another trip to growing power

it’s not my first trip to growing power.  i actually got one in last year.  i went back this past week for an intensive leadership training that was connected to the growing food and justice initiative’s yearly gathering.  one day was spent at growing power, and the other was spent in class room settings.  the first day was more hands on, the second more discussion, but they both featured how to do this work from an anti-racist perspective and infuse that into our work.

even though it was more hands on, most of the day was still spent with this view.sitting at a table in discussion and dialog.  we were well fed, i met good people and beers were brought out with dinner!

we got what was supposed to be a 1/2 hour tour but i think turned into a 1 1/2 hour tour.  growing power time goes at its own pace, something i could learn from, but often leaves those who are used to schedules frustrated. a few highlights of the tour.

in a few spots they had this tag that would provide you with information on your smart phone.  someone had to show me how to do it, but then quick as could be, their phone listed a bunch of info on pea shoots. pretty neat!

in order to keep the tour more exciting will would feed the fish in each of the aquaponics tanks to get the fish hoping around.  they like food.

i’m constantly struck by how much stuff they have crammed in the place.  aquaponics systems set up where ever you turn, pots hanging everywhere and more pots on the ground.  very little space is wasted, with mushrooms up in the dimmer spots.  since fish farming is so water intensive, they have one big rain water catchment system for their old school a-frame greenhouses.  but now they are digging a second one for the hoop house out on the back forty.   seems the bobcat was able to do most of the work on this ditch, but  the final grading was being done by these poor souls, who seemed in surprisingly good spirits.   this is the first time i’ve encountered this type of hive – which they were calling a vertical hive.  anyone have more info on this guy?  this is not its ussual orientation, seems to have been laid on its side for honey harvest.  goats sitting in their feeding troughs.  fancy compost sifter.  this is what i want to get for the farm.  anyone know plans to build this?  or where to buy it?  i’d want to convert it to bike powered of course.  if anyone wants to buy or build one for me, i’d be oh so very grateful.

after the tour we worked on a project together – i think most of us were happy to be able to expend a little enegry as we had spent a couple of hours having a difficult conversation around race.

a work list was building a couple of compost piles and filling worm bins.  the compost piles were built in six-sided containers built from old pallets, we alternated wood chips and kitchen scrapes.  much of the kitchen scraps were melons which were starting to rot, and it was recommended that we smash them in order to get them to breakdown faster.

most of us had a good time with this.  the bins were built surprisingly fast, and then the only thing left was to climb on top and pack them down.i think that the idea behind this activity was to point out that when we all focus on doing a project together and focus on our shared goals, that issues of race seem less important.  perhaps, but it still felt like there were many looming issues left undiscussed.  but we were assured that there would be time for that the next day.


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