Alternative Community Farmer/WPB.FL

  (WPB, Florida)
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Celebrating the coming EARTH DAY with more respect for Agrarian Fertile Soil and family farmers!

Anatomy and Physiology Of Urban Farming in South Florida-Thinking Globally and Acting LOCALLY :One Garden at a Time! By Tony Dagher-BA Certified Florida Master Gardener .

The UN ( United Nations) has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming) , and 2015 as “ The International Year of Soil.What does that mean? The UN declarations ,quotes respectively”: The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas. The goal of the 2014 IYFF is to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development. The 2014 IYFF will promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers.” International Year of Soils 2015 - IYS 2015 “After two years of intensive work, 2015 has been declared the International Year of Soils by the 68th UN General Assembly (A/RES/68/232). The IYS aims to be a platform for raising awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions. The objectives of the IYS are: to create full awareness of civil society and decision makers about the fundamental roles of soils for human’s life; to achieve full recognition of the prominent contributions of soils to food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and sustainable development; to promote effective policies and actions for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources; to sensitize decision-makers about the need for robust investment in sustainable soil management activities aiming at healthy soils for different land users and population groups; to catalyze initiatives in connection with the SDG process and Post-2015 agenda; to advocate rapid enhancement of capacities and systems for soil information collection and monitoring at all levels (global, regional and national). “Unquote. Bringing all of the above into perspective on the ground will take a lot of work to be accomplished by both private and public sectors. In order to interpret the above on the ground , how can we translate virtual reality of gardening from Paper into the ground ??.What kind of GREEN ACTs in other words can we take to support Family Farming and protect THE EARTH’s SOIL? I would start personally: 1) As a fourth generation Urban Farmer with more than Twenty Years of Hands on experience as a grower in South Florida. 2) As an educator - certified Master gardener involved with more than Eight local Community Gardens and having assisted a significant number of South Florida Home owners /enthusiast gardeners , I would say :Start small from scratch . Learn then Apply ONE STEP AT A TIME! Gardening in the Tropics is different but not difficult. Do your home work first and be aware where to shop, what to shop, and whom to consult!!! A-Anatomy of an Organic Urban Garden in Tropical South Florida: When we talk anatomy we mean STRUCTURE.I like being simple, let’s start with :SOIL When I hear someone calling SOIL Dirt , I wonder what is on their MIND? April is the month we celebrate EARTH DAY.. So,I like to talk “dirt” I mean SOIL first and explain what does it mean ? The Latin word ” HUMUS” will be the best to borrow to explain the real meaning in English. Please do not confuse this word with HOMMOS my favorite dish from the Middle Eastern Cuisine! When people ask me where I come from I answer: From Mother EARTH ! We all come from EARTH and will end up where we came from: EARTH. We are the HUMUS-APIENS or in other words : INHABITANTS(APIENS) OF EARTH(HUMUS)!!! Now we are talking, EARTH not DIRT! Let us give RESPECT to our MOTHER EARTH by keeping the living soil unadulterated with pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other man made pollutants , you name them!. Soil in South Florida is mainly SAND. In order to garden one has to make sure what to plant according to the Tropical Climate Zone of South Florida. NEW and revised USDA Zone Map defines South Florida to be at the zone range from 10a to 11 (temp above 35 Fahrenhite). I personally make my own soil from scratch incorporating the following: Composted organic matter, composted aged and approved manure, spaghnum peat moss, organic amendments as needed, inorganic minerals amendment as needed and MOST of ALL beneficial soil micro-and macro organisms such as MELLIPEDES .A healthy soil makes healthy garden and crop. Rushing to buy ready made soil in bags has its dcons and pros. I prefer to make my own soil from scratch to save on spending money on spraying with organic pesticides /buying soil amendments and spending more on high garden maintenance. Challenges to S. Florida soil are unending besides the climate change we have to guard against: Nematodes , industrial, pharmaceutical chemical and bio- hazards dumped in land fills used as ground structures for home developments ,

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A CHINA Man burries himself alive ,protesting CUTiNG DOWN his trees!Hello ,anybody home?

