Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA, and the Heritage Harvest Festival

Photo: 12-year-old FAIR Presenter Eleanor Wilkinson receives a signed copy of SUSTAINABLE MARKET FARMING by Pam Dawling, her favorite author and inspiration to start her own market farming business! They're both very special people. #MENFair

“12-year-old FAIR Presenter Eleanor Wilkinson receives a signed copy of SUSTAINABLE MARKET FARMING by Pam Dawling, her favorite author and inspiration to start her own market farming business! They’re both very special people. #MENFair”

I just got home from the Mother Earth News fair in Seven Springs, PA and found this already up on the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR Facebook page. 

I think Eleanor is 13 now. You might remember I mentioned her last year after I met her at the MEN Fair. She succeeded in clearing $6000 in her first year, when she was 11. She now sells at two farmers’ markets. Her talk, Lemonade to Lettuce,  with help from her dad Matt Wilkinson, was clear, informative and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed making the surprise presentation of my book at the end of her talk. Despite the shock, Eleanor was quickly professional in dealing with all the photographers and the public. A “growing farmer” to watch!


Myself, I gave two presentations twice each. Here’s Crop Rotations, in case you missed it, from SlideShare.net

<iframe src=”//www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/16456412″ width=”427″ height=”356″ frameborder=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” style=”border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;” allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/SustainableMarketFarming/crop-rotations” title=”VBF 2013 – Crop rotations – Pam Dawling” target=”_blank”>VBF 2013 – Crop rotations – Pam Dawling</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/SustainableMarketFarming” target=”_blank”>Pam Dawling</a></strong> </div>

I gave out 300 handouts for this one, and some couples shared a copy.

For Fall Vegetable Production, I revised my presentation from last year’s (which can still be found on SlideShare). I’ll be putting the new one up in a few days. I gave out 360 handouts on that one.

I had a very busy day Saturday, two workshops, one booksigning, one interview, one book presentation, one MEN Bloggers’ lunch, one promoter’s dinner with many speeches. Lots of walking from A to B. And it was raining in the morning, so I was schlepping handouts and posters in several shifts through the rain to the tent where my morning presentation was. I’ll say this for MEN readers – they don’t let bad weather put them off! Sunday I had a lighter day and managed to get to workshops by others. Doug Stevenson lives at the Farm Community in Tennessee. Here’s the blurb from the MEN Fair website:

Creating a Permaculture Ecovillage: My 40 Years at The Farm Community
Douglas Stevenson – The Farm Community
Douglas Stevenson has two books out this year: In one, he describes The Farm’s colorful story and its evolution from world’s largest hippie commune to modern ecovillage. In the second work, he digs deeper and examines the building blocks of community and sustainability. In this workshop, he’ll cover both in a fascinating and inspiring presentation.Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/workshops-and-speakers-pennsylvania.aspx#ixzz3DULQBK3R

and I shared a dinner table with Ros Creasy and later traveled home with her (and Ira Wallace and Gordon Sproule). Long ago, when I was looking for a publisher for my book, Ros advised me that writing a book was going to be a lot of hard work. Her advice was good: she was right, and she didn’t dissuade me!

Edible Landscaping: The why and how
Rosalind Creasy – Freelance writer/ landscape designer
Join Rosalind Creasy, a pioneer in the field of edible landscaping, as she gives a PowerPoint presentation on the whys and hows of designing a beautiful landscape with edible plants. Among the topics she covers is an A to Z of her recommended beautiful edible plants for home gardens, the positive effects of edibles on the environment, an overview of the wide variety of individual edible landscapes, and styles as well as principles of landscape design particular to edibles.Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/workshops-and-speakers-pennsylvania.aspx#ixzz3DUKpuV8Y


And on Friday I was at the Heritage Harvest Festival, closer to home, in Virginia. I gave my Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables presentation. And I signed books in their bookstore Gift Shop. Sadly, this year HHF and MEN Fair PA were on the same weekend, and I had to leave not long after my workshop, to drive to Pennsylvania. Next year they won’t be on the same dates. In case you too, are planning a year ahead, here are the dates:

Heritage Harvest Festival September 11-12 2015

Mother Earth News Fair, Seven Springs, PA September 18-20 2015


 

And meanwhile in the garden, the spinach seedlings are battling with faster-growing buckwheat seedlings, because we didn’t till the preceding cover crop of buckwheat in time. The weather is cooling down, and remaining dry. An advantage as far as hoeing goes. I just have to remember to keep switching irrigation on and off.

My next speaking event is the Mother Earth News Fair at Topeka, Kansas, Oct 25-26.

