Monday, March 8, 2010

It's all over, there isn't anymore...

Well. The time has come.
But never fear! I will still update my new blog with regularity and the same corny jokes you've come to love (or something).
Farewell, Blogspot, hellooooo, Wordpress! See you on the other side!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Countdown: 3 Days

As promised, Monday will be the last day of this blog. I've started updating the new blog, so take a look!
Today is Friday, which means though this blog technically has three days of life left, I'll only be writing in it once more.
So go to already!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Countdown: 4 days

Just when I've gotten you used to a routine...'s time to change it up a little bit!!! Go here and donate a "virtual can of food". To do this, put in a name and e-mail address. If you're like me and don't want follow-up in your e-mail uncheck the box that says "Yes! Keep Me Informed!". Then you'll get three options. Click "volunteer." If Idaho gets more virtual cans of food than anyone by March 19, we get a free truckload of food! This is the real deal, people.
Then after you're done helping out the Idaho Foodbank, go to the website. You know, the gardening website. You can get recipes, learn how to start a community garden, and check out the maps and community calendar.
Go on... you know you wanna...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Countdown: 5 days

You've read it all before.
You know the drill.
I've even started updating the blog on the new website. In case you didn't get that last link, here it is again. And here it is written out, in case either of those forms don't do it for ya:
So go to it! It's waiting for you.... :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Countdown: 6 days

Once again, I will soon be retiring this blog for the new one at the website. I even updated it today! Check it out!
Come Monday, March 8th, I won't write in this thing anymore. Go to the website, people!

Monday, March 1, 2010



I'm proud to announce that the website is ready for your viewing and reading pleasure. Keep the URL in the back of your brain. Browse, test out the links, visit often... I've proofread it many a time, but I'm sure I've missed some things, links are broken, etc. Enjoy! I'm very excited, and I think this will be a great central resource for community gardeners, local gardening organizations, and general gardening enthusiasts. I'm especially pleased with the embedded material. I know, I know, it's a little off-center, but I'm working on it. I've never embedded anything before then, so I'm actually pretty proud of myself. :)

In that vein, I will soon not write in this blog anymore. One more week and I'll be writing strictly in the blog on the aforementioned website.

In other fantastic news, we now have three bands booked for the Homegrown Hootenanny! This is going to be a great show, everyone!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hooray for BSU Service Learning!!

Good news, everyone! Sam Harmer's Public Relations class at BSU has decided to help me promote the Homegrown Hootenanny in May! I'm really excited to work with these students. From what Sam has told me, they're really on the ball and have helped out a lot of businesses in the past. I hope this will be fun for them! I would love to try out all kinds of crazy marketing techniques and generally have fun with it. They all seemed so enthusiastic and I'm really excited to hear what they have to say! Hopefully, this can also spread the word in the world of social media as well...
I'm up to 38 Facebook fans at this point, which is 5 more than a week ago. Sure, it's not like all of Boise is my Facebook fan, but I feel like this is really starting to take off. And with those students to help me... the sky's the limit!!! Wait and see!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pound for Pound challenge!

I forgot to mention!!!
Go to this website and pledge how many pounds you'll lose. The cap is 50, and for each pound pledged in the state of Idaho, the foodbank gets 14 cents. And we get ALL of that money. There are no weigh-ins or check-ups or anything... pledge it and we will receive it! Think of it this way. The last time I looked, Idaho residents have pledged 30,234 pounds. This means we are getting a check for at least $4232.76. No strings attached.
So what are you waiting for?! Go and pledge today!


