Alternative Community Farmer/WPB.FL

  (WPB, Florida)
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Basic Alternatives to Chemicals at our productive backyard gardens and farms.

    
 
Once again chemical fertilizers Take the NEWS  headlines after the WEST FERTILIZER -Texas Factory explosion .More lives were lost this time as chemical fertilizers explode .Most of us are aware that chemical fertilizers cause carcinogens in humans and pollute acquifers and pottablewater supply.The problem of ingesting chemicals sprayed on our food as pesticides or indirectly induced into the plants through chemical synthetic fertilizers now has a solution:Alternative Organic Non-Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides.
 
A-Organic Alternatives to Chemical/Synthetic Fertilizers for N-P-K:
 
1-Animal Manure:Rabbit ,goat ,chicken and horse manure are rthe best alternatives for a good source  "N" NITGROGEN .Cow manure is a controvercial issue as most of the commercial  cows are injected with growth hormones,antibiotics,steroids and other vaccines .No one want a MAD COW Disease contaminated manure on their plants.Caution must be taken when using animal manure as it must be AGED, otherwise it will burn the roots of the plants.Chemical sources of nitrogen are AMMONIUM which is a hazard that causes explosions when improperly utilized.It is safer to use alternatives to chemicals that do not cause explosions from within (the cells of our body) or without offcourse.Example Rabbit manure which is considered as a COLD manure that doers not burn the plant roots even when used fresh and unaged!
 
2-Non-bovine sources of Bone and Blood meal.Vegeterians can opt to use alfalfa,cotton seed meals as an alternatives .An alternative source for "P"Phosphorous from mother nature and back to mother EARTH.Another alternative source is ground phosphate rock powder.
 
3-Green Sand is another alternative for the chemical fertilzer "K" POTTASSIUM ..

Alternatives to Chemical pesticides :
1)NEEM:Neem tree is a native to INDIA and soutj east Asia.It grows in FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA.NEEM OIL is widely and universally used as an alternative to chemical pesticides.Also the NEEM leaves and poder arwe used to combat bugs like the APHIDS and NEMATODES.The farmer attack the areal part of the plant while the latter attack the root system.There are so many names of dredators that are divided among both categories.What you need to remember is NOT the name of the dis-ease or Predator rather , it is PREVENTION that must be the alternative to PEST KILLING CONTROL!Neem will prevent the predator from multiplying .I personally grow NEEM trees around my garden so I have experienced less predators attacking my organic garden.You can do the same ...Neem trees are resistant to 150 predators and pests...Besides NEEM leaves could be used as tea,added to rice pillaf and curried recipes among others.They are edible and have no side effects.For more" POP EYE" details :Google:"BENEFITS OF NEEM"!I have used neem oil to combat the white fly among others and won the battle after so many rounds and repetetion of treatments.
2)Garlic.
3)Insecticidal soap.Check out Dr Bronner too...It works !
4)Complementary Herbs:Basil,sage,oregano etc..
5)Essential oils.Example:TEA TREE OIL ,Citrus oil ,Cedar oil  etc..(Use few drops in a gallon of water and spray in combination with some of the above .Experiment!
 
If you live in S.Florida:You are cordially invited to attend my next FREE class:Alternatives to Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides on May 4th. For RSVP and more info,please visit:localharvest.org/farms/M20618

 
 

An Organic Urban Farming class at a Firefighter family and friends backyard-Have Shovel Will Travel Series!!

I fascilitated an Organic Gardening class to a grouip of Fire Fighters and their families and friends two weeks ago and guess what ..It was a big hit!

Fire fighters are among the elite of our community when it comes to putting their lives on risk to save our homes and lives when a fire catches up .It was a time to givbe back at a backyard where children ,teanagersand adults sat together to learn and practice a hands on organic gardening class .

This motivated me to target other groups in our community that work silently to GIVE and be a role model in the progress of our local communities.This week I will be working in a backyard of a Boys Scouts Leader who is gathering her scouts to learn another survival skill:Growing your own food...

Next move will be starting a class in Miami and Homestead area ...As the word goes by:Have Shovel Will Travel.It always sytarts with a desire to serve our community especially during a Holliday Season.Growing our own food is now in GREAT DEMAND ..I am filling the niche and fascilitating "MOBILE"classes and your help is appreciarted to pass on the word to your schools,churches,wellness centers and non-profit organizations .Working together to start urban gardens in our backyards to keep the Earth A Living and safe Place for the Living is another NEW YEAR RESOLUTION we can add to our Santa Clause Gift List to our loved ones.

Wishing you all a Happy Hollidays and may your days  be  GREEN and Flourishing like a Bountiful Garden.

Ho Ho Ho   Santa "Gardener" is Coming to your backyard ..Town!!!

 

Ho Ho Ho

 
 

Top Ten Successful Productive Garden Golden rules for S.Florida

Why Productive Organic  gardening in Florida is a challenge and what are the solutions?

First it is essential to map the challenges before you  chart the solutions as an ancient Chinese proverb asserts .In other words it will be better to light a candle rather than curse the darkness !

The Florida soil is mainly SANDY.Nematodes and aphids and other bugs florish especially during the raing summer season.Rain floods the land which loses much of its top soil and minerals as a consequence.Excessive heat grills and cooks most of the vegetables that survive the nematode and aphid attack.