This story makes me remember my precious 8 years old NEEM trees that were destroyed along with the community garden at a DRUG and CRIME infested neighborhood back in 2009..Luckily I had my garden preserved in a local newspaper coveragwe back in 2008..before it became HISTORY!

It was a project that started with DADS or DADS AGAINST DRUGS back  late 1998.It survived untill 2009 after the  (XY)city decided to convert it to a LAND fill.

I was told that I do not EXIST and they removed /destroyed all the NEEM TREES and other vegetations along with the TOP ORGANIC SOIL that we -more than 30 families-built and hauled for TEN YEARS!All was gone back in 2009.I did not think of any way top bring the attention to this ENVIRON-MENTAL shift of THINKING!!

So , how about this story from CHINA about a farmer who spent THIRTY YEARS planting TREES and all were  gone to make place for development!?He burried himself in PROTEST.Does it ring a bell?It did for me..Check it out downbelow:

http://english.caijing.com.cn/2012-06-21/111905904_3.html

The HURRICANE season is going to be very busy this SUMMER in Florida.Wonder why?  Man has deforested and destroyed so much of the FERTILE EARTH .As they say.."whatever goes around comes around" around". around"..now it is time for the EARTH to decide which trees must fall and which land to destroy??

We have ALMOST ,lost all the mango fruit  HERE AS A RESULT OF TROPICAL STORM DEBBY.THERE ARE NOT MUCH  MANGOS HANGING ON THE TREES,We were lucky only few branches fell ,but most of the fruits were lost for the  critters and mosquitoes to feast on.

 

When will "man" stop the aggression against the EARTH and its inhabitants among which are the TREES?They are not just timber.They are like us.Forms of life that give birth to fruits and food for the living.

 

Hopefully the CHINA man who burried himself in protest of cutting his trees teaches us a  lesson in protecting our environment!

 
 

Earth Day Sounds Music to our Ears.From the start in 1970 till now.What did we DO or TEACH about saving our ENVIRONMENT?

Each year we celebrate Earth Day  since 1970..Why do we celebrate Earth Day? Here are some answers as per the Wikipedia , I qoute:"

Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, called for an environmental teach-in, or Earth Day, to be held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated that year, and this Earth Day is now observed on April 22 each year by more than 500 million people and several national governments in 175 countries.[citation needed] Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.

Senator Nelson, an environmental and conservationist activist, took a leading role in organizing the celebration, hoping to demonstrate popular political support for an environmental agenda. He modeled it on the highly effective Vietnam War teach-ins of the time.[7] Earth Day was first proposed in a prospectus to JFK written by Fred Dutton.[8] However, Nelson decided against much of Dutton's top-down approach, favoring a decentralized, grassroots effort in which each community shaped its action around local concerns.

Nelson had conceived the idea for his environmental teach-in following a trip he took to Santa Barbara right after the horrific oil spill off the coast in 1969.[citation needed] Outraged by the devastation and Washington political inertia, Nelson proposed a national teach-in on the environment to be observed by every university campus in the U.S.[9]" Unqoute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybvY_V3AOA4&feature=watch_response

This week end I will be teaching classes on Organic Gardening and will stress the need to plant more trees that are beneficial for food or medicine not just for decoration.

In this year we are witnessing more foreclosures and more people evicted into the streets with less jobs and higher prices for gasoline and food.Anybody there to listen to the "HELP ME" cries of the farmer who is losing his farm or home.Anyone appreciating the teachers who step out to teach about dressing the earth with more trees ,vegetables bearing fruit and food for humanity.

I see more and more of GREEN WASH talk but those who walk the talk are few and the HIPPOCRETES are too many.

