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Spring & Summer Seed Dispersals

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Education, Events, Slider | 0 comments

Spring & Summer Seed Dispersals

Mark your calendars for dates and times for our upcoming spring and summer seed dispersals! We will post the varieties and seed catalog soon. If you want some cool season crops in the meantime, email Melissa (melissa@foragefarm.org)  to set up a time to meet at the office to pick up.

Read more about how our seed collective works!

Friday February 10th 5-8 PM at the Wilhelmina Johnson Cultural Center

Wednesday February 15th 4-7PM at Downtown Farmers Market

Monday February 20th 7-9PM at the Quaker Meeting House (in conjunction with Grow Gainesville’s 3rd Monday Meeting)

Saturday February 25th 8AM-12PM at the Haile Farmers Market

Saturday March 4th time TBD at the Hawthorne Community Market

Year End Giving for Local Food!

Posted by on Dec 31, 2016 in Farm Updates, Fundraiser, Slider | 0 comments

Year End Giving for Local Food!
As 2016 nears an end, and we reflect on the ever growing community support for our work, we are truly humbled and grateful! For five years, Forage has been working hard to protect southeastern seed biodiversity, and providing quality programs that benefit growers and eaters of all ages. The many hours of hard work come with dirty hands, frustrations, rewards and joy.

2016 has been a significant transition year for us, as we continue to learn how to focus and effectively accomplish our mission-driven work. We’ve become known in the seed world as the only grass-roots organization truly aware and active in Florida. As we grow, so do partnerships and community building efforts that are helping protect our shared cultural biodiversity of seed.

Reluctantly but with good intention this summer, we decided to rest the farm in cover crop for a couple of seasons due to limited resources and significant infrastructure repair. Fortunate as we are, our community came together, allowing continued growth and progress even without a farm! Individuals and organizations stepped up, providing seedlings, garden space, many hours of time in their garden, equipment repair, and financial and emotional support because they believe in the mission. Meanwhile, our workshops, classes, and planning for a community food center are humming right along. This is how community works, folks! It truly takes a village to accomplish this work, and we couldn’t do it without y’all!

If you would like to read more about what we do, check out our recent blog post.

Please consider making a donation today, or becoming a sustaining member of Forage. Thank you, and happy new year! May 2017 be fruitful and prosperous.

The Forage Crew

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Seed Cabinet Roadshow!

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in Education, Events, Seed Saving, Slider | 0 comments

Seed Cabinet Roadshow!

We are so excited to present a unique art project, Seed Cabinet! An interactive exhibition of images, stories and seeds, and a live performance/workshop on seed saving. Seed Cabinet seeks to inform and inspire the public to cultivate community through local agriculture and realize the power of democracy in food systems.

The cabinet will be touring Alachua County Libraries February through June. Check our calendar for all times and locations!
Brought to you by yours truly at Forage, and artist Katerie Gladdys from UF School of Art and Art History.
 
Special thanks to the Matheson Museum, University of Florida Field and Fork Program, David Cavegnero and Seed Savers Exchange, University of Florida School of Art and Art History and UF Center for the Humanities in Public Life for their contributions.

Holiday Gifts Available!

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Fundraiser, Slider | 0 comments

Holiday Gifts Available!

We have some wonderful items available for sale, just in time for the holiday season. All proceeds benefit our programs! We will have them at this Sunday’s citrus tasting event. You can also order and pick up in Gainesville by emailing Melissa: melissa@foragefarm.org.

 

Botanical prints of some of our favorite crops in our Southern Heritage Seed Collective. Hand drawn and colored by Miami artist (family friend), Leo Hernandez. $25 for 11×14″, $15 for 4×6″, and a set of  6 notecards (two prints each) for $18.

botanical-prints-all-three

Flour sack dish towels, two designs available reflecting our north Florida seasons: fall/winter and spring/summer. Art by Melissa DeSa. $10 each

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Forage pint glasses, with a shape that we really love! Only $5

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Some other odds and ends:

  • Seed packets with new art design. Packed heavier than our typical packets. $4 each.
  • Gift certificate for one year of seeds plus two packets, great gift for a gardener!  (note that we will be increasing our seed membership in the coming year, this new price reflects this) $40
  • Luffa sponges both small and large $3-$5.
  • Moksa bar and liquid soaps $6-$12
  • Hand painted and grown at Forage gourds, small and large. $5-$20

 

Farm Updates

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in Farm Updates, Slider | 0 comments

Farm Updates

With some changes upon us this year in staff and priorities, we’ve decided (reluctantly) to let the farm rest for a season or two. It’s a lot of work to maintain and given the circumstances we’ve re-directed some of our energy for now, knowing that we’ll be back out there farming again soon!

Some of the infrastructure needed repair before we could keep going. A broken tractor bit that is crucial to operating the farm needs repair, our deer fencing is in bad shape, and the irrigation needs an upgrade. We’re slowly working away at this list.

