Back to the Writing…Let Plants Save the Planet

Posted by on September 21, 2013  |  No Comments

OK…I quit. No, not this blog, though as infrequently as I have posted, I might as well have.

But, no…it is the managing of local farmers markets that I have been doing the last three years, that I am quitting. I am done with, all over, frustrated and somewhat mystified with how some markets end up not accomplishing many key goals. But that is a different story which I will address soon in a post called “Who Needs Farmers Markets?“.

The silver lining for me is that it frees up time to write, post and publish. With fall already in the Northwest air, our successful, sustainable farm, 19th Street Farms, will still keep me busy, but even that slows down as the days shorten. So, happily, back to communicating.

Some of you are probably asking…why bother now? It is my continuing concern over the situation around food, how it is grown, how it “manufactured,” how it is distributed, who has access to decent food, and, really determining what is healthy food, has not changed. This despite a few successful alternatives in some metropolitan areas, and a White House focus on many of these issues. (Obesity rate increases have seemingly stopped, so these very public efforts may be starting to work!). But counter that with the recent US House passing (for no real purpose) a bill to remove 3.5 million people from the supplemental food programs, mainly food stamps. Their meanness is hypocritical at every level of their political and personal lives. Shame.

There should be, instead, small government investments in innovative food systems that support a local community’s needs, wherever it is located. This would create jobs, healthier consumers and communities, and help provide green spaces where nothing useful exists now. These include not just food oriented projects, but other “plant technologies” need similar support to help them develop into efficient, widely used options. The Northwest region is alive with new ideas and projects that point to a more sustainable, more human society. They deserve wider exposure, and I want to help that effort.

One such project was a series of papers on various plant technologies that were proving they could work with the natural environment to solve problems. Aimed at Oregon’s struggling nursery industry, this was organized and funded by Sustainable Plant Research and Outreach (SPRout), an environmental organization housed at The Oregon Garden, Silverton, Oregon. I wrote four chapters that, as far as I can tell, never saw the light of day. Old story…the grant money dried up.

So, over the next few weeks, I am going to post them, with only essential changes to start. I realize the information is several years old, but much is still useful. I will then continue to update them with new research and projects. Plant technologies are becoming more common. One example is the green roof concept, now finding acceptance in the US. You will see from these papers that there are many other interesting, working examples.

Another priority task is to finally post numerous book reviews from the past few years. While they are not as immediate as they should have been, the reviews are of books that offer more, or unique, information that many, more mundane fare. I just want to point to the better sources since I now read so many books. From 1999′s The Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand, through the marketing theories of the brilliant The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, to the recent Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner, are just a few examples. Read on.

Finally, I will also be adding a new section, called “Notes of a Middle-of-the-Road Radical.” It will be a place for some of the non-food, non-plant content. Sometimes I just can’t help myself and need to comment on various subjects including politics, music and unusual content. Hope to see you soon.

Final Focus…Neighborhood Farms Can Create Health, Community and Growth

June 17, 2013   |  No Comments

Well Patient Readers, if there are any of you left, one more try at this blog. So many changes since the last post (10 months ago!), but it all seems to be gaining focus. Our farm, with addition of a 20,000 sq. ft. hoop house, is now profitable, expanding and finding a new, local customer. […]

Sustainable Hort Focus Moves to Plant Technology & Food

August 14, 2012   |  No Comments

All right, one more try… The late Richard Holbrooke gave an essential piece of advice for a question-driven life: Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around. It seems that fits the definition of a blog, at least a useful blog. I don’t […]

Changes Affecting Horticulture, Both Bad & Good

November 22, 2011   |  No Comments

It was May when I last posted anything. Doubling our farm, taking over as manager of our local farmers market, and unexpected contract work meant no time to write. I am sure you assumed this site died a quiet death like most sites. Ambition usually blinds bloggers to the reality of maintaining a site with […]

Food Prices Rising…Only the Start

May 23, 2011   |  No Comments

With all the recent headlines, the story of rising food prices has been on the news back burner. But, for many people, both here in the US and in most under-developed countries, these climbing costs are much more important than a royal wedding, the Trump comedy series about birth certificates, and, even, the elimination of […]

Natural Alternatives to Turf

February 25, 2011   |  No Comments

My recent post on replacing turf with an edible landscape attracted many comments, especially through Linkin. While I prefer the use of edibles, I certainly realize not everyone wants to tend a food garden. Grasses and many natives are perfect replacements for the turf in a normal yard. This alternative uses grasses, both native and […]

Wasted Yards to Mini-Farms

February 2, 2011   |  No Comments

Urban gardening continues to be an expanding trend. We are seeing more and more turf areas being replaced by some type of landscape, often food oriented. This does not break my heart. I feel most small yards (turf) are useless and a waste of space. Now, I have no problem with a larger yard, one […]

Monrovia Falters…Industry Feels the Tremors

February 2, 2011   |  No Comments

Monrovia’s recent sales woes may indicate that a new marketing message is needed to revive a shell-shocked consumer. I now look back at my years working for the Oregon nursery industry and realize it may have been a Golden Age for wholesale plant growers. The state’s sales skyrocketed over several decades from few hundred million […]

Lost In the Ozone Again

January 8, 2011   |  2 Comments

Whew!!…how can it be seven months…seven months!…since my last post? The line from the old Commander Cody song seemed to be an appropriate headline. I am the perfect example of what generally happens with many blogs. The energy, the persistence, the time, to keep any blog useful, original and current, is demanding. I knew it […]