Hope next year Earth Day will celebrate the END of the WAR on the EARTH (SOIL)..and people will stop calling it DIRT and take courage and start digging and planting and some start replacing the blood that taints their DIRTY hands ,for doing harm to forms of life,  with black "muck"  or  "dirt"..oops I mean SOIL!.! 

In the END ..Earth will be there while we will pass by and what remain is a  a tune to tell a story of "Once upon an  EARTH ,," .Enjoy the song :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHJfHdfSUR0&NR=1&feature=endscreen

 

 

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Honoring Earth Day Event by growing more trees and vegetable gardens!

There is an Earth Day Event this Saturday at the Cultural Plaza at down town Lake Worth-S.Florida.

It is :Open to the public and FREE.There will be music,food,an Organic Gardening Class ,Herbs and plants available for sale  and much more fun for all..

It is Spring time and the flowers are blooming sending the aromas allover S.Florida.A call for an outdoor celebration.Come ye all!

Earth Day is time to bring the community together and raise the GREEN AWARENESS and HONOR  our Mother Earth .

I take this opportunity to give classes on creating more Organic Gardens .Imagine the BENEFITS if we transform all our inefficient water consuming lawns or neglected lands into organic productive vegetable and fruit gardens!Here is a sample of the outcome:

1)More local food will bring more local business improving on the local ecconomy.

2)Less global warming and carbon foot print,starting on the local level ,hence reducing the dependence on importing food from abroad or far away states.

3)Reduced cost of the gracery bill as more families will be able to grow their own food at backyards and buy less food from the stores!

4)Increase in Job Opportunities and increase of Farm land productivity .Even Urban Farming has a positive impact on producing more jobs.Growing food is a job that pays well  through outlets such as a CSA or a Farmers Market.

5)More children,teens and adults will have a chance to exercise more and lose weight through gardening .In England for example, gardening is considered a sport .Why noy also in US? At least this will decrease chances of obeisty as well increasing the overall health of participants. 

 

More details about the event on April 21st and the Organic Gardening Class at:

www.localharvest.org/farms/M20618

 

Happy Earth Day ..every day!

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Ever been at the EVERGLADES -Florida?Study proves that "Big Sugar Agri Business Polluting the Florida Everglades and paying less for Clean up?"

Beleive it or not :Here in S.Florida the old news is always the "new" news.

Big Sugar Agri Business polluting the water with chemical fertilizers as phosphoros and nitrogen  while  refusing  to pay their share  to clean up  as the Palm Beach Post reports.As a result Taxpayers pick up MOST of the Clean UP  bill!Read more :

 

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/study-agriculture-industry-pays-fraction-of-clean-up-2262986.html?cxtype=rss_state

 

Here is what the Everglades Foundatrion Study says:

http://www.evergladesfoundation.org/news/entry/study-agriculture-industry-pays-fraction-of-clean-up-cost-of-fertilizer-pol/

 

As Earth Day comes closer we stop to reflect on ways and means to clean up and preserve the Natural Resources for our children .The least is to protect our Water and Earth resources.

 

Talking about resources makes us wonder what happened to the fertile soil and the clean water act? Who are the polluters and what did they do to repair the damages done to the environment?

There are consequences for damaging our natural resources that resonate and culminate to affect futrure generations ..Now is the time to do something about keeping our LIVING planet Earth a safe place for the LIVING?

 
 

Top TEN green ways to celebtate EARTH DAY(Birthday?) April 22nd.. NATURALLY .Bonus:Native American Recipe to combat FIRE ANTS !

This coming Earth day let us celebrate in a different ALTERNATIVE  way.

Here are top ten  GREEN suggestions  .

 

1-Honor local farmers who use NATURAL protocols in farming. Buy their  locally grown produce .Support the local farming ecconomy.

2-Refrain from using pesticides and harmful chemicals .Instead substitute with preventive organic pesticides.Example: Fight nematodes and harmful pests with Oils:/Neem/garlic/essential oils like citronella ..combine with cayyenne pepper and Dr,Bronner liquid soap water solutions.

3-Dwellers of homes-villas with a yard:Turn over the non-productive grass loan front/backyard into a productive efficient organic vegetable/herb/fruit/edible flower garden.RECYCLE:Compost your kitchen scraps!

4-Dwellers of homes without yards/Trailers /vans /tents :Join  a community garden/ a local CSA /garden club/,take a COMPOSTING  class:visit:localharvest.org/farms/M20618 and register for one/Read :an alternative NATURAL  MEDIA  like: NATURAL AWAKENING /ORGANIC GARDENING/ localharvest.org blog .

5-Dwellers of apartment /studios:Buy local organic produce/ start a patio organic container  garden  ,use  heirloum seeds/ seedlings instead of GMO 's .

6-Dwellers of the open /public space:Do not litter the beaches/streets/woods with your beer /soda cans!

7-All of the ABOVE:Reduce your carbon foot print:Ride a bicycle/Walk to work(If close by)/take the bus or train.

8-Join an EARTH/Beach clean up day-. Volunteer at a local farm/soup kitchen/school/community outreach.Donate to a green energy project/ green earth non-profit charity organization.

9-Stop smoking.Fix your car exhaust.Reduce/eliminate  your consumption of: sugar products/ coffee/drugs-alcohol.BREATHE :FRESH GARDEN SCENTED AIR!


10-Honor the NATIVE AMERICANS by remembering their teachings."We do not own the EARTH .The EARTH OWNS US".As a tribute, start using an alternative Native American Recipe to fight and prevent FIRE ANTS:CORN GRITS! Bon ants appetite.

 

Happy EARTH DAY! (to come :)

 

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New year RESOLUTIONS , COMMUNICATION ,STRESS and the Organic Vegetable Garden.Is there a connection between growing a healthy body , mind and spirit and organic gardening?

Happy New Year.Now start digging and gardening .

The new year started with  a  new vegetable and flower  gardens that sprouted in my front yard and at my neighbors' as well.Gardening is contageous..once one garden sprouts , then another one potentially gets into the mind of a neighbor..It is used as a THERAPY in Japan and Sweden.Why not here?Let us start TALKING  first.

Communication is one of my favorite topics .Most people look at it as " only MY ONE WAY  or THE HIGH WAY" ...Meaning : They like to TELL  you and TALK to you without LISTENING to you!

I noticed that people in the city ( I live in one small town/city)communicate less with their hands and more with their handsets gadgets .Hand shakes and home visits are rare may be during the HOLLIDAYS!.

So there are lot of anger and holding back of potential correspondence .Few bears and fist fights start flying around, a different kind of a hand shake which I do not mean or like!

Ignorance paves the way to stereotyping and many other bad habits..you name them!.

Ignore your neighbor and treat them with IGNORANCE(OPPOSIT TO GNOSIS in GREEK) , then expect trouble !Do the right thing and KNOW(GNOSIS) their names and  be friendly with "THEM" and happily you will live thereafter!

My neighbor "A" wanted to borrow our ladder ,so she paid us a visit and introduced herself.Before that:She wanted to borrow our trash bin and no one was home.So she took it.Once we met at our new  garden , we shook hands and confessed the "borrowing"!She  promised to bring it back.

Meanwhile she left  behind a half dozen of potted flowers for  our new garden project .She knew that we are gardeners by trade and unemployed !

She related to the struggle and wanted to give a helping hand .By trade she was a medic .She had a lot of compassion and appreciation to share .Before that she loathed the fact that the other neighbor who do not speak English had a different attitude when she borrowed his  trash bin.(He emptied her trash into her backyard out of  his borrowed  bin!)

Shaking the hands brought us closer and the garden broke the ice of communication.She came first to admire our new vegetable garden .That was the triggering good intention.After all we are beautifying her neighborhood with flowers and edible vegetables which she liked so much!

On the other side of the road is a complete different story:

Another neighbor saw us working at our new garden.He approached  and aggresively asked for our help.We were starving for some paid work .So we accepeted the offer with a good hearet expecting same!?

 The experience and  communication was a lot different With Neighbor "B".

Quite the opposit  to say the least:aggressive, offensive, ego driven and oppressive to mention the least.By trade you know whom I mean , if not make a guess!?

What I want to say...When we communicate we do that according to our  emotions.When in STRESS or (SICKNESS)),ANGER and FEAR we communicate with bullets and YELLING.When in JOY  or (GOOD HEALTH),PEACE and LOVE we communictae with hugs ,hand shakes and kisses.

 

Farmers and gardeners touch the soil and their sould are charged by the enegy of the LIVING and LOVING  EARTH.That is why when you meet a farmer ( I mean small/urban ones!!) you  experience so much love,generosity,help,compassion,down to earth positive attitude .Why ?

 

It is the CHI ENERGY that flows from the flowers and  green fields of the EARTH...Is the ANSWER my friend flowing with the WING!Does LOVE in THE AIR rings a bell?

 

 

Happy gardening and COMMUNICATING!

 
 

Happy Earth Day event...Down to earth at the Lake Worth Resource Center

This was our first  Earth Day event at the Lake Worth Resource Center.It weas packed up!More than fourty people filled in  the lobby ..There were people from different ethnic backgrounds who flocked to attend the workshop on sustainability and the organic urban farmer ,  listen to Chiropractor Dr.Tim Kehrig  presentation and watch the movie:The power of community .We have a high unemployment and forclosure rates in our area especially among minorities and ethnic groups.The LWRC provides the local community with lots of services to help out the unemployed find jobs,attend different kinds of mentoring classes and workshops,obtain Buss passes and other services.It is amazing how much resources we have hidden and untapped.Coming together opens up so many opportunities .Helping one another through community events that take a solutions oriented approach to alleviate the daily struggles of those who have lost a job,a home orhave  health issues but no medical insurance.Dr.Tim has areaching  program that fits all to maintain a vibrant health based on the science of Chiropractic and nutrition.He is a master of Both.He tops that with a compassionate heart and healing hands .He enriched our event  with a  presentation on nutrition and sustainabilty.He talked about the foods that fit and those that do not into into maintaining a healthy body mind and spirit.He brought hand outs in both Spanish and English to reach out for the multicultural  of our community.I invite all farmers to reach out to the community through educational workshops or donating from their harvests to soup kitchens and community pantries that help the underpriviliged.We learned .We prayed and we played together watching a movie on the power of community.This Earth Day make a difference by reaching out to others.Ask yourself:What have I done to others?Words and toasts and songs sure make us jolly..but the PRACTICAL works of our hands and hearts is what really matters especially when we try to touch human lives that are struggling.The road of a thousand mile starts with a mile..and a smile for the road!Thanks to all and especially to the LWRC CEO Mr.Don Wilson for making this event happen!Unity tthrough community.Yes, we can do it !

Happy Earth Day

Tony

Alternative Community Farmer

http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M20618

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Humanitarian aid to Haiti EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS..Please HELP.

As an Urban Farmer who lives in Florida , I have closely been in touch with Haitians who by nature are farmers and keepers of the land.Their country has witnessed a davastating  earthquake 7 Reichter magnitude and there are plenty of room for receiving aid and help.President Obama has given priority in sending quick releif and we as farmers need to join the releif effort even by sending leftovers from our crops or clothes canned food and bottled water in case money was short to send.It could have happened to us here in Florida.Haiti is not that far anyway.This is the moment where we humans find it relevant to do THE RIGHT THING to our neighbours in Haiti.What we do to others will tell the world who we are.
 
 

UNAUTHORIZED TOP TEN LIST TO DO on "EARTH DAY"... the ORGANIC WAY or(The non -invasive/hippocretes way!)

1-Recycle your and "their" -to be trashed PRODUCE/KITCHEN FOOD SCRAPP.Ask your local neighborhood health food store/supermarket/barn/restaurant etc,if they like to save their unwanted food scrapp ,for you to  compost. Otherwise...you know what to do!

