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Fantastic meeting yesterday morning. This meeting was pulled together with less than 24 hours notice and 10 people showed up!
I will attempt to write up some notes of a very energized, fast moving discussion we had on the possibility of organizing a local group to do "Food Not Lawns" work.
The bottom line is- We are excited about charging ahead to get organized to do this work even if we haven't figured out exactly what we will do or when or how. Much enthusiasm...
Soooo, first we tried to define what problems we are solving and needs we are filling. Here is what we came up with. (Feel free to edit or clarify any mistakes or omissions.)
Ruth- More people would grow food if they knew how to do it. Need for mentoring and to answer questions and be a community resource.
Ellen- Master Gardeners not interested in mentoring. Labeling of food as local important. Help with distribution issues?
Janice- Teach how to dry and preserve food. She does this. Kids need to be involved.
Julie- Preservation of food and mentoring important
Diana- Need for permanent farmer's market site. Rainwater catchment. Community kitchen needed.
Bob- Economic/financial squeeze coming. Will hurt many. Need to get prepared for this. Reduce amount of grass lawns. Sharing excess produce builds community.
Beth- Promote community gardens and "Plant a row for the hungry" program. Publish a resource guide for compost,materials, etc. How to find garden space for individuals with no space to garden? Map areas for land available for gardening.
Zia- Help educate people to look at alternatives to lawns- flowers, xeriscape and growing food. Best way to learn is through doing the hands on work.
Richard- Tie in with Social justice work.
Sharon- Concerned with food safety, seed sharing and water use.
Summary/Conclusion? Based on the above comments of individuals at the meeting, it would seem like the main focus/interest is on filling the need to help people learn how to grow their own food locally with a preference toward doing organic/not chemical based gardening. Are we in general agreement about this? Is this the essence of a mission statement?
Here are some possible goals for our group: 1. To educate people and raise awareness re the need and benefits of growing our own food or planting flowers instead of Kentucky Bluegrass. 2. Help individuals or groups to start gardens 3. Share excess garden produce to build community 4. Serve as a community resource- materials, equipment, ideas, links, books, speaker's bureau, etc. 5. Offer workshops to demonstrate how to garden, build compost, etc.
We didn't have time to go over this so I am hoping individuals will edit/revise/add to this list until we are clear what we want to do.
Name for this group? Some suggetions put forth were: Food Not Lawns- Ruth pointed out that being a chapter of the national group Food Not Lawns would help with name recognition and publicity.
Gardens Not Lawns Community Food and Garden Network- Good By Line someone said Garden Starters Local Harvest
We decided to think about this...compost the ideas Zia said.
When to start this work? The consensus seemed to be to start slowly. Many are busy this summer. Some suggestions were to recruit people this summer, do research on what other groups are doing, develop a flyer or brochure in time for the fair 9/15 and have a realistic goal of doing garden prep for perhaps 10 people this fall. It will also give more individuals time to read the book, Food Not Lawns, by Heather Flores, which is excellent.
The next meeting has been arranged for next Wednesday, May 30th, 8:00am, Dunn Elementary School, 500 Block of S.Washington, just south of Mulberry, on the southeast side, blue picnic tables and garden beds.
Feel free to share your ideas via e-mail or at our next meeting. See you there. Bob