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Alright. so i'm gonna go ahead and record so that we can share this conversation out with the network later.
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Alright. Hello, everybody! Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
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My name is Francis Craig and i've been with the organization since the beginning of 2,021, with a variety of different roles and responsibilities.
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One of them now is managing the monthly seed story Conversation with farmers, seatkeepers and activists previously called seed social
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Tonight is very special because It's the Premiere of our new name an announcement of continuing the program live every third Thursday of the month at 6 Pm Mount time tonight.
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I'm, joined by 2 brilliant and dedicated women like Linda Kiker and Barbara Masonar, who will be introducing themselves in the organization that they're connected to shortly I first want to thank my
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colleague, Renee for me for working behind the scenes doing tech support tonight.
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I want to give thanks to everybody who is a present for tonight's.
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Program. Everybody who will be watching the recording later, and everybody who supported the organization since its inception many years ago.
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We connected with growlocal colorado through Linda, who took our online seed school for farmers program in the fall of 2,020.
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Oh, i've since been following They're awesome work awesome work of roll local Colorado, and wanted to invite them on to share their story.
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Before I pass the mic over to Barbara and Linda introduce themselves in the relationship to grow local.
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Colorado. I wanna share a little episode about a little exert from grow local Colorado's website, Gloco, Colorado was established as a response to climate change and economic inequity.
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The moment of issues that are realities are quite sobering, and may seem to surmountable.
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How we have decided to address this step into a garden there's hope If we become more aware and act in our own ways, we're reminded that we cannot arise.
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The myriad of challenges alone. it's only through collective efforts that we move forward.
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We tend to grow is something we say often, and it means that the way we grow and the way we eat is so very important to our overall health.
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We focus on building local community, local food and local economy, we tend to grow in so many ways.
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So with that I'm gonna go ahead and pass it over to Barbara to introduce herself and her relationship to the organization.
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Thank you, Brad, for letting us be your first guest for seed story, and thank you all for being here this evening.
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This is a real big honor. so i'm i'm thrilled to be here and share what we're doing at grow local.
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So 13 years ago we're a local started out with a few committed individuals in our community, we were concerned because it was the great recession.
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There's a lot of people that were going without food Sustainability was a big issue just like it is now.
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Climate change was was starting to show some some real problems here in Colorado, and as far as being connected.
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We felt like, you know, that community was no longer engaging as much as they could, so we thought a garden was a perfect project to take on.
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We started with one garden, which was in civic center park in Denver.
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That's the Central Park. It is basically flower beds and the great, The city of Denver graciously gave us one of those the the garden turned out to be not only bountiful, but beautiful few people realize that in the midst of
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all the flower beds. there was a vegetable garden, and that vegetable garden was helping out.
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People who didn't have access to healthy food go fast forward to this season.
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We had 20 garden sites. They were in city parks They were at the governor's mansion.
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They were at State addiction, recovery facilities. they were at some churches and in a few backyards, and everything that we grow.
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We share with communities in need That includes shelters food pantries free groceries those type of of organizations that are serving our neighbors, that lack access to healthy food.
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And a few years ago Linda contacted me.
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She wanted to volunteer. So i'm gonna pass it off to Linda, and she can continue her story.
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Hi everybody, and thanks for having the both of us today real honored to be here.
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Yeah, I was in need of a shift. I was first to medical, professional and then a personal chef, and as a personal chef I found one of the many realities facing my work.
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Was food waste, and it was pushing me in a way that I needed to to leave and basically feed people differently better.
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And I needed to bring my head up and look around and get a little bit more aware.
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So I became a volunteer on a on a hourly basis.
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For a little while, and that quickly morephed into digging up my yard progressively over the next 2 to 3 years
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And and becoming a great follower of barbs and Dana's example for sustainable ways that we can all act
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I became pretty empowered. bar brought me on as a co-director.
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I find that leading our groups helps me to connect with a community that I was just really starved for working as a personal chef.
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I was alone. it was not intimate, as I thought.
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It was disconnect It is so I that came to grow new volunteers that start with us and
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Now it's it's an amazing world of partners that i'm part of, and and we all act in our own way.
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We bring something to the garden, and I love that we don't have barriers to this food.
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So many people access this food. and We play our part we don't solve this thing alone.
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We're always going to do it together. and in partnership Thank you, ladies, so much for sharing your story and the the beginnings of grow local Colorado.
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Oh, when I started to learn about your work and when I was with you guys last week, and learned about the 12, the quantity of volunteers that you have in the quantity of food, that you're able to grow the first question that I
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had is, how do you do it? You know? How do you organize your volunteers to manage 20 public garden sites and harvest thousands of pounds of food and queen thousands of pounds of fruit trees?
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So what is it that you guys do that? that you feel as maybe different than other organizations or or just keeps keeps people coming back to want to support grow local Colorado and maybe you could share a little bit more
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of, like the technical elements of how you actually actually do engage community and organize within show.
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Local Linda. You wanna start off yeah I mean I can say that that the process that that I was part of and now help run it's. It's inviting people in.
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People stumble across us by word of mouth. also Large groups find out about us, and we bring in office groups, and one thing begets another.
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We build relationships in this work. And so that that is what keeps bringing people back.
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Barb and and I have both nurtured these long term relationships with large groups that help us manage.
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You know a large garden installation, for instance. I mean 1 h a week in most of our gardens is enough to attend them.
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So that you know that would be you know maybe you know depending on the size of the garden, and they're all very different sizes.
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So if we were to take civic center park and it's one of the larger gardens, those are about 425 square feet per bed bar, I think.
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Yeah, and we have 10 of those 2 of which are perennial beds, which is we're very happy to have those beds, not just in an annual, way but perennial.
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But those other beds we planted 2,200 above ground seedlings this year with 2 very large different groups, and we work with one volunteers of outdoor Colorado and They were able to
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collect this corporate group of volunteers so that's how we are able to do That.
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We're interested in and learning about food in turn they get to teach others that enter the garden, and especially in our addiction recovery communities.
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They they return again and again to the work with the same group of people.
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And by the way, that food stays on site most of the time So that's how I mean that's it.
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It seems like a daunting task, but it is very easy to reach out and an intimate way contact a group early, and that's what we do, and we just begin filling the the calendar.
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So Bar maybe could could expand on that a little bit more if I miss something.
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Yeah to add that thing things our first 2 years it was a job because we were new on the scene.
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We didn't have a history but Now that we've been doing this for 13 years.
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We have build up some great relationships, some great partnerships, who in turn have told other people or volunteers, have brought their friends in.
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So yup you know it's it's not like it's gonna fall in your laptop that you're gonna have 400 volunteers like we have now you have to work at that really hard and
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it's helped, because recently we've gotten some great press, we had the Denverite a local paper do a great article about our gleaming project. about a month ago, and in response, we had 20 individuals contact us saying they
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want to get involved next year. so and I gotta say press is really helpful in getting the word out and volunteers.
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They're fabulous because they just pass along what our needs are. and we do develop those relationships that that from within.
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Many of our gardeners are returns. