The goal of this group is to provide local families with the resources to have their very own "Freedom/Victory Garden" by providing information, community, and a place to share our successes. I do not believe in failure, there are only varying degrees of Success. I understand all too well how overwhelming it can be to tackle Gardening for the first time when you have no prior experience or believe only people with "Green Thumbs" can ever make the effort worthwhile. Standing lost & confused in the gardening aisle of a big box store can be less then helpful, surrounded by various seeds and plants and bags of POOP...it can very quite scary indeed. If you have dragged your children along on this expedition the adventure is all the more frustrating. Its enough to make a person give up before the first seed is ever planted, or perhaps even worse, throw a few Sweet Corn seeds in a 12 inch flowerpot then swear never to try again.
I am not an expert, I am just a converted "Black Thumb" who thru 2 years of digging, weeding, swearing, and reading has transformed my ugly backyard dying Bermuda grass jungle into a 2,000 sq foot organic garden of herbs, vegetables & Fruit Trees. (Ironically I didn't read the book Food, Not Lawns until after most of the grass removal was done.)
I am a UCCE Master Gardener in San Bernardino county and planning on going back to school in Spring of 2010 to finish working on a degree in Agricultural Science Education.
Living in Southern California means we are blessed with an awesome climate for gardening. If you've lived in the Inland Empire long enough you or your parents may remember a time when this area was an eden of citrus groves, vineyards, dairy farms, sheep pastures and open spaces of hauntingly beautiful chaparral. Now it was become home to over 4 million people with a few trees and vines left as vague reminders.
Meal times have traditionally been one of the strands that weaves a family together. Its easy to share our hopes and fears over a good meal.
All of us can contest to how the last few years (and especially these last few months) have challenged us financially. Gas prices, food prices, utilities, unemployment and not to mention the ongoing mortgage crisis has stretched many a family thin. Many of us earn "too much" to receive any sort of assistance in feeding our families if we wanted to ask the government for help, and local food banks are stretched thin with a new wave of "food poor". Oftentimes the first thing cut from food budgets are fresh fruits and vegetables. In an effort to give our children the very best its very difficult to 'go organic' when times are tight.
The safety of our food supply has always been an issue for many. There are the concerns of pesticides, genetically modified plants, and contaminated produce making people sick. The recent spinach and tomato caused illnesses have proved that the government cannot always guarantee the safety of our food supply and have difficulty in correcting the problems once found.
The great news is thanks to our awesome climate if you have a spot outside where you can dig or set a pot, you can grow food. Plants are actually very forgiving, all they need is air, sun, water, and a place to grow.
I will try my best to schedule at least 1 meetup monthly on some specific gardening topic and 1 meetup thats more of a coffee/snack night chit chat for fun and getting to know each other. Please be understanding that I am a wife and mother of 2 small children, have a job, volunteer, and am going back to school, so there are times I don't have a chance to teach anything some months or cannot make the meetups I list on the calendar. This is everyone's group, you don't have to wait for me to set something up, if you have knowledge about a particular topic, want to show off your garden, or are willing to be the contact person for a meetup at a public gardening related event please let me know. Green vs Brown events on the calendar
( Thank you Wendy for the wonderful idea):
The green shaded events are "real" meetups shceduled on the calendar, where I need a headcount for supplies, parking reasons, limited seating or most importantly so members of the group can meet other members and know who to look for there. If I am going I try to take our tabletop sign and save us a few seats together, that sort of thing.
The brown shaded events are public events I find out about via email, facebook, friends, newspapers etc for you to enjoy on your own with your family and friends. If theres enough interest to carpool or get together at one fo these events let me know and I can repost it as an actual meetup so people can RSVP. Hosting Events:
I'm always looking for a good spot to meetup. Not sure how to prune yoru fruit trees? Garden being eaten by bugs? Compost bin not working so well? Host a meetup at your place and we can all brainstorm, offer our advice/experiences and learn from the experience as a group. Let me or one of the assitant organizers know a date, time, and number of people allowed and we can put it up on the calendar.
Here are some other wonderful local resources & networking opportunities to help get your garden growing:http://www.freedomgar...
The "Homegrown Revolution" is a grassroots movement started by the Dervaes family when they moved to Southern California in 1985 and took control of their lives and their impact on the environment in what was then a very radical way. They have gone "green" in ways far beyond just recycling and composting. From their 1/5 acre home in Pasadena California they have grown over 350 types of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit and produced over 6,000 pounds ( 3 tons) of fresh organic produce for their families needs and as their home business. What an awesome inspiration for those of us who would like to take back our dependence on grocery stores for feeding our families!http://www.growcology...
Welcome! Growcology is a non-profit located in the heart of Riverside, CA. Our organization strives to be a sustainable HUB for businesses, organizations, and community members. We believe that to create a greener Riverside we must unite our ideas, knowledge, passions, experience, and put shovel to soil. While you are here, you will notice two special aspects of Growcology: Our Hands-On Education Facility and our online community. Whether you join us for an event or join our online community, we look forward to meeting you and GROWing together! http://www.homegrowne...
Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne write Homegrown Evolution, a blog that explores a fast-growing new movement: urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers. Kelly and Erik are the authors of The Urban Homestead coming out in June of 2008 from Process Media. They have researched and experimented with small scale urban agriculture since moving to their tiny bungalow in Los Angeles ten years ago. Since 2006, in this practical, hands-on blog, we have shared our successes and failures and include step-by-step directions and links to resources that will get you started urban homesteading immediately, whether you live in an apartment or a house. Food Not Lawns (Claremont, CA)http://www.claremontf...
Claremont Food Not Lawns is a local community organization dedicated to replacing our lawns with edible gardens in the name of sustainability and self-sufficiency. We hold monthly meetings which are both social and educational. Each meeting is a potluck dinner and a workshop/presentation on gardening related topics. We believe growing our own food greatly improves our health, reduces our carbon footprint, creates community, and saves money. We invite you to join us in this beautiful struggle.