Last evening was the fourth meeting of the Greater Columbus Growing Coalition at Barley's Smokehouse on Dublin Road in Grandview. There were about 30 people there, even though it was Cinqo de Mayo and we all had somewhere else to be.
Franklinton Gardens. The meeting began with a show and tell presentation by Patrick Kaufman, co-Director of the Franklinton Gardens. Franklinton current has four sites and is planning on doubling in size this summer. The first site started in 2007 as a family plot garden with plots costing $5/plot and including seeds, tutoring and tools. The next three sites are food production lots, which donates food to area pantries and shelters. With the overwhelming success of the Local Matters Vege Van, Franklinton opened its own produce market, which is staffed by volunteers six days/week and accepts food stamps. Like the Growing Power program in Milwaukee, they collect 10K pounds in food waste from area restaurants and yard waste from the City of Grandview to create their own compost. They are in the process of rehabbing a vacant property in their neighborhood which will house their unpaid interns over the summer. They also participate with Franklin County Job and Family Services as an approved worksite where recipients of government cash assistance can work between 20-35 hours/week as a condition of government assistance to develop work skills. A few generous donors have also made it possible to hire unemployed neighbors as day labors to work in the food production gardens in order to provide them with a legal source of income. Important: They are a competing in the Pepsi Refresh project. The top 10 vote-getters will receive $50K. Everyone reading this blog must vote for Franklinton Gardens once each day until the end of May. You can vote at www.refresheverything.com/franklintongardens or text 106216 to Pepsi (73774). So far, out of 400 gardens competing, they are ranked 50th.
Next Coalition Meeting. First Thursday of June; June 2 at the Florentine Restaurant at 907 West Broad Street.
Food Safety. Shari Plimpton, Ph.Ds from the Center for Innovative Food Technologies then spoke for about an hour about growing, harvesting and serving food safely. She works for a non-profit in the Toledo area which counsels farms about food safety to reduce outbreaks of salmonella and e coli, etc. From the perspective of the SACG and other urban community gardens, the primary concern Dr. Plimpton identified was a risk of salmonella from our rain barrels. Salmonella comes from bird waste. Typically, we think chickens. However, there is bird poop on the roofs and gutters of the BTBO office and that is where our rain water comes from that fills our rain barrels and rain tank. All of that poop is washed into the barrels and tank. So, we should not use that water to wash our hands, or our food. We should also be careful not to spread that water on our fruit of our plants. She suggested that we sanitize the water with chlorine or hydrogen peroxide. (2 tablespoons per 5 gallons of water). She also was not a big fan of manure, but she had a hostile audience on that pointJ She also recommended that anyone operating a produce stand take the free Serve Safe class from the Department of Health. Her employer also has a federal grant to offer free food safety training and site/GAP assessments until the end of June – so sign up if you're interested. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're trying to create a logo for the Coalition. We discussed some expectations. Interested artists should contact Steering Committee members: Roger Beck, Dana Messmer, Peggy Murphy, Noreen Warmock, and Andrew Proud.
Trish from the Animals Garden at Hudson and 4th says volunteers can help every Sunday between 11 and 2ish. She'll be there even this Sunday (i.e., Mother's Day) without her kids.
Kojo is holding a workshop with some folks from Dayton.
God's Gardens is still trying to coordinate 200 church supported community gardens in time for the 200th birthday of the City of Columbus by next February 2012. Their last meeting was at Epworth United Methodist Church. Their next meeting is the First Tuesday of the month (June 7) and is tentatively being held at Christ Lutheran Church, 2314 East Main Street in Bexley (along COTA #2 line) at 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Contact Peggy Murphy for details at email@example.com .
Seeds. I brought two half-paper grocery bags full of Botanical Interests seeds to share with the community gardens at the Coalition. However, the ladies from Epworth Methodist Church brought four giant plastic containers filled with Livingston seeds to share with everyone. Andrew also brought some seedlings to share with everyone.
We ran late tonight and had to postpone part of the agenda. Besides, I had to run home to make a margarita.