TheSuccessful  Golden Garden  rules:

!-PLAN before you plant.

2-Choose the right  location to garden .

3-Prepare your own organic soil .Compost.Be prepared:Wear garden gear,hydrate,check out with your Dr.if you are fit to garden.. etc..

4-Start small , plant your own heirloum seeds .Say no to GMO.Use the right containers  for  seeds and  seedlings that grow best in S.Florida..

5-Choose native and draught tolerant plants.Opt for Rain Barrel harvesting  to save on water bill.

6-Consider Diversity in planting.Use companion herbs as pest prevention.

7-Solarize soil -Unearth debris -Xeriscape the landscape -Evaluate  -Develop -a budget plan and a road map for  action..

8-Talk to local farmers/gardeners.Hire a garden tutor.Do your homework - study and research.

9-Use raised beds to sustain the top soil,avoid erosion and discourage weeds.Containers make best bet to grow fruits and vegetables during the Hurricane Summer Season.

10-Experiment and chack out my Ten Garden Commandments at my localharvest blog on June  22,2009 titled:

"THE GARDEN TEN COMMANDMENTS and HOW ORGANIC EDIBLE GARDENING CAN SURVIVE THE FLORIDA SUMMER."_

 
 

Visualizations of an URBAN FARMER with an ORGANIC DREAM!

I am sending the VIRTUAL WORD  out to the ACTUAL WORLD  : I have an ORGANIC  Dream .

I am looking for fertile land   to  sow my seeds on and may be more...

A rustic old fashioned barn and a  house with much repair work, or a small agricultural land with a  log cabin - secluded in a natural wooded area with fertile soil, fresh spring water and electricity available.

A relatively small sustainable farm , run down and cheap.Preferably to partner with and share my experience of teaching and practicing Organic Gardening!

 If A child bearing  healthy female,divorced ,widowed,with or without children is looking for an active older vegeterian partner/  helper !Then we need to talk!

The promised farming  land could  be in the first stages of development with building a locally conscious sustainable community in mind.   – This land may be shared with someone with a similar DREAM who dares to think diversity and practice sustainability.

The weather should be  moderate – to tropical but not ARCTIC.

Where the sun shines most of the time,the rain  bountiful and the land fertile and beautiful!

Thinking rural :California,Georgia,Tennesee,Oregon,Washington,North Carolina !

 If you are looking for a helper, a farmer partner ,an organic  gardening teacher,a dreamer,a vegeterian caterer and or a market go getter -who is ethical non-smoker/no-drugs or drinker ,people and plant friendly , then  we need to CONNECT! 

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Learning HOW to GARDEN the ORGANIC WAY .Grow a GARDEN ! Organic produce prices are set to SOAR!

Organically speaking , in order to learn HOW to grow your own food NATURALLY, you must first shift your mind ,body and spirit into the ORGANIC gear mode!

Nature grows fruits and vegetables in a PROCESS.So , you need to slow down and be patient while working with  the elements and tackling the garden challenges.

Next step is to hook up to a local organic gardening network ,community garden,local urban farmer  to learn from their experience.

Taking a series of Organic Gardening Classes from certified and experienced HORTICULTURIST is  HIGHLY recommended!

From my experience teaching Organic Gardening classes ,here in the TROPICS, I found out that people have a WISHFUL THINKING  DESIRE to grow their own food and $ave, but they take their time and procrastinate before DOING IT!

The prices of organic produce have been sky rocketing lately due to inclement weather ,like flooding,draught etc..

Remember that spending big money on expensive classes that teach you THEORIES and overwhelm you with BLA BLA BLA ,is not enough.

Hands on and practicing what you learn in class is of the ESSENCE, especially  on one on one!

Small group classes give you an opportunity to interact and ask questions in addition to practicng  what you learn right in the GARDEN!

Planning ahead of time for a garden budget,classes,garden work schedule and a small area to start with your experimentation , is of extreme importance.

Practice makes perfect as they say.This is your chance to apply what you have learned.I prefer that you hire a gardening coach to walk you through the gardening process.Learning garden ergonimcs helps you keep your back on track and..your farm firm body out of harm way!

Start small with baby steps .Rekindle  your  zest by reconnecting with MOTHER EARTH!Go grow a productive  garden!Go GREEN and SAVE on GREEN BUCKS before too late.Produce prices are set to SOAR as per study:

 

http://www.produceretailer.com/produce-retailer-research/organics_set_to_soar_123000273.html

 Stay tuned and learn MORE @:

localharvest.org/farms/M20618!

 
 

Composting and the INORGANIC Soil Ammenmendts-Part ii

There are more of INORGANIC Ammendments to add to our list of ORGANIC Ammendments, such as :

1-Mica /Perlite/Vermiculite:Those volcanic minerals can store more than double their size of water.They are best for the S.Florida organic soil to keep the moisture, cooling off the roots nad distressing the plants from the heat factor!

2-Dolomite-Lime stone gounds: This is a rich source of calcium and trace minerals like magnesium and potasium.It is an inevitable source to keep the soil alkaline.Please :Always check with an experienced educated gardener/farmer before you add minerals to the soil , and ask for the  for the right amounts.

