Applications accepted through March 20th! Growing Our Local Food Infrastructure: Urban Garden-Farm project begins in Traverse City, MI

IMG_4158

We are extending the invitation and application process through March 20th, to find a few more LLOOFers for our 2013 project—-please consider joining us or share this info. with someone who might benefit from learning the skills of garden-farming, permaculture and more. THANKS!

Download an application for the LLOOF program here (PDF):
Cover Letter – http://www.littleartshram.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/LLOOF-cover-letter.pdf
Application & Agreement – http://www.littleartshram.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/LLOOF-application-and-agreement-2013.pdf

Download a brochure to become a shareholder in O’k CSA here: http://pennyokart.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Ok-CSA-Brochure-2013.pdf

The LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farm) project is a comprehensive, 30-week program for students to learn the ins and outs of how to be a successful urban garden-farmer. The LLOOF project is a change-making opportunity working cooperatively with Little Artshram and collaboratively with O’k CSA and Market Garden.

Students will work with a team of instructors to run a neighborhood CSA + gain a 72-hour Permaculture certification + work with practitioners and sites around the city of Traverse City + rural farmers + community food leaders, including owners of businesses, directors of nonprofits, and city and county officials related to urban food gardening and farming. The curriculum will include a full range of topics, from design and budgeting, to soil fertility, harvesting and preservation, to 3 or MORE ways to compost, to bio-char and animal husbandry, to herbal medicine and forest gardens, and more. The LLOOF main ‘campus’ is at O’k Studio, an art studio and living learning laboratory in downtown Traverse City. Each week an activity and/or workshop will be hosted at other sites in and around Traverse City, as well as, Bakers Green Acres in Marion, Michigan.

The LLOOF project will run May 6 – November 13; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9am – 5pm + four independent learning hours. In its second year, the LLOOF project will accept 12 students (285 hours of work exchange asked of each). Applications are being accepted now on a first come, first served basis, followed by a brief interview.

Students will also attend a one-week learning immersion hosted by O’k CSA and the LLOOF project. A database of potential employers, community mentors and educational resources will be shared with each student. Multimedia storytelling and documentation will be included in each week’s activities so that students gain skills in how to tell their stories on what they are doing, and why it’s important to them, their communities, and in today’s world.

The goal of the LLOOF project is to train people in their local communities, who can help establish neighborhood CSA’s, green schoolyards, community gardens, farm-to-restaurant projects, and overall urban food security. Students will learn how to 1) maximize yields in minimal space, 2) diversify garden-farm production, 3) connect the dots between gardening, farming and potential partners, clients, community cooperatives and collaborators, and stakeholders, 4) demonstrate what is possible in one backyard, and 5) further the meaning of food security in our cities. This food-centric project brings together enthusiastic farm- and food-growing students with the practitioners, the projects, the networks, the skills, and the visions to effectively garden-farm in the city.

For further information on Little Artshram please visit:www.littlearthram.org                 Follow us on Twitter @LittleArtshram

For further information on O’k CSA please visit: www.pennyokart.com                         Follow us on Twitter @okart

Go to this link for more detailed info/photos on the LLOOF project: http://www.littleartshram.org/?page_id=976

For additional images and further inquiries about the LLOOF project please contact: [email protected] 231-922-2014

Permaculture & Garden-Farming Intensive: Become a LLOOFer, Learn a lot….

What is LLOOFing (Learning Local on Organic Farms)?

Written by Kerry Alspaugh, 2012 LLOOF program: “Urban gardening in the summer of 2012 made me appreciate “Home grown” at a whole new level. I have never tasted tomatoes that were so delicious. I can see why farmers feel proud at the end of the day.

Working outside everyday alone expanded my horizons literally. I felt a sense of purpose, showing up everyday, nurturing new gardens into being. Even though I still don’t know very much, I appreciate now how much fun it can be to work alongside of friends who are working hard right alongside you, to bring new possibilities from the earth in exchange for some sweat. I learned so much just sharing observations with my fellow gardeners.

