We Grow From Here's Blog

A Community Garden Project


Leave a comment

A Year in Review: Casa Seranita Project 2013

Its hard to believe it’s been a whole year since we began the ‘Casa’ project!  One year from ground zero to abundance and a Full House with poetry nights, permaculture classes, and much more to come.   Inspiring!

Please stop by on Thursdays from 11-2pm for our ‘Lunch & Learn’ permaculture shares, and sign up for the meetup so you’ll be invited to all of our workshops!

The Tampa Bay Permaculture Guild


Leave a comment

TONS OF FUN

“Our painful experiences become compost in which the seeds of wisdom grow.” Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo

– See more at: http://jenniferhadley.com/2013/06/freedom-activation/#sthash.Lw3LnRsI.dpuf

So, (sow?) it’s been weeks since I’ve written a blog post, and much has happened—large flurries of activity seem to blow through my life like the tornadoes they resemble. I have sat down, several times, and started to write about this or that, but simply could not get past the idea to put it to words. Perhaps not enough sun, too little fertilizer (seem to generally have plenty of that, many might say), but these seeds of inspiration just did not bring forth anything of substance.

Until today, that is—today, with the sunny rain outside, the functional AC indoors, when I read the quote above: there it was. That’s right, folks—all that time we’ve spent in the dark, dank mush-room feeding on the rot tossed to us—it’s all going to pay off, in spades. Like “Daisyhead Maisy” we shall sprout lovely blooms of pain to delight and inspire others…if I read this correctly.

(Oh no, you might rightly be thinking—this is not a happy fluffy post after all—she’s going toThe Dark Side.

But not for long, the sun keeps peaking in and out of the clouds and I cannot keep my head in the muck for long when there is Vitamin D to absorb, dirt to dig, water to flow or follow. All of these well-intentioned self-help gurus constantly force me to look at some of the cold, hard facts of intentional creation—namely: “Be careful what you ask for,” and “Be VERY specific”. Which is my somewhat awkward segway into the “tons of fun” title…my task this morning, yesterday afternoon, and two days before: loading and unloading (literally) tons of bricks. This comes on the heels of the ton (again, 2000 lbs—I counted) of potatoes I spent another three days labor on. And what kind of baby, might you ask, will several tons of labor produce?

Good question—we’ll get back to that one later.

I expect this may sprout some potato plants when all is said and done, but most certainly some nasty, stinky compost until I manage to get enough ‘brown’ added to the mix (once I’ve removed all of the bags, that is…). I did also score some nice pallets with this particular delivery, which I needed for rain barrel stands—one of the next projects to be tackled at Mi Casa. Which leads me again to The Dark Side, because at this point it does not appear that I can hold this particular project together any longer, not without much more significant help, like someone living there fulltime. Problem is, no one seems to be willing to share the space, (people are funny that way—wanting ‘privacy’…oh, don’t get me started—I may go there), which is basically what needs to happen, so I am forced to look for ‘traditional’ tenants again, at least for the short term.

There are, however, so many other worthy projects and plans in the works! The spirit of ‘Mi Casa’ may be carried forward with a larger-scale, more farm-oriented property in Bushnell fondly referred to as “The BSF”. This scope of this project is hundreds of acres of land which are slated for small farm business incubation, much of which may be livestock based—apparently that’s what our government feels is most worthy of financial aid and attention. To ‘Big Ag’—if it don’t have hooves or teeth, it better be grown in the large-scale mono-crop methods we now know have led to disastrous results for our environment. See, to conventional minds, “Farmer” means rows and tractors and chemicals…or pigs and cattle and chickens. Which is why those of us who have the “Permaculture” mindset might benefit greatly by partnering with those who grow livestock—if that is where the monetary value is given, that is what would be called “the edge” of the current system. We play in the edge—this is where the greatest growth lies (so sayeth my mentor Geoff Lawton). This place is a lovely place to begin, as we found when we herded our happy long-haired selves up there last week:

Imagine living in a place like this…where time and space blend in the symphony of nature…

~ * ~

Before we get too heavy into philosophy or politics, let’s divert back to the initial tonnage…the bricks.