 


 

Upcoming Events I’m presenting workshops at.

Here’s my list of upcoming events:

On June 27 2013, I’ll be giving a presentation on Planning for Fall Vegetable Production at VSU’s Randolph Farm, as part of the Annual Summer Vegetable and Berry Field Day, which runs from 9am to 3pm and includes a field tour, a chef competition and then a choice of educational sessions.

home-hhf-2013

I’ll be presenting two workshops at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, Friday September 6 and Saturday September 7.  It was a lovely event last year, with perfect weather. let’s hope for similar again. I’ll be presenting my workshop  on Producing Asian Greens on Friday Sept 6 and one on Succession Planting on Saturday Sept 7.

Program_online

I’ll be at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA September 20-22, 2013. I’m presenting a workshop on Winter Hardy Vegetables. If you haven’t been to a MEN Fair before, consider going. They’re a lot of fun and a lot of useful information, all at a very reasonable price. Weekend tickets are $20 if you pre-order by March 31, 2013: (Price at the gate: $35). There are workshops on renewable energy,  small-scale agriculture, gardening, green building and more. There are vendors of books, tools and organic foods. You can book a room at the Seven Springs resort, or camp nearby. Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/SevenSprings.aspx#ixzz2F3JVesVm

Book Review: Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival, David Hanson and Edwin Marty

Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm RevivalDavid Hanson and Edwin Marty

Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival
David Hanson and Edwin Marty

University of California Press  has a page for Breaking Through Concrete 

ISBN 978-0-520-27054-1 hardcover, 200 pages. Published January 2012 $29.95

I am not an urban farmer. I hadn’t thought much about the whole movement. This book opened my eyes to the many types of urban farm, the different problems and concerns they address, and the various creative ways they do that. The myriad benefits provided by urban farms include:

  • Food for low- or no-income people, food sovereignty for the neighborhood,
  • An increased supply of more local produce, especially in food deserts,
  • Meaningful work, especially for those less likely to find employment,
  • Physical exercise for people, especially young people,
  • Interesting things for people to see and do,
  • Education about organic and sustainable farming, introduction to a vision of a more sustainable food system,
  • Human connections, via work and dialogue,
  • A way to welcome and integrate people of different cultures, and differing abilities,
  • Green space – “lungs” for the city,
  • Places of beauty, solace and respite from the cityscape,
  • Revitalization of abandoned city lots,
  • Projects that can start small, with few resources, and yet make big changes in people’s lives.

This book came about after a cross-country road trip in 2010 by the authors and photographer, to celebrate the American urban farm movement. As well as descriptions of the 12 farms they visited, there are sections giving very practical dos and don’ts related to an issue addressed by each particular farm. This is a well-structured book with beautiful photos and inspiring stories.

Edwin Marty, who started an urban farm in Alabama with a partner in 2001, defines an urban farm as “an intentional effort by an individual or a community to grow its capacity for self-sufficiency and well-being through the cultivation of plants and/or animals.” The authors distinguish three types:

  1. Urban Farms, for profit or non-profit, growing produce, flowers, herbs, and/or animals, within a city. Usually they have a paid staff.
  2. Community Gardens, where individuals or small groups grow plants and/or animals for their own consumption or to donate to the needy. They may be on public or private property.
  3. School Gardens, where the main focus is educational and a small amount of food is provided for students; and I would add another:
  4. SPIN (Small-Plot Intensive Farming) and SIFT (Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program) created to help communities increase their food security by producing their own healthy food. SPIN focuses on helping individuals earn a living by farming a collection of urban backyards. SIFT, with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), is developing a working, sustainably managed, demonstration farm on five acres at Butte, Montana, (far from urban). Both (and their unbranded cousins) teach how to commercially produce high-value, nutrient-rich food on small parcels of land.

The main part of the book describes each farm in turn, gives its vital statistics and is followed by a multi-page “How-To” section on a related theme. Here’s the journey:

  • P-Patch Neighborhood Gardens in Seattle, WA, 73 gardens covering 23 acres. Started in 1973. Beds are allocated to individuals who pay a nominal fee, agree to some basic rules and share a few responsibilities for site maintenance.  People grow food for themselves, or donate to those in need. There are no paid workers. The follow-up is How to Change Your City’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Codes. Seattle is the poster-child for urban agriculture.
  • The Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, CA, focuses on job creation, training, therapeutic horticulture, organic vegetables and heirloom wheat. Watching the triple bottom line of ecological, social and financial success, the farm manager, interns and 14 employees provide for a weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Farm) for 25 households and 5 social programs. They balance growing and selling quality organic produce with their mission to provide training and a therapeutic environment for their workers, who come with serious mental and physical health troubles and homelessness. Two-thirds of the trainees become more stable as a result of their time there. This chapter is followed by How to Grow Good Safe Food, which explains USDA Organic Certification, Naturally Grown, and organic philosophy and practices.
  • Fairview Gardens, Santa Barbara, CA, produces vegetables and chickens, and provides temporary housing for the farm workers. High-price real estate developed around them, so they are dealing with workers who cannot afford housing in the neighborhood. How To Plant Perennial Fruit Trees in the City is a natural follow-on, as Fairview includes fruit trees.
  • Juniper Gardens, Kansas City, KS and MO is a project of New Roots for Refugees, which acts as an incubator project for 14 women farmers from Burundi, Somalia, Bhutan and Sudan. Training, tools and seeds are provided the first year, with the goal of having the farmers able to move on and start their own farms after three years. There are also community plots for local people to grow their own food. How To Access Start-Up Capital for Urban Farms logically fits here.
  • Versailles Community, New Orleans, LA is a parish with land alongside the canals growing traditional Vietnamese produce. After extensive damage in Hurricane Katrina, the people are replacing their unregulated homes and gardens with a purpose-built sustainable village for 6000 Vietnamese Americans. Much of the work is done by “retired” elders. The How-To section is on Developing a Congregational Urban Farm.
  • Jones Valley Urban Farm, Birmingham, AL, the first urban farm of Edwin Marty, expanded beyond its original abandoned city block in 2007 with funding for a paid educational director and a separate children’s garden, so that efficient production could co-exist with plenty of education. This is followed by How to Engage the City with Education Programs. Some of my favorite quotes come from this chapter: “The assumption of inherent goodness [of urban farms] has unfortunately perverted many well-intentioned projects from realistically matching the available resources with the changes originally envisioned.” In other words, a vision is not enough, you have to do appropriate things to make it work. “The inherent goodness attitude can also lead to a lack of accountability for a project’s outcomes and can, subsequently, be a challenge to an urban farm’s long term sustainability.” It is important to engage the community, listen to their concerns, express the farms’ objectives and clearly show how it will help the neighborhood.
  • Greensgrow Farms, Philadelphia, PA, on a remediated former steel plant and brownfield site, has three income-sources (direct sales from the farm, a CSA, and a nursery) and a paid staff. Any profit goes to the parent organization, the non-profit Philadelphia Project. “The farm grows vegetables and the nonprofit grows ideas.” In 1897, Philadelphia founded a Vacant Lot Cultivation Association to help people garden unused spaces. The City has allowed lots of unfettered food production by whoever wanted to do it, until relatively recently. Newer forms of urban gardening have needed a more commercial approach, as real estate prices have risen.  How to Rehabilitate Contaminated Soils is the practical lesson from this farm.
  • Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Brooklyn, NY has a view of the Manhatten skyline. The director runs the farm with one intern, a few apprentices and volunteers. It’s as much about education as about supplying their CSA, market and high-end restaurants. Film crews are often there, on the warehouse roof among the plants and chickens. How to Convert Rooftops to Residential Gardens and Urban Farms follows naturally.
  • Catherine Ferguson Academy, Detroit, MI, a school for teenage mothers, includes an urban produce and livestock farm, teaching students and their children self-confidence as well as practical farming skills, growing vegetables, feeding chickens, milking goats, growing 10 acres of hay on vacant city lots. How to Raise Urban Livestock is the practical section.
  • Wood Street Urban Farm and Growing Home, Chicago, IL, is a paying job training farm, helping those thrown out-of-work by the real-estate market crash, who became incarcerated as a result of decisions made among limited options. How to Extend the Growing Season with Hoophouses and Greenhouses is the topic Wood Street can tell us about.
  • Sandhill Organics and Prairie Crossing, Grayslake, IL is a 100 acre for-profit organic farm right next to a planned conservation community development of 400 large homes. Home-owners were happy to live beside an organic farm, while they might not have chosen to be neighbors to a chemical farm. A term for this combination is “agricultural urbanism.” This last chapter is followed by How to Start an Urban Farm. With benefit of all the information and the range of perspectives in this book, we are well-equipped to ask the right questions and gather the resources we need.

Edwin Marty gives a thoughtful conclusion, with pointers to the future. This is a book all farmers, educators, ecologists and community-builders can learn from. To buy a copy, visit http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520270541 or call 800 777 4726

 

 

Virginia Festival of the Book Update . And more event updates.

