Monday, September 8, 2008

Glide Rooftop Garden Project

Maya (May-ah) Donelson, Project Organizer for SF Glide's 'Graze the Roof' garden project, invited us out for a look-see and to offer feedback on the space.

What a fabulous, inspiring project this is.  Maya is a creative, resourceful woman, who has come up with amazing resource solutions for growing roof-side.  She endeavors, with the help of Glide's youth, to provide fresh, organic, local food to Glide's food program kitchens.

Some of the creative resource alternatives I refer to include re-using shelving (for legs) milk crates -- those wretches of vinyl-storing notoriety -- (as containers), deconstructed pallets (as finished siding), and finding a way, with the help of some cleverly placed metal sheeting, to catch the irrigation run-off to be redirected back to the plants.  (see pictures)

I highly encourage you to support Maya's and Glide's efforts either financially or via volunteering (or both!).  Maya's contact info is below:

e: or
c: 774-929-0171

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bay Friendly Workshops

On April 5 and April 11 I attended the Bay Friendly Creating Year-Round Edible Garden workshop and Gardening to Manage Pests Naturally workshop, respectively.

The Edible Garden workshop was a confidence builder for me, offering some material I was already familiar with (soil building with compost, double digging), and some less-familiar material; great activities designing edible beds, including companion planting and optimal placement.

The Pest Management workshop was very interesting, and again, great activities were planned that helped attendees figure out good vs. bad bugs, and what plants attracted beneficial insects.
I would have liked a bit more time spent on this aspect, but Bay Friendly offered very good materials for review and sale on the subject.

At both workshops, attendance was high, and I was happy to see people who were interested, spirited, and ready to take action. It's good to see practices once considered "alternative" going mainstream. I highly recommend and Bay Friendly as resources, and I look forward to continuing my education with these organizations.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

greetings! (an introduction)

My name is Adrienne, and I'm the new partner.

I'm so glad you stopped by our blog. I think you'll see we're abundantly passionate about our work, and also that we're easy going (yet consummately professional), with great senses of humor.

I just wanted to say hello to everyone out there, and how excited I am to be a part of this fantastic, timely enterprise. The coming months for all edibles sparkle with opportunity for growth, new adventures, and ultimately, bringing our good work and good food to the community.

I look forward to meeting/working/growing with you!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bay Friendly Landscaping Conference!

when i think of the word "landscaping", what comes to mind is gardening, naturally (that being what i do). but at the bay friendly lanscaping conference we found ourselves surrounded by not only those who design, install, and maintain gardens, but also countless policy-makers, land managers, and city employees for the parks, forestry, energy, water, and transportation departments of state and county and city governments---- all gathered together around the idea of doing things better.
naturally, you would think, there is no way to get a high-end landscape architect, a grounds-crew manager, and an activist edible landscaper together to talk in a civilized manner about anything, right? wrong!
for the entire day we found common ground, and a shared belief in our ability to do things better; to really effect a positive change in the world, not just making things pretty, but making things work in more efficient, community empowering, and ecologically sustaining ways.
a real eye opener.
one speaker in particular put things in the proper perspective nicely, when, while talking about his early efforts planting trees for communities in LA, described the connections that exist within such a seemingly aesthetic field: he started planting trees for people.... but then no one took care of them and they died. because-- planting a tree does nothing, but rallying a neighborhood, and assisting them with resources and information, he was able to create an environment where trees became important, and community members took it upon themselves to plant and maintain the trees. lesson: step one to planting a tree in an urban environment is not digging or fertilizing or pruning or grafting or mulching. the first step is creating the proper human climate and human environment wherein that tree can thrive.
that speaker has now moved the city of LA in the direction of recognizing itself as a watershed, and integrating its resource management departments into a collaborative effort to find natural and systemic alternatives for flood control, irrigation, water importation, soil management and waste water treatment... and gotten them to plant some trees, too.

give a family a tomato and they'll throw it away after it rots in the back of the fridge while they go out to eat. give a family a garden and the tools they need to manage it, and they will eat for a lifetime.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

dwell on design conference - san francisco - september 2007

amidst the mass of nationally distributed eco building product manufacturers, newly established prefab architects, airstream trailers, and roaming designers found at the san francisco concourse center this year, was a humble duo of bay-local, edible landscapers standing alongside thier uniquely angled planter boxes made from salvaged door jams containing a combination of native edible plants, fruits, and vegetables.

our passers-by exceeded our expectations with their genuine handshakes, raised eyebrows, and vocalized enthusiasm about landscaping with edible plants and whats more, their interest in high density agriculture in urban environments.

a lot went on behind the scenes of our display at dwell that i feel should be noted somewhere, for the sake of humor, hard-work, acknowlegement, and insight into the core of all edibles. i have chosen this blog to be that place. please read on!

1. where there would have been two industry-style doors opening to a bland parking lot, there were two industry-style doors opening to an outdoor oasis of landscaped splendor - greenery of all shapes, sizes, and shades, winding gravel pathways, salvaged mirror walkways, unique built structures, artistic fountains, outdoor furniture. people smiling in the sunshine, interacting with strangers, laughing out loud, curiously inspecting materials and visualizing them in their own exterior space. this space was made possible in a mere couple of days with the sweat of a handful of individuals. if energy was focused more often in this way, imagine all of the undervalued urban spaces which could be activated and converted to create a similar atmosphere for anyone who happened by. this is the kind of activism that spurs me - inspiring community with beautiful spaces.

2. kirk and i did not sleep a lot in preparation for this event. we were up several late nights responding to design changes, creating marketing materials, arranging the logistics of truck borrowing and material pick ups, sawing wood for planter boxes (measure twice, cut once), drilling wood, staining wood, buying plants from three different vendors, and on and on. we were stress balls, navagating our schedules around day jobs and some sort of loosely held definition of sanity ... the night of the install we found ourselves a volunteer work crew comprised of our wonderfully supportive, helpful, crafty, construction saavy, and attractive significant others - who else would elect themselves for manual labor until the wee hours of the morning under a tight deadline?! but we got it done! at 4 am. suffice it to say, all four of us experienced a subtle hint of delirium. we really owe those two.

3. because the install was a temporary one, purchasing and hauling soil to fill the two-foot deep planter boxes would not have been an economical choice. we decided instead to replace soil volume with strategically placed packing peanuts, stray pieces of wood, bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes (maybe a few empty corona bottles) - a surface on which to arrange still potted plants surrounded by a thin spread of mulch covering. to the eye of the beholder, these makeshift elements were unseen - the "wizard behind the curtain", so to speak. this was the goal, of course, but it is important to note that the placement of these items beneath the mulch was, in fact, an art - a hidden masterpiece. i would liken it to a high-scoring game of tetris or jenga, as the fitting of these various shapes and textures had to be seamless because any gaps would create an escape route for the mulch (of which we had a limited supply). lucky for us, it is commonplace for members of our generation to be very skilled at tetris.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

local is not a movement in germany, because it is common sense.


my recent travels to germany reactivated my passion about localized food distribution and its intersect with urban agriculture.

the local food movement is not on the activist radar in germany, because the nature of their distribution is local. houses, buildings, and urban necessities are nestled together closely within each city - increasing the amount of farmland just outside the city functioning primarily to sustain its citizens. as an added bonus, ample space is left outside of this agricultural perimeter for uncompromised forests and other such natural areas.

as i engaged with locals about the mission of all edibles to encourage localized food production, it was not so much my shattered german that was hard for them to understand, but rather the nature of a "localized food movement". why wouldn't food be from a local source? they were even more shocked as i continued on, explaining that the average plate of food that americans consume travels an average of 1,500 miles from field to table. the carbon footprint of food consumption just isn't as rediculously high for the average german urbanite as for the average american one.

farming food locally doesn't seem compromised in germany as in america (not to say that their agricultural system is free of corporate grip). because in america it has, we must ensite a "movement" and return to a localized system that will sustain itself for years and years. so buy local? yes! and better still, grow local! it doesn't get any more local than your own yard.


a featured, discriptive blurb regarding european open air markets directly from the overseas journal of sara hart weihmann:

a labyrinth of individual booths spilling crisp, shapely fruit and vegetable abundance into courtyards crowded with shuffling feet over cobblestone. iron-pressed cuffs exchanging money for lettuce heads en route home from the office. aproned women replacing the produce on display with overflowing back-up crates, struggling to meet the pace of shopping citizens. children with berry-stained grins chasing one another, figure-eighting around ten foot tall clocks and extravagantly chiseled fountains. elderly women steering bicycles to avoid pedestrians and preserve the root vegetables and brassicas carefully packed into baskets. the sound of teeth slicing fresh nectarine flesh faintly breaking steady accordion melodies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

better coffee?


i am a coffee devotee, a true believer if you will. as such i have devoted a good amount of time investigating all of the various methods of transporting cofffee into the body: esspresso, chocolate covered beans, lattes, mochas, machiatos--- and all of the trendy (and better soon forgotten) concoctions that appear on specials boards in the less discerning coffee shops of the world.
for the record-- coffee should be black, unsweetened, and hot. all else is heresy.

so-- aside from the purchasing of better beans and roasts, and pairing them with an appropriate method of preparation (to drip, or press-- or shall we go turkish?)-- how does one make the most of the best part of the morning?

several items will be needed:
first-- an open, fairly sunny space with decent soil
second-- various tools for loosening said soil, and removing unsightly ornamentals and invasives
third-- a large quantity of healthy happy edible plants

combine these three elements in just the right quantity and sequence and, lo!

the only thing which could improve upon the near perfection of a well brewed coffee-- having a garden to water and tend and observe during the slow and challenging process of waking up. the bitter coffee and sweet smell of basil and marigold and compost go so well together; the slow unfolding of tiny plants into abundance makes me think, "okay, so maybe the morning is not out to get me..." just as the bitter sacrament imparts the strength to face the tasks of the coming day.

forget the steamed milk, soy products, fancy china cups, and heretical flavorings. just plant a morning support group and drink it black.