welcome to all the new OASIS members. We are up to 36.5 memberships, so I expect we'll sell out by Monday or Tuesday. The field is greening up every day with the warmer weather. The students are in the middle of selecting varieties for the fall. Beware, they have chosen a black radish variety (among four varieties of radish). It will be striking sprinkled atop the brilliant chartreuse Black Seeded Simpson lettuce!
If you don't know about Alice Waters' efforts, this PBS program scheduled for next week should prove inspiring. It wish we could bring her here as a speaker sometime.
PS: Check the local listing to make sure it shows at 8 here. It could show at 7 or 9.
"Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution"
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
8 - 9:00 pm
This documentary profiles pioneering chef Alice Waters, a major force behind the way Americans eat and think about food, who launched the explosion of local farmers' markets and popular interest in organic and local produce. (CC, Stereo)
Welcome, to the newest folks that have signed up as members of OASIS.
We officially have 22 full share equivalents sold for the 2003 season, leaving 18 available. Photographs of students in the project have recently appeared in the Sun News and Bulletin (does anyone have copies for our clip file from the Sun News?) and the phone is ringing. Luckily, the students in the OASIS class were clever enough to think of the idea to install a dedicated phone line for the public to call, which has voice mail. The students are checking the voice mail, returning calls, and sending out our newly designed brochure, also designed by a student. This is a great setup. I don't have to answer the phone! Thanks to students Ben Prihoda, Joaquin Gallegos, and Dayna Drollinger for their help with publicity and managing the membership drive. So far, in two days, we've received 22 calls from the public on our new phone line (646-2238.) Tomorrow the RoundUp is supposed to be visiting class and taking pictures of the students.
The logo contest for Mesilla Valley Community Supported Agriculture is underway. Announcements have been made in art classes at NMSU and DABBC. There will be three prizes awarded: $125, $75 and $50 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, respectively. The winning logo design will be available for use by all MV CSAs, for t-shirts, canvas bags, printed brochures, etc. In this way we can promote the concept of locally supported agriculture in our region with one logo. There is a display in the NMSU art building if you are interested. Flyers are also posted around both campuses. If you want more info., let me know and I'll send you an electronic flyer about the contest. Thanks to OASIS Advisory Committee members Barbara Kuhns and Mary Beth Worley and NMSU art faculty member Elizabeth Alderman for organizing this. Thanks to OASIS AC member Lucia Bond and OASIS student Joaquin Gallegos for helping with publicity.
The idea of supporting local agriculture in our valley as a concept has got me thinking about ways we could take that vision to another level. I was thinking how great it would be if we could facilitate an arrangement whereby local farmers could supply organic fresh produce to local institutions (ie. NMSU and public school cafeterias, the local prisons, White Sands). That would generate local jobs, add to economic development, keep area land in farms (possibly!), improve nutrition, and generally be an achievement that lots of people could take pride in. I really think we need to diversify agriculture in the valley (assuming there is enough irrigation water) and to do that effectively, local markets need to be developed. There is a Community Food Projects RFP http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/funding/rfacfp_03.htmout out right now from USDA and I was wondering whether we couldn't apply for a grant to begin the process of developing the procurement protocols with institutional buyers, developing organic farming training programs for local farmers (especially the small minority disadvantaged farmers in the USDA 2501 program). Application deadline is April 14, so we have time if we try, to get a proposal out.
I know many of you share these kinds of visions and we have talked about these ideas in the OASIS Advisory Committee. If any of the OASIS members (and/or Advisory Committee) would like to seriously discuss the idea of putting in a proposal to USDA to pursue this idea, let me know. If there are a few members who would like to become active on the Advisory Committee, we would welcome more members. We meet a lot during the summer, not so often during the school year. I'm particularly interested in finding someone who would like to be the Chair of that committee! It doesn't seem quite right that I'm chairing a committee that is supposed to be giving me advice.
We planted potatoes right before the rains. Pauline assured me they will be okay, even with the cold and moisture. If you ever want to come out to the field and have a look, let us know! Things are coming up and getting bigger each week.
This spring, either as a class or as an individual project, OASIS will be applying for transitional organic status. We've completed our first year of three years needed before certification is possible.
The OASIS students who accompanied us to the annual Organic Gardening and Farming Conference in Santa Fe a few weeks ago received a very nice thank you card from the conference organizer, NM Organic Commodity Commission, for their volunteer labor during the conference. They are hoping to increase the involvement of students from around the state in the conference each year.
All for now,
The USDA video arrived this week. It is Episode 7 of the Partners Video Magazine that is distributed to Cooperative Extension around the country. The OASIS segment is the last segment in a half hour video featuring several Hispanic Serving Institution projects at different universities. There's a segment on a project at UNM as well.
The NMSU students featured (who talk) in the video are Shiela Parr, Jose Villaverde, Andrea Padilla, Brad Cooper, and Andy Giron. Duane Pfanenstiel, Frances Miller, Steve Hogenmiller, and Laura Haverstraw make appearances. OASIS members Clarence Cain, Kari Bachman, Cheryl James, and Clyde Eastman are interviewed. In addition, Lucia Bond from the USDA 2501 Ag. Assistance Office, is interviewed, as well as OASIS instructors Pauline Pao and Chris Cramer, and local farmer IG Prieto.
The version of the video I have is a "rough draft" and the final version will come out shortly (they need to correct a couple of spelling errors in names). I'll let you know how to get copies.
The spring membership drive continues. We currently have 17 full share equivalents sold (only 2 are actual full shares).
OASIS member Mary Beth Worley has agreed to put the finishing touches on our web site and get it loaded. I know I keep promising the website, but it has taken much longer than expected.
The Mesilla Valley CSA logo design contest has been organized. Thanks to OASIS member Barbara Kuhns for doing all the leg work.
I look forward to our first harvest!
The summer crop plan has been finalized and I thought I'd update you on it. Pauline has gotten very ambitious with her flower bouquet efforts, and has ordered seed for 16 different kinds of flowers, with 25 different varieties. New flowers for 2003 that you didn't see in 2002 are ageratum, centaurea (bachelor buttons), daisies, gomphrena (globe amaranth), marigold, nicotiana, nigella, rudbeckia, scabiosa, tanacetum, and yarrow. We'll be planting a greater variety of culinary herbs, and cutting back on the volume of basil (sorry, pesto lovers). The culinary herb list includes basil (lemon and geneovese), dill, (we'll try a slower-to-bolt variety this year), lemon balm, mint, oregano, taragon, and parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, for you 1960s radicals.
The summer vegetables are about the same except we'll experiment with some new varieties and bring back some of the winners from last year. We'll cut back on the habaneros and hot peppers in general. We've actually eliminated serrano and cayenne from the mix, and introduced poblano (I want to make a mole sauce) and a Thai chile pepper that one of the students in the class requested. We'll have 16 varieties of slicer tomatoes, and 2 cherry types, but no paste type tomatoes this year. We'll have three varieties of melon, and hopefully the cantaloupe type will not be splitting like last year. We've cut the eggplant to two varieties, the Japanese pickling (the long curlycue type) and the Rosa Bianca, which was white with purple blushes. Sweet corn plantings are reduced since we had such pollination and corn ear worm problems last year with the first and last planting.