3-Epsom Salt/Sea Salt:A vital food for the growth of plants especially need by the plant  root system.

4-Borax: A great trace mineral source for Boron , necessary for maintaing a healthy plant immune system .Also plays an importanmt role in the assimilation and absorption of vital nutrients to the plants.

5-Phosphouros Rock Grounds:Phosphouros is an essential nutrient for the roo system .It encourages plant growth and helps the plant cell MITOCHONDRIA manufacture ADP or Adino Tri Phosphate (Energy).

6-Gluconite:Msainly known for GREEN SAND:This mineral is rich in POTASSIUM.

7- Wood Ash:Excellent source for trace minerals like potassium,calcium,magnesium and more..

8-Natural Iron:Much needed to strengthen the plant immune system and carry oxygen molecule in the PHOTOSYNTHESIS PROCESS.When you notice a pale leaf color then this is a sign of ANEMIC PLANT,generally speaking.

9-Natural Copper:Helps fend off fungus .

10-Most periodic table trace minerals like Sinc,Magnesium,Manganese etc..in minute ammounts ,are significant for maintaing the health of plants.

Usually salts and minerals fall into the INORGANIC category that s why we separated them from the Top TEN Organic Ammendments Top Ten.Minerals is the new wave to use in the Organic Garden.

MINERALS ,not just NPK is the new wave YES!Why? Because the soil has been depleted by MUCH of tropical rain devoiding the soil of most precious electrolite minerals through out time .The soil has been instead saturated with chemical fertilizers that poisoned and killed much of the beneficial worms.organuism and good bacteria in the soil.Long time ago the top soil was lost/depleted and the HUMUS disappeared after the intropduction of the machinary and chemiclfertilizers into HORTICULTURE by the BIG AGRI BUSINESS.

Minerals now are needed to replenish the soil and ammend it more than anything else(Examople:Nitrogen).The HYDROPONIC way of agriculure now is using JUST THAT.MORE OF MINERALS like:IRON-CALCIUM-MAGNESIUM-TRACE MINERALS :ZINC-COPPER-BORON etc..

 

 SOME ammendmenrts could be added directly to the soil ,and sometimes to the compost.Talking about compost , it is important to differentiate between two kinds of Organic Matter thaty we add into the compost bin:

 

A-Green Manure, mainly rich in nitrogen, organic matter: 1-Kitchen Scrappings.2-Coffee/tea grounds.3-Grass clippings.4-Horse/chicjen manure.5-Seaweed.6-Blood meal .7-Fish emulsion.8-Cotton seed meal.

B-Brown Mnaure, mainly rich in carbon, organic matter: 1-Untreated wood saw dust.2-Yard leaves .3-Bark.4-Peat moss.5-Untreated wood chips.6-Paper /Newspaper shreds.7-Pine straw.

Composting the “Lasagna Way” will discuss how to alternate layers of Green and Brown Manure in the COMPOST BIN:

ANEAROBIC-THE CLOSED COMPOST MACHINE(CCP) .Especially preferred by those who live in gated communities/neighborhoods ‘It is considered by some as the best way to compost in the city  .It deters animals/pests and controls odors .Another way to prevent odor is to add sprinkle a dash of BAKING SODA.

AEROBIC: Especially preferred by those who live in the country and or have physical disabilities or prefer not to turn the compost, a second Open Compost Pile (OCP) is suggested (no cover top). It is the second stage (AEROBIC) process that receives compost from the ANEAROBIC CLOSED BIN (Compost Machine) and adds it into the Open Compost pile.

In S.Floida it is worth mentioning that the PERFECT TIME TO COMPOST IS ;SUMMER.

Why?Because the four elements :AIR-EARTH-WATER-FIRE culminate into a PEAK of abundance .More of rain ,humidity-heat happen during the summer to cook and produce more COMPOST.So , get your compost bin ready and start recycling all that kitchen scrapps and yard leaves that were clogging the garbage collecting system.You save on the environment fcarbon foot print.tax payers recycling bill and at the same time you save on the garden center bill by producing your own soil.

Supplementing your S.Florida soil with TOP TEN Organic Ammendments-Part I

Most new comers to S.Florida productive urban farming fall into the trap of the beach sandy soil in their back and front yard.

They end up in the garden center spending fortunes on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.For those who are familiar with organic gardening the case is not so.

Recently many research studies have revealed that pesticides and chemical fertilizers are harmful for the earth soil population ,plants and humans that comnsume vegetables contaminated with synthetic chemicals.Check out the following web sites for more info about pestyicides contamination of food :

http://www.ewg.org

http://www.organicconsumers.org

What are the alternatives to Chemical fertilizers and pesticides?

 In Europe there has been a trend to ammend the soil different than we usually do in the US.Europeans are steering clear from Genetically Modified Organisms crops and Synthetic chemicals.

 Here are some suggestions of what we can use from the perspective of Organic and Bio-dynamic Natural Farming.

1) Peat Moss:Some call it Sphagnum.It is an organic matter that has a fluffy texture , perfect to hold moisture.It tends to be neutrasl slightly acidic.

2)HUMUS /Worm castings ,not just cow manure saturated with hormones-antibiotics etc

3)Shredded newspapers/papers,a good food source for worms.