I learned that sometimes the things you plant; just don’t make it, even though you have the best intentions for those wondrous seeds and plants. (I felt discouraged at times.) I initially thought that because I was working with someone who is experienced that that wouldn’t happen. It’s just the way it is. That doesn’t mean you give up!

Celebrating the things that do grow is the fun part but letting go of what doesn’t work, observing, researching, recording findings and trying new approaches is the process of permaculture. Problem solving is a core activity of permaculture and gardening. It’s an ongoing process where problems highlight opportunity.

Permaculture helps me realize that as we look to solve problems (in the garden or in our lives) we seek ways for things to work together in synchronicity. When using this as a guide, simple, new ideas and processes evolve.

Successful gardening takes a lot of attention. I always knew that but until I actually jumped in with both feet (and the rest of my body), and actually experienced the day-to-day duties, I didn’t understand.”

IMG_2716

Kerry partaking in a shared poetry reading, during our end of season LLOOF field-trip to Peter Bane Permaculture Activist and author of A Permaculture Handbook, and Keith D. Johnson, Permaculture designer/consultant/teacher extrodinaire, home-place in Bloomington, Indiana.

 

Become an O’k CSA share-holder and have a spot of tea….

Spot of tea.1
     This year in our O’k CSA and Market Gardens–herbal medicine plants for teas and tinctures will be offered each week, with simple instruction to begin and/or relearn the HOW-to’s of gathering and using what healing plants grow in our tame and wild gardens. We’ll be hosting a Community Pharmacy…with special workshops in the O’k garden-farm neighborhoods to help you build and fill your own medicine chest.
     We’re learning about the plants that grow all around our O’k CSA home-place in North West Michigan, and love to gather and dry medicinal herbs—–and there are SO many of them. In the spring and summer we head out on familiar walks, where plants I’m getting to know grow, with the intention of bringing good green plant energy into our bellies when it’s winter white outdoors.
Hibernation tea
     We’ve named this tea “Hibernation Tea”, and it is a combination of: Horsetail–St. Johns Wort blossom–Lavender–Sarsparilla.  It is a tea that tastes good and feels good, with lovely, light and lavender-ish flavor that is not overpowering.
     Before sharing our teas, we learn the medicinal properties of these plants and how they interact with each other.  This tea was concocted  to address over-stimulation and frazzled nerves. It has properties of relieving anxiety and depression (St. Johns Wort), is blood purifying and cleansing (Horsetail), a hormone balancer–aiding sexual vitality and testosterone activity (Sarsparilla) AND, alleviates tension and insomnia (Lavender).
Kootie-Buster-Tea
     Kootie Buster Tea was created in 2009 and came to the aid and did great service to all of the 28 students in our first-time offering of a Permaculture Design Course in the Tc/NW MI area, during the winter months this course was offered. It’s a beautiful tea and is well-loved by many in our Northern Michigan area!
     Kootie Buster Teas’ healing properties address and alleviate symptoms of virus caused diseases like flu, respiratory illnesses: colds, asthma and bronchitis, acts as very, low-level sedative, diminishes fatigue and stress and is a liver cleanser and over-all toner.
     It’s O’k CSA and the Market Garden’s 7th year as Traverse City’s first Urban CSA involving area youth and adults as market garden-farmers.  We have exciting changes in this year’s Market Garden and CSA program, which is part of the Urban Farm Collective and includes 3 additional, neighborhood and community gardens in Traverse City. AND, also celebrating the second year of the LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms) program that provides a work-exchange and permaculture training for green-collar jobs planning, planting, tending and harvesting the CSA gardens!  LLOOFers will also get out into some of our “wild” gardens in the area, and help to harvest elderberries (pictured below) and other medicinal plants for our teas and tinctures we’ll be offering in the CSA and through “Community Pharmacy” workshops.
Download a brochure to become a shareholder in O’k CSA here: http://pennyokart.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Ok-CSA-Brochure-2013.pdf
     Join our work-exchange program LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms):  REGISTRATION FOR THE LLOOF PROGRAM IS OPEN, from February 1st, until March 1st, 2013 to apply for the 12  LLOOFing positions that will be offered during this growing season.This project is based on both a  CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, and inspired by WWOOF, the world-wide version of what we are bringing you locally through LLOOFing.
Find out more about the O’k CSA and LLOOF program here:

How do you learn about gathering herbs and the use of these plants as medicines? We found a wise woman and herbalist in our friend, Carol Laughing Waters, who has been studying, practicing and making herbal medicines in the form of tinctures, teas and healing salves and willing to share her knowledge. Thank you Carol!

