A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gleaning Time - Garden Update

Autumn beauty in the Pacific NW
With this stretch of moist weather and cooler temperatures it seems that Autumn is upon us here in the Alpine/Monroe area. The Sharing Gardens are producing over 200 pounds of fresh produce a week and our core group of volunteers is doing a fantastic job of helping us bring in the harvest in time for Food Bank hours in Monroe. It's canning and food-preservation time and many of us are as busy as squirrels storing food for the lean months ahead.
Seasonal Bounty!
Please help us locate fruit and nut trees that are in need of gleaning. We are interested in apples and pears, walnuts and hazel nuts or...? With our team of volunteers we can gather the bounty and share with the trees' owners, the volunteers and the Monroe Food bank.

Apple's gleaned in Monroe
We could still use 12-24 hay bales at the Alpine garden (moldy or spoiled is fine--125 pounds or less). We'd like to build a couple of hay-bale compost-bins and mulch a few more places. If you live near Alpine/Monroe, we can come pick them up, or you could drop them at Alpine Park.

Thanks for your moldy hay bales!
Does anyone have canning jars that need to be put to good use? Our supply is nearing its end and we still have a lot of food to preserve before winter. You can bring them to the Food Bank and we'll distribute them amongst those who have need.

Got canning jars?
Monroe Food Bank Hours:

Thursday mornings: 10:00 to noon (most customers come in the first half-hour)
Third Thursdays of each month: 5:00 - 7:00 (Free Community Dinner at the Methodist Church - 6:00 pm)
The Food Bank is located behind the United Methodist Church in Monroe (the big, white one with a steeple) at 648 Orchard St.)

Monroe's Sharing Garden is located between the church and the Grade School on Chester Crowson's land. It's not too late to come and help in the gardens and share in the bounty of the harvest. Email us if you'd like to find out when the volunteers are meeting at the two gardens.

Gallery of Givers:
Larry and "My" transplant lettuce
Sharing Garden and Food Bank volunteers celebrate the bounty
Judy Peabody weighs the squash before we take it to the Food Bank
Chris shows Ricardo where to apply the manure tea
Bruce on a break
Cindy shows off some of our fantastic onion harvest
Doreen raking mulch
Justin and Stephanie harvest basil
Rann enjoys the pleasures of "just picked" beans
Llyn, transplanting the fall garden

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tom Sawyer and the Sharing Gardens

A sweet story: We were at the Monroe garden site, earlier in the season, painting the tool-shed doors when an 11 year-old boy named Dustin came walking by on his way home from school (remember our garden site is sandwiched between the food bank and elementary school.)

"What are you guys doing?" he said.
"Just putting some paint on these old doors," was our reply,
"Oh cool! Can I help?"
"Well, we're just about to call it quits for the day and besides, aren't your parents expecting you?"
"Not for another half hour. Please?"
"Well, we don't want you to get any paint on your school clothes."
"I promise I won't. I'll be very careful!"

So, Chris squatted down and gave him a lesson in dipping the brush, wiping off the excess and painting with the grain of the wood. You can't imagine a happier kid. We kept thinking of Tom Sawyer and his fence-painting escapades. Here are some pictures. This is exactly the kind of interactions we've imagined were possible when we conceived of expanding the program to include our towns' young people.

 The Lesson
The Application
"You guys are cool!" was his casual, over-the-shoulder remark as he sauntered home from the gardens when the painting lesson was done.

We like to think so!