4)Composted Acceptable Manures:I personally prefer to use composted horse manure and home grown FREE RANGE chiken manure.Both manures from the above are free from hormones,antibiotics and other chemical contaminents.

5)Organic Coffee /TEA Grounds:Rich in organic nitrogen.A great food source for worms.

6)COTTONSEED MEAL:Rich in organic Nitrogen-Phosphorous and Potassium.Add directly to soil.

7)Blood Meal:Rich in organic nitrogen.Add directly to compost.Add as tea or diredctly to soil

8)Bone Meal:Rich in phosphouros.Add directly to soil or as tea.

9)Fish Emulsion:Rich in organic Nitrogen.Add directly to compost or as tea to soil.Also some use as spray to deterr garden  pests .

10)Alfalfa Meal:Rich in Minerals and nitrogen.Add directly to soil or as tea.

 

There are more INorganic Ammendments to be revealed in the following  part -II .

 
 

Low maintenance TOP TEN TIPS to the S.Florida Organic Productive Garden.

What motivated me to write this article is the continuous and never ending complaints I hear , about keeping up with the challenges of growing and MAINTAINING an organic productive garden in S.Florida , from  garden enthusiasts who come to my gardening classes.

Here are some tips and suggestions to tackle this subject.

First it is important to address the nature of the special climate here in South Florida.There are considerations to acknowledge that we fall in the Sub-Tropical agricultural zone 10-11.It means we have to partner with the LOCAL Environment CHALLENGES of: Excessive Heat,Humidity,Sandy Soil and occasional Severe Stormy Weather,to be able to successfuly do gardening.

Maintenance of a garden is the KEY , in my personal opinion.Gardening is a process and it takes awareness,time, patience and offcourse MAINTENANCE!

I-Fruit Trees Maintenance Tips:

1-Upon planting new fruit trees in the backyard , reinforce with scaffolds and stakes .

2-Do not plant trees ,in general ,under or near power lines or structures like a house.

Hurricanes and storms might topple and uproot the trees causing damages to property and lives .

3-Dig a BRIM around the fruit trees ,especially, and cover with mulch to capture and retain moisture.Nourish with Organic ammendments and accepatble composted manure.

4-Prune-Cut-Trim dead branches,excessive growth and folliage according to your local area guidlines .Be careful not to do that during fruitation or blossoming season.Follow specific suggestions according to the different kinds of trees involved.

5)Do not HATRACKING.Follow proper pruning procedures and guidlines of local city /county and state laws.Ask for professional help when in doubt.It is illegal to do HATRACKING in some communities!

6)Recycle yard wastes from trees by using as mulch and composting to reduce the carbon foot print and costs of recycling.

II-Vegetable/Herb/Edible Scaping Maintenance Tips:

Plant heirloum/organic seed varities that are in favor of the climate zone you live .Here are some samples of plants that do well , generally speaking,during the Winter/Spring Seasons :

1)Vegetables:

Tomato(usually classified  under fruit, but commonly misunderstood as a vegetable),collards,cabbage,calaloo(Carribean spinache),beets,carrots,common potato,lettuce,radishes,Winter /Spring beans,peas,green peppers.

2)Herbs:

Parsley,mint,dandelion,onion,garlic,purple/thai basil,rose mary,cayenne pepper,Neem tree,Kam-Sutra mentha.

3)Edible flowers:

Sunflower,nasturtium,marigold.

I personally prefer container gardening as an  option .Because:

It  Better controls weeds,saves on water bill and adheres to the water restrictions to conserve on water ,especially when using hose controls while hand watering, rain barrels and drip irrigation .

Contrary to common beleif , container gardening when following the proper procedures like using the above and self watering  containers , is a low maintenance practice.

III-General ,Green Thumb Rules on Organic Gardening Low Maintenance,Top Ten  Tips:

1-Follow water restrictions according to your local area laws.Best time to water is at DEW HOURS (4-6AM) ,depending on the restrictions.When in doubt call  your local authorities for advice.

2-Use mulch as appropriate to retain moisture, control weeds  and counter heat stressing effect on plants.

3-Do not mow lawns at peak heat temperatures and sunny skies.

4- Recycle-Re use-Reduce.

5-Garden wearing garden gear and hydrate by drinking  non-alcoholic fluids to use peak body energy.

6-Conserve on water by using rain barrels and drip irrigation systems.

7-Choose draught tolerant and native plants and grow according to season.

8-Prune-Clip-Trim the proper and professional way.

9-Use plants as shade providers and companion herbs to reduce stress and combat pests.

10-Enrich the soil environment ,periodically after/during growing season, with organic matter,mulch,organic ammendments and compost.Use crop covers.Enrich the community spirit connection ,by sharing harvest with neighbors,soup kitchens and the needy.Give back to the community.

 

Happy Organic Gardening Maintenance!

 

 

Applying :Restore-Recycle-Reuse-Reduce Formula to the Backyard Organic Garden.

The christmass trees are lying at the curb waiting for the trash truck.I could not resist the natural gardener instinct , so I grabbed them and now they are being used as mulch in my new backyard garden.The plastic containers ,the bed wood frames,the discarded poinseta christmass trees ,the kitchen metalic shelves and much more that I picked from the trash bins and curbs follow suit.

