Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reading/Watching/Thinking Now

I just finished reading Will Allen's book The Good Food Revolution. After watching the movie, Fresh, a few years ago, I was completely fascinated by Will Allen and his urban farm Growing Power in Milwaukee.

Hot tip: Fresh is streaming now on Netflix. Great little movie and not as intense as Food Inc. if you need to ease someone (including yourself) into the truth about our broken food system.

I wanted to learn more about Mr. Allen's operation and how he came to be an urban farmer. This book delivered on all counts. The first third covers his family and their complicated history with farming as sharecroppers and their attempt to leave farming behind. The book then transitions to Mr. Allen's personal history as a basketball player, business man and hobby farmer. The last third covers how he purchased Growing Power and how it grew into the impressive institution it is today. The book was really inspiring and made me want to 1. Purchase an abandoned warehouse in San Antonio and turn it into a giant vertical urban farm and 2. Go to a Growing Power workshop or conference and 3. Buy some more worms. Maybe I will start with number 3 and work backwards. I loved the sections on their aquaponics operation- where they grow bajillions of fresh water fish in tanks that also water and fertilize micro-greens. When I see this grand vision of sustainability it only highlights how unsustainable regular agriculture is. If you want to check out the book too: The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities

The next two books on my summer reading list are :

I am so curious about the process of putting a victory garden on the White House Lawn again! But since this book is still in preorder, and won't arrive until June, I might need to start on this book that DHITW has been pressuring me to read:

From what I have heard- it seems pretty intense and possibly depressing. But knowledge is power. And you know- I'm a social worker so intense and depressing is right up my alley.

I am also still working through the recommendations you left in these comments. Yay gardening books 4ever! If you have any new suggestions or reviews on what you are reading/watching/thinking now- I'd love to hear them.

Backyard Birthday Banquet

Yesterday was a milestone birthday for me. I decided on backyard dinner to start this new decade off right. We went outside to see what we could harvest and then created a menu.

 What we found: zucchini, yellow squash, onions, carrots, bell peppers, corn, kale, blackberries, beans and the season's first red and orange tomatoes. So DHITW made pasta primavera, corn and kale salad with blackberries for dessert. 
 We also picked this rose and basil bouquet. These little roses are precious to me because they are from a rose bush I received for my first Mother's Day. (5 years ago!) 

 After multiple years growing corn, we seem to have perfected when to harvest and how close to plant for good pollination.

Now is the time  in South Texas to harvest any winter veggies you may have left. Root vegetables like carrots will last a long time in the fridge but will start getting bitter if you leave them in the ground. Harvest them up and store 'em We picked a ton but still have more out there to pick. I am on the search for a gluten free carrot cake recipe that uses tons of carrots. We also have about 10 giant heads of kale we need to make use of before it turns too bitter in the heat. I love massaged kale salad and I am also considering pulling most of it up and coking it into a million kale chips.

We are at that sweet spot in the season when the winter plants are still hanging around and the summer crops are just beginning.

“Eating well is one of the greatest pleasures you can give yourself.”- Oprah