O’k CSA Friday Market OPENing this week!

THIS FRIDAY! July 17th, 4 to 6 pm, our first, official Friday Market will be open to share our veggie, herbs, art & craft goods with passer-bys at our Peace Patch Garden location.

Peace Patch Garden is located at the corner of 7th and Oak St. in Traverse City.

Stop by and support truly local, efforts by garden-farmers and artists who are growing and producing good food & art for good people!

O'k CSA Cooperative, Traverse City's first urban CSA!

Consider the soil and let the little seeds be planted!

Irregardless of the snow piled up, we’ve been deep in the soil and plant biology studies just completing the “High Bionutrient Crop Production” 2-day intensive workshop, with over two dozen gardeners and farmers.  The course presenter was Dan Kittredge of the Bionutrient Food Association, and Mark and Jill Baker were the hosts at their farm in Marion, Michigan, with O’k CSA as the organizing sponsor!

Sunday Group, bfa, 2-21-15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through Dan Kittredge’s presentation and info sharing, we learned how to detect and understand unique advantages and limitations of soil and crops, as well as the interactions between plants, soil, and air.  We learned how we can grow better food, and work towards increasing quality in the food supply.  There was much eagerness amongst the participants to learn more about the principles and practices of this form of biological and energetic farming and gardening, and plans for several local chapters in Michigan, under the Bionutrient Food Association umbrella are underway!  To learn more about the BFA:  www.bionutrient.org  or, to learn a bit more about BFA Chapters – click here.

Build SoilAmongst other things, in the two day course we were advised and learned how to look and read our soil tests and make our own recommendations to improve the soil life, integrating whole system understanding, visual plant guides of growth and status, and using plant and soil monitoring to trouble shoot problems.  The course concluded with discussion about local, natural solutions and a brief (re)introduction to seminal thinkers like Mae Won Ho, Phil Callahan, Richard Olree, Stephen Herrod Buhner, Bill Mollison/David Holmgren, and Rudolf Steiner to name a few.

This winter-time, pre-garden planting gathering of minds and hearts at the Baker’s farm was a fantastic and very worthwhile, inspiring learning endeavor, and we plan to continue on the “nutrient-dense” food and farming pathway.  Here is a well written article and account of a couple of farmers in Vermont who have begun and well on the way of remineralizing their garden/farm soil:  http://www.grit.com/farm-and-garden/crops/remineralize-soil-ze0z1502znut.aspx?PageId=3[binnashfbalbum4wp album_id=undefined]

NOW,  it’s time to sort, organize and layout the seeds and garden farming plans for the five O’k CSA 2015 gardens.  For the past several years, we’ve been saving as many seeds from healthy plants—fruit and vegetables,  and,  herbs and flowers, as we possibly can.  We still have a lot to learn about seed saving, but have managed to save many different types of tomato, squash and several varieties of pepper seeds. Making friends with other gardeners who are VERY proud of their produce and willing to share seed is a wonderful part of community and neighborhood gardening. I have up to 10 different tomato variety seeds from our O’k market gardens and the give-away plot at the community garden.

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Even in our shorter Northern Michigan climate we can grow fantastic crops of tomatoes. If you’ve never saved seeds it’s SOOOOOO easy to save tomato seeds in particular.  Have you’ve noticed that where a rotten tomato lies it will likely sprout another of several other tomato seedlings if left somewhat covered with soil, protected and undisturbed? That was my first aha! moment of seed saving—observing which ones wanted to be saved! Those that had already decided to save themselves! All I had to do was pick them up, tuck them into an used seed package and label them with their tomato variety name and the year!

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This year we’re planning to put extra effort into our pepper and onion crop and learn more about care-taking them to encourage a greater yield. They are a bit more finicky than tomato plants and will likely spend a bit of time in the Hobbit Greenhouse once sprouted and when it warms up.

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Saving tomato and pepper seeds is pretty simple, and included below is a good link with almost all you’ll ever need to read/know about saving seeds. BUT, the best way to learn is not to just read, but to actually do it—-make time now, while planning and ordering seeds to set up a system to save your own.

It can be a fairly simple act of observing as the fruit ripens on the vine, remembering to make note and select a few of the most beautiful and fully ripened for seed saving. It’s a difficult to refrain from eating the lovely fruit as you watch it grow to maturity—but remember, you’ll be carrying that loveliness into your garden growing the next year.

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It’s as important to know where our seeds come from as it is where our food (in the store) comes from. Gardeners can effect BIG change in the current Monsanto-Genetically Modified seed debacle and crises by simply purchasing heirloom, untreated, open-pollinated seeds, and then saving your own seeds from the crops you raise.

Join O’k CSA and many other seed-savers and read up on Seed Saving: http://www.seedsave.org/

Our most recent and still enduring favorite gardening book is John Jeavons “How to Grow More Vegetables*” *than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine.

In addition to having the best gardening book title—EVER—the work of Ecology Action has spanned the planet with such a positive garden-food-security impact that I’m pleased to know of. Likewise, most of the needed seeds, beyond my own efforts to save-seeds, are ordered through Bountiful Gardens—which is a project of Ecology Action.

In the Bountiful Gardens catalog, one of our Northern Michigan neighbors, Craig Schaaf’ has a small published book the “Golden Rule Farm’s Guide to Growing Early Tomatoes”! 28 pages of tomato growing wisdom, “with detailed text and clear color photos for $11.95”! SO wonderful and proud of Craig’s wisdom sharing! http://www.bountifulgardens.org

We still have 2015 O’k CSA shares available—-and will have an updated, and on-line signup available soon.  REGISTER BY MARCH 20, 2015: AND GET A FREE Worm Farm Bucket comes with your 2015 O’k CSA Cooperative subscription! 

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

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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

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