Woohoo! I am constructing the Idaho Community Gardens webpage as you read this! However, I'm going to wait for the initial unveiling until a future date... it's still very bare bones and slightly embarrassing at this point. :)
But I CAN tell you more about the Homegrown Hootenanny! Plans are moving very quickly in that direction. The Homegrown Hootenanny is a concert and fundrasier. The purpose of this event is to promote Idaho Community Gardens, to benefit the Idaho Foodbank through a silent auction, and to celebrate all things local. We'll have local bands playing, local businesses donating for the silent auction, and of course, donations for the silent auction strictly from local businesses!
This event will take place at the Visual Arts Collective on May 7th. We aren't quite certain of the timeframe yet, but it will probably start at 8 PM.
These are all the details I can give you. All I know is, it's going to be a rooty-toot-tootin' good time with some good music and good fun. And, of course, it's for a very worthy cause!
More details to follow...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BSU Service Learning

Last night I spoke to Sam Harmer's Boise State University Public Relations class. There were probably 35 or 40 students there, so it was definitely the largest group I people I have yet spoken to.
I spoke to them because their class is involved in Service Learning at BSU. This is a really cool program, so I want to make a plug for them here. It's a program where classes get involved with non-profit organizations. As far as I know, there are classes in every department that are involved. From what I know, some students get to individually choose which non-profit they would like to work with, while some projects are picked by an entire class. Students get credit for volunteer hours, and it's a win-win for everyone involved. Students get to do something cool and worthwhile that counts towards their degree, and the non-profits get help that they really need from individuals who are excited to do it.
I was invited to speak at the Public Relations class last night. My hope is to get help with marketing in general and marketing with the Homegrown Hootenanny specifically. We're all doing something awesome. So if someone else gets picked, there's no way I'd be disappointed! It means SOMEone out there is getting help they need, and for all I know, they may need it more than Idaho Community Gardens does.
At any rate, I should hear back pretty soon whether I was chosen or not. No matter what happens, Service Learning is a great thing. If I had known it existed in my undergrad (I'm sure it does at University of Wisconsin, Madison), I would have loved something like it. They have a Facebook page (Service Learning) and their website is here. Check them out!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I have a few more details concerning the Community Seed Swap! March 27th at Edward's Greenhouse. I'm still a little fuzzy on the timeframe, but it's happening at the same time as "Swing into Spring", which lasts all day on that Saturday. There will be classes going on that day with the subjects of containers, new introductions, natives, and soil. I will hopefully be speaking briefly between the various classes, and handing out informational materials.
As I previously mentioned, Edward's has graciously offered their space for the event. Which is great... this means they're going to help me with advertising. And frankly, it's just a great venue for people to get inspired to garden. For anyone who hasn't been out to see their massive greenhouses, massive selection, and overall beautiful grounds, I would highly recommend it! That is, of course, if you aren't planning to head down for the Community Seed Swap! They also have a Farmer's Market with live music every Tuesday evening during the summer. I have yet to attend this, but it sounds awesome. I live right in the neighborhood, after all! On top of helping us so much with this event, they've also offered to act as a drop-off point for produce and canned goods. So bring your extra garden produce to Edward's, and they'll make sure it goes to the right place!
The logistics are still being determined, but my hope is that once gardeners arrive, they will proceed to the informational booth where either I or a volunteer will be sitting. They'll have access to promotional and seed-saving materials, and be asked to fill out a notecard concerning their seeds. My hope is to get people excited and knowledgeable about saving seeds (if they aren't already) and to have a general good time. I hope gardeners will meet each other for the first time!
On that note, I've spent a lot of this week setting up a social network for people involved in or associated with food projects (i.e. community gardens, refugee gardens, donation programs, etc.) in Boise. It's my hope that everyone can talk together, meet, and swap information. There are so many projects going on, and I think they would all benefit so much by being part of a larger community. Kim Metez of the Abundance Project (Another great project to benefit refugees in our area) has helped me out a lot so far. One of the first items on our agenda is to gather these folks for an informal get-together.
So don't be shy... if you'd like to join the network, go to and sign up. You don't have to be from Boise at all despite what the name suggests.
In other news, I got the approval today for a concert, fundraising, and promotional event at the Visual Arts Collective (VAC) on May 7th. Keep that date in the back of your mind... I can't tell you much at this point because we are so early in the planning stages, but I can tell you the event is called the Homegrown Hootenanny. With a name like that, how can you go wrong? I mean, honestly?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MK Nature Center