So that's an overview of some of the highlights for the summer season. The spring season will of course begin first. Some of the direct seeded spring crops have germinated and are up already, but not all them. The transplants look fine.
This weekend we're taking the class to the 2003 NM Organic Commodity Commission annual organic gardening and farming conference in Santa Fe. The students will have the opportunity to hear Wes Jackson, the conference keynote, a great treat I think for all of us. By next week the OASIS website should be accessible and I'll remind you of the URL.
We have sold a little under 1/3 of the memberships we have available for 2003 so if you know someone who wants to join, pass along a form or send my email to them. Next week we will probably begin our general membership solicitation.
We have three community nutrition volunteer students working with us this spring. Melody Chavez will be helping to set up visits for elementary school field trips and Kate Hoffman will be helping the NM Farm and Ranch Museum with their efforts to get a Native American garden started. Marisol McDonald will be working with Hacienda del Sol's gardening efforts, in addition to evaluating the nutritional content of half of an OASIS half share from last year.
Have a good weekend!
For those of you new to OASIS in 2003, I have submitted your name to our listserv and you will be getting an invitation to subscribe to the OASIS listserv from Topica.Com. I use the listserv to communicate each week with our members regarding what's happening in the field and in the class. Communication will remain sporadic until distribution begins.
So far we have sold 8 full share equivalents to new and returning members of OASIS. Since everyone so far has bought half shares, that's 16 folks. Students in the OASIS class are gearing up to begin a promotional campaign that will open the membership to the community, so if you or a friend of yours is thinking of joining this spring and you want to beat the rush and guarantee yourself a membership, be sure and fill out an application soon. Deposits are not needed until March 31.
We began spring planting yesterday. Cole crop transplants went in as well as seed for the directed seeded carrots, lettuce, spinach, beets, etc. I included picture to give you an idea of what the field looks like as we begin the season. I would like to send pictures throughout the 2003 season so you can keep tabs on what's happening in the field.
We have a community nutrition volunteer fulfilling her internship requirements with us this spring, Marisol McDonald, a nutrition major at NMSU. Marisol will be preparing sample recipes for members once the distribution begins, and handing out recipes and nutritional evaluations. She will also be evaluating the nutritional content of one adult's portion of a half share from last year's distribution.
I'm looking forward to some delicious vegetables and getting to know all of our new members and catching up with our returning members!
Attached is a PDF file of the membership application form for the 2003 season. If you have not already signed up for 2003 and wish to do so, I would recommend filling out the form as soon as convenient to reserve your spot in OASIS. Checks are not due until March 31. If you have a friend to whom you'd like me to send the application form, let me know. We are giving first priority for the 2003 season to last year's members, so sign up before we begin our more public membership drive.
Some members have expressed concern that they received too much produce last year and might not join in 2003 because of that. Please feel free to leave any produce that you don't think you can use. We will donate all leftovers to local non-profits that help feed the hungry, such as El Caldito.
We will begin spring planting next week. The fall class got the spring cole crop transplants (broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower) started before the holidays and they are about ready. We also have many direct seeded crops this spring such as lettuce, carrots, radishes, and spinach. Spring crops should be ready for harvest sometime between mid-March and early April. Last year, our first harvest was April 10, but we did not have the luxury of having everything ready and pre-planned last year.
We are considering making a presentation summarizing the 2002 season to members and prospective members. Would this be of interest?
By next week the OASIS website should be up and running. I'll forward the website URL.
Thanks to OASIS members and Advisory Committee members Barbara Kuhns and Mary Beth Worley for organizing a logo design contest for all CSAS in the Mesilla Valley. Details about the competition will be shared in future weekly updates.
Any questions or comments?
I'm looking forward to seeing many of you again in 2003.
I'd just like to wish all our members a peaceful and happy holiday.
I'm attaching a PDF file of the membership form in case you lost yours and would like to fill it out over the holidays. I'll be back in the office Jan. 2. For those of you who work in the College of Agriculture, you can see an OASIS poster at the All College Conference on Jan. 7.
Pauline has prepared a nice Powerpoint presentation overview of OASIS 2002. We presented both production and economic information yesterday to the Advisory Committee. Probably after the New Year, we will schedule a meeting for all members and potential members to attend a presentation on OASIS and give you the opportunity to ask any questions.
Our web site is still being developed. We hope to get it up very soon.
Thanks for all your support this past year. I look forward to another season of healthy production and eating!
Don't forget to pick up your last distribution of vegetables tomorrow. We'll take everything out of the field.
I want to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday. I had a lot to be thankful for this year in the OASIS project. I am most thankful for the tireless work of Pauline. I also really appreciate Chris Cramer's support and all the contributions by the students. I am also thankful to you, the members, for enthusiastically embracing OASIS. Last I am grateful for the nearly ideal growing conditions we experienced this year in our inaugural effort. I look forward to an even better year next year, and I hope to see most of you return as members.
Yes, there are veggies today, although the distribution won't be a huge one. Next week is the last distribution and we will take everything out of the field that's still there.
I accidentally sent that list of questions out to the CSA list of members and I was intending to send it to Chris Cramer who's email begins with CS. Anyway, an error on my part. Still I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the need to provide a work option to members in lieu of partial payment of the shares.
Right now we are thinking of increasing share costs to $300/half and $500/full for next year. Here are some facts:
Excluding the last two distributions (this week and next), half shares received 512 pounds of produce, which cost them $0.48/pound, since they paid $250. Full shares received 1,025 pounds and paid $0.43/lb. since they paid $450. Of the 1,025 pounds, 882.5 pounds were from summer crops.
We think that there will be 34 distributions total, not 35 as I counted on the calender. That would be a weekly cost of $13.24 for full shares and $7.35 for half shares.
If we increase full share costs to $500 and aim for 650 pounds total for the season, the per pound cost would be $0.77. If we stay at 34 weeks (and we likely will be able to start distributing earlier in spring since we'll get a head start this fall with transplants), the weekly poundage would be 19.12 and cost/week would be $14.71.
The 650 pounds is just a number we came up with. It's not an actual target. We think we'll continue distributing about 100 pounds from each of the fall and spring crops (200 total) as before. We just cut the 882 summer pounds in about half to come up with the 650.
Some examples of other CSAs around the country, from a 1996 thesis published at University of Mass. Amherst (I hope the columns stay straight. If not, and you want me to send a table, let me know):
|Great Country Farm||VA||$495||22||$22.50|
The thesis also estimated costs per pound for three CSA farms (not identified) and they were $0.64, $0.70, and $1.17 per pound. The thesis estimated the savings that these CSA customers had compared to buying the same produce organically ($59.60 to $151.70 for the season) in a store, or buying it conventionally in a store ($16.50 to $73.80 for the season). One of our OASIS students is doing a similar analysis for her term project and we'll be sharing her results with you by the end of the semester. Her preliminary estimates are that full shares would have paid about $1,400 for the same amount of produce they obtained through OASIS, had they shopped at Wal-Mart. This excludes flowers and herbs, and excludes last two weeks of distribution.