Currently our dedicated staff time has been focused on program development which includes expanding our network locally and regionally of seed savers. This helps broaden the engagement, work and commitment of protecting our crop biodiversity so that it’s not just one entity in control. We are happy to steer the ship but need more passengers. We’ve successfully found others that are interested in this work, who are along for the ride!

We are also working on a proposal to develop a robust “Garden Collective” that will help support after school and community gardening efforts throughout our city. It’s much needed but there exists no formal way for such efforts to succeed. We think we can help.

A pilot program with the Cultural Arts Coalition, offering science exploration in the garden is going well! We hope to roll this out at other community centers.

A pilot program with the Cultural Arts Coalition, offering science exploration in the garden is going well! We hope to roll this out at other community centers.

So all this meant that we were simply too short-staffed to run a farm. But we are still actively growing at the Alachua County Farm to School garden at Loften High School, and have a few folks out there growing some crops for us as well!

Our seed garden at Loften High School, part of the Alachua County Farm to School to Work Program.

Our seed garden at Loften High School, part of the Alachua County Farm to School to Work Program. Tiny seedlings grown by Joseph Cook were tucked in here a couple weeks ago.

About a week ago, the UF Crew Team came out as they have done for the past few years to help out at the farm. Over 20 showed up…without an actual productive farm to work at! Ha! Well we found plenty of work; removing old fence posts and stacking them, removing old trellises, cleaning up the greenhouse, tidying up and harvesting the last of the roselle and luffa crop. In only two hours a whole lot of work got done that seemed daunting.

UF Crew Team makes short work of a hard job removing old fence posts.

UF Crew Team makes short work of a hard job removing old fence posts.

Next up, some friends are helping us find the right part for our tractor, and hopefully we’ll get the irrigation system a minor upgrade it needs, and a fence up. Cover crops will nurture the soil for a couple seasons till we’re ready to get back out there.

Citrus Tasting December 11th!

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Education, Events, Featured, Fundraiser, Local Food, Recipes | 0 comments

Citrus Tasting December 11th!

Come join us for our annual holiday citrus tasting event at First Magnitude Brewery! Each season we offer a delicious line up of seasonal varieties from sour to sweet, so you can sample our region’s great diversity of citrus flavors! Light finger foods featuring citrus will be provided along with a specially paired brew with your ticket. Drawing prizes, live music and more! A lemonade stand run by kids, for kids will also be available!

Buy your tickets ahead of time to make sure you get in! Only $20 and all proceeds benefit Forage!

Here’s a video from our 2015 tasting, look how fun it is!

 

 

 

 

What’s Growing On With Forage?

Posted by on Nov 20, 2016 in Farm Updates, Local Food, School Gardens, Seed Saving, Slider | 0 comments

What’s Growing On With Forage?

We are busy bees round here, and always amazed at the work we can accomplish with such a small organization. Currently, we are a staff of one, with an active board of directors, volunteers, interns and a network of supportive partner organizations. With this help, we’ve been able to do a lot of good work in our community. Here’s a highlight!

Protecting Seed Biodiversity in the Southeast

You may have noticed over the past several years our major re-direction of energy to our seed program, the Southern Heritage Seed Collective. What started 6 years ago as a grassroots response to providing local gardeners with access to affordable and quality seed, has grown into something so much deeper. Simply put, we recognized that crops we like to grow in our climate, our soil, our backyards, are only reliably available to us if we accept the responsibility to save and care for their seeds each year. Indeed, much agricultural biodiversity has been lost when individuals and communities lose control over their seed. Once gone, they are vanished forever; thousands of years of cultural traditions and co-evolution in a regional climate GONE. With that seed planted (pun intended), we were on a mission to make our seed program a hub that promoted southern biodiversity, access to quality seeds, and information and education on home seed saving.

We’ve made local, regional and national connections to individuals and organizations dedicated to helping us with this monumental task. It truly takes a village, and many years of steady, focused work to build up a regional network of resistance to global consolidation of our agricultural seeds. Over the years we’ve stewarded over 25 different crops, offering them in our seasonal catalogs for home gardeners, communities and schools to grow.  We are learning and acquiring more varieties all the time as we meet new people and their seeds! Our Southern Heritage Seed Collective has the potential now to have satellite locations throughout Florida, and the obvious concern and interest in this issue is evident as we gather more supporters to help grow our seed community.

Melissa has visited and networked with Seed Savers Exchange for three years now.

Melissa has visited and networked with Seed Savers Exchange for three years now. Having allies with organizations of the same passion is important to our work. 

Garden Collective

For years we’ve been involved in all manners of school, after school, community and home gardening efforts. We often feel like garden consultants, asked all the time for help. We’ve seen gardens thrive and fail, programs come and go, and funding wax and wane. Our response is a program still under development that we’re calling the “Community Supported Garden Collective”.