I do recycle , reuse ,reduce and lately I added RESTORE to the universal composting formula.

Yesterday , I attended a neighborhood association meeting .I was so much impressed by the spirit of community .City officials ,business owners and common residents came together to work  to restore and beautify our neighborhood.

Personally , I was involved with community gardens that were transformed from neglected and crime infested grounds into beautiful gardens that are PRODUCtIVE.I used to donate the extra organic produce to a soup kitchen when I was a community Garden Co-ordinator for eight years .Not any more when that garden was re assigned as a dumping sight for land fills.

Now I have a vision to convert the challenges we face at our neighborhoods, especially with abondoned and neglected lands , into productive Organic Gardens.With no money or any financial support I started collecting materials from the curb and building a backyard garden that grows vegetables and flowers.

My new restored garden is located at the corner of NE 9th street and federal Highway in LW.An example set to prove that we do not need mega money to restore our neglected lands.My neighbor came and asked me for help and I gave him a hand and ideas to create an edible flower landscape  and a Zen garden .

A business owner of Studio 205 stepped in to donate some flowers to my garden and recycled compost from his juice bar.Thank you Mr.Andy Amoroso.

Now imagine that we create a center for FREE mulch and garden  supply materials recycled from the christmas trees , wood frames,vegetation  and plastic containers from restaurants /juice bars refuse to build more productive vegetable gardens!

The ecconomic crunch has forced so many of us to lose homes,jobs,cars etc..I took that challenge to CREATE a JOB instead of the usual attitude of looking to FIND  a job.

Creating food for our community is in fact a GREEN JOB.Productive Vegetable gardens can be added to the menu of REBATES to encourage residents to convert their inefficient water consuming grass lawns into vegetable gardens is an ecconomically lucrative GREEN idea to be taken seriously.Thats why I jumped in to help last June at the composting pilot program by the city of Lake Worth.

I applaud the GREEN efforts of Mr.Joseph Kroll the director of the Utility Department in KIND by just lending him a helping hand.

I can feel the appreciation and the community spirit through the acts the city are demonstrating as a LEADING EXAMPLE to transform our community into a leading GREEN CITY!

Working together and applying the universal composting formula can prove that we can transform our environment into a better place to work and live.Leadership makes a difference.Thank you for bringing us together Mango Grove Neighborhood Association.

As a reminder: Please visit my web link below to find out about my Ongoing Gardening Classes and read my blog @:

localharvest.org/farms/M20618

Another example of my community gardening work: watch SCG at You Tube:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I01Qd9b7YT4

 

Happy Community Gardening

 

 

 
 

How to grow an Organic Community Garden?Where to start: At a home owner/church backyard?.Here is an example at SCG and some challenges and solutions!

Here in S.Florida Sandy soil is king.Challenges are plenty to mention the least:Finding a home for a community garden.That's where you need to start .

From my horticultural  education and hands on farming experience, more than twenty years ,of growing organic vegetable and fascilitating classes /workshops at  seven community gardens : I came up with  a personal TRUE story to share  .

Those of you who are contemplating to start their own community gardens .especially in a back yard\,I  have a visual to support the narration of my true story.Check it out down below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I01Qd9b7YT4

 

My last half an acre  started with a 10x2 plot  at a community garden .The land was initially a neglected area that was infested by crime and drug dealers.It was  provided by a local city 'X".

DADS(Dads  Against Drugs were the ones who came up with the idea ) .The idea became a garden with more than 20 active members at its peak.It sprouted and survived and became a food source for working class families and a neighboring soup kitchen that catered to the unemployed and those who silently struggled   ..

The garden was pronounced dead when the city decided to convert it to a land fill back in 2009.I lost all my nine years of hard work converting the sand into a FERTILE  top soil through composting and hauling truck loads of organic soil . Not to mention the tools,neem trees , equipment garden supplies etc..that were removed/hauled away without me being notified to salvage any!

I grew NEEM and Papaya trees,Organic vegetables. I created a JOB for myself as an URBAN FARMER growing Organic Local food that found so much demand back in 2001 and onwards...in the absence of Organic Farms or CSA back then in the area. 

I displayed my greens at local Green Market single handedly with the help of a volunteer from Head Start who beleived back then, just like me ,that Growing our own food could support the local ecconomy by creating jobs versus finding a job.

To  convert neglected lands or  inefficient lawn grass back/front yards into a productive vegetable garden is by itself a JOB that PRODUCES FOOD.

Community Gardens:It is something that stimulates local economies besides combating crime by diverting the attention into a positive productive paths !I never gave up my passion for organic gardening despite the sbsence of support or any stimulus money to help Urban Farmers.

Now I am gardening at a community garden at a private home owner backyard.It is available for sale.Here we go again .Looking for another home for my garden. I contacted a group of small churches and here I am  gardening at the backyards of a church group that feeds the disadvantaged and has a  Hunger Project.End of story.

Suggestions and Solutions:

1_Start Small.Make sure that you will not ne evicted suddenly or without a notice.Sign a time for use agreement(Ten years minimum)

2_Stay focussed on a PURPOSE related to growing the food for (Spell out the purpose and protocol in PRINT....)

3_Stear clear away from politics and those who want to use the garden as a protege or a stepping stone to their personal aspirations or hidden agendas.

