Friday, September 4, 2009

Grow Your Own on an Empty Lot

Farmers Markets are becoming very popular in Houston and many other cities. People complain that the prices are too high. A small farmer does have much higher costs than the hugh industrial farms that provide food for your local grocery store chain , so the prices are realistic.

If they are too high for your budget, consider starting your own garden. In our neighborhood there are a number empty lots around that would be perfect. There is an abandoned house two doors down. We could make a garden in the yard of that house.

Unfortunately, we can't use the big lot behind us. Someone has appropriated it (not the owner or a renter) and has been parking school buses and pick up trucks there for years. When you park vehicles on land like that, the oil and grease from them sinks into the soil and ruins it for gardening, the soil gets poisoned.

A block away, across from a large middle school, there is a gigantic empty lot, just waiting for a garden. Its at the corner of Baird and Leeland in Houston. Maybe someone will want to start planting vegetables (you would need permission from the owner). Gardens are hard work, but the produce you get will be free (without pesticides).

Celebrating the abundant growth of the farmers market

Los Angeles Times

By Mary MacVean

Officials join with farmers, market organizers and some of Los Angeles' best-known chefs to celebrate the anniversary of L.A. County's first such market. The mayor announces a food policy task force.

When Lorraine Tenerelli tried to get her husband to bring their peaches to sell at Los Angeles County's first farmers market 30 years ago, he didn't want to be bothered. But he tagged along with her to a church parking lot in Gardena.

"When he saw the mob of customers, he said, 'We've got to plant more,' " Tenerelli said Thursday at the weekly farmers market outside City Hall. There, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials joined with farmers, market organizers and some of the city's best-known chefs to celebrate the anniversary and the growth of farmers markets to a total of 121 today -- more than any other county in the country, the mayor said.

The celebration ranged from serious to fun, including a salsa contest -- the eating kind, not the dancing kind -- plus chef demonstrations and plenty of food vendors, naturally.

Villaraigosa also announced a food policy task force that will "help turn L.A. into the farmers market capital of the world."

"When you think of it, what is more important than the food we put on our table?" he said.

Every week, 1,000 farmers and food producers sell their wares to about 250,000 shoppers in L.A. County markets, he said, adding later that he shops at the Sunday market in the Larchmont neighborhood.

The work and membership of the task force, in which the city is partnering with Occidental College and the L.A. Conservation Corps, have yet to be decided, Deputy Mayor Larry Frank said. But among the issues it will consider are school food; access by the poor to fresh, nutritious food; the environment; and a permanent market hub, he said.

"Everyone should have access to good food," said Evan Kleiman, chef-owner of Angeli Caffe, host of the radio show "Good Food" and emcee of Thursday's event. "We may have moved to the city, but we still want to eat like we live on the farm."... link to complete LAT article

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