nav-left cat-right
cat-right
Recent Comments
  • peacedawg: Excellent article from Texas Co-op Power magazine about Keyh...
  • eyeofthestorm: Another intriguing online permaculture resource: http://www....
  • peacedawg: http://youtu.be/BJFOZC9g-08...
  • eyeofthestorm: Good, free, online resource for learning more about permacul...
  • peacedawg: A Bridge from Farm to School: This story is about a farmer t...
  • peacedawg: "Growing even a small portion of your food is not just healt...
Random Articles
Farm to School: What a Concept!... Implementing Farm to School Activities from: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/Default.htm What does “Farm to School” encompass? With our school systems’ diverse operations and geography, Farm to School activities can differ greatly across communities. Farm to School activities may involve a few or all of the following parties: school food service staff, farmers, teachers, students, principals, parents, and community partners. Activities may encompass serving locally grown agricultural products in school meals, growing school gardens, taking fieldtrips to local farms, nutrition and agriculture education,...
Permaculture: a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature... Permaculture From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by attempting to model them on natural ecosystems.[1][2] Permaculture draws from several other disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. “The primary agenda of the movement has been to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms. The design principles which are...
DFW Truck Farm 5k Fun Run!... From: http://www.gardeninspirations-tx.com/truck.html It’s happening on April 22nd 2012 at Fair Park…at the EARTH DAY DALLAS festival! What are we up to now?  Believe it or not, we are organizing a 5k fun run.  Earth Day Dallas is letting us come into their event on the second day and set up a course prior to the opening of the Sunday’s activities.  You can get TWO events packed into ONE day – for the whole family! Here’s what’s up: The 5k...
Community Gardening: Back to Our Roots....   From The American Community Gardener’s Association. What is a Community Garden? Very Simply, it is: Any piece of land gardened by a group of people. We at the ACGA have a broad definition of what a community garden entails. It can be urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be one community plot, or can be many individual plots. It can be at a school, hospital, or in a neighborhood. It can...
Got Milk? A guide to finding fresh milk.... What Is Real Milk? By Realmilk.com The source of most commercial milk is the modern Holstein,* bred to produce huge quantities of milk–three times as much as the old-fashioned cow. She needs special feed and antibiotics to keep her well. Her milk contains high levels of growth hormone from her pituitary gland, even when she is spared the indignities of genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to push her to the udder limits of milk production. *Please note, there are...
Whole Earth Farms Devoted to the revitalization of rural communities by drawing attention to the intrinsic value of earth friendly farmers, ranchers, artists and craftsmen to the health of the nation and the world. Let’s Leave It Better Than We Found...

Food for Thought – Whole Earth Farms

By RL Phipps Food for thought…. In the last 100 years we have witnessed the slow disintegration of the backbone of our nation. Skills brought from the “Old Country”, the crafts and trades passed from generation to generation, from father to son and mother to daughter; are becoming obsolete, non-existent, the stuff of mythology and fairy tales. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker… the cobbler, the seamstress, the blacksmith, the craftsman, the grocer… These family owned (mom and pop) businesses – are all being replaced by (dirt cheap labor in third world countries, et al) – contracted and distributed by the largest corporate conglomerates the planet has ever seen. And the ultimate irony – many of those mom and pops have no choice but to don the “Blue Vest” and submit to their new masters….. For eight bucks an hour and no insurance. Exchanging their dignity for a meager existence…  Keeping the inevitable dogs at bay…. Poverty, sickness and despair… (Uncertainty, fear) There was a time not so very long ago when these jobs were (an integral part of society) respectable and a family could live a good life – providing for themselves – and pass on their trade to their children, thus continuing their craft and its high standard and relevance.  This was the model used by humanity from Old World countries for centuries, if not millennia, and to an extent is still in practice in some places today. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, we have seen a mass exodus of people moving from rural communities, drawn by the allure of opportunities into the big cities. The middle class is disappearing at an alarming rate. The gap between the ultra-rich and the poor is expanding exponentially before our eyes. Most of the food we consume today doesn’t even resemble what our ancestors ate. Most food is produced on mega farms, controlled by a handful of mega corporations, using technologies that are untested, unproven and downright scary. GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, factory farming… (See Food, Inc. read Michael Pollan’s books). The bottom line is it’s all about maximizing profits for corporate shareholders, with little or no concern for long term effects on us guniea pigs. There is a lot to be said for the value of not having all our eggs in one basket. There is tremendous strength and security in having our food supply being produced locally vs globally. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the vulnerabilities in our current system. An act of terrorism, a spike in gas & oil...