Yesterday I headed out to the MK Nature Center. I'd never been there before, and I felt pretty important. Though it was actually closed, the intern took time to show me around and let me in to the gift shop. For those of you who haven't been there, it's a really great little place! Very peaceful and educational. There's also, apparently, a 6-foot fish of some kind in the pond. We were trying to spot it, but it's hard to peer through the murky waters.
The reason for my visit was their gracious offer of land for community gardens! Ideally they would love to see a vegetable garden there. It's a really nice spot, because it has water access, a gravel path, and a few trellises already in place. Gardeners would need to bring their own tools and don't have public access to the shed. I would love to find some committed people in the area who would love to grow a vegetable garden in 2010.
Obviously there are still some details to be worked out including liability waivers, etc. But please contact me if you or someone/some group you know would be interested in this area! I would love to see a garden flourish here, and get you in contact with the correct person., 208-336-9643 x 246

Monday, February 8, 2010

Community Seed Swap!

Mark your calenders!
The date has been set for the first ever Community Gardens of Idaho Community Seed Swap! Head on over to Edward's Greenhouse on March 27 to kick off the 2010 growing season. Meet fellow gardening enthusiasts, learn about what grows best in this local climate, and learn invaluable information on biodiversity and the importance of seed saving.
More details to follow! Keep this date open!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Horseshoe Bend

Yesterday I headed out to Horseshoe Bend to take a look at some land. This certain piece of property, situated in a small farm on the banks of the Payette River, was particularly beautiful. The owners of land have offered it for use as a community garden.
As I learned yesterday, Horseshoe Bend is a town that desperately needs something like a community garden. Most of the residents in this small, rural community commute every day, which means that the town itself is left with almost nothing. They don't even have a grocery store. Tirza Cunningham, who is the president of the Horseshoe Bend Community Pantry, told me it very well: Horseshoe Bend is a small town with an inner-city problem. They rely almost entirely on convenience-store food.
It is my hope, that by coordinating with the landowners, Community Pantry, and residents of Horseshoe Bend, that we can get a garden started there this year. It will take a lot of work, but gardening always does. We have some things in our favor, though. We have some very committed, passionate individuals, and I am confident that if we work together, we can accomplish a lot by the next growing season.
On another note, the Horseshoe Bend Community Pantry doesn't even have a permanent location. At present they're camping out, quite literally, in a tiny shed on the Elementary School grounds. Come April, which is only a short time away, they have to relocate. Until they have a permanent location, so they told me, they can't become a partner of the Idaho Foodbank. And when you have a budget that is next to nothing, buying a property is out of the question.
My heart really went out to this community yesterday. I have found something that I think I can really help with in an area that really needs it.

Here we go!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I feel as though I've been away from this blog for a while... I went to New Mexico just for a few days with my mother. We got our fill of adobe buildings, mexican food, and mission churches. Unfortunately, however, I was just recovering from a cold and so was she... which meant, by a cruel twist of fate, that I caught the tail end of her cold and came home sicker than when I left.

Thankfully, I'm feeling much better now. The timing is perfect, because things are staring to pick up around here. I met yesterday with Molly Shaver, who coordinates the Boise branch of Sharing Backyards. Due to the similar nature of our work, it seems only natural that we should work together. We sat down yesterday morning over a cup of coffee at the Flying M and hashed out some ideas. As the season goes into full swing, I really look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together! What a perfect way to database land for community gardens, and an easy way to show people where there is available space!

In other news, I'm speaking very briefly next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as part of some sustainable living classes through Community Education (the Boise School District). These classes, aimed at educating Boise folks how to live more sustainable lives, are taught by a fellow Americorps VISTA, Sam Fox. He works for PCEI through the Boise WaterShed Association here in town. I'll have my powerpoint at hand, and hopefully can convince a few people that community gardening is where it's at.

