Resilience is the ability to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of shocks and stresses. Resilience AmeriCorps recruits and trains AmeriCorps VISTA members to serve low-income communities across the country by developing plans and implementing projects that increase resilience-building capacity. Current Resilience AmeriCorps projects are addressing a wide range of resilience challenges and solutions, including:ChallengesSolutionsClimate changeExtreme weatherFinancial instabilityFood insecurityLong-term planningRisk communicationCommunity loan programsUrban food production
This year, younger students were paired up with “Garden Buddies” in older grades for the Secret Salad Seeds project. Each group was designated a square in a bed to plant a seed and observe it throughout its growing process. Students maintained a garden journal where they documented their observations, measurements and characteristics to come up with predictions about what plant they believed they were growing. They were also given clues throughout the six weeks.
On Monday, the kindergarten students through sixth graders harvested their plants, separating them into their designated bins.
Currently, four main varieties are produced by CARDI and supplied through its distributor, Caribbean Chemicals and Agencies Ltd, to agro retail outlets from Belize in Central America; Cayman Islands and Jamaica in the North-Caribbean through the Windward and Leeward Islands; Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago in the Southern Caribbean; and Guyana and Suriname in the South American Continent under the CARDI Quality Seed and Cari Seed Brand.
Standing in a spectacular back yard in beautiful Austin, Texas, I am captivated by the energy permeating from the well-though-out landscape. To my left, a traditional, seasonal vegetable garden proudly contributes an assortment of fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions to the Farmist yield. Directly in front of me, stands a chicken coop expertly fashioned from reclaimed wood and metal.
Paintings, sculptures, painted trees and chickens fill the space between monuments. To my immediate right sits a seemingly out of place mound of garbage. Or is it tree limbs? A compost? My curiosity pitches high.
My older brother, Joseph de Leon is the proud owner and constructor of this urban farm. Soaking in the energy of back yard art, chickens and produce, my curiosity reaches maximum velocity when I finally ask, “What is this mound?” “Hugelkutur,” he replied. “A what?” I asked again. “Hugelkultur. It’s a type of raised bed garden,” he said. I was mesmerized as he explained the process and purpose behind this ancient gardening method.
Breskin’s project has already increased the overall profitability of the farm where it is implemented. It has reduced total energy costs by 50 percent by running on around $2 per day; appears likely to have generated a 10-month growing season; has caused productivity increases per square foot and per plant – and appears likely to be expanding soon.
The entire project was built for $10,000, and it has already produced more than that amount in food alone.
But rather than aiming to make money on it, Breskin is more concerned about improving the system and getting it into the hands of more local farmers as quickly as possible.
“I’m open source,” he said. “The only reason to patent this is to keep someone else from patenting it in order to monetize it.”
Even if we manage to dodge the kale shortage here in the U.S., collard greens are worth a try. Collard greens actually beat kale in a lot of important nutrients, including manganese, protein, and vitamin B3.
A group of Italian, British and Spanish researchers are working on developing a network of microsensors that can be embedded in plants, sending us information on how plants respond to changes in temperature, humidity, air pollution, chemicals and many other changes in their environment.
Local food growers, consumers and entrepreneurs in the Lansing, Michigan area have had good cause to celebrate as of late. Last September, Allen Neighborhood Center, a community development agency that doubles as Mid-Michigan’s nonprofit food hub, opened the doors of a warehouse they’d spent months renovating.
Located directly behind their community center on the city’s northeast side, that building, the Allen Market Place, now serves as an incubator kitchen and indoor market. It’s also linked to an online market called the Exchange, that connects regional farmers and food producers with commercial and institutional buyers in a 75-mile range of Lansing.
“It is amazing that 300 tomato plants in the high tunnel can produce the same yield as the 1,200 tomato plants growing outside,” Katie explained. “Growing in the high tunnel takes up less space by growing vertically, helps regulate water usage, and we can produce more marketable tomatoes for essential wholesale markets.”
She and six other youth on probation in Multnomah County spent Thursday afternoon hawking veggies outside the county’s Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard headquarters. The youth, ages 15-18, are members of the Department of Community Justice’s Hands of Wonder Garden, a restorative justice program that helps young offenders re-establish trust within the community.
The kids do so while learning job skills and earning a paycheck — $599.99 for eight weeks, two days a week.
The program has been around for five years, but the kids only began selling their harvest in a farmers market-style atmosphere last year at the Juvenile Justice Center, 1401 N.E. 68th Ave. This year, the group has moved to a more visible location outside the county building.