2- Commute on foot/on a bike/in a bus/car pool.Take a break from your car.Give a break to the  earth.Do not burn fossil fuel!Do not smoke.Do not drink and drive.

3-Give away your unwanted:Absolete/idle/stored/dust accumulating treasures like old shoes, old refrigerator,bike,clothes.In this Economic meltdown ,there are hidden lines of "HAVE NOTS" displaced human beings.So, give them a hand .I suggest Garage sales or Church Rummage for better affordable delivery!

3-Replace your inefficient lawn with a productive veggie garden.Or even join a community garden if you have no back/front yard.Garden in containers , the least, if none of the above exist! 

4-Install the following:

 a) A rain barrel irrigation system to save on the water bills and survive the draught in S.Florida.

b) A solar panel electric and water heating system.Green energy is the new fashion.Wear it!

5-Buy locally grown produce ,if possible  switch to ORGANIC!

6-If you are a farmer, fascilitate a workshop or attend one on promoting the awareness of green energy/organic and locally grown produce .

7-Volunteer at a local community garden/soup kitchen/church/csa/farm/earth day or green events.

8-Do no harm to yourself/others/environment by following the NATURAL ONE AND ONLY ONE LAW: LOVE.An avallanche of laws were created as we broke this one law...Business as usual is not THE motto for EARTH DAY.GREEN and SIMPLE LIVING IS!

9-Do NOTHING .BUY NOTHING.SHUT OFF ELECTRIC.TURN OFF TV.Switch off your cell phone.GO OUTDOORS .TAKE A NAP in the garden.Spend the day in NATURE.HUG A TREE,a friend ,a stranger.Use eye contact to connect!WE ARE ONE WITH THE EARTH .IT IS OUR HOME for now and for later ,when we depart to the other side!Our first HOME was in the garden so will be our last one!RESPECT the soil by refraining from polluting with your hands/mouth or any other means!

10-Reward yourself .Be with your family at the  dinner table,at a park or visit a family member/friend .Schedule a massage treatment to yourself or a loved one. LEARN HOW TO RELAX...in NATURE.TAKE A LOT OF DEEP BREATHS...BE CALM!BE GOOD!

 

Have A Healthy Happy Earth Day

 

Tony :)

 

Alternative Community Farmer

 
 

EARTH DAY.WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?WHAT HAS IT DONE TO ME?From a Local Farmer point of view

What does the WORD EARTH means to a LOCAL COMMUNITY  FARMER like myself? 

SOIL!

Here in south Florida soil translates into SAND.So to make the soil ready for the EARTH..I have to: COMPOST.Here is a true story on the subject.

Once ,I asked a local barn to let me recycle the hay which they throw away in the dumpster and I was bullied and shown the door with A BIG NO for an answer!

Here in Florida we have a lot of cow manure that is recycled and sold in bags as compost.Consider what they feed and inject into the cows and you will understand why I choose not to use cow stuff!

This Earth day a lot of people like to ONLY EAT  and TALK GREEN while at the same time they walk BROWN .Meaning : there are a lot of hypocrecy in our approach in celebrating EARTH DAY.

We go shopping at a health food store  "X "that throws away its produce scrapp into the dumpster for example , while the hand outs and brochure talks green !

Wwe do not hear of LOCAL FARMERS or LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCE  and we do not see any in the " X" HF Store.Usually they are painting a picture to make them LOOK good in the eyes of the SHOPPERS.

Let us change this .Let us go to celebrate the EARTH DAY where the EARTH BELONGS : in the GARDEN .at the FARM.!

What has Earth day done to me .It is what I have to do for EARTH DAY instead.Guess what.I am fascilitating a workshop on RECYCLING nad COMPOSTING.

You could do the same and skip the market shopping and eating party.

Doing GOOD things to the EARTH is the best answer. RECYCLE!

Happy Earth Day.

Tony :) 

 

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