Potluck next Friday: Food Aid and Food Justice

Guided by Shari Reilly, we'll talk about the ideas of charity, service, social justice, and the compatibility and conflict of these ideas, with a focus on food.
The potluck will occur on Dec 9th, at 6 PM, with a discussion to follow at 7PM.
The potluck will be at 320 Ash Ave, a few blocks south of Iowa state university.

Bring some food and ideas to share!

Potluck Today: Nov 11, 2011: The Baha'i faith

Guided by Hannah and Leif, we will learn about the Bahai' faith and perspective on community, sharing perspectives on community connections, commitments, and engagement.
The potluck will occur at 6 PM, followed by a discussion from 7 to 8 PM.
The location will be 322 N Russell Ave, to the south east of Brookside Park.

Total Harvests for 2011

The graph shows the cumulative harvests, such that the end of the graph is shows what the total harvest for the year were, in pounds. The blue line is vegetables that have been paid for, mainly our CSA shares. The red line is vegetables used by workers, including our working CSA shares and people that live or were living on the farm. The yellow line is vegetables used by people that generally didn't pay us or work on our farm.

There's still a few things that haven't been weighed, such as probably 20 or so pounds of dry beans and various brassicas that might have survived the frost on Thursday, but they won't really impact the final totals that much.

This graph obscures a lot of things, which are probably worth talking about further than I will here. Quickly, though, there's first the fact that a pound of potatoes isn't the same as a pound of kale or a pound of raspberries. We could approximate the value of each of these using their price, though this presents its own problems, a good example being the fact that stinging nettle is quite healthy, but most people wouldn't pay any money for it. We don't do much work to grow stinging nettle, but then the question becomes should we value nettle more because it's easy to produce, or less because it requires less labor. Beyond this, our mission isn't to produce the maximum amount of goods and then dump them somewhere, as this food aid strategy doesn't really work great at "creating a community in which everyone can participate in growing and eating delicious, healthy, locally produced food." So the actual pounds isn't the final measure, its whether we're helping to create that community. I think we're doing a pretty good job of distributing our food in a way that does that, though we'll be sure to talk about it at the roundtable discussion in December, seen below.

First set of winter potlucks

Last Harvest of the fall at Mustard Seed

This saturday, we'll be having our last harvest at Mustard Seed Community Farm, combined with a general workday, focused on winterizing, bean shelling, and cleaning. I just got done with a class, and one of the teachers there said that "cleaning as a group is a great way of showing people how successful collective action can be." So come get inspired about collective action! You might also get to see and play with this turkey.

The workdays will be from 9-12 and 1-4, whichever you want or both if you'd like.

If you plan on coming, call Nicholas at 515-520-9691 so that we can make sure to divide the harvest equally!

Potluck Reminder

This Friday, Oct 14, 6-8PM we'll be sharing dinner and ideas about the Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker. The dinner and discussion will be att Larrison and Brian's house: 138 Main Street, Ames, IA 50010.
Alice McGary will be returned from the national Catholic Worker gathering tonight and several of us have just gone to the midwest Catholic Worker gathering. Alice will help facilitate a discussion about the Catholic worker movement and its goals, using the Aims and Means as a starting point.
Come share food and insights!

Harvest Data: Fruit

Our harvests are nearing their end. We still have probably a few pounds of strawberries and raspberries to harvest, but the picture, showing our major fruit crops, should be about the same in a couple weeks. I know rhubarb isn't a fruit, but its pretty well exclusively used for deserts, so I included it. There's a nice high harvest early in the spring. The raspberries make a nice moderate harvest after these spikes, and are generally longer-bearing, providing a good amount for farm consumption.
Next year, hopefully there will be similar yields of strawberries and rhubarb. There should be a bit more raspberries and currants as our plants mature, and we could definitely do a better job of harvesting more of our mulberries. Also, grapes should definitely bear more, and hopefully we will have a decent amount of plums and elderberries. These two should help increase our late summer fruits. Eventually, our apples should start doing something, too, though I'm not as hopeful about them. I think we're also giving up on growing melons next year, as there are too many disease problems.