Keyhole Gardening

Keyhole Garden – How to make an African style raised bed. Another video about Keyhole Gardening By Nikki Phipps (Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden) Keyhole garden beds are commonly seen in permaculture gardens. These beautiful, productive gardens are ideal for small spaces and can accommodate a variety of plants, vegetables, herbs, flowers, etc. In addition, permaculture keyhole gardening can be easily adapted to fit the individual needs of the gardener. How to Make a Keyhole Garden In a permaculture keyhole garden, plants that are used on a regular basis (and those that require the most upkeep) are placed nearest the home quick and easy access. By using creative patterns and designs, gardeners can increase productivity, especially with the use of keyhole garden beds. These beds can be designed in a number of ways, depending on the gardener’s needs and preferences. Typically, however, keyhole gardens are horseshoe shaped or circular (like a keyhole) so they can be easily reached from all sides. As for how to make a keyhole garden, there are various methods for its construction. Design and Build Keyhole Raised Beds One of the best and most common methods for keyhole gardening construction is the use of raised beds. Raised beds are most preferred, as they reduce the need for bending or stooping while performing garden maintenance. They’re well suited for nearly any plant, especially perennials, which have deeper root systems and require less water. Place a stake in the ground to measure the center, attaching a string and measuring out about 24 inches around. Then, measure out about 5-6 feet from the stake, which will become the outer perimeter of your garden bed. You can then build keyhole raised beds by building up the soil with stones, boards, or anything that will hold dirt in your desired shape to a height of about 3-4 feet. Sheet mulching is another method for implementing keyhole garden beds. These beds are placed on existing lawn or dirt without the need for digging and can eventually be built up into raised designs as well. Wet newspaper or cardboard is placed on the chosen site (in the desired shape). A layer of straw is then added over top with a layer of compost and soil applied along the outer edges (for plantings), with an opening left for entry. Larger keyhole gardens can also be constructed with a center planting or focal point such as a small ornamental tree, shrub, or water feature. Another method for building a keyhole garden involves the construction of a rock wall around a center water-catching basket. Find...

Permaculture: a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature...

Permaculture From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by attempting to model them on natural ecosystems.[1][2] Permaculture draws from several other disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. “The primary agenda of the movement has been to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms. The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture were derived from the science of systems ecology and study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use.” [3] Permaculture as a systematic method was developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s. The word “permaculture” originally referred to “permanent agriculture”, but was expanded to also stand for “permanent culture” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system. Mollison has described permaculture as “a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system.“[4] Permaculture Defined Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more. What is Permaculture? by Kathy Fairchild Permaculture is a combination of the terms “permanent” and “agriculture”.  It is a concept about approaching human agricultural systems and settlements as a part of the natural system and not in conflict with nature; imagine an edible and sustainable infrastructure.  The goal of many people who practice permaculture design is to introduce sustainable agricultural and landscapedesign in order to remove human beings reliance on problematic industrial agriculture, its wasted energy, and its associated pollutants.Permaculture uses biological and ecological principals observed in natural systems to harmoniously integrate people and landscape.  The key concept is that human systems should mimic natural systems and to minimize the cost and use of resources.  The ecological processes of plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic factors and weather cycles are all part of permaculture’s infrastructure.  What would normally be considered waste products are viewed as resources:  chicken manureis used as garden fertilizer; used yogurt containers are used to start seeds; cardboard is used for mulch.Observation of surroundings is a primary component of implementing permaculture concepts.  Identify and keep what is best about the area and improve upon what is lacking.  For example, locate the...

Farm to School: What a Concept!

Implementing Farm to School Activities from: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/Default.htm What does “Farm to School” encompass? With our school systems’ diverse operations and geography, Farm to School activities can differ greatly across communities. Farm to School activities may involve a few or all of the following parties: school food service staff, farmers, teachers, students, principals, parents, and community partners. Activities may encompass serving locally grown agricultural products in school meals, growing school gardens, taking fieldtrips to local farms, nutrition and agriculture education, and other activities that connect students to the food they eat. Whether the goal is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students, support your local farmers, or offer nutrition and agriculture education there are many reasons for school districts and farmers to collaborate. The webpages linked below will help school districts and farmers make the necessary connections to begin or expand their Farm to School efforts within their communities.   School Food Service Professionals Working with Farmers     o Conduct a self-assessment   o Create a Farm to School plan or vision   o Contact farmers in your community   Farmers/Farmer Organizations Working with Schools     o Learn about the school food service market   o Contact a school district in your community   Distribution and Processing     o Distribution Models: Advantages and Disadvantages   Evaluating Farm to School Efforts   Food Safety   Procurement   Supporting Farm to School   Frequently Asked Questions   Resources    Implementing Farm to School Activities School Food Service Professionals Working with Farmers Create a Farm to School Plan or Vision Establishing a plan or vision for your Farm to School efforts will help ensure success. There are many resources available to assist you in developing a Farm to School plan/vision, but here are a few key ideas to keep in mind: 1) What will your Farm to School activities encompass?   a) Will your efforts go beyond purchasing local food items? b) Will your efforts include agriculture and nutrition education, taste-testings, local     harvest events, field trips to nearby farms, etc.? 2) Create a Farm to School team in your community. This team may include school food service managers and employees, school administrators, farmers, distributors, teachers, students, parents, community members, etc.   a) Be creative and inclusive when forming your team. b) Review the Farm to school Implementation and Promotion section of the USDA Farm     to School Team 2010 Summary Report for a list of key stakeholders identified during     the 2010 Farm to School site visits. c) Review the Supporting Farm to School webpage which provides ideas...

The Gleaning Network of Texas: A Great Cause to Support!...

  The Gleaning Network of Texas is a nonprofit, grassroots organization whose goal is to use our state’s existing surplus fresh produce resources to help alleviate hunger and improve nutrition for food-insecure Texans. The Network brings together growers, volunteers, and service agencies to provide food for the hungry from fruits and vegetables left in the field after the harvest and other unutilized supplies   Where the produce comes from… Many growers and food producers have excess produce in their fields that is either plowed under or turned into compost. When the Gleaning Network is able to get gleaners into these fields and orchards, we can pick the excess produce and transport these thousands of pounds of produce to food assistance agencies throughout local areas in Texas.     The Need The Waste Hunger in this country is a reality. America, even Texas, is a place of abundance. However… 33 million Americans regularly go without food. Over 3 million of them are Texans …the USDA estimates that 20% of all food grown in this country is wasted – because it”s either missed during mechanical harvesting or not commercially marketable. Women, children, the homeless, the unemployed, and the working poor are all impacted by hunger With the food that is wasted annually, Texans could feed all the hungry people in our state. How To Get Involved  Here are some ways YOU can be part of the solution to hunger: Make Financial Contributions: We’re very dependent on donations from individuals, corporations, clubs, churches, and other organizations. The Network can also use in-kind donations such as printing, truck rentals, and a variety of other items. Click here. Monthly Sponsors – Choose a month and set a fundraising goal. The method of fundraising is up to you! Be a Volunteer: We have many groups and individuals out in the fields to glean, but we are always looking for more! Some come out throughout the growing season and others make it a once-a-year occasion. Here are our regular volunteer positions. Field Gleaner: Join us for a few hours in the field whenever you are available. Gleaning Advocate: Speak to local groups and churches about The Gleaning Network, or represent us at a local organizational fair or market. Field Supervisor: Supervise a group in the field for a gleaning event. Agency Liason: Serve as the contact person for your favorite/local food assistance program, and help coordinate the delivery of gleaned produce. Click here to volunteer for one of these positions. Let us know about Growers & Agencies: Growers generously donate their excess produce, and we are...