4_Expect challenges and create out Solutions.Involve more of those who are active in their working hands and  muscles on GROWING ,and less of those who enjoy being spectators,commentators etc..Gardening is a HANDS ON experience for those who dare to touch the soil ( Never call it dirt).

5_Get an educated/experienced Organic  Urban Farmer on board to give guidance on Organic Urban Farming  through Awareness classes.

7_Gardening is a PROCESS.So give yourself time to learn,understand and implement.

8_Start  COMPOST piles/bins and learn/implement : recycle-reuse -restore.Know what are the ingredients of the soil you are buying?

9_Exchange /harvest/grow local and NATIVE  seeds.If you can not afford  organic seeds.Look for Heirloums .Say no to synthetic chemicals &GMO!

10_Share your harvest with a local soup kitchen.Display your harvest at a Green Market/Church market etc...Let Diversity be  your choice for community membership or planting practices.Giving back to the community through community gardens is the PRACTICALand PRODUCTIVE  way to SAY: THANK YOU

 
 

S.Florida Beginners Tropical Organic Urban Farming Classes -Open to the public Now Registering

Come and Learn the Organic Gardening Process from  our four generation Urban Organic farmer ,certified Florida horticulturist and educator with 20 years of Hands On experience in S.Florida .

We are  now accepting new urban farming enthusiasts for the growing season November-May 2011 organic gardening classes(the tropical way) .It is different  but not difficult.Wonder why you have no green thumb? Its the S.Florida' sandy soil dump, not your thumb,at fault.

Our classes schedules feature a range of topics including:

1-Container/raised beds organic gardening .

2-Vermiculture

3-Composting.

4-Organic soil preparation .

5-Organic ammendments.

6-Backyard/patio/community organic gardening.

7-Tropical fruits,veggies and herbs that you can grow easy.

8-Organic pesticides and fertilizers .

9-Edible Tropical organic flowers and "legal" weeds (e.g dandelion.)

10-Garden ergonomics  and more...

Adults full pay.Teens half pay.Children 5-13 free.

Wear garden safety gear:No shorts/flip flops/tanker tops, please.Hand outs available for FREE..RSVP and register two days in advance of classes on Saturday and Sunday 4-6PM.Co-speakers welcome.We offer one time FREE CLASS for non-profit organizations like Schools,churches and wellness centers.We donate to soup kitchens since 2001.We are community  oriented.

Come and tour our container botanical garden/raised beds /mini farm/ pristine pine  forest settings.Take home FREE samples of seeds,seedlings,composted manure,garden starter kit and much more .More info and RSVP details at:

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

Bring / tell a friend.Celebrate the coming Hollidays andstart the new year with a new Organic Vegetable garden right at your backyard.

Have  Happy Hollidays Gardening.

 

 
 

Organic Gardening Awareness goes to a Hollistic Mind-Body-Spirit Retreat.How to THINK ORGANIC and TRUTHFULLY treat not trick each others while learning the PROCESS of growing or consuming ORGANIC food ?

This coming Sunday I will be taking my gardening talk  to a different kind of a walk. .Comes a Hollistivc Fittness retreat at a four star hotel this week end, , I will be reaching out with my ORGANIC AWARENESS to a different level of organic gardening enthusiasts.

Physical Fittness or Exercising our muscles and doing functional movements is not a monopoly to the gym or the olymics neither to the rich or the poor,.I have  THE PROOF..

Great Britain has recognized Gardening as sports for all,  lately , proving to the world that Gardeners are among the olympic athlets without portfolio offcourse, , Unfortunately they  will NOT  be competing this coming Clympic games 2012 at the UK for gold medals.!!They will be growing the new found gold:Greens!

No kidding.our competition is not for  winning medals???.Sure, not.It is about winning our BIRTH RIGHT FOR HEALTH by going back to Basics:GROWING our own food through farming and gardening or shall we say Gathering ????.

Lately ,I helped coaching a home owner ,who happens to be living in a multi million property-setting and starting up   an Organic Vegetable Garden. I noticed that there is a pre-requisit to the gardening proces:We need  to open our mind,body and spirit ..first.

I explained :The gardening software  does not come naturally with the garden and she has to LEARN the process(Mind)  and train her muscles(Body) and get into the Spirit of growing food.Most of us get confused when it comes to the SPIRIT thing.They end up doing the most convenient:Hire a gardener and tell him/her to do the Donkey Work ,offcourse,having set a streaotype of farmers after the migrant farmers image .God forbid , no racial profiling / discremination /slavery practices   are intentionally committed!.Mistakes happen , offcourse!

Being spiritual is so hard to understand using our minds.One has to open up the HEART FACULTY/or Chakra to be able to comprehend /connect spiritually with other forms of life:Creator/Holly Spirit /Universe ..or whatever you prefer to name it.Even so ,with a human,plant, or na animal .What comes from the heart ?

Expectations ,intentions,passion, abilities,capabilities,integrity ,honesty , commitments ,prayers are justa few to mention.What makes us fail in making the spiritual connection is one word:LYING -with all our HEART.

We put much faith in  lip service and  words  that change as often as the winds blow or with every single breath or  heart beat.We lie to each others and because we get accustomed to negotiating and or lying  as far as it is good to make money and  business. Gone are our commitments for  ethical  or moral values.

