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Sunday, April 25, 2010

To Louisiana's Wetlands

Oil Leaking Underwater From Well in Rig Blast

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Community Building at Our School

Last night we hosted a community dinner at Our School at Blair Grocery. Between 40 and 50 of our neighborhors in the Lower Nine joined us for a crawfish boil, BBQ and a screening of scenes from Food, inc. We were joined by young and old, and everyone learned a little more about what we are all about here at Our School, and as always we continued to learn about our community. More pictures to come.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Somethin Growing in Tangipahoa

You might remember a blog post from about five months ago when we met Wayne Stevens, a farmer up in Tangipahoa. We've gotten some food in the ground since then.

David Bradley, our Farming Intern up in Tangipahoa, walking beside the onions. Ryan Meador (behind David) and her whole family joined our staff full time last week.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Photo updates from the farm

Heirloom tomatoes are beginning to flower...

Behind this citrus tree, our new healing bed created by NY2NO and Philly students

Our figs in bloom and our new rain water catchment system...

Part of the School farm in the fog...

We let the mustard greens go to flower so we can attract beneficial bugs and also learn to collect its seed...

We let the arugula flowers bloom also for the same reasons... and they're tasty in a salad!

More to come.

Dirt: The Movie!

In March we hosted a film with Charitable Film Network, Dirt: The Movie. The weather was all but cooperative, but our turn out was still incredible. (...Though our workshop was unable to happen with the rough weather!)
With an audience of roughly 20 folks from the food community, we discussed the harsh statistics presented in the film and about the direct relation of our work to these global issues. After the film, the Latino Farmers Co-op, Viet Village, Our School at Blair Grocery representatives shared stories of transformation and struggle within the work that we all do and took questions from our peers. We look forward to future work with all these groups and to our next film screening of Food, inc.! this April.

Photographs taken by Bottletree

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

OSBG updates

Since the last update, we have been working hard on the farm and have made many improvements. To start, we turned out compost piles into one giant volcano of compost.

The pile is about 9 feet tall and 14 feet long. For future composting operations we have partnered with Mary Queen of Vietnam. They have three open acres for us that we can start massive composting operations on, as long as we provide them 30 percent of our finished soil. After the volcano is finished, all composting will happen there, so that we will not have to bother out neighbors with the sights and smells of decaying matter.

We are building a second green house right next to the first one. It should be done within the week.

Two weeks ago we had a group of volunteers from Naropa who knew how to build a bee hive. They told us of the top-bar system, a more sustainable, organic, less maintanance way of bee-keeping.

This is what the system looks like.

This is one individual bar. On each one of these bars the bees will build a honey comb. After they have built combs on the majority of the bars, you harvest the combs to yield about 5 gallons of honey and a pound of bees wax. The bees will also pollinate everything in a one mile radius of us, and will act as a predator species to unwanted bugs that eat our plants.

We have begun building water-catchment systems for the farm, this is one of three that will be built. Each inch of rain can yield 600 gallons of catched water. We will use the water for our irrigation systems (recently installed) and watering 1800 among other things.

We have begun work on two rain gardens on the property. Rain gardens are a creative way to catch and store water. Every time it rains New Orleans has to pump the water out of the city (40 percent of all pollution in New Orleans comes from the water pumping stations). If rain gardens were installed through out the city, the pumps would only need to be used for storms over 2 inches (which only happens maybe 5 times a year).

We have doubled our vermicomposting operations, and now have two full bins of red-wigglers. By mid-June that will be two cubic yards of worm castings.

Lastly, with the weather getting warmer the gardens have really started to bloom. 1800 is looking great, the raised beds are green (and delicious!) and the row crops are coming up nicely. We have also recently installed irrigation lines to help combat the intense sun of the coming summer months.