Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Growing vegetables, cooking vegetables, and supporting local farms

After waking up, after a difficult outcome to an election that I'd participated in as a campaign worker (for the first time in my life, for numerous shifts), I found solace in gardening.

First, I volunteer in a local community vegetable garden, in a "food desert" in a historically black part of Asheville not more than a mile from where I live (in the oldest neighborhood in Asheville, now upscale.)

I'm privileged, to be sure. We have a lovely small house, surrounded now by nice gardens and a restored woodland, thanks to our efforts.

But the first thing I did this morning was to head over to the Southside Garden to harvest -- we're at the tail end of the harvest, but still, now almost all of the produce goes to the Kitchen Ready Southside Kitchen, which serves lunches free of charge and by donation to the community.

Check.  I felt better.

This afternoon, I did a volunteer landscape consultation on behalf of NC Arboretum (the young woman whose landscape I visited had taken a class that I taught there).

Check. I felt better again.

This evening, I went to a benefit dinner for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), sponsored by a wonderfully gifted local chef, Katie Button from Curate and Nightbell.

Check. Feeling better again.

I feel the power of community, giving back, and coming together tonight.

part of my small-scale vegetable garden, a couple of years ago
ASAP is all about supporting local food and local (small) agriculture -- they've done a brilliant job of it, promoting WNC local farmers (post-tobacco) for over 20+ years.  Our local chefs support them, too.

But I'm also mindful about our food deserts, and where folks have access to fresh food (hmm, it's sometimes hard work growing and harvesting veggies, not on my small scale, but on the market gardening scale of Southside).

It's a work in progress, trying to engage the community in growing and harvesting vegetables, and expanding vegetable growing beyond our community garden.

I sat next to a fellow at the the dinner tonight who described flying into Nagosaka, Japan, and looking down at small vegetable gardens surrounding every (small) house. 

What a wonderful vision!  We have so much space in this country that we can be growing fresh vegetables, rather than lawn. 

I don't think urban agriculture/small gardens/ etc. are some total answer to big ag, but they are a way for many of us to have fresh vegetable on relatively small spaces, in a Victory Gardening sort of way.

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