I'm attaching an income statement for OASIS for 2002, which will need updating for end of the season watering and field work costs and phone bills which haven't been charged yet.
I'm open to feedback. Please note that the income statement does not include the in-kind costs of student labor supplied during spring and fall, and a laundry list of in-kind contributions, such as electricity to run the cooler supplied by the university, and other items.
This is a long piece, but powerful and worth the time to read through it. John Ikerd is well known in sustainable ag circles for his passion and critical analysis of industrialized agriculture. He is one of very few ag economists in the country engaged in these issues. (I wish we still had the visiting distinguished professor program on campus, so we could invite him here!) After you read this, I wouldn't mind hearing your comments and thoughts. Do you think CSA farms (like OASIS) are the harbinger of a new paradigm, or just some lunatics spitting into the wind?
Yep, that's right. If I counted correctly on my calender, the last week of distribution, the Wed. before Thanksgiving, will be distribution #35. We don't have students to help that day however, as they get that day out of class. So that brings me to my next question. ): Can some of you help Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving with harvest and preparation for distribution? Otherwise, it's just Pauline and me >:If you want to help, show up in the morning. Pauline tends to be there before me and I show up about 7:30 am. It's chilly, but we get warm by about 8:30 or so. We will take everything edible out of the field that day. The rest will be tilled under or put into the compost.
It doesn't look like we are going to see Brussel sprouts. I think we might give up on them. They proved themselves as wonderful trap crops for aphids. We saw a little purple cauliflower today, but not enough to harvest. We are hoping it is ready by the last distribution. More broccoli came off today but not bucketfuls. Those darn cole crops are challenging.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out Laura Lincona's survey on OASIS. She will be preparing a presentation for the last week of class on what she found from the survey. We'll be sure and get members a copy of the results.
Doug Andrews has asked me to forward the attached application form if you want to sign up for his winter hydroponic CSA. Some of you may have gone to his open house a few weeks back. He's offering pesticide free hyrdoponic tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and lettuce I think. Please contact him for more information. His email is on the form. Let me know if for some reason you can't open a Word attachment, and you want to do so.
For those of you who are meat eaters and would like to obtain a local source of beef grown without hormones or antibiotics, I will hand out a flyer today at distribution. I have been buying Longhorn beef for two years direct from a rancher who lives near Animas, NM. Rhonda Skaggs also has been buying the beef. We have each bought a 1/4 carcass for the past two years. You might think Longhorn beef is not good; at least that's a common belief. But I'm here to tell you it's very good beef. It's been finished on some corn, but at the ranch, not in a feedlot. It is the only beef I eat now. I'm hoping eventually to locate local lamb as well. Personally, I'm trying to support local production as much as possible, for many reasons.
Last but not least, we will be distributing application forms before the last harvest if you want to sign up for next year. We will also be expanding OASIS. What I propose is that each current member be allowed to bring in one family as a new member, which will allow us to roughly double, depending on how many folks bring in friends. This means we'll have to plant approximately double the spring and fall crops, but not double on the summer, since we pretty much overloaded you in summer. We don't yet have the estimates on how much we'll adjust summer plantings though, but we'll work on that this winter with the spring semester students.
Did anyone try those green fried tomatoes?
a) Hi everyone.
I forgot to remind you that tomorrow is World Food Day. There will be a national downlink at 10 am in Milton 169 that everyone is invited to attend, followed by an hour panel of local folks discussing local food security issues. You can bring a can to donate to the local food bank if you like also. The teleconference is "Hungry Farmers: A National Security Issue for All." The website for World Food Day is http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/ where you can read more about the national programming. Following the local panel there will be another hour of televised Q&A from around the country.
Thanks to OASIS member Kari Bachman for organizing the local panel!!
b) Hi everyone.
I have gotten 0 RSVPS for the picnic this weekend. Should we change the date? Please let me know so I can change the reservation on the park.
We have sweet potatoes this week, cured and ready to go. A little early for Thanksgiving. Pauline hasn't checked the field today yet to know what if anything else will be new, but I'll let you know tomorrow. We are hoping the broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts are going to make it this season. They are going slowly and putting on lots of vegetative growth but no edible portions. We may have picked the wrong varieties. A learning process!
We are discussing next year's plan a lot, and one of our students will be administering a survey shortly to get feedback from you. I think it is safe to say at this point that volume per share will definitely be lower, we'll invite more members, and quite possibly charge a bit extra for the flowers. There's some debate about whether we should just offer full shares and let people partner up. This would reduce the number of people coming in for distribution (or keep it stable), and the check handling/accounting issues (for me and the front office.)
Within a few weeks I should have some rough estimate of our financial situation, and how close to covering Pauline's salary ultimately we can expect to get if we can maximize our one acre. Pauline, Chris and I were discussing that acre or so of pine trees just north of the OASIS field, wondering if there's any chance to cut them down so we could have one acre for rotational purposes. It will be complicated to get a cover crop in the field this winter. We still don't know if we can do it or not. One extra acre would help tremendously (and Chris will likely covet it for more onions!)
I had a bad dream last night, the first time I dreamed very specifically about the field. I dreamed we lost everything in the field, except grapes. And the grapes were growing on bushes, not vines. And Pauline was decorating everything with ceramic figurines of animals.
Looking forward to fall break next week!!
We have bok choi and kohlbrabi this week for the first time. Cilantro, beets, turnips, chard, lettuces, and greens will also be available with an assortment of the fast dwindling summer crops.
We are also planning to put in several rows of "insectary" crops in the middle of the field to give insects a place to overwinter until next spring. It doesn't look like we can put in a cover crop though, because of how late we come out of the field in the fall and how early we go back in February with spring planting. But we'll be adding lots of compost. Possibly next year if we plan better we can work some cover crops into the schedule in the spring/summer. For fertility through this past year (in addition to compost and rock phosphate), we added fish fertilizer to the drip lines, and we used two 55-gallon drums already. We decided not to open a third drum for the remainder of the season however. That fish fertilizer cost us about $550 for the two drums. I've been working on the OASIS finances, and will be able to present a report to the advisory committee soon. Any members interested in seeing the report are welcome to a copy. We certainly would like feedback/guidance on long-term viability of the project. We've nearly completed one official year of the 3-year grant, although almost certainly I'll request a no-cost 4th year extension.
Look for an invitation soon from the OASIS Advisory Committee, who is organizing an end of season potluck picnic. I hope to see everyone there!
Those who did not pick up their bags last week, can do so this week.
Look on the walls for the big illustrated thank-you cards that the kids in Sandy Degler's class of elementary students sent us as thankyou for their recent field trip to visit OASIS. We are expecting a couple more classes of elementary students in the next few weeks and we are working with a couple of the OASIS students to prepare a kind of "program" for visiting school kids.