There is a separation from our INNER BEING as soon as we separate ourselves from the TRUTH , especially when we want to commit into a relationship: Whether with a human,a plant, an animal or a HIGHER SPIRIT/GOD/UNIVERSE.The bibles mentions:TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.FROM WHAT? I guess from :DISEASE,LACK,STRIFE,SLAVERY ,to mention the least!

Ghandi once said: If you want to learn how to have a successful relationship with humans, you need to start to learn the process by getting in touch with plants first.I found out that our relationship with plants is similar to that with the animals and humans :Crush,control,contain.

Guess what happens when we are moody or in a state of hurry :We injur a muscle  ,break communication flow ,obliterate trust and jeoperdize a relationship and the whole process . By just flip flopping and changing our commitments , we withdraw  natural process of creation and meaningful and fruitful  fulfiliment  into a state of static FAILURE :decomposing/degeneration /degradinding to our Body/Mind/Spirit.

Stay tuned to Organic Gardening Awareness .Be TRUTHFULL in and to all our relations.Just like the Native American saying goes  :Aho -Meta-Quee-Yasin.

 
 

Class on Crash Organic Gardening for Survivals at the Lake Worth Resource Center

The Mentoring Center is the managing partner of the Lake Worth Resource Center, which provides job placement assistance ,skills training ,English classes and integration mentoring here in Lake Worth, Florida.

Today,I was invited by the English Class teacher at LWRC  to fascilitate an organic gardening class to her English language students.The class is a melting pot and  mix of Caribean and Hispanic cultures .

I did customize the class to meet the immediate needs of the students who either are unemployed / underemployed or looking for a better employment by improving on their English language communication skills..The economic deep-recession  let a lot of us DOWN  .But, not for the brave and faithful who still beleive in a way UP .When there is a will to turn the lemon into a lemonade then there is a way to DO IT!

I said to myself, it is better to give some one a fishing rod and teach how to fish rather than just give  a welfare fish or a food stamp  . In times as uncertain and defeating like ours, there is nothing more valuable than a POSITIVE ATTITUDE and COURAGE to FIGHT and OVERCOME hardships whatsoever..Education is the key.

Politicians reach out to immigrants and minorities during election times only..Those forgotton and struggling families  barely get help except from churches and organizations like the LWRC . I MARVELLED AT THE SUPPORT AND ENTHUSIASM  of those students who wanted to learn how to grow their own Organic Food and did not have the resources  .Kindness and community spirit and warm relationships can change the face of lack and bring in bounty once we join hands and resources TOGETHER.How many organizations and institutions are reaching out for the unemployed or the homeless to teach them how to fish or grow their own food? How much money would we save on food stamps and medical bills by  turning those neglected lands into organic vegetable gardens that feed the needy and the unemployed?You tell me!

Nothing comes easy.We need to start the learning process by  teaching the importance of   PRODUCING  FOOD rather than CONSUMING IT.

TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU FARMERS AND GARDENERS AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IS TO SHOW THAT : CREATING A JOB IS AS IMPORTANT AS FINDING A JOB...ESPESIALLY when this job is to grow your own food!

THANKS to the English language teacher  LISA GREENE AND LWRC DON WILSON, BOTH GOALS  can be  REACHED :Finding and creating a job!Remeber: When there is a will........there is a way...

 

 
 

ORGANIC GARDENING CLASSES ...and how to implement them in REAL LIFE..A Feed back from an EXPERIENCED Urban Farmer/Educator.

There are tons of materials on line ,in book prints and in the air competing for creating aan organic garden near your kitchen.The economy is hurting both pocket and bellys.So people are now flooding classes to learn.There are not so many choices thougth...to IMPLEMENT WHAT YOU LEARN ON THE GROUND!

 

There are so many ways to make money out of Organics these days.I have seen people who are devotees of fertilizers and chemicals turn GREEN ORGANIC overnight because their thumb is so GREEN WITH COUNTING GREEN BUCKS!So many of us get caught in the jargon and the traps of making a dollar no matter how or what!

A student came to my class one time and recalled the huge amount of money she had to spend and end up learning not much because there was no HANDS ON attachment to the FINE WORDS printed and nicely arranged in the texts she had to buy !

"You know them by their fruits"...is not the same asYou know them buy their fruits.. 

Yesterday also  I met a student  "X" .She is a Doctor of Medicine who enjoys gardening and wants to learn ..

She even  took Horticultural college classes and spent time and money ..but she was still failing the actual garden CROPS.."experience is so necessary "SHE TOLD ME ...WHILE JOTTING DOWN MY down to earth tips THAT I HAVE EXPERIENCED WHILE DIGGING ,PLANTING,HARVESTING,STUDYING,APPLYING,EXPERIMENTING, MAKING MY HANDS AND CLOTHES DIRTY WORKING IN THE SIZZLING SUN OF FLORIDA!

I felt so good when someone like Mrs"X" comes to my classes -not  to try me .or spy on me..or copy me ..or even cheat me by sliding out the door without an appreciation tip or donation that supports buying seeds to my community garden .

Getting something for nothing  !!! How many of us try to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OTHERS WORK BY BEING CHEAP and OPPORTUNISTIC? I really do not know how many?Do you?.

