Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why I Wake Early

by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety --

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light --
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bloom where you're planted

Last night was not the night for me to write up my interview with Ann. I'm not seeing tonight being it, either -- so maybe Thursday or Friday I'll get that to you.

Later today I'm meeting Susan to do some work at our garden, so I'll have new pictures for you tomorrow.

For now, I'll share a picture of someone else's garden. Several weeks back -- mid-May I think? -- my kiddos and I were downtown in Johnson City at the Hands On! Museum and walking back to our car we spied this terrific parking-lot garden:

Pretty amazing what one can do with creativity, hard work and the miracle mix of seed, soil, water and sun that we too often take for granted!

Monday, June 27, 2011

NPR and some local awesomeness

Last week my friend Ann made me aware of this story that had aired on NPR's All Things Considered:

A Squash's Journey: From the Shelf to the Hungry

It's a national story, but with a focus close to home for Harvest of Hope -- Johnson City and Jonesborough are featured. Take a minute to read and/or listen.

Later in the week, I hope, I'll post an interview with the very same friend Ann who shared the NPR link. She is the volunteer coordinator of a group from the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, and they are caring for two of the Harvest of Hope beds.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Highly suggested reading

Today brings you Post No. 5 to the Harvest of Hope blog. Anyone reading? I hope so! Hi, reader or two! Tell your friends to check us out, please!

Last Sunday, Father's Day, our family traveled a bit afield to The Harvest Table in Meadowview, Va. I want you to focus on the book today, more than the restaurant. But if you like amazing and locally grown food, I suggest you get thee to The Harvest Table. It's the best restaurant I've been to around here. Fabulous. Worth a drive and the cost of your best babysitter. Seriously.

At any rate. My topic for today is what you need to read, not eat. But they're connected, the book and the restaurant.

When my family and I were eating at The Harvest Table for Father's Day brunch, I purchased a second copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver). I have a copy from a few years ago, but I think it's been bequeathed to my sister or someone else afar, for it's not in my house. And just as well, for the more people who read this book and take it to heart, the better, in my opinion.

So. Last night or the night before, I began to read it again. I really do think everyone should read it. If you're reading this blog, it's likely you're concerned about where our food comes from, and that everyone is fed. Read it. Even just the first chapter, please!

The connection? Well Barbara Kingsolver and her husband, Steven Hopp, along with their two children, migrated to western Virginia from Arizona some years ago, to a farm not far from The Harvest Table. So they're our neighbors. And Steven L. Hopp is, from what I can tell, part of the reason The Harvest Table exists.

And all of this applies to our Harvest of Hope. Read and you'll understand.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Starting out

It's easy to start a blog, I think. At least this one. Every day I think of things I could add -- stats I could give you or excerpts I could share. Better pace myself, right? So! I have a good excerpt coming for you perhaps tomorrow, and down the road I've thought of interviews with gardeners and good stuff like that. For today, however, let me go back a bit.

I wasn't present for this big workday, but I'm glad the folks there got pictures. Here we have a Bobcat spreading chat (tiny gravel) among and around the beds to stifle weeds (and therefore, we hope, save us from having to weedeat a lot).

The beds partially filled with sand and waiting for the next level, compost.

Early plantings -- this is Jill's herb garden.

I tend to be into weird angles with my camera -- not sure what's up with that -- but here's an update on Jill's herbs from a week or so ago:

And here are some members of the crew who've got sweat equity invested in the success of Harvest of Hope: THANKS, amazing Harvesters of Hope!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How's it growing?

These pictures are from a few days ago, so no doubt things have changed -- we've had a couple of wonderful, soaking rains since I took them. But here's an idea of what things look like in the garden now. Come back for pictures of our working day(s) and open house (going back a bit to catch us up to date).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why, you ask?

I thought yesterday about "borrowing" a link from the blog of a friend of mine who's a political science professor in Mississippi. Sitting at my computer for a moment of down time today, it popped into my head again. I'll post it and call it providence. Why a community garden, some might ask?

Go look at this. Read this story.

These two links contain some of the whys.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our first post

Harvest of Hope Community Garden is itself a miracle of growth. I'm not sure when exactly the "seed" of an idea to start a community garden in Kingsport came to rest on fertile ground, but what matters is that it did find good soil.

Our garden was founded in the spring of 2011 -- this year! -- as a collaboration between individuals and groups in our community, most prominently the United Way of Greater Kingsport, AARP, First Presbyterian Church and Tennessee Master Gardeners.

The idea for the garden came as an answer to a need. Local statistics in Kingsport show a recent marked increase in participation in local food assistance programs, in students' reduced-fee lunch programs and in the number of homeless in the region. The Harvest of Hope Community Garden grew out of the United Way's Food Security Initiative Task Force, as a means to help end hunger in our community. From that idea has sprouted a garden that will benefit not only the hungry but anyone who wants to grow with us.

The current garden is made up of three 10' x 20' raised beds and 20 4' x 8' raised beds. Plans are to expand the garden with an additional 10 beds by the end of June. The land for the garden was donated by First Presbyterian Church of Kingsport. The City of Kingsport provides the water.

Master gardeners are helping Harvest of Hope gardeners plant and tend their crops. The hope for our garden is that it be the first of many such gardens in Kingsport, and that it be a place where members of our community can come together to learn, share and grow together.

I'll be posting more pictures from our planting day and open house later in the week. In the meantime, if you'd like to volunteer or contribute to the garden effort or apply for a bed for yourself, please comment here or contact Jill Salyers at 423-378-3409 ext. 16 or The garden is located at 130 Charlemont Street in Kingsport if you'd like to drive by and see it.