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Six baby chicks join the Simons household  October 2015

For so many months this blog has lain dormant.  Those who follow my writing know that my other blog has taken the bulk of my attention during the past year (embracing chaos.net, stories about life with our special needs young adult son Owen).  If there is a “bulk” of anything so stretched and scattered as my attention.  I am a writer, when I am not a landlord, cook, mom, builder, or gardener.

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Trum the bulldog meets the chix…

But while suburbangrowing.com  has lain fallow, the soil of the blog has rested.  Time to seed it, and bring you a harvest of new ideas to use in your own gardens.

This year, in addition to writing about what Edward and I are growing around our property, how we struggle for maximum yield in suburban spaces, how we address the chickens-in-suburbia challenge (that constant tension between green scratch for them and unmolested gardens for us), I want to make a greater effort to learn how to bring garden spaces to un-gardened new places.  And I want to take you along on that ride.

Gardens in my local school?  Gardens for the DC soup kitchen we support?  How about a community garden for homeless folks who panhandle along MLK Blvd  in Baltimore?  What about gardens for Owen’s Adult Day Care Program?  What about being the connection between Owen’s day care program New Horizons Supported Services Inc, and Forested, the teaching garden up the road from me?  Learning a skill like how to grow food could be life-changing.  Being outside in sunshine is healing.  Working the soil is satisfying.  Eating quality food when you know how it grew and how to grow it, is the foundation of health.  As you can see, my brain is teaming like a box of red wiggler worms.

Just some of the ideas percolating in my mind for 2016.  You may say I’m a dreamer – but no one goes to jail for dreaming.  Let’s see what we can get done.

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The chicken-loved lawn…

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…and recovery, thanks to a warm fall/winter 2015

I am passionate about eating good food, and growing good food, sustainably.  I long for this to be something for as many people as possible – not just the few.  By good food I mean fresh (locally sourced), non-chemically-contaminated-hence-organically-grown/or/raised-food.  I want to see it affordable.  I want to see it accessible.  More suburban and urban people.

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Chicken paddocks –> new forage areas every day – or protection for the growing babies from the big girls…

Fact is, toxic chemicals build up in soil, air and water, and so on our foods.  This will affect our body function.  Eventually it will cause illnesses.  Good food grows a better brain.  The brain you grow as a baby and child is the brain you get  – how well kids are nourished could affect them for a very long time.  So much hype about “healthy” foods – and SO little access to simple, fresh, organically grown veggie stuff.  So little exposure to cooking it!

Enter Steve Ritz, my inspiration for the week!

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Steve Ritz is really the reason I am sitting down typing to you now, waking up this blog.  I heard Steve interviewed on NPR last week.  As soon as I got home, I ran for the computer to Google him.  Steve is a remarkable teacher who went from knowing nothing about gardening to energetically growing gardens in city classrooms – teaching kids how to grow, how to love veggies, and how to make city gardens as a job.  You will love this guy —

And here he is –  https://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_ritz_a_teacher_growing_green_in_the_south_bronx?language=en

This led me to another inspiring, thoughtful, and balanced person – Majora Carter, who is also greening the South Bronx —

Majora Carter Get inspired people!

https://www.ted.com/talks/majora_carter_s_tale_of_urban_renewal

I am glad to be back!