Mark Your Calendars: Project Grow/Ann Arbor 350 Seed Swap on February 16th

Calling all current and soon-to-be seed enthusiasts!

Did you save more seeds than you could ever use? Did you perhaps go a bit mad at the end-of-year seed sales?

Then the Seed Swap is for you!

Come see what you can exchange your extras for with other gardeners! Bring your loot and your bargaining skills and see how many different varieties you can acquire. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find seeds for delicious corn variety you couldn’t buy enough of at the farmer’s market!

This event is open to the public, so you don’t need to be a Project Grow gardener to attend.

Our hosts do ask that seed swappers find street parking rather than taking spots in their parking lot that could be used by their customers.

Come on out Saturday, February 16th, 10-11:30 a.m., at Downtown Home and Garden, 210 South Ashley in Ann Arbor!

Be sure to come and take care of all your 2013 seed needs – anything you can’t find will certainly be for sale at Downtown Home and Garden!

Downtown Home & Garden
210 South Ashley Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Saturday, February 16 2013 10:00am – 11:30am

For more information, contact Monica Patel at 734-369-9277

 Don’t know where to begin with seed saving, nonetheless swapping?   

The Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa has a webinar coming up – conveniently this Tuesday – about starting your own seed bank.

Our $3.50: The dirt on compost bins

Our $3.50We don’t sell compost bins over here at the Ecology Center, but we get a fair number of questions about them. I’m a huge fan of composting. I’d buy one of these if it weren’t so wasteful:

I Love Compost Mesh Hats
I Love Compost Mesh Hats by ilovemyshirt
Create a one-of-a-kind custom caps online at Zazzle.

I love that it’s so efficient, easy and good for my soil. Since I’m the kind of person who walks around my neighborhood lamenting that more people don’t have compost bins in their yards, I thought I’d share what I learned while shopping for — and using — mine. I also have experience with worm bins, but I won’t get into that here.

There are two main options for outdoor composting: bins and tumblers. I’ll start with those and then talk about what you’ll want inside your house.

Continue reading Our $3.50: The dirt on compost bins

Getting dirty at the UM campus garden

My Fellow SNREds and I posing for a photo in between tasks (Note: the tomato carnage)

My Fellow SNREds and I posing for a photo in between tasks (Note: the tomato carnage)

So many of the principles and themes I have explored thus far in my coursework in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and “work-work” at the Ecology Center has been about place.  When you know the landscape and people around you….if you know the processes, inputs and outputs more intimately because you are physically next door or you’re undertaking them yourself, sustainability is that much more accessible, easy, and – most importantly – satisfying and fun.  There ain’t no label for the “fair trade” that exists between the “buyer” and “seller” at the A2 farmer’s market.  And that exchange of goods and often words too – as I alluded to earlier – can be so satisfying and fun.

So I decided to walk the walk and devote some of my precious weekend hours to getting down and dirty at the University of Michigan campus farm, located at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.  And as some of you are now familiar…. recent locale of the Harvest Festival! Continue reading Getting dirty at the UM campus garden

October 24: Urban Roots Screening (for Food Day!)

Food Day is on Monday, October 24th and we’re celebrating by holding a screening of the film Urban Roots. Urban Roots explores the urban farming phenomenon in Detroit, highlighting what has become of collapsed industrial towns and their need to forge a sustainable and prosperous future.

We are paying Tree Media Group a screening fee for this opportunity to help keep what they do sustainable. Due to this, we are suggesting a $5 donation to attend the screening. We’ll have a jar … and won’t ask lots of questions.

Even Michael Pollan thinks you should participate in Food Day.  See?   —->

Click here to register

New York Times: That’s Not Trash, That’s Dinner

NYTIn case you missed it…the New York Times featured 350 Gardeners and mentioned the Garden Challenge last month in it’s Dining Section. The article features a number of lovely things about Ann Arbor, including Anne Elder and the Community Farm of Ann Arbor. Check it out!

Oak Park (Michigan) Gardener Could Serve Time for Growing Veggies

The Oak Park veggie garden thats stirred up a lot of controversy.

The Oak Park veggie garden that's stirred up a lot of controversy.

In an outrageous display of narrow-minded city officials wasting taxpayer money, the city of Oak Park is taking resident Julie Bass to court for the heinous crime of growing vegetables in her front yard.  Apparently Bass is violating a city ordinance that claims front yards must contain “suitable live plant material.” City planner Kevin Rulkowski says that Bass’ garden, having no lawn, flowers, nice shrubbery, or other “common” yard amenities, is unsuitable and thus in violation of the code.  Bass was given a warning from the city, followed by a ticket ordering her to remove her garden.  She refused to comply and now faces a misdemeanor charge, which could land her a fine and up to 93 days in prison.

Take Action!

Friends of Bass and her family set up, with an accompanying blog and Facebook page. You can help support her fight to keep her garden by signing a petition to Oak Park city officials, ‘liking’ the Facebook page, and donating money to help cover Bass’ legal fees when she goes to trial.

And don’t forget to register your own 350 garden! Show off your right to grow your own food and help build a community where improving access to fresh local food is commonplace, not criminal.

With any luck, the flood of public outrage generated here in Michigan and all over the internet will help the City of Oak Park come to its senses, drop this ridiculous case and spend what limited resources it has on efforts that actually benefit Oak Park residents.

Check out the FOX 2 report:

Growing Hope has raised bed kits AND seedlings!

Growing Hope Center - 922 W. Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti, MI

Growing Hope Center - 922 W. Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti, MI

You can head over to the Growing Hope Center (922 W. Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti) and meet all your 350 Gardening needs: (1) support local Growing Hope educational programming, (2) purchase raised bed kits for your visible edible garden, and (3) get all the veggie, herb, and flower seedlings you could want!

Here’s when you should head over:

  • Fri. May 6th – 3-7pm
  • Sat. May 7th  - 10am-4pm
  • Sat. May 21st  - 10am-4pm

Or, you can visit the lovely Growing Hope folks at their Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers’ Market stall on Tuesdays in May and June from 2-6pm.

April 13: The Agrarian Adventure’s School-Wide Seedling Planting

This Wednesday, at Tappan Middle School, the Agrarian Adventure is hosting a seed planting to grow seedlings for the Tappan Garden and Hoop House…as well as for school gardens throughout the district. The volunteer opportunities are listed on their website and potential volunteers should email or call (926.5535) ASAP.

Project Grow’s 2011 Potato Pledge

Last year Project Grow held their first annual Potato Pledge, and if you weren’t involved, you might be wondering what the heck a Potato Pledge is.

Project Grow will distribute 2# bags of seed potatoes to anyone who will sign the Potato Pledge and agree to grow the potatoes, delivering a percentage back to us at harvest time, to be donated to local food banks. As harvest time nears, we will remind the participants of drop-off locations via email. Project Grow will collect the potato donations weekly and transport them to local food banks.

You can pick up your bag of seed potatoes by driving through our “Potato Pit Stop“, in front of Downtown Home & Garden, on April 16th between 10 and noon. Just look for the checkered flags! Also, our friend Lucas – Project Grow’s Volunteer Coordinator – will be hanging around town with a GIANT POTATO that has affiliations with FestiFools. If you capture a snapshot, send it our way!

These signs need to get in the dirt.

In addition to these (which we also had last year):
lawn signs

We have these:

Tie em to your fence or tomato cage!