Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Truly Living Well:Open House

Truly enjoyed myself this past weekend at Truly Living Well's spring open house at Collegetown Farm located in Atlanta's Historic West End area. If you're a local to the Atlanta area, you might already have some experience with this wonderful place and their other locations. I'm very familiar with their East Point location and CSA(community supported agriculture) program and seeing them at some of the local farmer's markets around town.

Because of their tremendous presence in the city, I've always wanted to take part in a lot of the programs that they offered, but never followed through with those plans because of lack of funds or other obligations would take precedence. Hopefully, this will be the year that I'll be able to volunteer a bit of my time to help out on the farm or maybe take a class or two.

This open house at Collegetown  was a great opportunity to take a great informational tour about the grounds--by the way, Truly Living Well actually owns the land at Collegetown, which further shows how invested they are in the community. Not only are they nourishing a community nutritionally, socially,spiritually,but economically, too.

Truly Living Well has set themselves up to be in the position of not having to worry about land grabs and having a place of their own, and I absolutely LOVE it!

So back to the original story at hand, the open house.

I was so glad that the Atlanta weather decided to co-operate and give us a gorgeous spring day because we had some days that felt more like January rather than March and it was a wonderful day for a garden tour, and most of all, I got to spend it with my oldest daughter, who happens to be my gardening buddy.

Yennenga Adanya the Education Programs Director was our amazing tour guide. She jumped right in giving a bit of history of Truly Living Well and the founder, Rashid Nuri. In fact, she was so into the tour that, she forgot to introduce herself at the beginning of the tour,lol. Some people might have been turned off by that, but I believe she was truly excited to show off their wonderful place, and besides she eventually introduced herself while on the tour.

Our first stop, one of the most magical places.....the compost pile. Compost fascinates me not only because of how it breaks down, but I love how the smell of compost alerts you that something isn't right with the pile. If you ever get a strong unpleasant odor, your green to brown ratio could be extremely off, with you having too many green plant/ vegetable matter rather than brown matter like like leaves or newspaper. Getting this ratio is truly important, but if that isn't your problem, you might want to consider laying off of watering it for awhile because it might be a bit soggy and needs to be turned a bit more.  

It's important that we get the compost down because it is the foundation to great gardening success like Yennenga mentioned on the tour.

After leaving the compost area we went to the sifting area where they sift down their compost. I really like their set up, they can get a lot sifted at one time....looks like two or four wheel barrels at a time. You can't really see the other table because it got cut off, but yeah, they got a really nice setup here.

Next we headed over to the fig and banana trees. I caught a quick photo of a fig tree in bloom. It's really pretty. I've never grown any trees before, well I take that back. I did try my hand at growing an avocado tree, but that wasn't for fruit since I live in Atlanta, I never thought it would ever give me any fruit and besides I only had one. It did pretty well, until it got to big for its pot and ended up dying. Seeing the trees at the Open House has piqued my interest in trying to grow some fruit trees in the future.  

The rest of the tour at this point consisted of a tour of a lot of veggies growing in the garden. I absolutely love the little tops on these onions.

The produce is so abundant on the grounds, it's Insane! This community is truly blessed to have this in their backyard. 
Look at that beautiful Swiss Chard and lettuce. Don't you want a salad right now? 

 After touring all of vegetables we headed over to see the greenhouse and talk a little bit about how a farmer's or gardener's growing season doesn't stop because it's cold. The growing season continues and the many different ways how people continue to grow and keep their plants protected during the colder months.

Across the way, there was a children's program going on. They apparently have a summer camp that is catered to children ages 6-12 years old called, Farm to Fork Around The World.  This program will give children the opportunity to grow locally, but to experience a global cuisine by getting the chance to cook some international dishes. They also have a very enthusiastic garden director and summer camp director named Amakiasw Howze. She shared a wonderful little rap that she does with the kids in her program. It was just delightful to me. She has a lot of energy and that's what a person needs when working with kids. Patience and lots of energy. 
There are also camp opportunities for older children between the ages of 12-15 in their Super Camp program. If anyone is interested in camp opportunities, click here.  I heard something about scholarship opportunities to, but you'll have to contact them to find out more about that. 

 Truly Living Well, is truly doing great things and is working with so many people in the community from the local elementary, M.Agnes Jones, the first school in the Atlanta public school system to be STEM Certified, local chefs in the community, partnering up with GA Tech to help them with research on aquaponics  and hydroponics and helping many other small business owners, especially artist/designers have a place where they can grow plants that can be used to dye clothes or hair.
Logs for the hugelkultur beds
It is a space with so much to offer from different gardening techniques, and so many classes to sign up with from the Boot Camp program, a beekeeping program, the CSA,a Horticulture Therapy program, a gardening 101 program and much more coming soon, like chicken and goats!

 My daughter and I had a fantastic time and hopefully, if you're in the Atlanta area, hope you'll stop by and experience this place, and if you're not in the Atlanta area, I hope you get an opportunity to volunteer or experience something like this in your area. If you don't have something like this in your area, maybe you can do something on a smaller scale in your own community.

I'm out......and remember, Keep Growing!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Quote of the Week

All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.

                                                 ---Helen Hayes

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Beginnings

I'm back, just moved into a new place and what a whirlwind of an adventure my family and I have been on. Well, not really an adventure, adventure.

But that's how I'm choosing to look at the situation.   See at the end of January, we were informed that we would have to move out of the house that we lived in for almost 10 years(June 8th would've made 10 years). A home that technically wasn't ours because we were renters, but became ours over the years. A place where my children have done so much of their growing up in. In fact, we moved in on my youngest son's third birthday. I remember the day well, we sang happy birthday, ate cake and ice cream and then loaded up our car, van and a friend's utility truck with our belongings and made the short  trek-- two streets over, to our new home. 
Our new home was a bit smaller than the previous home square footage wise. We lost a bathroom,but we gained larger bedrooms which was a tremendous plus-with three girls sharing a bedroom. This new home became the home where so many birthdays, holidays and many other family memories occurred. A place where I taught myself and my children to garden. Well, to be honest not all of my kids were into gardening, but I can say, I gave them the foundation and who knows, maybe one of my non-gardening kids will pick up a spade  and grow a little piece of freedom of their own one day.

 As I sit in our new home, I'm reminded of all of the new family memories to be made and the new gardening adventures to come!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017