I just got back from the printers who ironed the image onto the bags. The cost for ironing and printer ink was less than expected. Here are the final estimates:
Bags Photo paperInkPrinting TOTAL
I found out from the printer (Nicoletz, on Solano and Idaho) that for the size bag we got, we could have bought the same bag from him for $3/bag, instead of the $5 we paid the women in Anthony. Oh well, our good deed. I'll get a complete price list from him if we do another bag order next spring, in conjunction with our logo contest. The bags are smaller than what I had actually requested, too. They are more like book bags than vegetable bags. I consider this my fault as I must not have made myself clear, and I interacted with two different people at the Women's Intercultural Center, so the story must have gotten garbled somehow. Anyway, I learned a lot.
If you wash your bag, cold water is recommended. More washing reduces the life of the image.
46 of the 50 bags are pre-sold to you, OASIS members. Your name will be on a list at distribution on Wednesday. Bring a check (made out to me, Connie Falk, as I paid for everything up front) or cash for $7.57/bag.
There will be vegetable news on Wednesday after class.
Just back in from the field. We dug sweet potatoes this morning. We planted them 6 months ago and there are some big ones! There are three varieties, both orange and red. They won't be ready for a while to distribute because they have to cure first. We also dug up a gopher in the sweet potato patch. He had gnawed on some of them. The students weren't quick enough with the pitchforks and he escaped unscathed. I sighed relief, but death is apparently the only good outcome for a gopher in a vegetable patch.
We also harvested more fall crops, including some lettuces which are starting to bolt if you can believe that. There are some tops too, either turnips or beets I'm not sure now. We also harvested the sweet potato tops. We did this because the in-laws of one of the students, Duane, use the sweet potato tops in soups and stews. They are from the Philippines and they LOVE the sweet potato tops, even more than the potatoes. Duane has been sending the tops to them for a while. So if you'd like to try making a stew or soup with lots of vegetables and throw in the sweet potato tops, you'll have a Philippino dish. I don't know if we can get an exact recipe, but we'll try.
We had a class of developmentally disabled kids visit the field today. They were so full of energy and questions, more than the college students! They drew a field layout of what we have planted, and thoroughly investigated the pond. One of our students in the class is going to do her term project with the kids, examining the use of horticulture as a learning/therapy tool. Also today in class we had entomologist Joe Ellington do a walk through with us. We learned the difference between the different ladybugs, the introduced versus the native species, saw them in their various stages of development. We learned that alfalfa is a great host crop for beneficials, which is one reason cotton can so easily be grown organically in this valley, because of the all the diverse insects which the alfalfa fields produce. One of the students suggested we plant some strips of alfalfa in our field, like under the spreading crops like the melons and squash, since they take up empty rows on either side to spread out. We might try that next year. Joe is going to suggest some other host plants to increase our insect diversity.
I got the bags today from the Women's Intercultural Center in Anthony and I priced photo papers and ink cartridges. Here's my estimate of the final cost of the bags, printed as cheaply as I think is possible for this quantity. This printing involves running special photocopy paper through an inkjet printer and then ironing on with an industrial iron. If we would invest in four color printing and have art work made of our image, we'd be able to save money only in the very long run, doing much larger quantities, and reusing the screen printed image on t-shirts, etc. However, I'm not ready to commit to this image and have art work prepared for four color screen printing at this point. Personally I'd like us to develop a CSA logo that would work for IG Prieto's CSA as well as OASIS, and then the market for bags and t-shirts would be larger. The news from the art department is that any help with getting a logo design will need to wait till spring semester. Any thoughts?
My next job is to print the photo paper and go to the place where they have an industrial iron. More updates later.
|Price per bag||5.30||0.80||1.37, 1.50||8.97|
We had a great week at the National Small Farm Conference last week. Some of the highlights were (for me anyway!):
Baby boomers make a huge contribution to these trends. Fruits and vegetables per capita consumption will increase by at least 25% each year. Visit: www.sfc.ucdavis.edu.
I hope last week's distribution went well. I'm not sure what may be new in the field this week, but I will find out on Wednesday morning. We will have entomologist Joe Ellington with us to do a walk through in our plot to identify insects with the class. Then a small class of developmentally disabled grade school kids will visit us after class on Wednesday to learn more about our garden. The bags are ready to pick up in Anthony. I hope I have time to go tomorrow. They still have to be printed however.
We had a great field trip to the No Cattle Co. farm in the Mimbres River valley on Sunday. We saw a very diversified organic farm, with a fruit orchard, cider press, cut and dried flowers, vegetables, and greenhouses. The farmers, Sharlene Grunerud and Michael Alexander, gave us a detailed tour of their farm, including explanations of how they manage their greenhouses, the use of their farm equipment, field rotations and cover crops, on farm production of organic soil builder for plug production in the greenhouse, their recipe for making organic potting mix, an overview of their organic record keeping system, pest control measures, marketing, and value added activities (cider, painted gourds, flower wreaths, medicinal soaps and tinctures). Sharlene and her beautiful wreaths will be at the Renaissance Festival in Las Cruces this fall.
We leave tomorrow for the National Small Farm Conference. Three students and Pauline and Kari Bachman will be heading up after lunch. The students not attending the conference are in charge of harvest and distribution this week. I hope everything goes smoothly! Any special instructions regarding this week's distribution need to arrive today.
We'll have scallions today (green onions) for the first time. Also, we have more Chinese cabbage.
Next week Pauline will go with us to the National Small Farm Conference, so the remaining students will be in charge of distribution. I think everything is covered so it should go smoothly. I'll be going, and we leave on Tuesday. There won't be anyway to let me know after Monday if you have a problem picking up your produce on Wed next week. If you don't let us know of special circumstances by Monday, I can't guarantee anything.
Kari Bachman sent this recipe for Chinese cabbage: "Last night I made an awesome salad with the rest of our Chinese cabbage. I sliced it in long shreds and then steamed it in the microwave. Then I tossed it in a sweet and sour dressing and added some sliced pears a friend had brought from Hondo. After stowing it in the fridge for a while, I topped it with some pecans. Even though I forgot the gorgonzola it was still wonderful!" The dressing was vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and some olive oil (not a lot--mainly just for a bit of flavor).
Since on Wednesday the university has a large event planned, some of you may have difficulty picking up your produce if you plan to attend. I'm not sure how to address this, but if it is a real problem for anyone, let us know.
The bags have been ordered. I'm in the process of getting printing quotes. I found out that color separation process would be prohibitively expensive, $6-8 per bag for the printing. Instead, we'll do a digital heat transfer that basically involves ironing on a reverse digital printout. However, heavy duty paper is needed for the print, and a big heavy iron. I'm not willing to iron the bags myself.
Pauline reports a great slowing down in the field. We may not even need to continue pre-harvesting on Mondays and Fridays. Again, we may face a lag between seasons (did you notice one between spring and summer?).
OASIS will have a poster at the NMSU University Research and Creativity fair this Friday afternoon on the second floor of the Corbett Center. Then the poster travels to the National Small Farm Conference in Albuquerque, and finally arrives Sept. 21 at the Mountain View Market Organic Harvest Festival here in Las Cruces.
We have a surprise this week. The Chinese cabbage, planted as a FALL crop, is ready to go. Everyone will get a head today. Sweet potatoes are looking good; we could dig them any time now. Peppers have fallen way off however. The red pimiento pepper got hit hard by powdery mildew, which caused the top leaves to fall off, exposing the fruits to sunburn. Several other varieties also suffered.
