Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Road Trip!

The Urban Trowel got to go on a field trip. Now usually I'd just think of it as a drive out to a friend's but ... when you are buying organic Red Fife Wheat from them AND ... your friend is Joanne Gailius, yes, THAT Joanne Gailius, it becomes a blog worthy field trip.

I had mentioned to Joanne at a physio appointment that we were almost out of wheat from our grain CSA share, she thought there might be a bag left from their crop, she'd check. Sure enough there was ONE bag left! Yippee me!

We also chatted about my attempt to bake bread with a mix of red fife/ oats/ spelt/ and Khorosan wheat and her love of tomato varieties. So I took her a loaf of my experiment and my snap lock box of seeds. Seems her family humors her growing addiction to growing a lot of different varieties and I just happened to have 8 or so that she didn't have. I got a tour of her cold room where she keeps her other growing collection of dried bean varieties. Thanks for the garbanzo beans Joanne! I'm looking forward to growing them out to the point of having enough to eat for the year and enough to save for seeding.

We also talked about how eating locally is growing in our lives. She had heard someone mention they were going to go out of their way to eat one local meal a week. WOW! one a week, which was hard to wrap her brain around as they currently eat so very much grown right at home. BUT it wasn't always that way and she thought back to how it was a growing process for them, a leaning that kept increasing. I can attest to seeing lots of grains, dried and canned fruits and veg, and some livestock on their farm. Walking the talk.

For our family, living in downtown, we rely on buying from local farmers, our much smaller home garden, and bartering with those who have excess. For us too it is a leaning more and more to this lifestyle, baby steps leading down the road to local self-reliance. I remember a couple weeks ago suddenly realizing, as I was making bread, that I've become one of those 'nuts' that grind their own flour! HUH. Maybe it's not so nutty after all. At least it doesn't seem nutty, it feels empowering, and it simply tastes better, not to mention being better for you.

I liked one idea on page 60 in the book 'Food security for the faint of heart' by Robin Wheeler. She says "We don't suddenly turn from casual veggie gardeners to full sustenance farmers in one year. Choosing specific goals and just watching how the rest comes along each year is an easy method for increasing your food independence level." She goes on to list 8 goals she set for herself and how she is progressing towards attaining those goals. It seems it is taking more than one season to accomplish some of the goals. Each step is leading towards success! It takes time and perseverance. Yet, identifying your personal goals really helps to focus your ideas and to identify the steps you need to take. If your goal is like Robin's to supply your own salads for 8 months of the year you can identify when to start your seedlings, consider the need for cold frames or hoop houses, or the need for shading for the hotter months. You most likely WON'T have complete success the first year but your degree of success and failure will point out what to change the for the coming season. If your goal is to supply all your own berries then you likely have some shopping or bartering to do to get the plants in place and some learning to do concerning preserving.

I'm wondering if I'm brave enough to set some public goals????

ps the book mentioned is available at our local library.

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