Archive for Community CROPS

September Rain

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , , on September 3, 2008 by xxxicana

It was a rainy day today, a test of my commitment to bike to work. I was lucky — I was able to dodge rain drops to and from! The change in weather is a reminder that fall is imminent – my favorite time of the year. Readers in the Lincoln area are invited to check out my sidebar for the link to Community CROPS. They will be giving a tour of the Sunset Community Farm on Monday Sept. 15th 5:30- 7:30 pm. Additionally, Martin’s Hillside Orchard has opened apple picking season. And, the various farmers markets are still going strong. I took a little time this weekend to do some prep work for fall jams and jellies. Big thanks go out to Joan, Leslie, and Shari for sharing grapes with me. My plan is to put up mint, sage, lemon balm, grape and raspberry jams/jellies. Last fall I made cran-apple butter which was super on pancakes. I have one jar left — just enough to see us through the month.

I have added a link recommended by CROPS — 50 Ways to Help the Planet. Check it out and see how many things you are already doing and new ideas to save energy.

Canning Workshop with Community CROPS

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , , on August 10, 2008 by xxxicana

Yesterday I led a workshop on boiling water canning for Community CROPS (Combining Resources, Opportunities, and People for Sustainability) which works with refugee, immigrant, and low income people in Nebraska. Community CROPS also works diligently with gardeners, local organizations, and schools to promote local, organic food production. I am proud to be able to offer my small part to the efforts.

Our group consisted of nine local women, CROPS Assistant Director Brad Kindler, and myself:

please note: I am scrunched down so everyone would be visible in the photo . . . I am NOT, I repeat, NOT that short!!

As can be seen, we did a simple procedure: hot packed tomatoes (which came from the CROPS farm). All the participants helped to blanch, skin, cut and pack the tomatoes. Once we had the jars in the canners, Brad took everyone out for a visit to the Antelope Brethren Church plot (the church donates the plot for gardeners).

Here are a few picts of our tour.

Brad Kindler explaining the garden. Community members from Bosnia, Africa, Iraq, and Mexico grow over 35 different types of plants in this small garden!

Some of the plants:

These red inflorescences are volunteer Amaranth, a grain from Mexico that is higher in protein than any other grain. Its cultivation was banned by the Spanish due to its association with “pagan” Aztec rituals.

Okra: I had okra for the first time last year — an Iraqi recipe made with tomatoes . . . .YUMMM! Okra really grows well in Nebraska and is popular with lots of people.

Tomatillo: Also from Mexico. These are similar to green tomatoes, except they grow in little papery husks (like chinese lanterns). Tomatillos make the BEST green salasa!

Tree collards: CROPS got the cuttings from California. I had never heard of such a plant. Apparently it is not as susceptible to insects (they don’t know what it is either!) — and has served as cattle forage and human consumption in Africa. The problem CROPS is facing is how to overwinter this California adapted plant!

To end the tour, we received advice on composting from Brad.

Once we got back into the kitchen, we had to wait another 20 minutes for the tomatoes to finish. This was the best part! We sat around and exchanged stories of our mothers, grandmothers, and our own experiences with canning, gardening, and life. What a fulfilling day!