Happy Birthday Westside!
Save the Date! We invite you to join us on October 25 at our Westside store to celebrate one year. We will celebrate with cake, grilling on the patio, a puppet show, live music, a $100 shopping spree give-away, and lots more!
We’re particularly excited to host a fruit and veggie costume contest. Start planning your get up for a kale dress, carrot top, or banana super hero suit now! Everyone is eligible to enter, winners will receive great prizes like gift certificates, delicious treats, and recognition on our website.
Hope to see you there! Let us know you’re coming.
Great Growing, Delicious Food
By Robin Seydel
The members of the Veteran Farmer Project have been busy weeding, harvesting, weeding, selling at the VA growers’ market, weeding, selling at the Railyard market, weeding—get the picture? While all the rain has been wonderful and our tomatoes bountiful, so have our weeds. But we have a dedicated core crew, Gretchen, Buck, Jeff, Darren, and Veronica, and some new folks coming on board—welcome Christie and Virginia. Sadly, we lost Ben and Cat and their three children to Oklahoma, but they had a wonderful garden experience that we hope they will put to good use there.
Donation Thanks: Trees From ABCWUA
A big thanks to Katherine Yuhas of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority for her donation of 10 trees to the Veteran Farmer Project. Katherine heads the water conservation division and put together a series of SMART USE Water Conservation classes. Everyone who attends the class gets a free tree to plant in their yard compliments of the ABCWUA and Plant World. Katherine had some extra trees and most kindly donated them to the VFP. The SMART USE Water Conservation classes are still happening and we encourage everyone to take this excellent class and get their free tree (fall is the perfect time for tree planting!). For more information and the complete schedule of classes, go to www.abcwua.org and register for the September classes.
We hope to be planting the trees in our new space in the next few months. We have known for a year or so that the project would have to move from our current location on Silver and Second due to development pressures, an experience common for today’s urban and next generation farmer. We are in the process of looking for a new location and hope to be able to announce our new location soon.
And while we are saying thanks—another huge thanks goes to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for their generous grant that will help us move the farm and get started in our new location.
In the mean time, look for Veteran Farmer Project produce stands at the VA Growers’ Market every Wednesday from 10:30am to 12:30pm. And join us at the gardens downtown on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8am-10am for gardening fun, education and camaraderie.
For more information, contact Robin at 217-2027 or email@example.com.
Gleaning Green: Food for Free
by Ari Levaux
The voice on the phone gave me directions to a house in a residential neighborhood. The way she spoke made me feel vaguely like James Bond receiving an assignment from “M.” “The owners gave permission for the tree to be picked, but they don’t get home from work until two. Before then, don’t even knock on the door because they have two yipper dogs who will go crazy.” she explained. “The tree is really tall; I think it might be grafted, which means the upper cherries could be better than the lower ones, so if you have a ladder you should bring it. In this heat they aren’t going to last long so you should go soon. Do you think you can go today?”
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 33 percent of the food grown worldwide goes to waste. Valued at 750 billion dollars, it would take a farm the size of Mexico to produce this amount of wasted food. And when it rots in a landfill, the UNFAO estimates that the gases that are created account for 6-10% of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. If global food waste were a country, Grist.org reports, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
In the face of a growing population, much attention has been paid to various ways of producing more food, usually via modern agricultural techniques. A less sexy approach to feeding the hungry, while simultaneously cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, would be to reduce the amount of food that is wasted.
Enter the gleaners.
The act of gleaning, as it relates to food, is to salvage food that would have gone un-harvested. It’s an act as old as agriculture. The ancient poor used to prowl the harvested fields of rich landowners and pick the grains or vegetables left behind. Today in the world’s poorest countries, gleaning still occurs in much the same way, while in wealthier nations like the U.S., gleaning takes on myriad modern forms.
In cities around the US, activist groups have forged relationships with grocers, caterers, restaurants, and growers at the supply end, and with food pantries, homeless shelters, and other organizations feeding the hungry at the demand end. Many of these organizations, such as Food Shift in the Bay Area, consider reducing greenhouse gas emissions to be an essential part of their missions—along with feeding those in need.