We’re asking local donors to support long term efforts to keep up ongoing garden education, support and maintenance for gardens around the county. We are particularly interested in garden sites that serve under privileged youth in an after school environment, as well as at GRACE Marketplace, Porters Community Farm and others. We want to avoid the pitfalls of “soft money”, so that gardens can keep growing and thriving. We want to provide ongoing education and support, developing relationships with kids, parents and other educators so that our programming has an impact. We want to provide access to bulk and affordable ingredients that make a garden successful. We want to cultivate a community of healthy eaters that know where food comes from and value a healthy lifestyle.

A new program this year in partnership with the Cultural Arts Coalition, is providing an opportunity for kids to explore science and nature through the garden. We hope to iron out all the details and take this program to other after school settings.

A pilot program with the Cultural Arts Coalition, offering science exploration in the garden is going well! We hope to roll this out at other community centers.

A pilot program with the Cultural Arts Coalition, offering science exploration in the garden is going well! Kids love to get their hands in the dirt and explore freely the natural world, when given the opportunity.

Community Food Center

You may not know this, but for nearly seven years we have been dreaming and planning about building a community food center to serve the Gainesville area. Imagine a place where local economy, community, and food converge to support a more resilient and secure food economy! The center will house a commercial kitchen, cold and dry food storage, warehousing, community event and workshop space, garden space, and will offer logistical, financial, and capacity-building support for farmers and food-based businesses. Plans are still in progress, but it takes a village and a lot of work so it may still be several months before anything is up and running. We cannot wait to share this space with you!

Classes and Workshops

Our educational outreach is one of our main ways of connecting with audiences on a variety of topics related to gardening, seed saving and local food. You’ll often find us at other events and conferences where we’ve been invited to speak. This year we partnered with Santa Fe Community College and taught a Florida vegetable gardening class. Next semester we’ll do three food preservation classes with them! Our classes are designed to be accessible to everyone. If there are fees to cover material costs, we always offer a wavier for those without the financial means.

The local Queens of Fermentation teach a workshop twice a year on making the most of local produce through lactofermentation!

The local Queens of Fermentation teach a workshop twice a year on making the most of local produce through lactofermentation!

Fall and Winter Seeds Available!

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Education, Seed Saving, Slider | 0 comments

Fall and Winter Seeds Available!

If you have missed our seedy events this September but would still like to get some of your seeds for the winter garden (it’s not too late!), please contact Melissa directly to arrange a seed exchange. melissa@foragefarm.org

Read more about our Southern Heritage Seed Collective here.

 

 

Fall Gardening Classes!

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Education, Seed Saving | 0 comments

Fall Gardening Classes!

We’re excited to partner with Santa Fe Community College this year to teach 4 popular gardening classes. Register NOW! The first one starts October 25th. Support us, the community college and learn something while you’re at it!

Plan a veggie garden for Florida HOM0011.1K4
Tuesday October 25th, 6-8PM
Santa Fe Blount Center, DA129 401 NW6th St.
$39 (half to us, half to Santa Fe)

We’ll discuss the elements of planning a spectacular Florida vegetable garden including seasonality, garden location, crop rotation, pest and disease management, and what vegetables, flowers and herbs do well for us.

Kitchen Herb Garden HOM0004.1F6
Tuesday November 1, 6-8PM
Santa Fe CIED Center, DB 120 530 West University Ave.
$39 (half to us, half to Santa Fe)

A home herb garden is indispensable for fresh home cooking!Nothing is better than stepping out of your door to snip some fresh basil or chives. Learn the basics of what herbs grow well in Florida gardens and how to grow them!

Helping Native Pollinators HOM0013.1F1
Tuesday November 8, 6-8PM
Santa Fe Blount Center, DA129 401 NW6th St.
$39 (half to us, half to Santa Fe) + $20 material fee for the pollinator house

About 1 out of every 3 bites you take is courtesy of hard working pollinators! Learn a little bit about the fascinating lives of these creatures, and what you can do at home to help protect them. We’ll make a simple DIY bee house for everyone to take home.

Saving Your Seeds HOM0025.1D2
Tuesday November 15, 6:30-8PM
Santa Fe CIED Center, DB 120 530 West University Ave.
$39 (half to us, half to Santa Fe)

Saving your own seeds isn’t hard and we’ll teach you the basics of how to grow, gather and preserve your own garden seeds. From dill to tomatoes, it’s easy and we’ll let you in on this age old technique!

REGISTER HERE. 

You Can Pickle That! Fermentation Workshop!

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in Education, Events, Fundraiser, Local Food | 0 comments

You Can Pickle That! Fermentation Workshop!

Join us for our much anticipated seasonal vegetable fermentation workshop on Saturday November 12, 2016! If you’ve ever wondered about making your own sauerkraut, kimchi and other vegetable ferments, this is the class for you! A little bit of education on why this stuff is so good for you, with a lot of hands on demonstrations where YOU will chop, salt, brine and pack your own tasty ferments!

Be sure to register early, spaces are limited and they fill up fast!

Read more on our event link and registration page here!