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!