Thats why we have KARMA as a pay back for what we DO TO OTHERS!. 

She "Mrs.X" was there to learn and even wanted to come back with her husband for the next class..Applied Gardening makes a POINT .Doing is the way of Gardening.So my friends...you know them by their thumbs that are tough and dirty..from their costumes that are fashioned with the garden sweat and their skin that is colored by the blazing sun of Florida.

 

There are so many people rushing to the new GREEN GOLD ..but they are missing one thing:EXPERIENCE.

 

Happy Organic Gardening 

 


 

 

 

 
 

Making it mandatory to teach organic farming at school will set the stage for producing our own LEGAL American farm workers

I was reading an article by the POST of today May 25th about how "Florida growers warn of danger to food supply " in case there is a crackdown on undocumented workers.I refer you to the whole article to check it out and form your own opinion!I already formed mine!

John Lantigua of the Palm Beach Post writes on May 25th on the above title:

I qoute Mr Lantigua:"

Mike Carlton, labor relations director for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, is sometimes criticized for his position on U.S. immigration law.

The group, which represents most of Florida's large growers, supports the legalization of undocumented farm laborers.

"What don't you understand about the word illegal?" critics ask him about the immigrants.

"What don't you understand about the word eating?" is the retort that occurs to Carlton, although he holds his tongue.

Amid a tide of anti-immigrant sentiment, the usually conservative agricultural sector finds itself an unlikely champion of the undocumented worker.

Supporters of changes in immigration law say people who believe all undocumented workers should be expelled from the country don't comprehend how that would affect the availability and security of the U.S. food supply.

"We would be looking at an increase in the cost of food," Carlton said. "And we would almost certainly end up going offshore for much of our food supply, which would also mean having to worry about food safety."

Carlton and other proponents of legalizing farmworkers support a bill before Congress called AgJobs, which could forge a path to documented, permanent residency for those laborers.

Opponents say it amounts to amnesty for entering the country illegally. They also say it doesn't do anything to increase border security.

Craig Regelbrugge, co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform in Washington, believes opponents don't recognize the main security question associated with farm labor. "There would be shortages. Prices would go up" if the U.S. expelled farmworkers, he said. "But we would also make ourselves reliant for our food on other countries."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says at least half of the people who pick U.S. crops are undocumented. Others in the industry say it is closer to 70 percent.

With U.S. production crippled, Brazil would enthusiastically supply citrus and Mexico would gladly sell vegetables, Regelbrugge said. But relations could sour between the U.S. and those countries and leave the nation at the mercy of foreign governments, he said.

Importing fresh milk would be difficult from the outset, said Ray Hodge, director of governmental affairs for Southeast Milk in Marion County, which markets milk produced by more than 100 Florida dairies.

"We supply all the milk to Publix," Hodge said. "If all those workers were kicked out, in about a week there would be a crisis. … Foreign-born workers are the agricultural workforce in this country. Nobody else wants to do it."

The AgJobs bill would give temporary legal residence to about 1 million undocumented farm laborers and roughly the same number of spouses and minor children. Because Florida has the nation's second­-largest agricultural economy, after California, the measure could have a particularly strong impact here.

Applicants would have to prove they had worked a certain number of hours in farm labor during the past two years. They would have to pay $500 in fines for entering the country illegally and settle outstanding tax bills. Felons or those with serious misdemeanor convictions would be excluded.

If they continued to work in agriculture a certain number of hours every year for the next three to five years, they and their immediate families could apply for permanent residence.

Critics complain that there are many unemployed Americans who would take the jobs. Carlton's response: "We have found that not to be true. Even with 10 percent unemployment, agriculture cannot attract native-born Americans."

The work is often hot, back­breaking, isolated, seasonal and transient. Carlton said some farmers have offered up to $15 an hour to U.S. citizens to work as harvesters, much more than foreign workers make, but with little success.

Even though Americans may not want those jobs, the bill has positive employment implications for U.S. citizens, he said: "It's a jobs bill for American workers, because for every person working in the fields, there are two to three jobs upstream that depend on that person." He cites equipment suppliers, truckers, grocery clerks, restaurant workers." Unqoute.

 

I beleive that we can create our own workforce from people who have entered the US legally and chose to work in the farm in case the born Americans do not want to work as the article above points and qoutes one official.I beleive that there are so many Americans who are homeless and would need some training on the farms and would fit in the farm work force.

I beleive that there are already urban farmers who are going out of business because there is no support for their efforts in marketing and growing  locally grown produce.

I beleive that there are opportunities for many legal immigrants who have lost their jobs to apply for farm work  jobs if they are given the incentives ,training and benefits that born Americans ask for.

Why not apply the law equally on all.Those who entered the US legally and paid taxes and obeyed the laws should be given a chance to apply for farm jobs that presently are being to illegals who are treated close to slavery conditions and who are afraid to report abuse by their employers who care only about profits and put them in dire conditions that endanger their lives (exposure to chemicals and pesticides).

The law of the land is made for all .So let us respect it and move forward.The Big Agri business have had its time to reign our farm lands and employ illegals.Now is the time to shift gears and set the stage for  legal and smaller organic farmers ,even at the educational school level , through spreading the awareness of small scale organic farming.

 
 
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