Last week, I was contacted by a farmer from Horseshoe Bend who has some unused land. She's offering it for community garden use, which is fantastic. After some exchanging of e-mails, it's my hope that the Horseshoe Bend Community Pantry, who works in conjunction with Trinity Community Gardens of Nampa, can use this land. They've expressed interest in the property, and they seem confident that they can find volunteers in their area. Of course, I can hopefully help with this if they need it.

I am so excited to see these gardens popping up, and the interest that people are showing! First at Taft Elementary, then in the Northend, now in Horseshoe Bend. As I've said many a time, I would love to see cared-for, happy gardens in every neighborhood. Everyone deserves access to fresh food. Even better if you can take care of yourself!

I should start work on the webpage this week, or at the latest next week. As it's my first year here, I had no idea how hectic the holiday season would actually be... what with food drives, events, and inevitable complications. With our holiday party on January 22, I could feel the whole room breathe some kind of collective sigh of relief. On that note, please keep in mind that if someone is hungry at Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are probably hungry the whole year. We are always in need of food.

In my small way, perhaps I can help. Let's hope that 2010 is the year of self-sufficiency and community gardens in Idaho!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So I have a new approach for the Disney volunteers. It has been pointed out to me by a few sources that it's pretty useless to build new gardens that have no interested people to take care of them... seems obvious, right?? When you're kind of removed from them like I am, you often forget these things. Yet another reason for good communication!!
So here's the new approach. I am not simply looking for land donations, but for groups of people who are serious about starting a community garden in their neighborhood (This is also important... the garden should be very accessible by those who use it.) with prospects for land. We can then set a date and then hook you up with however many volunteers you need. We have already gotten such an overwhelming response from Disney volunteers that we need to be smarter in the future... and make sure we know what's actually needed before we advertise for volunteers!
I am also grateful there are people to point out my mistakes! In a perfect world (from my position's point of view), EVERY garden plot would have an owner and EVERY person would be excited about starting one. I've had to take a step back and look at my work realistically, and all of the things I would like to do will not be accomplished this growing season. And that's all right! You have to start somewhere.
I'm starting out by helping BUGS (Boise Urban Garden School) as much as I can. This growing season there's going to be a new garden at Taft Elementary School. This is absolutely thrilling! What better way to learn about science than to dig around in the dirt? And what better way to get kids to learn about nutrition and eating healthy right from the start? Personally, I would like to see Idaho littered with school gardens, but again... this is not something that I can accomplish this year. Maybe that's what the future brings!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Open Office Hours

This is a first (I think)... two posts in one day! But I think what I'm going to say is worth saying, despite any repetition.
As everyone (hopefully) knows, communication is important. And face-to-face versus e-mail or phone is invaluable.
Which is why I am now declaring Open Office Hours. If you want to talk to me, whether it's a question or an idea (I would love to hear your ideas!) or whatever else, just stop on by. Whenever, really. And if I'm not here, I'll get back to you as soon as I possibly can. I know, I've been there... that's often an empty promise. But believe me when I say, I'm just as excited about this as you are (if not more so) and the integral part of community gardens is community involvement. So come and see me!
If you don't know where I am, the Idaho Foodbank is located at 3562 S TK Ave. That's off of Federal Way behind the Flying J. It's a huge warehouse with the Idaho Foodbank logo on the side, so it's pretty hard to miss.
And of course, there are the old stand-bys if you can't make it over here, communication through telephone (336-9643 x 246) or e-mail (
I am a firm believer in feedback and communication, and I stick to what I mean. Community Gardens of Idaho won't be known for its impossibility to get a hold of!
Talk to you soon!

Go Chicago!!

