Earth Day celebrations remind us that there is work to do to build a sustainable world – and that we have to begin in our own neighborhoods. I know of two local efforts.
Last week I visited Ricky Baruc at his Seeds of Solidarity Farm in Orange. In 1996 Ricky and his wife Deb Habib started farming in a woodland clearing. The soil was bad and season was not long, but they did not find these insuperable deterrents. They cleared a space, put down a LOT of cardboard and covered it with beautiful compost from Diemand Farm (poultry and eggs) nearby. They planted seeds and covered the space with a plastic greenhouse. They were in business – a sustainable successful business. They now have 6 solar greenhouses and field of garlic they sell as seed.
This is what is known as no-till planting. Ricky says that we can no longer afford the cost or the pollution that comes from shipping our food long distances. His response is that we must Plant Food Everywhere. He has shown us that poor soil irrelevant. There are savings in use of fossil fuel, fertilizer and labor.
Yesterday I attended a meeting of the Franklin County Hunger Task Force. We are launching a Plant a Row for the Hungry project that will help gardeners give their excess produce to food pantries and meal sites, etc. Since the recent economy has put new demands on these organizations, gardeners are invited to plant a row specifically for the hungry. An effort like this not only sustains people by feeding them, it can sustain their spirits as well. Watch for more news about this project.
Earth Day is about creating a world that will sustain life. Gardens and gardeners can help sustain our hungry neighbors. Celebrate!
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An excellent post! Our church has participated in a PAER (plant an extra row) project for years, but I haven’t contributed in the past. Thanks for reminding me to participate this year. The cardboard idea is interesting; I’ve never seen this used before, but it’s certainly a great idea to recycle it.