Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't Miss This Event Next Tuesday

“Eat Here Now–Growing Food in Denver”
A Panel on the Growth of Urban Agriculture

Come join a few “movers and shakers” in the local food movement, and explore answers to some of the following questions: What is Community Supported Agriculture, and how is it playing out within the city limits? How can we grow more healthy food locally and get it distributed in effective ways? How can we use gardening techniques that are affordable, sustainable and use less resources? And much, much more……..

Panelists include:
Andy Nowak – Slow Food Denver
Ellen Rosenthal – Living Earth Center
Lisa Rogers and Tom Sorenson – Feed Denver
Faatma Mahremanesh – Solarlivity
James Hale – Produce Denver
Debbie Dalrymple - Sense of Colorado
Jim Sincock – Rocky Mountain Grower’s Directory

WHEN: Tuesday, January 13 from 7-9 p.m.
WHERE: At the Mercury Café
2155 California St., Denver
COST: There is a $5 suggested donation.

Sponsored by:

Transition Denver is a group of local citizens who have joined the rapidly-growing, worldwide Transition Initiative Movement . Transition Initiatives empower communities from the grassroots level to squarely face the challenges of peak oil, climate change and financial instability and find ways to collectively and drastically reduce carbon emissions, significantly rebuild resilience and strengthen our local economies.

This event is one of a series of Transition Denver events called Transition Fridays. Contact Dana Miller at 303-300-3547 for details, or visit for information about this event or about Transition Denver, as well as the other Transition Initiatives springing up in Colorado and other cities around the United States.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two Great Books to Read in the New Year

OK -- so you’ve received a slew of seed catalogs, ordered your seeds for 2009, and now what? It’s too early to plant -- even if you start seeds indoors. The days are getting longer – and in between bouts of snow and freezing temperatures, we’re seeing sunny, warm, glistening days that tease and tempt us with the prospect of spring.

What’s a gardener to do?

Here are two books that will serve as inspiration while winter plays itself out.

Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community
by H.C. Flores

Food Not Lawns is a great book to get you through the next few weeks. It’s a bit of a rant, written by activist and urban gardener H.C. Flores, but it’s also a comprehensive guide on how to start your own garden, whether you live in an apartment, in the ‘burbs, or in an inner city environment. According to Flores, “The average American lawn could produce several hundred pounds of food a year."

Flores is a certified permaculture designer, promoting a sustainable way of landscaping inspired by natural eco-systems. Food Not Lawns presents a nine-step plan to help readers “build fertile soil, raise their own food, promote biodiversity and increase natural habitat.” But it’s also more than that. As Flores says, “This book is about how to be healthier and more self-reliant, and thus improve the ecological integrity of the community you live in, through growing diverse organic gardens and sharing the surplus.”

Flores begins with a bit of her own history – growing up in suburban L.A. in the 1980s and evolving into a full time activist via Food Not Bombs. Ultimately, she joined with friends to start Food Not Lawns. The book advances her message by providing a “how-to” guide, with tips on finding garden space, securing water, improving the soil, and designing a garden paradise using sound ecological principles. Equally as important, it offers suggestions on how to use your garden as a catalyst to improve your own life and your community.

You can order Food Not Lawns through the link below:

This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader
by Joan Dye Gussow

Another of my favorite books is This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow. She’s an icon in the local foods movement, having served as an overseer of the Chef’s Collaborative; as chair & professor emeritus (nutrition), Columbia University Teachers College; as director of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation; and as an advisory board member, for the Center for Food Safety and Ecology Action.

This Organic Life chronicles her gardening experiences -- self described as “a decades-long journey to vegetal self sufficiency” -- which culminate in the purchase of a dilapidated Odd Fellows Hall on the banks of the Hudson River in Piedmont, NY. There, she and her husband set about to eat only what they grow. Gussow’s accounts of the "renovation" of the house and the creation of their gardens are heart warming and funny, seasoned with journal and letter extracts, fabulous recipes using garden fresh produce, and serious musings on what’s wrong with the traditional agricultural system. Gussow takes the philosophical task of eating locally and makes it intensely personal: challenging, entertaining, satisfying, flavorful and fun.

You can order This Organic Life via the link below.