That’s a lot of bricks…and yes, I counted them—I’m anal that way (and it really helps when you’re planning out designs)—it’s 2,402, to be exact. Pink Floyd would be proud of my walls! Not being so much a wall person in the garden however, these shall become pathways and edges…you’ll see. A big “thank you” to Pepe Slamdunk for the donation—along with some pots and a couple of rain barrels… the garden is beginning to look quite spiffy!

This one looks right at home, don’t you think?

We’re going to be hosting some official tours very soon, once some of the newest acquisitions have been planted and situated, so come visit, why don’t you?



2 Comments

Casa Seranita Update: Two Events Coming up!

March looks to be the month for the winds of change to blow in with a breath of fresh air…no Ides of March here, my friend.

On March 2nd, We Grow From Here and the Tampa Bay Timebank will hold the first official “Barn Garden Raising”, which is the TBT term for a permablitz. In the days of old, barn-raisings were common community events, involving the entire community—from the oldest to the youngest, fit or infirm. They became symbols of the ideology of our young country, one which some of us would like to bring back into common practice.

A barn raising wasn’t just an organized work party, you see, they were truly community events—a chance for families who lived miles apart when transportation wasn’t so efficient to gather and celebrate the creation of something new, because the raising of a barn also meant the birth of a new family in the community. Everyone participated—each to his or her own ability or desire—not only on the swinging of hammers and climbing rafters, but also preparing food, toting water, chasing children, and no doubt a bit of matchmaking occurred.

This event on March 2nd, and the following weekend on March 10th, are opportunities for our young community to come out and get involved—learn a little about permaculture principles, meet some of those who have been practicing this lifestyle for a while, and yes, of course you are welcome to move some dirt! On Saturday the 2nd, beginning around 10 AM, we will be setting up the actual design of the permaculture-inspired community garden site, which is primarily the backyard all the way to Klosterman Rd. There will also be a community garage sale happening in Baywood Village, so attendees are advised to park on the North side of Klosterman Rd. behind the house, and to bring anything they want to get rid of to throw on the community sale tables, located on the driveway n front of the house. There will be plenty of shopping opps as well, so if you’re brave, bring your wallet as well. Rakes, shovels, pitchforks, wheelbarrows and any other dirt-moving equipment will be needed, and gloves and sunscreen advised.

For those who have yet to be introduced to the concept of time-banking, we will break at noon for some lunchtime sharing, at which time all of those who have been involved will have the opportunity to share their experiences with others who may not be familiar (hint: bring a friend, or three!). Lunch is potluck—bring a dish if you can—Casa will provide some snacks and beverages for a small number of attendees otherwise. Timebank members are also encouraged to submit any projects of their own which they wish to organize an event such as this one around—We Grow From Here will be helping to organize ongoing ‘barn raising’ and ‘quilting bee’ events for the Timebank and surrounding communities.

March 10th: Casa Seranita Grand Opening

Our first educational “Learn & Earn” event will take place on Sunday the 10th, beginning at 1PM (to give you time to make it to the Tarpon springs Sunday Market first!), we will have a series of presentations by local permculturists and timebankers, on subjects ranging from Florida gardening to nutrition, upcycling, well-being, wildcrafting, a seed swap and more! Timebank members may attend in exchange for hours, and presenters may earn hours for facilitating discussions. This is a non-monetary event, so there is no fee to attend for the community-at-large, however donations of needed garden equipment, plants, seeds, etc. are encouraged, as are additions to our newly-forming tool bank.