The students got a lot of weeding done today in class, and planted about nine fall crops as well. All the fall crops are up and looking healthy. We have to keep ahead of the weeds however. A large friendly preying mantis visited the students today and climbed all over several students.
Three students in the class are going with us to the National Small Farm Conference in Albuquerque in two weeks. OASIS will have a poster at the conference. We are also scheduling a field trip to an organic farm in the Mimbres River valley in mid-September. Lots of things to see!
We should have an OASIS website very soon. One of the students in the class is creating the web site as a class project. We'll be posting pix of all the varieties grown this year, the students in the class, the field, our trips, etc.
See you later today maybe!
Thanks for the quick feedback on the bag orders. I've pre-sold about 31 so far of the 50. The bags will cost $5 plus whatever the screen printing cost is, so I need to get the art work ready and get some printing quotes. I hope to get a deposit to the Women's Intercultural Center by the end of this week, so the bags should be ready by mid September. I'll just order 50 to start. I'll put up the deposit so we can get the order in quicker.
When you respond to a specific question like how many bags would you order, if you could just respond privately to my email it would help reduce email clutter in everyone's boxes. I know it's easy just to hit the reply key without thinking who will get the reply.
The filming went well so far this morning. The video being made will go out to all Cooperative Extension offices in the country plus be part of a video news feature that airs on cable agriculture programs. I'll let you know where copies can be obtained. I think a version might also become available on the USDA website. Bob, the photographer will be at distribution. See you there!
Tomorrow the USDA is supposed to be here for the video shoot. I told them to be at the field by 6:30 am for the start of harvest. So don't forget to come to distribution and be ready in case you are interviewed for the video.
Kari Bachman and I went to the Women's Intercultural Center a week or so ago for their celebration. The WIC is located in Anthony. They are building a large (8,000s sq ft?) building out of tires, to house activities to support local women, such as classes in art, carpentry, and sewing. I noticed in the Bulletin last week that Sen. Bingamon announced the WIC was getting a $150,000 grant to finish the building. The group already makes bags, like to sell to conferences. We want to buy canvas bags from the group, to sell to you so you can use them at distribution, reducing the need for plastic bags, and to promote OASIS. We thought we would print Pauline's beautiful design on the first order. The WIC is preparing a revised quote for us for the bags. Their price to us will be somewhat less than $6.50/bag. We'll have to get a quote on screen printing the bags, too. To get the best price, we'll need to order 50 bags.
How many bags would you buy? Could you please email me and tell me so I can get an estimate to see if we can sell the 50 bags to OASIS members? We'd also like to run a logo contest this fall and create a CSA logo for the community, and order more bags for next year, that OASIS members, MV CSA members, or the general public could buy. Mary Beth Worley and Patricia Steeb have both indicated they would like to help organize this project.
Does anyone have recommendations on screen print shops where we could get quotes on printing the bags?
See you tomorrow. I'm not sure what surprises might be coming out of the garden this week, since I haven't had a chance to go out this week. I'm hoping for more Old German tomatoes!
BTW, I saw that Money magazine has Las Cruces listed as one of the top ten places to retire on their website. The article however, states that there are no water sports on the Rio Grande in the summer, because the river dries up. Hmm. I guess people hoping to retire to Las Cruces to water ski on the river will be out of luck. And, I'm not sure what all the farmers will be doing without the river.
Not much news to report this week, except that classes have started. We
meet tomorrow morning for the first time with our new OASIS students. I'm looking forward to introducing them to our project.
Next week USDA is scheduled to be here from DC with a video crew to film the OASIS project. They will be at harvest and distribution on Wednesday, so some of you may be interviewed at distribution. Keep that in mind when you make your OASIS distribution wardrobe and hairstyle decisions next week. Some of you are looking very dapper lately. We want to encourage stylish distributions. Toward that end, I will be investing in some fly swatters and fly strips this week.
We've gotten over 115 inquiries for IG Prieto's CSA so far, and about 55 people have sent in checks. However, this does not include the onslaught of calls and emails that came in since yesterday, due to the Sun News running the news release again on Aug. 18. If you know people who are interested in the MV CSA, the application form is now posted on the NMSU home page. Just go to the organic news story on the home page, and then click on the forms icon, and the PDF format is available.
Anyone ventured into SAMS? I got a vegetarian cookbook there this weekend for $8. It has lots of interesting Indian (from India) dishes I'd like to try.
Oh, last bit of news. On Sunday OASIS member Kari Bachman and I went to the Women's Intercultural Center gala in Anthony. This is the group of women building the women's center out of tires. The walls and roof are all up. It is quite an impressive building, with space for child care, reflexology, carpentry classes, art classes, sewing workshop, etc. We contacted them to see if they could sew up some canvas type bags to use to pick up produce at distribution. We want to get Pauline's wonderful OASIS logo reproduced on the bags, and sell them to members. The women gave us quite a reasonable quote, so we hope to follow up on this soon, and get some bags ordered. The OASIS Advisory Committee then wants to sponsor a logo contest this fall for NMSU students, and get a bag design for bags to sell next year. Anyone want to help with this project?
While perusing the Washington Post website today I discovered this nice list of recipe links. I haven't investigated any of these sites yet, so happy recipe hunting!
Our fall crops are all planted, and some of the direct seeded have come up in the field already. If you'd like a little tour of the fall crop planting, let us know at distribution.
The inquiries for IG Prieto's MV CSA are pouring in. Today I got a call from Roswell even, from folks who plan to load up a station wagon of friends every week and drive down for their organic vegetables. They asked me when I could start a project up there! I wish I had the time. There are still shares left in IG's CSA for the fall, so if you have any friends interested, pass the word. I'm attaching the forms in case you'd like to print them out and give them to anyone.
We have 15 students registered for the fall OASIS class, which starts next week on Wednesday. Duane and Brad, two of our summer workers, will be in the class. Brad is working on getting OASIS a web site and I'm looking forward to that so we can post all kinds of links and pictures.
See you Wednesday!
Links of recipes:
· The American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) is among the growing number of groups publishing cookbooks geared to eating more healthfully. Other publishers include the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), the American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org) and the American Heart Association (www.deliciousdecisions.org). The American Institute of Cancer Research (www.aicr.org) posts some recipes on the Web.
· Cooking Light magazine has gotten high marks from Lean Plate Club members for its good-tasting, healthy recipes. Search them free at www.cookinglight.com/cooking. Nutrition information is included.
· Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), an eating plan that emphasizes fruit and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meat, poultry and seafood, worked as well as medication in recent research to lower blood pressure. Find some of its recipes for the whole family at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
· Eating Well magazine recently re-emerged as a quarterly featuring no advertising. Sample recipes are available free at www.eatingwell.com.
· Eat Right to Help Lower Your High Blood Pressure lists menu ideas and recipes to help you control weight and high blood pressure. This 30-page pamphlet can be downloaded free at www.pueblo.gsa.gov or purchased for $2 per copy from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, PO Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824. Publication no. 3289.
