Carrie Little from the Emergency Food Network and runs Mother Earth Farm
Moved here from IL because of union husband. No work in IL, came out here for work.
Been a gardener whole life. Kicked out of master gardener program for being “too organic”
Husband was getting involved in labor organizing events. Had learned about an event in Tacoma in 1893 at Fireman’s Park. Gathering of almost everyone in Tacoma to talk about taking care of each other during the then depression. Got involved in trying to recreate that. A homeless man introduced to the gardens and met Bill Bichsel. Need help with garden? YES!
July 17th 1993 the event happened. Husband forced out of union because of that event. Too much attention brought on the union.
Met David Ottie and talked about how it would be great to work together. During 7-8 years after event, worked with Guadalupe Garden and had a farmer’s market here at People’s Park.
In 2000 David Ottie said “woman wants to give this land over to grow food for EFN.” 8 acres, great soil. No earthworms, though. Turned in 6th month notice at Guadalupe Garden.
Gave 70 tons of produce to food banks last year.
Real magic is in taking human beings into a collective. Not master gardeners, but school kids, women from Purdy. Also district court, community service people, mostly men doing 180-250 hours—come out with a bit of an attitude, to be honest. At the end of the day they each get a bag and told “go shopping” Great to see grown men skipping down the aisles. It’s most jazzing to get people connected. Not just preaching to the choir but invite our neighbors to get dirty.
One member asked about how to have a patch of land to grow own food.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you buy a share of what the farmer grows.
Terry’s Berries and Zestful Harvest are 2 examples
Mother Earth may do something with some land bought with salmon restoration money. ME might take over 18 acres. It would be a fund raising effort for ME.
Other piece is to invite share holders into the community of the garden.
Seed saving is an important feature of ME because agri-business is constantly moving to patent the genetic material of seeds so they can “own” the seeds.
Question, how long take and what did you do to revitalize the soil at Mother Earth? Originally planned for 7 years to be in full production, but got there in 3 years. Compost, compost, compost. Neighbor has racehorses give organic feed and get manure.
Cover cropping (primarily legumes). Then plow it all in (with draft horses).
Not organic certified because don’t sell any of it. Gov’t won’t certify unless goods are sold rather than given away. Also Pierce Co. don’t see land as a farm.
How cleanse the earth? 160,000 pounds of compost. Cover cropping then rotated crops 2 acres at a time, cover cropping
Is there more support from political side? Yes, but they constantly need to have their hands held and bringing leaders to the farm.
Someone brought up the idea to take a field trip there.
Are there any adjacent farms that don’t use organic methods and is that a big problem for you? Biggest problem is WSU’s research farm 3 1/2 miles away. Just Google WSU and Monsanto. Very little corn but what is grown is surrounded by sunflowers, for example, and other isolation techniques plus crop rotation.
RoundUp ready crops, Monsanto gets money from gov’t.
What can we do?
Support locallygrown food, as organic as can be, but mainly make a relationship with food and who grows it. Also think seasonally. Should not be eating strawberries and corn in January. Eat greens and beets!
What’s wrong with GMOs anyway? Have actually found a reason to support genetically altered food. In the case of growing in space because that’s where we are going next. Important to do the research but not to set it free in the environment. Setting GMOs free into the environment has been the mistake. If we lose our honey bees, we have 5 years.
How protected is the farm? Is ME part of a trust? Have put in a proposal to have the family do that. Development is encroaching from all sides.
3 statesmen from the Puyallup tribe visited farm this past week. Chief archeologist, biologist and historian doing a cultural map of important. May just pull a “Port Angeles”
What about this new position called a farmbudsman. Good or mouthpiece for powers that be? There could be some value, in terms of building more open markets for growers. There is an upsurge in farmer’s markets.
Also need to preserve the farmland. Faith Dairy is closing tomorrow. Probably all turn into development.
Organic meat? Any teaming going on? Also, could high school kids come out to the farm and spend a few hours a week. Yes, wholeheartedly.
Recommend the Omnivores Dilemma. 120th and Vickery has organic grass fed, fee range meat. There are some other local people-Cheryl the Pig Lady, for example. Hope that next farm will have animals weaved in, involved in digging and fertilizing on site. Terry’s and Zestful Farm, on a limited scale.
Started small, 2 acres 60,000 lbs., now 70 tons (140,000 lbs.)
No sales, but volunteers are rewarded fruitfully!
Tear out your lawn and plant clover or wild flowers, if you don’t want to grow a garden.
Things that grow as “weeds” here are great-fennel, St. John’s Wort, clover, etc.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007