So I have a big ambitious plan for a website and effort to get my community networking towards local production and the introduction of new ideas such as permaculture. I am a recent PDC graduate and have been working on the website and networking initiatives for many years. I have been working with others, but nobody wants to do the work of putting together a modest site in terms of its bells and whistles but hopefully can at least outline what we as a community could do about food and then try to move out from there towards large networking goals. Yes its pie in the sky, but this is a county which is well behind its neighbors in terms of this sort of thing. I could try to be more clear about my site if need be, but I think I have given enough of an idea to go to my real question. Here in Napa our neighborhood is just a couple of hundred yards away from what is a state owned fairground type area where the very large Bottlerock concert occurred a few months back. It seems to be kind of unusual to have placed that large and loud of an event in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and a couple of my neighbors are unhappy. A lot of us have seen one another at the city council before on redevelopment agency issues so we kind of know one another. And now it is likely we could use this Bottlerock issue as a subterfuge in a way to try to just get all of the 40 homes in this little area together and to perhaps to have a discussion about growing sharing and cooking food together. I think I will leave my website out of it but perhap try to incorporate some of its ideas into our discussions. OK one more time at getting to the question. In this group of 30 to 40 homes a fair amount have yards that are not tightly sculpted and a reasonable percentage could go to growing food. Does anybody have suggestions or estimates on how much time would have to be invested to just try and get a bulk yield. A lot of compost seems obvious. But then what. Squash, Tomatoes, Potatoes maybe. Were USDA 8 if that matters. It would be possible to try to go for a niche market for something to sell at the very local farmers market.
So arrived at another though, so pardon a bit of digression. I mentioned the very local farmers market which happens at our newest and trendiest recently redeveloped area jut a couple of blocks from here, and literally part of our area in discussion. So yes the trendy center which contains our Farmers Market is part of this. So what I am thinking is that perhaps part of the sell to my neighbors could be that if we were to organize as a group to produce food, and that if our effort was noteworthy enough that we might actually catch the interest of the tourist community to some degree. And therefore gain attention locally as well
So my question is just how impossible do folks think this is, though i am trying regardless because it seems like the stars are kind of aligned for me. Also do we consider bringing folks in from other neighborhoods if we just cant generate the work hours with the approximately hundred or so folks. And then the final part to which I had already partially alluded, what are the best low time investment high yield veggies?
The best low time investment high yield veggies?
Intrinsically speaking, without regard to climate, soil, etc.; in a word...greens! Greens are the first and bulkiest thing any plant produces, and green leaves are the foundation of other produce like roots and fruits. So if you can eat the greens you are using the bulk of the plant. So think kale, lettuce, spinach, chard, etc.
Climactically speaking, you want to find what grows easily and in what season. Where you are, for most greens, that's probably fall through spring, avoiding the comparatively hot dry summer, when irrigation will be essential.
Napa is not the Central Valley where I live, but for me, provided irrigation was provided, I found winter squash, zucchini, and tomatoes to be pretty effortlessly productive in terms of crops OTHER than greens. And I've got good promising crops of carrots, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes among the root crops.
But if you really want a California thing that gives you loads of dense nutritious food, with no effort at all except for processing post harvest, is native, perennial, etc. etc......learn to eat acorns, and teach others to do likewise. They are now part of my daily diet!
Thanks Alder -Greens sound great since I am really thinking about trying to connect with some of the restaurants that are in this downtown-like little district we are near? I am going to suggest that Paul, or Mr Wheaton if he prefers, please consider making a separate thread for suburban and urban food activism. I see there is not a lot posted here on that and perhaps that is because strict permaculture is more problematic or complex in such settings. Here is an example that raises part of the issue. Whole Foods sells organic produce here, and most of our organic producers at our farmers market come from a fir/fur piece. So even if we were to use non organic standards here, which we are not, then one could argue that from a footprint perspective locally produced conventional might be equal of better than organic brought from a distance. So I realize this issue may not seem important , or even in the realms of permaculture proper, but from my perspective I am willing to waive the mere mention of permaculture as this local effort unfolds. I would further suggest that is likely the best strategy in most localities. That being said sheet mulching, I happen to have a ton of save big sheet cardboard, is going to primary objective. I suspect we will use mostly organic, but perhaps more importantly I think we will need to develop strategies that allow for one another to be confident what the growing conditions are in general
I also wish that here or somewhere in the P community we could kind work on general blueprints for certain issues. I know some good threads accomplish that. but occasionally something a little more Wiki like that distills a subject down to its basics. For instance in thinking over this neighborhood food production thing it seems that many of the challenges are consistent to suburbia, such as folks want to know how much time do we invest and in return for what. So it would seem like we could put some parameters for time and resources around sheet mulched areas since the procession those situations usually should be consistent. You know your time in cardboard, getting compost and manure etc. So in other words it seems like we could have some rough estimates somewhere where neighborhood food producers could plug in some calculations to come up with work hours needed. In other words some rough estimate for time per square foot to place cardboard and soil at least. Watering systems could also have such an estimate. I am sure contractors know these numbers, and of course with some people less professional we will have to revise downward. also the time back and forth on compost runs will be an independent variable in the equation.
Also I believe some marketing type strategies are needed. After your neighbors meet and get an early feel for how much land might be available then need to come up with labor estimates in regard to that amount of land, and one would expect that the needed amount of labor greatly exceeds the volunteer hours of those available in the neighborhood. Therefore you will most likely need additional help. Now the timing of this is important since the neighborhood will probably need to accomplish some achievement, to attract help. An add in the paper, or maybe trying to contact your green party members, or whoever you feel is a likely volunteer. It is also worth suggesting that it could be the case that those who come from other neighborhoods to help us would be reciprocated in kind later in the process when they are perhaps trying to organize their neighborhoods
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