· Epicurious offers thousands of free, searchable recipes at www.epicurious.com. Click on "advanced search" to suit your needs and tastes.
· Five a Day: The perfect place to find new, inexpensive, fast or tasty ways to get those important servings of fruits and vegetables every day at www.5aday.gov.
· Giant Food offers free, healthful recipes at www.giantfood.com.
· Heart Healthy Home Cooking African-American Style, posted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, features free recipes at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
· In Mama's Kitchen provides home-cooked recipes from around the world at www.inmamaskitchen.com -- although you'll need to register (for free) and use some common sense, since not all of the recipes include nutrition information.
· La Diabetes Recetas offers free recipes in Spanish for people with diabetes (www.pueblo.gsa.gov).
· The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a book of 40 recipes for healthful, inexpensive meals at www.cnpp.usda.gov. They can be purchased for $4.25 each through the Government Printing Office (GPO Stock No. 001-000-04680-2) by calling 202-512-1800.
· The Vegetarian Resource Group posts a wide range of free vegetarian and vegan recipes at www.vrg.org. Washingtonpost.com offers a free searchable database of quick and easy recipes at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/food.
· Whole Foods Market lists free recipes -- some with nutrition information -- at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
This might be a little late, but don't forget today is OASIS day!
Also, Aug. 1 is the last date for quarterly payments, so if you still owe a payment, now would be a good time to dig out your checkbook. If you are not sure, email me and I'll check the records. My records indicate that 12 members owe money. Next week I'll send out individual reminders to those who still owe a little.
We will be awarding certificates to our youngest volunteers, Cody Pfanenstiel and Laura DeMouche, the two kids who have come all summer and helped us harvest. We are planning to make the surprise presentation during distribution so members present can help thank Cody and Laura for their hard work this summer.
Seems like squash is taking a bit of a break these days. Tomatoes are still strong, as are peppers. The flowers had a big burst this week. The purple tomatillos are going well, but the green ones have dropped off dramatically. New sweet corn will be ready today and either we were lucky with the variety or Pauline's new approach (oil instead of Bt) to control corn borers has had an effect, as the corn this week is quite pretty. I hope it tastes sweet.
Anybody else order cheese at igourmet.com? Our favorite was a Spanish cheese, Mahon. I just ordered some more, plus a lot of other cheese with which I am not familiar. Igourmet.com is advertising for people to host cheese parties (with the host earning commissions). Anybody looking for some part time work that involves parties would be good to double up with a wine connoisseur friend!
I'm thinking about having a harvest party for OASIS sometime in the fall, with everyone bringing an OASIS inspired dish. Does this sound like something you would like to do? We could all meet each other and enjoy some good food!
Well, we expected the first plantings of squash to be tapered off by now, so the second planting was started to be timed with that. But alas and alack Pauline is such a green thumb, the first planting is still producing, and the second planting is about ready to harvest. What to do with all this squash?
You may have already heard through the grapevine, but if not, this is your official notification. We found a farmer in Mesilla, IG Prieto, who will be offering fall shares this fall, and then next year as well, to help with the huge waiting list (50 and counting) for OASIS. IG will be able to certify organic this fall as he has not put any prohibited materials on his land and it's been under his control for more than three years. He has access to a well, too. He'll be watering with furrow irrigation instead of drip, so it will be an interesting comparison. We will be helping IG get his CSA going, with the assistance of Lucia Bond, who is the program director of the Dona Ana and El Paso County Agricultural Assistance Office. Lucia's program was set up to help disadvantaged and small Hispanic farmers.
I sent a press release to Agricultural Communications today about this new development. The folks on the waiting list were notified about 2 weeks ago. If you have friends/relatives/enemies who might be interested in buying a full or half share from IG, now is the time to tell them before the press release hits the papers. You can print off the form from this email, or tell them to email me. Shareholders who sign up this fall with IG are first in line next year for the full season with him. He will offer 80 shares, double what we can offer (we hope to double our shares next year). We will help him select varieties based on our experience this year.
Hey, any new recipes out there? Jeff and I had a discussion recently about quiche, because he said he used to make quiche a lot before THAT BOOK came out. I was of course incredulous, and he fixed me a superb quiche last night, with OASIS squash and basil, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, and a great Spanish cheese we bought on-line. He served it with OASIS green beans. I like those yellow Major ones better. What a fabulous dinner, paired with Old German tomatoes, grapes, fresh spinach, chili seasoned pumpkin seeds, and Greek olives.
Speaking of on-line cheese, if you are as disgusted as I am with the cheeses available here in big LC, you should check out http://www.igourmet.com/ They have the most wonderful cheese selections from ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!! I had to try Wensleydale of course, after watching Wallace and Grommit so many times.
See you Wednesday!
Pauline indicated that many of you are not taking your herbs, specifically the basil, each week. Thus, to reduce unnecessary bunching, we'd like you to tell us each week if you'd like basil.
So do you want basil tomorrow? If so, EMAIL.
Our cooler room is looking very sharp. We got new shelves and containers. Pauline and Duane worked in the rain and cold yesterday putting the shelves together after 5 pm, so we could get the melons off the floor. Their dedication is amazing.
See you tomorrow!
We also will have cantaloupe and honeydews today. It's another whopper of a harvest. The best news of all is that our new walk-in cooler is functional!!! So most of your produce will be delivered cool today.
How is everyone holding up under the produce deluge? Is it just ridiculously too much? I'm just curious.
Don't be too frightened by the appearance of the harvest crew today. It was a wet and muddy field!
Don't forget your veggies tomorrow. There will be some onions, so you can almost make salsa with OASIS ingredients only. (Still need some garlic and cilantro!).
Keep the recipes flowing. Let's hear how you are using your veggies. Lois Stanford told me she went straight home last week and made tomato sandwiches. Pauline assured me this was a legitimate use of tomatoes.
Just a reminder that July 15 is the payment deadline for both quarterly payment plans and those paying in two payments. Many of you have paid in full already, and we appreciate it. If you owe a payment on the 15th, just bring it to the next distribution.
Wondering what to do with your tomatillos? I made an easy and tasty salsa (salsa verde) this weekend with a bunch of tomatillos. After taking off the husks, and rinsing them, I just boiled them for a little while, maybe five minutes. Then I put them in a blender with some fresh tomatoes, cilantro, fresh garlic, onion, and hot chile peppers. (I first roasted the chilies on the stove in a pan). That was it. It made a great salsa. The recipe had proportions, but I always ignore such details, and just eyeball it. If you want exact ingredient amounts, let me know.
I also made some baba ganoudj with a bunch of eggplants. I baked the eggplants in the oven, cut side down (you can also grill them), and then scooped out the insides. I put the eggplant in the food processor with some tahini (you can get this at International Delights. It is a sesame seed paste.), lemon juice, garlic, and parsley. Some recipes also call for throwing in cooked garbanzo beans, which would thicken it up a bit. Eat the baba ganoudj as a spread on toasted pita bread wedges, with some feta cheese and some Greek olives!
I don't think there are any new items in this week's pickup. Let us know ahead of time if you can't make Wednesday's pickup.