Community Gardening: Back to Our Roots.

  From The American Community Gardener’s Association. What is a Community Garden? Very Simply, it is: Any piece of land gardened by a group of people. We at the ACGA have a broad definition of what a community garden entails. It can be urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be one community plot, or can be many individual plots. It can be at a school, hospital, or in a neighborhood. It can also be a series of plots dedicated to “urban agriculture” where the produce is grown for a market.   Benefits of Community Gardens: Improves the quality of life for people in the garden Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development Stimulates Social Interaction Encourages Self-Reliance Beautifies Neighborhoods Produces Nutritious Food Reduces Family Food Budgets Conserves Resources Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education Reduces Crime Preserves Green Space Creates income opportunities and economic development Reduces city heat from streets and parking lots Provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections...

Got Milk? A guide to finding fresh milk.

What Is Real Milk? By Realmilk.com The source of most commercial milk is the modern Holstein,* bred to produce huge quantities of milk–three times as much as the old-fashioned cow. She needs special feed and antibiotics to keep her well. Her milk contains high levels of growth hormone from her pituitary gland, even when she is spared the indignities of genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to push her to the udder limits of milk production. *Please note, there are farmers who produce excellent “Real Milk” using older lines of Holsteins and Holstein crosses (Holsteins who can survive on grass are “old-fashioned”). It is the modern commercial Holstein, bred only for quantity, not quality, and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, that should be avoided. Know your supplier! Ask questions! Buy only milk from old-fashioned breeds of cows, such as but not limited to Jerseys, Guernseys, Red Devons, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorns, Dutch Belted, or older genetic lines of Holsteins, or from goats or sheep. (Or, depending on what part of the world you live in, from llamas, camels, mares, water buffalo, or reindeer!) Real feed for cows is green grass in Spring, Summer and Fall; stored dry hay, silage, hay and root vegetables in Winter. It is not soy meal, cottonseed meal or other commercial feeds, nor is it bakery waste, chicken manure or citrus peel cake, laced with pesticides. Vital nutrients like vitamins A and D, and Price’s “Activator X” (a fat-soluble catalyst that promotes optimum mineral assimilation, now believed to be vitamin K2) are greatest in milk from cows eating green grass, especially rapidly growing green grass in the spring and fall. Vitamins A and D are greatly diminished, and Activator X disappears, when milk cows are fed commercial feed. Soy meal has the wrong protein profile for the dairy cow, resulting in a short burst of high milk production followed by premature death. Most milk (even most milk labeled “organic”) comes from dairy cows that are kept in confinement their entire lives and never see green grass! Buy only milk products from herds allowed to graze on green pasture. Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification....

DFW Truck Farm 5k Fun Run!

From: http://www.gardeninspirations-tx.com/truck.html It’s happening on April 22nd 2012 at Fair Park…at the EARTH DAY DALLAS festival! What are we up to now?  Believe it or not, we are organizing a 5k fun run.  Earth Day Dallas is letting us come into their event on the second day and set up a course prior to the opening of the Sunday’s activities.  You can get TWO events packed into ONE day – for the whole family! Here’s what’s up: The 5k fun run is to benefit the DFW TRUCK FARM.  Are you not familiar with the DFW Truck Farm?  email me @ dfwtruckfarm@gardeninspirations-tx.com and I will send you some media and documentation on the program.  The basic gist – a rolling moving real live vegetable garden driving down the Texas Highways into schools and the community with the purpose of educating the audiences surrounding the old Dodge about gardening.  Gardening in small space, gardening in Texas, local and fresh food, CONNECTING people back to REAL FOOD! The profits of the race – helps DFW TRUCK FARM to move into the 2012-2013 school year…but this funding project is going to be “OH SO FUN!”  The plans are in place and the word is about to spill…but all we can tell you for now — you are in for a real treat! Enjoy your day – we will be posting more about this upcoming event…if you want to register early and support the DFW TRUCK FARM, click...