Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

May 14, 2007

Epilogue to a Week of Eating Locally

In every healthy living book, workout manual, and or exercise article, there is always some mention of being a conscious eater. I thought I was a conscious eater to an extent by trying to eat whole grains, veggies and fruit everyday. After this week, I think that I had a higher level of conscious eating. Every ingredient we ate was grown or raised in a local, humane and sustainable way. Many of the ingredients were grown or raised organically as well. I ate in a way that was good for the environment, food that was grown from sustainable farms, and food with very little waste. I want to continue to think about my food in these ways.

That brings me to the idea of urban gardening. I live in the city limits of Nashville on a very small tract of land with a large shade tree in front, and one in back, and both cover the property with shade and no grow zones. I love my trees because they are old, and provide cool shade in the heat of the summer. If I were to want to grow my own food, I would have find a community garden. When I lived in Philadelphia, there were community gardens everywhere, and you had to be on a waiting list for a plot. In Nashville, for whatever it is worth, most people don't support community gardens, except for a few very special people.

the George Washington Carver pavillion

Earth Matters Networks has taken unused land next to an overhead interstate highway, and has transformed it into a community garden, leaf composting center, and gardening education area. Earth Matters has called this land Dr George Washington Carver Earth Food Park. It is open on Saturdays from early hours in the morning until early afternoon. It is fabulous, they plant heirloom tomatoes, heirloom peppers, lettuce, mustard greens, and other veggies. They plant and raise these delicious foods organically.

purple mustard greens that taste like horseradish

I walked over to the Earth Matters Networks' food park community garden on Sunday, and I happily found it open. The volunteers were getting a couple new beds in shape, and are looking for someone to "adopt a plot". I have lived 3 blocks away from this garden for 5 years now, and I love the idea of it. I support the non-profit organization which tends to the garden, and I find so much value in it. Ok, I have not worked in this garden because I can't seem to get my act together early enough on Saturday mornings to get there and do gardening. As kid, I lived in Los Angeles and Boston with no home gardens, unless you call that hole in the concrete with a stick in it a garden. I just don't know what do with a garden.

the salad greens plot

For 5 years, and especially now, I am thinking about what I am willing to do, and wanting to do, to make my time in the community garden fun, and not just yard work. I love the concept of the community garden so much, but what mental block is getting in my way of actually actively participating more? To participate more, and eat foods from the George Washington Carver Food Park would be the ultimate conscious way of eating. I must continue to think about this wonderful community garden.


At 5/15/07, 4:47 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

My husband and I actually moved this month, bought a new house, just to get gardening space.
After you mull over the community garden near you, I hope you will discover what's blocking you. Are you afraid you'll be the NKOTB and not know enough? They sound like a pretty welcoming group. Maybe you could just be the radish girl for the first season. Maybe you could introduce them to all those wild shapes and colors of radishes!! You'd be a star.

At 5/15/07, 10:48 PM, Blogger Erica Kain said...

The best gardener I know gave me some amazing advice. I said, "How did you learn how to make such a terrific garden?" and she replied, "I made a LOT of mistakes."

So now, when I'm planting my haphazard, whimsical garden, I think of her, and I think, "Well, I'm just making this season's mistakes."

Good luck, and I hope you go for it!!!

At 5/16/07, 6:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Cookiecrumb, why radish and beets might be a fun way to use an "adopt a plot". About the mental block, I know part of the problem is having to get up early on Saturday. I am lazy that way.

Hi CM, LOL, I want to see how your whimsical garden, watered by canal water, comes out this summer!

At 5/18/07, 12:37 AM, Blogger sher said...

I recommend community gardens. For years my only way to garden was at one. I learned so much from all the gardeners. I finally left after 7 years, when we bought a house with a yard. But, I sometimes miss my old community garden, I must say. :):) Lovely pictures!

At 5/18/07, 11:52 AM, Blogger Katie said...

I just read your 'eat local' challenge - well done!It is hard to give up the convenience of the big supermarket (or Walmart - but I've never shopped there...for me, it was Target)
I've been thinking about it after reading your and cc's accounts and we eat pretty locally, but definetly 'European'. Bananas are the only thing we occasionaly buy that aren't grown in France, Spain or Italy. It may be easier for us as we have a more temperate climate plus shorter distances for goods to travel. Plus all of the farmers sell from their farms. We have a bread truck 3 times a week and a ham & bacon truck 3 times year. But even if it's not totally local I'm pleased to see people making an effort to eat seasonally.
About your garden: If you can find a copy of 'Square Foot Garden' it can tell you how to grow enough for 1, 2, 3 or ? people in the minimum amount of space. It was my bible in Minnesota. We had a community plot in Andorra and you can get a lot out of a small space. And Sher is right, you'll learn tons and the amazing thing about other gardeners is they love teaching the newbies....I got so much advice so often I had to remember to be polite LOL

At 5/19/07, 12:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Katie, mon ami from France, thank you for reading my Eat Locally Challenge. It always strikes me that French eating is all about great fresh and seasonal foods with great bread and cheese. The French ingredients are so tasty that it forces conscious eating because it is impossible to ignore. I would love for a bread truck to come by my house!

Thanks for tip on Square Foot Garden. I will have to look into reading it. What an interesting idea!

The people at this community garden are loving and kind. They want people to eat food that is grown there. I think part of my mental block is knowing I would have to give up a part of my life in exchange for the gardening. I must ponder that some more.

At 5/22/07, 3:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Lannae: really enjoyed reading about your "eat local" challenge and would enjoy discussing it further. in fact, i'd like to see if you'd like to help us further develop this part of our business. we already work with the delvins but want to grow significantly in the local/regional area. i can be reached at kind regards, eric

At 5/23/07, 3:11 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Eric, I will email you. I can certainly talk to you in the up coming weeks when it is convenient to both of us.

At 5/25/07, 6:07 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Congratulations on the week of all-local eating! That garden looks wonderful, and those purple mustard greens -- wow.

At 5/26/07, 10:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your support Lisa! It really kept me going and embrassing the localvore in me.

The story behind the purple mustard greens is that they were planted in that bed years ago, and they keep coming back again and again, and now that bed just grows itself every year. The leaves taste like wasabi, and have a wonderful wasabi-esque aroma.


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