Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wendell Berry's New Years Resolution

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Wendell Berry for Edible Brooklyn Magazine.

What can "City Folk" do to support local farmers and the food security movement?

1. Participate in food production to the extent that you can. If
you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a sunny win-
dow, grow something to eat in it. Make a little compost of your
kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer. Only by growing some food
for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy
cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to
offal to decay, and around again. You will be fully responsible for
any food that you grow for yourself, and you will know all about it.
You will appreciate it fully, having known it all its life.

2. Prepare your own food. This means reviving in your own
mind and life the arts of kitchen and household. This should
enable you to eat more cheaply, and will give you a measure of
“quality control.”

3. Learn the origins of the food you buy, and buy the food that
is produced closest to your home. The idea that every locality
should be, as much as possible, the source of its own food makes
several kinds of sense. The locally produced food supply is the most
secure, freshest and the easiest for local consumers to know about
and to influence.

4. Whenever possible, deal directly with a local farmer, gardener
or orchardist
. All the reasons listed for the previous suggestion
apply here. In addition, by such dealing you eliminate the whole
pack of merchants, transporters, processors, packagers and advertis-
ers who thrive at the expense of both producers and consumers.

5. Learn, in self-defense, as much as you can of the economy and
technology of industrial food production
. What is added to the
food that is not food, and what do you pay for those additions?

6. Learn what is involved in the best farming and gardening.

7. Learn as much as you can, by direct observation and experi-
ence if possible, of the life histories of the food species.

The full article can be downloaded here

Richmond's First Seedy Saturday

Time to start thinking about seed & spring. If you're like me, you've got few (okay, more than a few) packets of seed hanging around. Gather them up and bring them out to Terra Nova on March 7th from 10am to 12 pm for Richmond's First Seedy Saturday Event.

We'll have seed exchange tables where you can put down your unwanted seed and take other packets. The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project will be sharpening tools as a fundraiser and there will be honey and Orchard Mason Bee products to purchase.

Save the date!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Renovating Older Fruit Trees

On January 17th, a group of individuals braved the thick fog to learn how to renovate older fruit trees from Dr. Kent Mullinix of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

We had lots to learn and a wonderful apple tree to work with at London Farm.

Here's a bit of what we learned:

Fruit trees, especially apples & pears have a tendency to produce fruit way up high, on the outer edges of the canopy where sunlight reaches the leaves. This creates a virtual "dead zone" in the middle of the tree where sunlight can't get through and where not fruit are produced.

Tree Before
- Lots of big wood and branches that cross over each other

Three reasons to prune mature trees

1. Increase sunlight interception and movement through the canopy. Big wood can intercept a large % of sunlight and does nothing for fruit production.

2. Provide ease of operation - being able to pick lower down and get ladders into the tree.

3. Stimulate new growth

There are primarily two kinds of cuts

Heading cuts - cutting into a stem, usually into new season growth, between nodes which stimulates bud breakage and new growth

Thinning cuts - pruning a branch back to its source which is done primarily to allow more light to come through or to get rid of a branch that is growing in the wrong direction or shading other branches.

Single Leader Pruning

We used this system on the tree at London farm so that each branch had just one leader and the ones left were less vigorous, fruiting branches

Tree after - a big change but one that will stimulate new growth

Tip: Try to make sure no branch is less than 3 ft from the one above or below so that they aren't competing for light.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Terra Nova Schoolyard Society featured on City Farmer website

Richmond's Ian Lai was featured on a recent addition to City Farmer's website at www.cityfarmer.info

Children who participate in the project get to plant wheat, spelt and other grains, tend the plants through the summer, and then harvest in the fall. After threshing the grains, they are now able to make their own loaves of bread.

Watch Growing Grains in the City - kids learn to make bread in How to Videos  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Aboriginal Garden in Richmond?

Wouldn't it be great to have a program like this for the aboriginal community here in Richmond?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gardening with no Garden

Here's a great video from a couple on Vancouver Island who converted their front lawn into a veggie garden without digging. I love the fact that they had no garden tools and that the wife was 7 months pregnant while doing it.

(Nothing But) Flowers

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Renovating Older Fruit Trees

Join Dr. Kent Mullinix from Kwantlen Polytechnic University on the topic of "Renovating Older Fruit Trees"

Date: Saturday, January 17th
Time: 10am - 12pm
Place: London Heritage Farm, 6511 Dyke Rd
Cost: $5

MapLink: London Farm

Participants will learn about the techniques to bring older fruit trees back into production and will be able to practice on some of the heritage trees at London Farm.

To register, please e-mail Arzeena at foodsecurity(at)richmondprc.org

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Food Security Primer - Japanese Style

Here's a great animated clip explaining many of the issues around food security:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A New Year... A New Society

The Richmond Food Security Task Force has now evolved into the Richmond Food Security Society. We are all very excited about the year ahead with plans underway to run another series of Pocket Markets as well as food preservation workshops in the community. We'll keep you posted!!