Check back for the list of presenters and facilitators, and if you have something you’d like to share, please contact Loretta@wegrowfromhere.com to be added to the roster. The schedule of events will be posted on the website a week before the event.  So far, we have interactive workshops planned for:

  • Worm bins
  • Backyard chickens
  • Market Gardening
  • Upcycle Wizardry
  • Timebanking/Alternative Currency
  • Garden Art
  • Digestive Wellness and Your Diet
  • The Kinder Garden
  • Permaculture Design 1.01
  • Seed Swap
  • Drum Circle

And I’d REALLY like someone to do fermentation…kombucha…canning (I can do canning, but…)  ;^)


Leave a comment

Mulch Ado About Mulching, or: Making Molehills out of Mountains

There is an argument, in Permie circles, about whether it is ‘permissible’ to use powered machinery to get the job done.

Highest and best would, no doubt, be 100% petroleum free…but, my back would beg to differ here. See, I’ve got eight 15 cubic yard loads of mulch to spread, and while it’s great exercise and all, this is a pretty daunting task. Yoga has taught me great patience, that is so—and yet, this part of the job is preventing progress on everything else, or so it seems.

Enter (Timebank) friend, who offers a gas-powered mulcher. Oh, “heck ya!”, she thinks: this noisy creature will make short work of those piles, maybe even two tasks at once, moving AND grinding into useful dirt! Well, not so much—not without a few clever modifications, anyway—I’m all about removing steps, particularly those which require repetitive bending or loading and unloading. I do have extensive experience in the field of “back-breaking”—thus, the daily yoga practice.

So, gas-powered: not ideal, however (here’s where she’ll justify her heart out), the amount of gas required to munch up all of those mountains will be far less than the amount it takes to drive to the other end of the county and back, once. I know some people who do that every day, to go to jobs they despise! (Not that I am condoning it—I am not.) I think that the formula should be something to the effect of: “If the time and effort (including bed rest required post-back-breaking) required to complete a task without the use of machinery is greater than the sum total of time, gas (including the gas it takes to bring the machine to the job), and other inputs: Use the Machine. This, by the way, is an example of “true cost accounting”—if you are unfamiliar with the term, it is something we use in permaculture, and which the corporate machine avoids like the plague it is—plague, that is, to their business model. Try calculating in the cost of countless lives wasted in filthy factories, of working conditions so bad that in this country we wouldn’t (knowingly) subject them to our animals. Ah, but we do—this is the true cost of shopping, for instance, at Wal-Mart. It may save you gas, because it’s so conveniently located at every major intersection, it may seem to save you money, if you are the disciplined sort of individual who can walk past the endless end-caps of enticement—but the true cost is factored on everything which has gone into every single item in the store, as well as the people who work and shop there.

Another one of my favorites to run through the “true cost” calculator is garbage pickup. In my neighborhood, no less than five days a week you can get stuck behind a monstrous gas-guzzling, soul-crunching beast picking up mounds of household discards. What do you suppose the true cost of this practice might be? Factor in the inconvenience of the time and space they consume on our roads and in our neighborhoods, the noise pollution and visual insult of having these nasty trucks near our homes and children on a daily basis. Factor the gas they use, not only on the pickup runs, but all the way to the county landfill, where these trucks are lined up by the dozens to dump the waste—most of which is in the form of excess packaging no one could be bothered to attempt to recycle. Now factor in the humans—those who were forced into this line of work, of picking up other people’s garbage, because there was nothing else available and at least it’s a paycheck. Now what is the true cost of your sheer laziness—those who can’t be bothered to separate the recyclable plastic, glass, aluminum, and paper items—that many don’t even know which these are? I’ve considered starting my own recycle/compost pickup—to encourage those who don’t to start—everything begins with awareness, after all. Imagine a world where the piles of garbage in a landfill were actually piles of compost, turning into beautiful, viable dirt.

Maybe that’s just me—dreaming of soil, dirty girl that I am—but this is how it is done, turning mountains of garbage into molehills—through awareness.

01-26-13 7:02AM