Virginia Festival of the BookI will be a presenter at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia, March 20-24 2013. I’ll be talking about my book Sustainable Market Farming, and growing vegetables sustainably to feed ourselves and our community.My panel discussion, the Locavore track, will be on Thursday March 21 at 6pm, at the JMRL Public Library, 201 East Market Street. It’s free! See you there.

I’ll be signing and selling copies of my book, so if you want a signed copy, and you want local authors to get the money they’ve earned (rather than have it go to that cheap online store!), come and get one. Of course, you also get the chance to leaf through and see it is the book for you!

Also on the Locavore panel will be Jackson Landers, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food and Eating Aliens (about hunting invasive animal species for food). Here’s an interesting interview with Jackson Landers from 2010 and his blog The Locavore Hunter.

Here’s my list of upcoming events:

I’ll be taking part with Ira Wallace in teaching a module of the VABF Farm School on Monday 3/18/13 at J Sergeant Reynolds college. We’re talking on Sustainable Farming Practices. The purpose of this program is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia to make informed farm planning decisions as part of a whole farm plan.  This six week comprehensive program (Monday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm) will introduce students to these curriculum modules:

  • Introduction to Whole Farm Planning (2 sessions)
  • Marketing
  • Sustainable Farming Practices (2 sessions)
  • Holistic Business Management

On June 27 2013, I’ll be giving a presentation on Planning for Fall Vegetable Production at VSU’s Randolph Farm, as part of the Annual Summer Vegetable and Berry Field Day, which runs from 9am to 3pm and includes a field tour, a chef competition and then a choice of educational sessions.

I’ll be presenting two workshops at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, Friday September 6 and Saturday September 7.  it was a lovely event last year, with perfect weather. let’s hope for similar again. I’ll be presenting my workshop  on Producing Asian Greens on Friday Sept 6 and one on Succession Planting on Saturday Sept 7.

I’ll be at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA September 20-22, 2013. If you haven’t been to a MEN Fair before, consider going. They’re a lot of fun and a lot of useful information, all at a very reasonable price. Weekend tickets are $20 if you pre-order by March 31, 2013: (Price at the gate: $35). There are workshops on renewable energy, small-scale agriculture, gardening, green building and more. There are vendors of books, tools and organic foods. You can book a room at the Seven Springs resort, or camp nearby. Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/SevenSprings.aspx#ixzz2F3JVesVm

My books are selling well. I’m selling them by mail order and via my website (see the front page) and in person at events I attend  People wanting e-books, go to New Society Publishers.Trade orders go to this link.

southern-sawg-producing-asian-greens-for-market-pam-dawling

I’ve gathered my presentations from the SSAWG Conference and put the slideshows on Slideshare.net.

Producing Asian Greens for Market.

 

southern-sawg-intensive-vegetable-production-on-a-small-scale-pam-dawling

Intensive vegetable production on a small scale

 

See you at the Virginia Festival of the Book!

Virginia Festival of the BookI’ve just received confirmation that I will be a presenter at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia, March 20-24 2013. I’ll be talking about my book Sustainable Market Farming, and growing vegetables sustainably to feed ourselves and our community. My panel discussion, the Locavore track, will be on Thursday March 21 at 6pm, at CitySpace, 100 5th St NE. I’ll post more when I have more information.

Also on the Locavore panel will be Jackson Landers, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food and Eating Aliens (about hunting invasive animal species for food). Here’s an interesting interview with Jackson Landers from 2010 and his blog The Locavore Hunter.

Here’s my list of upcoming events:

I’ll be at Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference, January 25-27 2013 at Little Rock, Arkansas presenting parts of three workshops. One on my own on Producing Asian Greens for Market; one co-taught with Edwin Marty of the Hampstead Institute, Alabama on Intensive Production on a Small Scale; and as part of a panel on Integrating Organic Seed Production into Your Diversified Farm: Is it Right for You?

I’ve also agreed to do a workshop at a Virginia university in January on Planning for Successful Sustainable Farming – no details yet.

Then at the Virginia Biofarming Conference in Richmond, Virginia on February 8-9, I’m giving a workshop on Crop Rotations for Vegetables and Cover Crops.

After the Virginia Festival of the book in March, I have no workshops planned until September.  I’ll be at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA September 20-22, 2013. If you haven’t been to a MEN Fair before, consider going. They’re a lot of fun and a lot of useful information, all at a very reasonable price. Weekend tickets are $15 up until January 31. (Price at the gate: $35). There are workshops on renewable energy, small-scale agriculture, gardening, green building and more. There are vendors of books, tools and organic foods. You can book a room at the Seven Springs resort, or camp nearby. Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/SevenSprings.aspx#ixzz2F3JVesVm