For additional information on our O’k CSA and Market Garden or the LLOOF program, contact:  [email protected] or 231-922-2014

An Ode for Karen and her Momma, Barbara Jean

This morning my longtime, childhood/teenaged friend told me her mother had passed.  This winter season has ushered in and escorted out, many of my people and my people’s people. There is a lovely tender place in my heart for this friend and her mother, and her whole family for having entered into my quiet life when they did so many years ago.

Growing up in a rural area with an active imagination and a habit to wander off to the woods or sit under a giant rhubarb plant was a daily ritual in warm weather and very nourishing place for me to be.  My living with a large family of eighth was a full world of operation, organized by my mother who tirelessly kept it all in order, and my father who drove back and forth to Lansing every day to work at the Oldsmobile plant.

Once I learned to ride my bike, and whenever I could, I would depart the household, the woods, or the garden, riding away from those that kept me fed, safe, warm  for some sort of adventure and to get the heck out!  In my early teens, I had two best friends that lived just south of me and once I had the ability and permission by my parents, to ride my bike that far—to venture off the dirt road that I lived on— I would head west to Debbie’s family farm, or I’d head east to Karen, the new girl’s home.

I’m not sure how I first met Karen and her mom, or exactly when.  Mostly I remember that they were a breath of mighty interesting and fresh air, along with the rest of their family.  I was thrilled for a new friend from a faraway place of Dowagiac, Michigan, who shared an interest in things creative and naming herself as such.  Her passionate language was poetry and she was as smart as a whip. Even though it was easy for me to fall in love with this quirky new family that had transplanted itself around the corner from me on Round Lake Rd., it was risky for me to climb out from under my giant rhubarb plant hideout and share my art-heart-mind and bear my creative soul as I did with these folks.

Karen’s mom, Barbara, shared my mom’s name, but the comparison—at least on the outside, with my limited ability to know all-things-mother at the time—stopped there.  My Barbara momma, was a stay at home-full time household mother, who organized our lives with a pattern that kept us all doing what needed to be done.  It wasn’t until most of us had moved out, with only two of my sisters remaining that my mom had enough time to herself to even consider working outside the home.  I remember Karen’s Barbara-mom impressed me as a breeze of an active woman, who’s home-place tending was necessary and accomplished, but her need to stay put in the home was not in the same realm as was mine.

My friendship with Karen and her mom and family helped me to forge the beginning of an understanding that I could give myself permission to be who I was becoming. To not skimp or be frightened of whatever different sort of quirkiness that may be part of the me-mix.   I have very fond memories of Barbara’s red-headed, smiling freckled face and her perfectly imperfect way of being and can hear her crackly, enthusiastic voice.  She welcomed me into her home-place pretty much with open arms, and even though I preferred my mom’s home-cooking, she was willing to share some sort of tomato soup cake or another kind of frightening, nourishing concoction.

This morning I wrote a first of the year, love-poem-for food intended to be eventually displayed with a series of “Hand-print” illustrations, and I’ll dedicate it to my impressionable teenage friendship with Karen and her momma, with very much love, fond and necessary memories and many, many thanks.

Ode to the Seed People, Who May Know Not

Seed you come to me
enveloped in printed paper
images of your potential
as an awesome vessel of
power.

Center stage and framed
a magnificent packaged portrait
making my heart leap at the potential
of your being
real.

“Take this seed and plant it.”
a tiny voice sings out,  and I
shake myself, wide-eyed to the demand
fully feeling the coming nourishment from
within.

“Really?” I ask myself looking down
and around checking for where
this place–my boots have carried me
to.

