Saturday, October 3, 2009

Harvest From An Urban Farm

Greetings From Santa Barbara

Well we've made the jump back to Santa Barbara. Here's our home away from PEI.
Might be hard to tell, but this is an original farmhouse from the 1910's, before the area
was subdivided into housing back in the 1930's.

We live in the county, right across the street from the city and a short walk from the Junior High where I went to school.

Susan has been working as a volunteer accountant with Fairview Gardens Farm in Goleta. In exchange we get a small share from their CSA Program (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA programs are great and we're looking at the potential of a CSA for Dunn Creek Farm.

This week our share from the 12 acre farm at Fairview included pomegranates, yellow summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and anaheim chiles (which will be turned into chile rellenos tonight!)

Our farm shares on PEI would be quite different to suit local climate and tastes. But they could include fresh herbs and garlic, staples like sweet corn and beans and even ground whole wheat flour! A CSA could support fresh, local, minimally processed, sustainable and organic products for people in eastern PEI.

These sunflowers looked so bright against the barn. If you look at the top picture, you'll see that our environment in California is often muted tans and brown. The fall light in PEI makes primary colors POP.

A busy honey bee pollinates a sunflower. We had an active bee yard. Thanks to Island Gold Honey (and John Burhoe) for keeping bees in our certified fields. At a time when honeybees are under stress, we're glad to provide safe organic pasture to our local bee keeper. And we more than enjoy the natural honey from our variety of clovers, buckwheat and wild flowers.

We also benefit from working bees in our inter-cropped rows of vegetables. They increase the yields from our plants.

Never trust a sheepdog with a kitten.

We're in transition back to our urban life and I'm using this opportunity to harvest new knowledge to take back to the farm. We've made a farm plan for 2010 and I'm working on learning some new media skills to continue our efforts at communicating with our friends, supporters and customers. And I'm hoping to learn more about the operation of the CSA at one of California's oldest organic farms.

Our friends Laura-Jane and Cameron at Whimfield are working on the Growing Circle project and we intend to support that effort and use it to reach out to the community of on-line users on PEI.

Our summer series of audio podcasts was well received and provided me with a lot of learning and inspiration. I'm collecting new material to continue our story from the West Coast.

And tonight I'm going to make an organic Mexican dinner!

1 comment:

Laura-Jane said...

What a pleasure to see your other house!!!!! Looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.