Thursday, March 15, 2012

Compost, Community, Cupertino and Co-operation

Wow What a Week.  Somehow May came in March and all of a sudden we are forced outdoors into the 70 degree sunshine, planting peas with abandon and even prepping beds for seedings of carrots, lettuce, you name it.  The farm is entering its second season and every once and a while a neighbor passes by and asks "are you doing the garden again this year?" Of course I am!!  The idea of not doing a second season never even crossed my mind.  How could I not do it with so many supporters and co-operators in the works?

I have dubbed this year the "Year of the Farming Community."  In any farming situation, and especially in urban farms, co-operation is key.  This year it seems people are really getting together and realizing, without each other, how can we get along in this world?  Combined with this is a sense of belonging, belonging to a present movement and at the same time, belonging to history.  I submit to you now two examples of the community surrounding SPSCF.  Mind you, there are many players in this game and I appreciate them all, it just so happens these two came along when I was considering my next blog piece...

First up is the Ulster County Tool Bank.  Through the magic of the Hudson Valley, I was put in touch with Wolf Bravo - the organizer of this much needed program.  One of the most important parts of starting a farm or garden is the set of tools one uses to work the ground.  From spades to rakes, these tools are not only useful, but they can be a source of beauty and pride, something to hand down to the next generation.  Then again, sometimes they break in half and then you curse at them.  The purpose of the Ulster County Tool Bank is to gather up tools, whether broken or intact, and redistribute them to farmers and gardeners starting up in our area.  For tools that are broken, there are "you fix it, you keep it" workshops designed to teach people how to be resourceful and resurrect a broken, rusty tool with some elbow grease and locally sourced materials.

I have signed up the farm to be a drop-off point because goodness knows where I would be if folks weren't willing to start me off with some good tools.  It's time to return the favor.  I am also really keen on leading one of the workshops (and learning about how to fix those pesky broken handles), so please print or download the flier below (or contact me if you want me to send you a .pdf copy) and spread it far and wide.  Or simply tell your friends to drop off unwanted tools at the farm, by the shed.  I myself will hand in some of the tools that were given to me when I was starting up last year.  It is amazing to me how these sorts of things come around.  It's almost like farming karma.
TOOL SHARE NETWORK FLIER

You can print without registering.  If you have a docstoc account, please feel free to download and distribute widely...

And onto another member of the community:
Last week I got a call from Colleen at Croswell Enterprises.  These folks made the soil that you see in all of my raised beds.  They are pretty much responsible for my lack of weeds in those beds last year and the fact that I was able to hit the ground running and grow at full pace my first year. In addition, everyone from Kickstarter Backers to a very generous anonymous donor to volunteers to the delivery guy, Dave, was involved in getting 36 yards of Dynagro Garden Soil into those beds. 

This year Croswell has taken it upon themselves to sponsor not only the farm, but also the Dig Kids, which I am co-operating on. Soil, compost, stones and mulch will be given over for use by youth wishing to create a green space in their neighborhood, a healthy environment, and food for their plates.  This alone would be enough of beautiful thing, but what really got me going is the fact that Ed Croswell (the man behind the mulch) used to live IN THE HOUSE WHERE THE FARM IS NOW!!!  Can you friggin' believe it?  It blows my mind just to think of this man giving the gift of potential (because that's what good soil is: the potential for food and life) back to his old neighborhood.  Every time I cast a shovelful of compost onto those garden beds I will think of a younger Eddie Croswell, playing in the dirt and roaming the forest behind those streets, looking for plants to take back and plant in the yard.  How could I not do the garden this year?  Hopefully I'll get some pictures of the old house to reference what garden beds are where, but in the meantime, Rebecca Martin took some shots of Ed and me checking out their compost piles.


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The fascinating thing is that behind both of these groups there are just people doing what they do, but with integrity.  Because, for now at least, we all here together on this planet, right?  We might as well co-operate.  Oh, and what is with Cupertino in the title?  There is such a thing as a Cupertino Effect, which is when spell-checking goes awry.  Apparently "in the olden days", cooperation (instead of co-operation) was changed to "Cupertino" by spell-check.  If no human caught the computer error, you end up with some hilarious phrases.  I think to this day there are several UN online documents with this error, citing a city in California instead of the actions of willing world community members.  This is my dorky homage to the power of technology, both to bring people together and then completely undo it.  Hopefully this blog post does the former (I spelled co-operation correctly, right?)

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