“All of this from a rack of seed packets?”
a 4 by 4 village assembled
nearby dozens of fruits and vegetables
a patterned show of babies born
an arrangement in bins on
display.

With prospective animal-transport-systems
gazing through the cardboard windows
standing rapt at a place of consideration
we meander, hover, breathe in and out
anticipation of more, of growth, giddy and
tranfixed.

Our plant minds merge
our desires
a stage set for
propagation.

In order to make ourselves known
we billboard our intentions sparking
flim-flam and flashy exuberance
it can not be held or
contained.

Long-live this seed-life in the making
a little idea, a curling sprout
patiently awaiting you, lovely you,
and your blessed
birth.

Hand-print Series: Seeds © `penny O’Krebiehl 2013

 

 

 

Get LLOOFing with O’k CSA!

O'k CSA and LLOOFO’k CSA announces our 2013  LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms) project asking interested folks 16 years and older to join in on this exploration of an urban-neighborhood food-growing and community building adventure!

This is our O’k CSA and the Market Garden’s 7th year as Traverse City’s first Urban CSA involving area youth and adults as market garden-farmers.  We have exciting changes in this year’s Market Garden and CSA program, which is part of the Urban Farm Collective and includes 3 additional, neighborhood and community gardens in Traverse City. AND, also celebrating the second year of the LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms) program that provides a work-exchange and permaculture training for green-collar jobs planning, planting, tending and harvesting the CSA gardens!

IMG_4154REGISTRATION IS OPEN, from February 1st, until March 1st, 2013 to apply for the 12  LLOOFing positions that will be offered during this growing season.

This project is based on both a  CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, and inspired by WWOOF, the world-wide version of what we are bringing you locally through LLOOFing.

Basic HOW-to become a LLOOFer:
LLOOFers fill out an application (Feb-March 2013) and are then interviewed.  Once a LLOOF position is offered, an agreement will be signed that informs LLOOFers of their work schedule/hours; the garden-farm lesson and Intro. to permaculture training schedule; and PDC certification schedule.  While the Introduction to Urban Permaculture Design is a prerequisite to earning a Permaculture Design Certificate through O’k CSA and Permaculture Design, to earn a PDC requires no less than 72 hours of class time plus a group design project, field practice and a final test.  The value of the six-month training for each LLOOFer who completes the work-exchange agreement (commitment ) is offered as follows:

  • Garden-Farm mentoring (10 lessons/HOW-to’s focused on urban-neighborhood/back-yard gardening)  $300.00
  • Intro. to Urban Perm Design Training (40 hours, focused on Effective Permaculture Design-Step-by-step, People/Social permaculture system design, w/ themes of food-forest and garden-farming pattern language)  $650.00
  • CSA weekly food share (July-Sept)  $350.00
  • Permaculture Design Course towards certification(72 hours) $1,250.00

After the 2013 growing season in Traverse City, our vision is to expand and offer LLOOF throughout Michigan, dividing into regions.  Each region’s organization will exist independently within the LLOOF network and the original LLOOF Project located in Traverse City will organize a low annual membership fee–in any combination of the following economic forms of: money, gifting, bartering, trade or work-exchange.

In order to meet the pre-season and post-season work schedule for our CSA and Market garden, we’ll be staggering the LLOOF positions to cover a full-six months of Permaculture and Garden-Farming experiential learning, beginning in April through September 2013.  LLOOFers who complete 285 hours of work exchange hours, (with work hours fully documented) are eligible to receive all or part of the above offerings.

Contact:  [email protected] 231-922-2014 (Please leave a message)

Find out more about the O’k CSA and LLOOF program here: http://www.littleartshram.org/?page_id=976

Download an application for the LLOOF program here (PDF):
Cover Letter – http://www.littleartshram.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/LLOOF-cover-letter.pdf
Application & Agreement – http://www.littleartshram.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/LLOOF-application-and-agreement-2013.pdf

Download a brochure to become a shareholder in O’k CSA here: http://pennyokart.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Ok-CSA-Brochure-2013.pdf

IMG_3799