Mustard Seed Community Farm Fall Newsletter 2: Potluck Schedule

In this newsletter:
Season Update
Winter Potlucks
Workday reminder
Lost and Found Blanket from our music festival

read more

Speaker, workday, leaves

Speaker Tonight:
At 8PM in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union: Martha Hennessy: Dorothy Day: Inspiration for the 21st Century Radical
In the midst of the Great Depression and between two world wars, Dorothy Day cofounded the "Catholic Worker." Martha Hennessy, Dorothy Day's granddaughter, will discuss the relevance of the Catholic Worker movement today and share her experiences of living the Catholic Worker life. Part of the Msgr. James A. Supple Lecture Series.

This Saturday (Oct 8, from 9AM-4PM)
We'll be protecting our trees for the winter from rabbits and deer, so that we can have a good crop of fruit and maybe nut next year. We'll also be taking down our fence, cleaning up some plants, and planting cover crops, such as the radish planted among the eggplant in the picture above. Depending on the weather, there will likely be some crops to harvest as well. Come for a few hours or all day. If you're coming all day, you should bring your own lunch, as our fall kitchen sometimes doesn't get enough sun to cook lunch for a large group.

The Friday after that (Oct 14, 9AM-4PM)
This August, we harvested garlic that we had planted last October. It was a great crop, and now it's time to plant next year's crop. This will give it a chance to grow throughout the fall and early spring. We'll be preparing beds and planting cloves from this year's harvest. We also will likely be doing some of the farm tasks that didn't get done on the previous workday, and again, might be harvesting if there's still harvest to be had. Again, if you're coming all day, bring your own lunch!

Fall leaves
Something like the time schedule for garlic, we're also preparing for next season by collecting leaves to mulch next year's potatoes. If you have a yard with lots of bags of leaves in Ames, let us know, and we'll try to figure out a way to get them to our farm.

Mustard Seed Community Farm Fall Newsletter 1

Mustard Seed Community Farm Fall Newsletter
from Alice McGary

Short summary of email contents:
1. We had a good season
2. next years goals
3 join our farm team
4. upcoming dates

It’s really fall now. Not only have we had a few frosts, but we have passed the equinox and the days are now shorter than the nights. This morning, our Tuesday harvest crew worked their last shift of the season (and I was pleased to hear them asking about spring!) and Friday will be our last full delivery. Our season is ending a little early, but overall, it has been very good.

We are already thinking about next year, dreaming and scheming about what we’d like to improve, change, or keep the same. We’d really love some ideas and feedback from our greater community, and we would especially love some new team members and volunteers to help us expand our vision and our work.

Some goals for next year:
Strengthen our connections with the people that eat our food. We partner with groups like Food at First and different food pantries and shelters that distribute our food to those who need it. These are great organizations with a lot of volunteers (just like us) who serve a lot of people, and sometimes it can get confusing. We’re looking for some consistant relationships with these groups, and also with people who want to eat our food.

Continue educating ourselves and others about issues of Environmental Stewardship, Social Justice, Agriculture, Spirituality, and more (perhaps healthy food preparation from fresh vegetables?).

And of course – it’s a goal to have a strong farm team!

Do you have any creative ideas to help us achieve these goals, or do you have other goals in mind for us? We really do need some more farm team members, and if you have any interest in possibly joining us, I’d like to encourage you to call me and/or come to our next planning meeting: this Friday afternoon at 3:30 PM at the farm (366 W Ave).

This Friday’s probable meeting agenda:
Planning the winter pot-lucks
Finding new farm team members?
Harvest and garden report from the whole season

Other dates of interest:
Friday October 14 – garlic planting 9am-4pm
friday night, first "winter" pot-luck
Saturday Oct 15 – possible continued work day if we don’t get it done Friday (9am-3)

Winter pot-lucks are the second Friday of the month 6pm dinner, 7pm discussion. These will be in the town of ames – check the website for locations and topics which will be posted soon. (if you would like to host or lead one of these, please let me know)

Thanks for the great season!

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