And then there are rogue gleaners like myself, working in cahoots with the likes of the woman who told me about the cherry tree, or alone. Beginning in mid-summer, it’s easy to walk the residential streets and alleyways looking for trees from which ripe fruit is dropping to the ground. All it takes is a knock on the door to determine if the homeowner would be open to you picking the fruit. I usually offer to pick up the rotten fruit that has already fallen as well, in exchange for harvesting the potential mess that’s still dangling from the trees.
Then, if everything goes according to plan, I have a lot of fruit on my hands, which must be dealt with very soon. It can be frozen, whole or juiced, or turned into jam, or dehydrated—my method of choice.
Later in the season I’ll turn my attention to fall vegetables, like kale, which gets sweeter after a frost. The freeze is usually beginning just as the farmers markets are ending, and farmers are ready to turn their fields under for the year. During the last few markets of the season, I’ll strike deals with growers to acquire large amounts of their kale before it meets the plough.
Sometimes the grower will invite me to come glean it myself, old-school style. But more often they’ll offer to harvest a massive amount and sell it to me at a bargain rate. Technically speaking, food that’s acquired in this manner isn’t “gleaned,” but “recovered.” Either way, it’s food that wasn’t wasted, that by filling bellies puts less demand on a carbon-intensive, land-hungry food system.
And for those who don’t have an associate like the woman who guided me to the cherry tree, a smart phone can make a good substitute. A new organization called Falling Fruit (Fallingfruit.org) is building a worldwide database of urban edibles, including, according to a video on the site, “Apples, apricots, mangoes, plums, avocados, star fruit, citrus, nuts, berries, vegetables, spices, herbs [and] mushrooms.” A smart phone app is under development, soon to be released.
I loaded the map onto my laptop and took a look. It showed, within blocks of my house, apples, apricots, plums, peaches, and grapes. So I took a walk, and there they were. There was also a nice gooseberry bush. Many trees were hanging over fences above the sidewalk. There were no mangoes to be scrounged, but I pigged out nonetheless.
Gallup’s Giving it Away!
The Co-op is going to raffle off a $100 gift card and give the proceeds to the Community Pantry (our local food bank) as part of their annual fundraiser. There’s a facebook page for their garden project: Community Pantry Hope Garden. The Co-op will be there from 2pm until about 5pm selling raffle tickets and maybe peaches. They’ve planned a jam-packed program starting with a parade in the morning and lots of dancing and a band and speeches in the afternoon. More information about the event here!
Show up early to get your raffle tickets!!
Location: Downtown Courthouse Plaza, Gallup NM
Time: 12 noon to 9pm
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Starts with tour of the Community Pantry Gardens at 9 am.
Events at the downtown plaza include:
Parade: Starting at noon
2:00pm: National anthem and posting of the colors by Veterans helping Veterans.
3:00pm: Dance & Musical Review, hosted by Amy Coats
5:00pm: Old West gunfight, featuring Gallup mayor McKinney
5:15pm: Pomp & Ceremony, featuring notable delegates and local politicians
5:45pm: Flyover, featuring a classic Aircraft provided by Gallup Med Flight
6:00pm-9:00pm: Battle of the Bands
Other features include but are not limited to: climbing wall provided by the United States Army, Children’s Activities, Marching Bands, Car Show, and more!
2014 Annual Co-op Member Meeting
THIS EVENT IS CURRENTLY AT CAPACITY. WE WILL TAKE NAMES ON A WAITING LIST AND NOTIFY YOU ON FRIDAY MORNING IF SPACE BECOMES AVAILABLE. PLEASE CONTINUE TO RSVP USING THE FORM BELOW.
We welcome all our members to our Annual Membership Gathering on October 18 at 6PM at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW. He will also speak on Friday, October 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 107 West Barcelona Road, in Santa Fe.
Hear about how our Coop is doing from our Board and Staff and meet the candidates for the upcoming Co-op Board Elections.
Hear how Cooperatives are working to democratize wealth and provide a model for the “New Economy” in an inspiring talk and community dialogue with noted economist Gar Alperovitz.
Enjoy a delicious New Mexican feast, with foods sourced locally and regionally.
Dinner is FREE for Co-op members but seating is limited. Please be sure to RSVP for the number of people in your household who will attend. Register here today!
For more information contact Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 505-217-2027.