Chicago's mayor Richard Daley is looking ahead to the future, and for him, the future is sustainabilty and urban agriculture. In a place like Chicago, where there might not be an abundance of open, green space, he's looking upwards... to rooftops!
Rooftop gardening is a way to conserve energy and, of course, add to the beauty of a conventional building. Not only is he promoting this gardening practice, but he's put out a 16-page booklet free, on the internet, and available to the public.
Let's hope that other politicians are leaning in this direction! And even if they aren't, this information is now open and available to the general public. The spread of knowledge is powerful!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Community Garden Building

Disclaimer: I have decided that Idaho Foodbank Community Gardens sounds too much like the gardens belong to us, which obviously, they don't. To avoid giving people the wrong idea, I'm going to begin referring to it as Community Gardens of Idaho instead. Unfortuantely I'm not going to really be able to change the Facebook groups, but oh well...
Yesterday marked the inception of a new idea for Community Gardens of Idaho, which will hopefully be a huge incentive for families and a huge help for new community gardeners!
Disney is challenging families to do a day of volunteer work in service to their community (they say 8 hours) in exchange for a day pass. There are a variety of activities that families can participate in, and one of them, which has literally fallen into my lap, is to build a community garden. The Foodbank is one of the few organizations in this area that has signed up for this program, and as of yesterday we are in the process of coordinating projects to build community gardens.
My hope is to have Saturdays put aside in the spring for families to get together and build community gardens together, probably the last week in April until early June, if we have that much response. Now my task is to find land, water, and stuff donations and to find volunteers. I feel fairly optimistic about this, but I am also aware that it's going to take a lot of work. But think of the results!! If we can get people together to build even two or three gardens, that means there are two or three more gardens waiting for people to grow them. And, of course, there's the incentive of a Disney pass for families if they participate.
Now I have to figure out what materials I'll need... obviously a rototiller (if not several), compost, lumber for raised beds, stones, etc. I would appreciate any input!! And, of course, if anyone knows of any land and water to donate! I have a list of churches that I plan to contact, and a couple that has already graciously donated their land and water.
I think if properly executed, this event could be a lot of fun. There is so much potential for a fun, great family activity! I hope to include some sort of education with it as well as some fun games for kids. Though really, I know when I was a kid, I was perfectly happy digging around in the dirt. I'm hoping I can really market this as a fun, family event.
I also am peicing together another idea I have been toying with. On top of the (hopefully good) response building new gardens, I want to offer new community gardens a "Garden Starter Kit". I hope to include seeds (Preferably heirloom. What good are seeds if you can't save them to use again?), gloves, tools, informational materials, and whatever else I can think of.
I also received a call from Elaine Walker yesterday. It was one of those moments in life when something very unexpected and awesome happens. She was calling to donate some seeds to the Foodbank garden, which no longer exists. So of course, I mentioned Community Gardens of Idaho and we got on the subject of the Seed Swap. She writes an online, weekly gardening column for the Idaho Statesman, and this time part of it's dedicated to Community Gardens of Idaho. Go ahead and read it here. How exciting!!!
So now, all I need to do is get out of the fog from vacation... easier said than done, I know!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 far behind, 2010 large as life!

Well, that was a much-needed break, though I am finding it a little hard to get back in the swing of things this morning! Such is the trial of vacation-time...
I pulled into my driveway in Minnesota literally as the blizzard was starting. It was a fantastic welcome, but the freezing rain that followed froze the snow into a hard, unusuable rock. After the rain it snowed a little and I attempted to ski on the thin layer of powder... but alas, the fates were against me and I fell many a time. But the time I spent with family and friends made up for lost recreation time. It's always important (and wonderful!) to remember where you came from, because it made you who you are. I find that in the hustle and bustle I can sometimes lose sight of that.
I am also amazed at how incredibly relieved I am that it isn't 2009 anymore... and the feeling seems to be widespread. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that we are now in 2010. A new, clean, fresh gardening season awaits us, and I feel prepared to make it the best one I can.
I am in the process, with the help of my GIS/cartography volunteer, of finding available plots of land. This involves mapping church land and eventually putting an ad in the paper asking people if they have land they would like to donate.
I'm trying to write an ad for the paper today but my brain is still fuzzy from vacation mode... if I were a coffee drinker I would appeal to the caffeine gods. Since that is not the case, however, I may have to rely on some herbal tea.