Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Market Gardener's Committee

My Co-patriot Market Gardeners and Eaters of Central Florida,

Just as we've kicked our gardens into high-gear for Spring, events have transpired for us to see the creation of a "Market Gardener's Committee" at Simple Living Institute. And since I was the one silly enough to initially float such an outlandish idea, the mantle of Chairman has settled around my 'to-do' list. So for now, we'll call this blog home, and figure out where we're going with this committee.

The inception came via the "Central Florida Sustainable Food Project" meetings I attended as basically a curious market gardener and eater. I enjoyed everyone's welcomes, but didn't have a committee project to contribute to. Hanging with the other market gardeners evolved into my primary interest, so I suggested to Andrew Landis about forming a vehicle for us to formally contribute.

The only purpose for the committee's existence it to provide a communications portal so all us market gardeners can brainstorm with like minded souls (plants rarely choose to carry on their end of the conversation). For now, this blog is the portal. I've got a few ideas about meeting locations (that Irish pub last month was good!). And field trip visits to local operations.

Anyone can join this committee. We all enter the market to buy food.

To explain the name of the committee though, let's start with the 'Market' as anyone growing crops for sale. Let's recognize the wonderful event of growing a crop to sell, interacting in the market, and walking away with cash in your pocket. I totally respect anyone who dares grow their own food, but this committee takes it that huge step furthur. Truth is, it's RISKY to market garden in Central Florida and we can all help each other.

The second part of the name, 'Gardener' is still ringing of the human, natural element. Being able to look the person who is buying your crops right in the eye and take his cash. Not a stockholders conglomerate that uses green all over its labels. We are involved with our crops, we feed them to our families, we know them intimately. Gardener is a term applied to a person who grows his crops sustainably and honestly. (This is the part where we're supposed to mention Organic and all that stuff).

A Market Gardener's operation may be as small as a few pots of basil to flavor cornbread at a farmer' market or as big as a multi-generational ranch supplying a theme park restaurant. We're just looking for that entrepreneurial spark that forms the foundation of the economy. At the turn of the last century, European urban market gardens that ringed every major city were a primary source of food. Let's use this committee to make this wonderful concept function again. And think of all the jobs we can help create!

I'm no 'guest expert' as to how to grow crops. I leave that to IFAS and the Master Gardeners (to whom I owe a garden of gratitude). I'm not intending for this committee to be the garden pest guest expert for every eater out there, but I always try to help when I can.

This committee is for us, the risk takers, growers, producers, the foundation of the economy. WE RULE!

My Sundew Gardens is a one-man operation so take pity on me. My organized events are happening once or twice a month, so that would be the best time to visit my gardens. This is the beginning, and I'm sure with your interest and involvement, we can make a difference. Please visit me on my 'Sundew Gardens' facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Sundew-Gardens/300609518579 . Thanks, Tom Carey 407-430-2178

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Volunteer Opportunities with Central Florida Sustainable Food Project

Shayla Dougher, volunteer coordinator for Simple Living Institute invites the community to participate in our Central Florida Sustainable Food Project.