Feb 27, 2009

Seriously local eggs - get your own backyard chickens

From my mailbox to you:

“Hi Chicken Lovers! Green’s Feed is having their Chick Day on Saturday March 7. They have ordered 1200 chicks. You get five free chicks with each bag of starter feed. You can choose from different breeds and some of the breeds will be sexed. You can also get mixed runs. Get there early!”

Green's Feed is located at 4701 N. Virginia in Reno. Phone is 323-1502.

Learn more about chicken breeds here. Looking for a really cool chicken coop? Check this out.

Washoe County Library also has books and DVDs about the care, history, and importance of chickens in human culture.

Feb 23, 2009

Renowned soil expert Elaine Ingham to speak at WNC

From my mailbox to you. To grow your own really great food you need really great soil. Learn how with Dr. Elaine Ingham.

Dr. Elaine Ingham, a renowned soil expert, author and lecturer, will be the featured speaker at an organic farming workshop Saturday, March 14, at Western Nevada College Fallon campus. Dr. Ingham will discuss the basics of the soil food web she developed at the Sustainable Studies Institute in Corvallis, Ore., as well as eco-friendly methods for sustainable farming, landscaping and gardening.

Her presentation is part of a two-day workshop, "Organic Farming - Making the Transition," at WNC Fallon campus March 13-14. The workshop, offered through WNC's Specialty Crop Institute, will include sessions on organic production and a site visit to local organic farms.

Ingham is president and director of research at Sustainable Studies, Inc. and founder of Soil Foodweb, Inc., a biological testing and consulting laboratory with worldwide locations. She is respected internationally as a leader in soil microbiology and is an accomplished author and researcher. A passionate advocate of organic growing systems, Ingham has a dynamic, friendly lecture style that appeals to a broad cross section of audiences, including farmers, ranchers, nursery operators, landscaping experts and even the novice home gardener.

WNC's Specialty Crop Institute, in association with the Nevada Department of Agriculture and the Nevada Organic Advisory Council, aims to teach alternative farming methods in the face of rising land and water prices. The institute is designed to benefit current and future small-scale farmers as well as students and professionals.

Cost: is $60 for the two-day workshop, or $50 for the Saturday lecture only. Lunch will be provided both days. Registrants receive a $10 discount if payment is made by March 10. To register, contact Ginny Dugan, Western Nevada College, 775-423-7565, ext. 2230, or visit WNC’s web site, www.wnc.edu/sci. For information regarding the Specialty Crop Institute and future workshops, contact Project Coordinator Ann Louhela at 775-351-2551.

CSA 2009 sign up season

Both Rise and Shine Farms and Grow for Me (call 775-677-0636) are accepting CSA subscriptions for the 2009 harvest. Now's the time to get your order in and eat true farm-fresh food through the end of the year.

Wendy at Grow for Me sent a lot of information about what's going on a her place, primarily for people interested in CSAs, but some of it of interest to restaurant owners and others who might be interested in some non-profit activity. Read on...

"Hi all!
Had a wonderful trip eight days in sunny Baja - well needed - as the realization I have not taken any time away from the daily chores not that I really mind them but it was a wonderful time to rejuvenate and refresh for the coming year!

For those of you that do not know we have added 8 ewes plus a ram. They are a breed called Jacob's sheep to our list of heritage animals. The ewes are all pregnant and we have had two babies so far. You should see the two babies stormy and survivor...It may be time for a pre-harvest planning dinner and I will tell you their story. I will post picture soon update the blog, etc. but things are good here at the farm - lots of work inside has been accomplished. Even more outside before the storms came.

The chickens are laying very very well and if you want eggs the cost is 2.50 pick up at the farm. 3.25 weekly delivery.

The beautiful jersey cow - Funny Face is happily providing those of you who wish to have a cow for adoption very good results - remember we do not sell milk folks - we only adopt out the cow and what she gives is yours to do with what you wish - details email or call the farm. We have some excellent raw milk cheese recipes!

Janet, a special thank you for all your careful planning and consideration concerning how to accommodate Hoodini the ram - ( he really needs a middle name as well like Hoodini-Copperfield-Wrecking-ball Baroli!) There is still much to do but all good things to put your heart and back into...

For those of you so willing and interested in serving on the board of Grow For Me -here is what I have discovered. The market has effected everyone. The position of the woman who owns this ranch has changed so that there is little benefit to her offering the property as a donation or reduced sale to a non profit.

The legal wrangling and frustration of the tax based issues in the State of California (yes, although the property has a Reno address and number for tax purposes enough of it sits on the border of Nevada and California it is considered in Sierra County) are really more than I am capable of dealing with - at least at this point. However, I do want to continue to pursue at minimum some part of the project I have proposed to you. Think on this.

