26 August 2012

End of Summer

Life is clipping along at a quick pace, as it is wont to do. My time at the Civic Garden Center is coming to a close in the next week, I'll be starting my Masters program in a week, and we're getting close to buying a house. As I mentioned, I will be starting school soon and a couple weeks ago I went up to Madison, WI for my orientation week. Because we're distance students we had orientation a bit earlier than the on-campus students. I took the train to Chicago and stayed with my cousin for a night. Then the next day we drove up to Madison together. It was really lovely there and I'm mad at myself for not taking more photos.
Then at the end of the week my parents picked me up and we drove down to Cincinnati together. They got to join us on the house hunt for a day.
While they were here I had to work, but they got to visit me while I did. I was tabling at the Second Sunday on Main, giving out information on the classes, events, and gardening spaces that we have available.
Looking to my left.
And to my right.
For my internship we had to have a summer project and mine started in a very different place than it ended up. Originally I wanted to help with the Rockdale Community Garden but the manager didn't respond to the calls or emails that I made. So I moved on and set up a weeding day and compost education time with the West End Garden. My contact there was Gerri, and she was absolutely wonderful to work with. We worked together to get the day set up, she contacted the gardeners from the WECG and I set up our side of the day (tools, education, food donations).
The day started with the compost looking like this.
And ended the day looking like this.
The rest of the garden was weeded really well and made it look really lovely.
The following tuesday I gave my presentation about my summer project. I focused a lot on the communication and networking aspect because that seemed to be the reason why one project worked and the other didn't. We had a good discussion about community garden involvement and why it is dominated by retirees and very few young people. How do you change whatever stigma young people have against gardening? Wednesday we went to Compost Cincy for a tour of their facilities. The whole thing was started up in mid-July by Grant Gibson. He had originally worked in the tech industry, started up a company and then after five years (I believe he said) sold his share to his partner and started investing his time into starting a compost facility. He determined to go into this because he wanted to get into the "green" business, as it was something he was passionate about. After assessing Cincinnati's needs he decided that this was what the city needed and has begun diverting a lot of the food waste from area factories/processing plants that would have otherwise gone into the landfill.
In early August Greg, the garden education intern, and I went to an education and CSA farm for a tour. They have a 40-member vegetable CSA and a meat CSA, and have summer camps for kids. They have several interns and a veteran farm fellow. All their farm is tilled by draught horses and in the fall they have hay rides.
While there Greg and I helped with the potato harvest, then got a ride on the draught horse trailer. It was a very different set up than a lot of CSA's that I've seen implemented, Gorman for example, so it was nice to see how they can be organized and set up. Lastly, this last week I spent some time on the Green Learning Station (the GLS) roof garden and planted lots of vegetable seeds, including a cover crop mix. This is a very intensive square-foot style garden and a lot of food can come out of it.
On a completely different note, my computer died last week, taking with it hundreds of unpublished photos (and all of my summer photos, published and unpublished). I would have liked to post more of the community garden "profiles", but unfortunately some of them will never make here. I suppose that will teach me to back up my hard drive more than twice a year.