Well the watermelon harvest began today, but there's not enough for everyone, so we'll raffle this weeks' melon harvest. The only people eligible are those people actually picking up their own share. That way, if you have a sub this week, you won't get eliminated the next time we hand out melons on a raffle basis.
The high winds last night kind of dessicated some of the flowers. The sunflower block is nearly finished producing, but we've got a second planting on the way. Do you think the flowers are worthwhile? Would you have rather had more veggies than some flowers? They are a bit time consuming to harvest and bunch.
We talked this week with a farmer who lives in Mesilla who wants to offer organic fall shares this fall. I will be contacting everyone on the waiting list to see if they want to buy a fall share this year. If the relationship works out well, he'll join us for the full growing season in 2003 and we'll be able to significantly expand production. If you know of anyone not on the waiting list already, who'd possibly be interested in a fall share, just have them contact me (preferably by email, but phone is okay). The farmer will manage his own distribution, but we'll help with planning, and membership list management and communications. We hope this is the start of an ever expanding organic CSA movement in the valley!
Tomorrow should be another whopper of a harvest, but we have a holiday so there's more time for cooking!
Pauline asked me to explain to those of you who were unfamiliar with the Delicata squash last week, that it is a winter squash. This means it has to be cooked for much longer than a summer squash (zucchini). Winter squashes are typically baked, sometimes for an hour. (Anyone have a good recipe?) Once some one cooked for me a winter squash, and baked it in the oven with pine nuts, mushrooms, and garlic toast crumbles mixed in the hollowed out place. It was delicious.
If you want to make pesto with your basil, just put in a blender or food processor the cleaned basil leaves, with garlic, a hard cheese like Romano grated in, and nuts. Most recipes call for pine nuts, but I've used walnuts and pecans for variations. You can add a little olive oil too if you like for consistency. Most recipes call for LOTS of olive oil, but I am pretty stingy with the olive oil. The proportions of nuts, cheese, garlic, and basil are also variable. I just go by what looks/tastes right. I blend the ingredients up in large batches and freeze them in small tupperware containers. I usually make enough every summer to last a year!
Remember, if you need to pick up your share late, let us know ahead of time.
Have a fun and safe Independence Day celebration.
Some of you busy folks forget to pick up your shares on Wednesday. If you don't tell us ahead of time that you will not be coming by, we think you won't come by at all. So usually, we just give the leftovers to the farm crew. PLEASE if you know you need to pick up your share late (like on Thursday or even Friday) PLEASE let us know ASAP (preferably before Wednesday) so we can hold it back.
We don't mind late pickups as long as we know ahead of time. I'm not saying this so suddenly half of the group can come late, but we are willing to accommodate emergencies when Wednesdays are just impossible.
We are accumulating lots of beautiful pictures from the project. I just put one that Brad took on my desktop wallpaper. If anyone would like some digital pix, let me know!
Tomorrow you can expect the start of the tomatillo harvest. Tomatillos are primarily used to make salsa. Does anyone want to start sharing tomatillo based salsa recipes?
We will also have some red okra. What a pretty plant! The flowers on it are striking.
Corn will be ready, and I think there will be some tomatoes, although I'm not 100% sure.
I went to the field today, and saw beautiful black swallowtail butterflies, lots of bees on the sunflowers, and hummingbirds buzzing around the zinnias. What a treat. The biodiversity effort has gone too far however, as an enterprising gopher has discovered a taste for Japanese eggplants. He also has begun chewing holes in the drip tape. We could stand to lose a few eggplants I think, but destruction of drip tape which results in field flooding is a bit too much. Some traps will be set, alas.
I counted the number of vegetable, herb, and flower varieties we planted in the first two seasons (spring, summer) and counted 94!
Don't forget to pick up produce today. There are some beautiful bouquets this week! You'll also find four kinds of green beans (one is purple), 3 kinds of eggplant of different shapes, four kinds of chilies, cucumbers, gold and red potatoes (warning, they are small), and the usual 3 kinds of zucchini.
Well no potatoes today. We want them to get a little bigger if possible. We did finish off carrots though. We'll also have green beans for the first time. There are two varieties, Bountiful and Blue Lake. The Blue Lake are a darker color. You'll get baggies with the two varieties mixed.
If you'd like to recycle baggies, that would help us a lot. Just bring them back and we'll reuse them. We're spending a lot of money on baggies every week, to avoid making you wait in long lines at the scale to measure out portions.
We also have three kinds of basil, some chilies, three summer squashes like last week, and some other herbs.
We will probably have eggplant next week. There were just a few ready this week, so by next week there should be enough for everyone. The cucumbers are also starting to appear. The corn is tasseling up and the tomatoes are putting on fruit nicely. The bell peppers also getting quite big, but not showing color yet (red, orange).
The NMSU Ag Communications film crew showed up today to make a video news release. Pauline was featured, moving buckets of flowers around. Thanks go to OASIS member Ana Perez Wright who works at Ag Communications for organizing the filming. Also, thanks to OASIS member Leanne Demouche for bringing her daughter Laura to harvest with us.
The OASIS Advisory Committee has begun meeting. One of the committee members, Lucia Bond, works with low income disadvantaged farmers. Lucia will be bringing potential growers to see our operation on June 17. We hope to have a few farmers on board to grow crops in the 2003 season, allowing OASIS to significantly expand membership. I am also considering assigning our returning OASIS students to be advisors/assistants to the farmers to walk them through our planning process. This will give the advanced students a new challenge, and provide the farmers with a go-to person for questions and assistance. We'll keep you posted.
The flowers have begun! We have some cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias.
There were enough flowers to make only 4 nice bouquets this week, so we are going to draw 4 members' names at random and award them at distribution. So be sure to show up for your share today!
Here's an interesting website for veggie lovers:
There's an alphabetical listing of recipes by vegetable. So when you've run out of ideas on what to do with zucchini (and you will run out of ideas) check out this website.
Don't forget distribution on Wednesday! We might “MIGHT” have potatoes, and possibly green beans. I'll let you know tomorrow.
Chris asked me to pass on another invitation to glean onions on Saturday at the farm at 8 am.
We have dill today, three kinds of squash, beets, carrots, peas, collards, some early peppers! and two kinds of basil. This is the end of the beets, peas, and collards. The tomatillos and eggplants are looking nearly ready.
We're still pulling diseased tomato plants. So far we've lost about 124, and replanted 78 of those, of 254 total planted this spring.
Normally I don't forward unsolicited emails, but I thought this piece was particularly relevant, given everyone's obvious interest in good health. If you haven't seen a copy of Fast Food Nation, and would like to, let me know. I have a copy.
And, if you want to keep abreast of issues like this, I recommend subscribing to the community food security coalition listserv, where this piece came from. Just go to this website and follow instructions: http://www.foodsecurity.org/
Well Wednesday snuck up this week since we had Monday off. The summer harvest has officially begun! We picked two varieties of zucchini today. We have enough for everyone to get one zucchini, just a starter harvest. We also have collard greens today, and beets, carrots, and probably the tail end of the peas. We think potatoes will be ready to go soon. When I left the harvest crew today, there was talk of taking some basil as well.