The farm moves forward as any farm would, the CSA member goal of 50 is pursued to ensure the farm can pay the rent etc., we put together the potential charter and what it should look like and for now - put together one food box per every ten paid CSA memberships for families in need or cancer survivors that are in need. We will donate dollar for dollar spent by any cafe or restaurants that actually joins the CSA - although most chefs prefer weekly faxed updates of what is available we do wish to reward those chefs that also see the benefit of the CSA by contributing to their local charity or family of interest.

Since you are our core group perhaps you could recommend organizations and or names to draw from?

I am really interested in what you think about this as the charity work for now until we can work at the rest of the issues. I feel it would not be prudent to pursue the non profit status until we had a clear charter and have attracted enough membership to sustain the farm expenses? I just want to be sure before taking the legal form that a non profit requires as it is quite a process as a start up and the focus this year really is on expanding the harvest.

For those members who have subscriptions still... we have also procured a 4000 sq foot greenhouse and once the planting begins next week you should begin to see deliveries on a regular basis sometime mid to end of March. Those of you haven't yet committed...now it the time. Once the advertising goes out we fill up very quickly but we always give priority to those interested in the long term relationship.

The weather here took out our small and now insignificant greenhouse and essentially challenged every piece of wherewith-all I had to not tear it all down with my bare hands as I watched pieces and parts fly away into the snow filled nights! But things are back on track - I have a bundle or two of wood left to deliver and am looking forward to an even more interesting year of growing. Oh, and our first wwoofer may arrive around April!

For our restaurants and cafes - it is time to commit if you want anything in particular grown - the seeds have all begun arriving and we will start planting out next week. we would really welcome some local chefs involved in the suggestions of what interests them - thanks for the input to our friend at the Dish Cafe, Nancy your list of suggestions are on the planting list especially designed for you!

All of you who have not renewed your memberships check out the new and improved and perhaps more budget friendly way to join the CSA you get to choose the price level and there are lots more options. The more input on what you are interested in seeing in your boxes.. the more they will look closer to what you expect- any questions call me here at the farm. Leave a message and I will return calls in the evening. Remember the more friends and family that join the more the price goes down for everyone...so those of you with access to colleagues and neighbors ( by the way we will deliver if there are five or more picking up in one place - including work) give us a hand and spread the word. I will also be happy to do a 40 minute talk on CSA membership - with a presentation and a q/a afterwards. I can do it in the evening at your home, a library, a classroom , an office break-room- so please help me make local food an even greater experience and not just for those that can afford fresh sustainable grown but for anyone interested.

Our first demonstration classes begin The first week of April look for it in the blog online.
Let me know what you think of the charity option n-I am open to any suggestions and I am really really looking for a blog writer or two all I need is a few paragraphs and something to provoke a bit of conversation...hint hint.

W BaroliGrow For Me Sustainable Farm and Teaching Center

More on NAIS and your access to local food

From my mailbox to you:

Learn more about NAIS at Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Take action at Organic Consumers Association.

Public comment closes March 16, 2009.

Feb 19, 2009

Tell them what you want or Cargill and Monsanto will do it for you!

I try not to get too political on this blog because it’s really about where to get local food, whether you purchase it or grow it, but it’s hard not to when I know what’s going on at the federal level. Everything that happens in Washington affects our ability to get local food here in Nevada. Without public intervention the USDA, big agriculture, big food processing corporations, and big pharmaceutical will get exactly what they want and we’ll be eating food that nature never intended. And bonus for them, these laws makes it increasingly difficult for small producers to compete and reduces our access to local, healthy, organic food.

The USDA, food manufactures, and corporations are making a huge push to change the laws that help protect us all, without any pesky strings that make them responsible to the consumer or the environment. They’re trying to get more GE (genetically engineered) food onto the grocery store shelves without labeling (some is already on it’s way to your local grocery store), exempt big producers from environmental, safety, and health laws, and make it increasingly difficult for small producers who must comply with laws designed to reign in huge producers bent on profit. The Bush administration passed some seriously eater-unfriendly laws through during their last days. Did you know the USDA is planning to implement a law that would require every animal in the country associated with food be electronically tracked? Yup! If this plan goes through you’ll have to register every single one of your backyard chickens with the federal government and pay a fee to do it. Those in the know expect this requirement to drive small producers out of business. See National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

What’s my point? Your voice counts so tell your federal government representatives/agencies what you expect from them! There are all kinds of watchdog groups out there trying to keep us informed about who’s messing with our food supply. You can help immensely by signing up for alerts and signing petitions on line. I do it while checking email. A couple of minutes a day and I can help keep franken-food off my dinner plate. A good place to start is the Center for Food Safety.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.