Five years ago at this time, John and I were not cutting seed potatoes getting them ready to plant on St. Patrick’s Day. We were not adding coffee grounds from the local cafe to our compost facility. We did have a small compost pile but we were not working it. Now it is a part-time job for John. Well, maybe not but my husband makes a darn good soil, something I would not have appreciated five years ago.

biochar corn

I didn’t think much about soil. I have gardened for years but didn’t understand the value of good soil. I do now.

Almost 3 years ago we started having zero-waste potlucks with 8 or so friends and studied the Post Carbon Institute’s online video course Think Resilience. It focused on life after fossil fuels. It was thought-provoking. As part of the study, the course had the group answer the question, “What do you wish you would have learned to do in school?” Almost all of us said we wanted to know how to grow our own food.

John and I grew a huge percentage of our own food last year as a result of the learning and conversation we have had through Moving to Conservers. Thank you to everyone who has aided in our journey.

The Think Resilience class focused on local resilience. In other words, when we decided to expand our garden, going to the store and buying dead soil in a plastic bag that had been shipped from somewhere was not an option. As a group, Conservers started to study how to make soil for growing local food. Wow did we learn a lot. The first thing we realized was that a huge amount of raw materials, food scraps, were being thrown in the landfill.

compost helpers

Helping a neighbor

Since, we have worked to divert scraps from the landfill to those who can use them. We advertise 2 local drop off sites and have connected folks who are interested in scrap diversion.

We went from a compost pile to a 4 bin facility. We also learned to make biochar and that has done wonders for our production.

These are the topics for our April Moving to Zero-waste education series class. We will more than likely postpone that in-person class.

Interested in learning to grow your own food or help others grow food for us locally? Start with composting your food scraps. It is super easy to start a compost pile. Simply put your non-meat and non-dairy food scraps in a pile and add leaves or shredded paper. You can get more scientific and speed soil building.

You can also take your meat and dairy scraps and turn them into biochar. A topic for another day :).

It is also a great time to plant some crops. If you plant radishes now you could be eating them in 30 days. We currently have turnips, garlic, onions, parsnips, kale and collards growing. We are planting potatoes, asparagus and rhubarb outside now and have started a lot of seeds indoors under florescent lights in our kitchen.  They work great.

Thanks for those who shared seeds at the seed swap. I have planted a new basil as a result and am looking forward to growing the butternut squash and candy roaster squash.

Growing and preserving my own food gives me a great sense of comfort and relief. If it is something your are interested in learning more about, let us know. We would love to help.

Hope everyone is doing OK. Remember, we are here if you need something or just need someone to talk with. The only way to reach us at home is via our landline so please call 828-966-5367 if we can help in any way.

Moving to Conservers:  study, conversation and local action. Loving our community and taking care of each other. Thanks so much for being there.

Much love,