The field looks really amazing. If you haven't seen it in even a week, you will be surprised how much luxuriant growth is out there.
Take care, and don't forget your veggies today!
Chris Cramer, who co-teaches the OASIS class, is organizing an onion gleaning at the Fabian Garcia Farm on Monday (I know it's a holiday!). The onions will be donated to the Food Bank. If you want to participate, bring a hat and water. He'll provide all tools and gloves. You can show up at 8 am, and they will knock off at 11 am. You'll be gleaning right by the OASIS field.
Have a great weekend.
Don't forget your vegetable pick up tomorrow!
This week we will have some carrots and lots more root crops. Some of the summer crops, such as eggplant, are flowering so we are hopeful the gap between end of spring and start of summer harvest will be minor.
We have curly top virus in the tomato plants, and Pauline has pulled nearly 50 of the 300 plants in the field. Once the tomato plant is infected, there is nothing that can be done about it, except remove the plant so it does not become a source of virus for other plants. Curly top is spread by a leaf hopper insect. We've read that shading tomato plants can discourage leaf hoppers, but it's too late for that, not to mention expensive. There are some curly top resistant varieties but the success of these varieties is uncertain.
We have some transplants we can plant back in to replace the lost plants, and we over planted by 25% so we might not be in too bad of shape. We'll have to see what happens.
We got our storage shed built this week. Thanks to Cheryl James for the lumber for the base, Jeff Kallestad for building the base, and Duane and Pauline for putting up the shed. We are working on getting estimates for refrigeration equipment for one of the cold storage rooms on the farm which dates back to the days when Fabian Garcia farm was planted in lots of fruit trees.
Well classes are over! Two of the students in the class, Duane and Tracy, will be working part time this summer on the project, helping Pauline in the field. Our most immediate project is to build our storage shed. Pauline staked the tomatoes recently, using rebar. We got the idea to use rebar from an organic grower from the Mimbres Valley, Michael Alexander, who visited our class this spring. We've planted both determinant and indeterminant tomato varieties. I think we have 14 different varieties in different sizes and colors.
This week we should have crops similar to those of last week. In addition, the kohlrabi is ready.
One of our members, Charlee, sent this tidbit about preparing kohlrabi:
"I grew up in the mid-west among eastern European immigrants. Kolrabi was a favorite summer vegetable and often served, like cabbage, fried in butter with egg noodles and lots of salt and pepper. The kolrabi took no preparation: just trim the root and leaves and slice it up."
I personally liked the flavor of the fresh pieces we served last week, but several folks said they liked the cooked version as well.
Some of the summer crops are starting to take off, like the tomatoes. I hope our spring root crops (potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips) hold out long enough until the summer crops kick in. Pauline and I talked about next spring getting a few of the summer crops going a bit earlier using row covers, to help span the period between end of spring season crops and beginning of summer.
What does everyone think about the sugar bush snap peas? I personally thought they were way too tough. However, they are also the most prolific. Would you vote to plant them again? Peas can be part of the fall crop again this year.
I'll be preparing a paper about this project in the next few weeks for presentation at the joint meeting in June in Chicago of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, and the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society. Maybe some of you would like to hear/see the presentation before/after I go? Let me know.
I guess by now the weekly routine of picking up produce is well established, but maybe a reminder is useful. We finished lettuce and spinach last week. This week we'll have more peas, and some turnips, radishes, and beets. There should also be some collard greens and chard.
The kohlrabi is almost ready, but not enough for a complete distribution. However, if the pieces ready for harvest grow another week, they may get too tough. So we thought about giving out kohlrabi samples tomorrow, so you can taste it. We hope next week there is enough ready so everyone can have some to take home. I must confess I never had tasted fresh kohlrabi before. The class tasted one on Friday and everyone agreed it was a delicious fresh vegetable.
We're still a few weeks from carrots and several weeks for potatoes. I hope there is not too much of a gap between the end of spring crops and the beginning of summer crops.
Finals are this week. As soon as I get my grades turned in next week, I will begin the work of organizing the advisory committee. My idea is that the advisory committee will focus on long term viability of this project. If necessary, the advisory committee may want to consider establishing a core group. Typically, CSAs have core groups, which are groups of members who have specific responsibilities and facilitate interactions between the farmer and the members. Core group responsibilities include putting out newsletters and recipes, dealing with produce that is not picked up, monitoring distributions, and keeping track of member work days at the farm (when such requirements exist).
I hope you all survived the windy weekend. I went out to see the little plants (summer transplants) Saturday and they seemed a little beaten up, but still hanging in there.
This week we should have some turnips and maybe chard. We never know for sure until the day of harvest.
Pauline has put together a chart showing the expected harvest intervals for the crops through the fall. This represents Pauline's best estimate of harvest dates. At least it will give you an idea of what we think will happen. So far though, days to harvest have not been that accurate for the spring crops. You'll get the chart on Wednesday at pickup time, same time and place as last week!
For those of you who indicated interest in serving on the advisory committee, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me again. I've not had a chance to do anything in that regard with the end of the semester upon us. Finals are next week, and after that I should be able to get the advisory committee up and running. I'm also looking for a small farmer to serve on the committee, in case you know of someone.
Pauline said there were some questions about the payment schedule. For quarterly payment plans, the dates are June 1, July 15, and Aug. 1. For two payment plans, the next date is July 15.
If you have recipes that you would like to share with everyone else, please feel free. Leeann said she stir fried the Chinese cabbage last night and the recipe (which I can't quote) sounded delicious.
Also, Leeann mentioned that one of her daughters is a vegetarian and very interested in this project, so I invited her to help out with a harvest once school gets out. If you have any kids that would like to participate in a harvest (we start at 6:30 am) some time, let me know so we can arrange something.
We harvested some beautiful spinach this morning. We also have both snap and snow peas. Most of the peas are snap this week. The younger snap peas are indistinguishable from the snow peas in appearance, but the older snap peas are bulkier. The snaps are an edible pod variety. We didn't plant any peas that have to be shelled.
We also have our first harvest of radishes. We washed them so they wouldn't be so dirty, and bunched them. We also bunched turnip tops and Chinese cabbage. The cabbage does not look like what you might expect it to, but it is still quite delicious cooked up. Pauline cooked some for the class, sauteed with garlic and all the students agreed it was quite tasty.
We have the same assortment of lettuces as last week. There is also more arugula and mustard greens, and chervil for the first time. Everything this week weighed out by share is approximately 3 pounds for a full share and 1.5 for a half. We have one new scale this week, too.
Since the Master Gardener program ended we can move into the more comfortable room next door to where we were last week. We also found out there is a cooler in that room, so hopefully it won't be so hot.
Some of you still are not on the listserv yet, so I am wary of using it until everyone gets on. You have to reply to the email that you got from topica.com to get subscribed. It won't cost you anything either.
Hope you enjoy your goodies this week. We realize not everyone knows how to deal with turnip greens, but we provided enough for everyone anyway.
In other news, we are planning a field trip to the farm of some grade school students later this spring, maybe to help with the potato harvest. The students' teacher got funds to plant a garden at the school and wants to learn more about our project.