Last week was crazy-busy! On Wednesday morning I went to a volunteer fair at Boise State, on Thursday the Foodbank had its annual A Chef's Affaire, and on Friday I went to Ontario, Oregon for a Community Food Forum. Funny, isn't it, how my busiest week has also been my shortest? This week should be a nice break, I hope, after all that chaos. I'm going to hopefully be meeting with a lot of gardeners in the coming weeks, however... pretty soon the growing season will be past!
The Community Food Forum itself was pretty good. A VISTA like me organized it, which is pretty impressive. There were about 60 people from the area, most from different organizations related to community food systems in some way. There were some people from the local Holiday Inn who wanted to start a farmer's market in their parking lot. A few people, however, were there just because they wanted to learn more. One woman I met is looking to start a farm, and she just wanted to talk to people. Although it isn't completely related to community gardens, I gave her my contact information. I'd like to help if I can!
I did get some information about valuable resources, especially the Food for Oregon website. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet but it seems like a huge collection of local Oregon resources. I think a similar website for Idaho is Idaho Preferred. Again, I haven't looked through this yet, but I heard a few people mention it. They also fed us while we were there, and all the food was local and fresh. I even succumbed to a grass-fed, organic beef hamburger (normally I am a vegetarian... but how could I resist this??).
While at the Community Food Forum, I heard about something that intrigued me greatly. In a creative attempt to connect growers with chefs/restaurants/etc., some organizations have applied the philosophy of speed-dating. I found this article on the Ecotrust website about it. Essentially, the chefs or the growers sit behind tables, and the other group of people rotate from table to table. They have a few minutes to explain what they have and what they want. This is not an attempt for people to make a financial transaction but merely to see what's out there.
I like this idea a lot. The concept of "speed-dating" can be adapted to so many different things! I think it would also be a lot of fun, and a great way to meet lots of people in a short time. This could probably be applied to community gardening somehow... maybe we could have some sort of speed-dating thing at the Community Seed Swap later on?? The possibilities are endless...
Also on the topic of events, I hatched another idea for an event over the weekend. I am a bit of a musician, and something that goes with music is the desire to share it with other people. So I started thinking... an open mic night would be fun. Then I thought further: what about an open mic night that served as some sort of fundraiser for the Foodbank? And maybe not just food/money donations but seed and tool donations, too? This idea is brand new and would need some work, but I think it would be a relatively stress-free (people would bring their own entertainment), fun fundraiser. I know a number of people I could contact. The hardest part would be setting up a sound system... I know nothing about that... but it's an idea to consider for a future date.
On a different note, I am on the radio! Not about community gardening but about food stamps. I was contacted by a reporter from Boise State radio. The first of this month I went shopping and I'm quoted in this program a few times. It was an interesting experience, and I think it's a very well-put-together program.
And last but not least, there are little tiny spinach plants poking up in my garden!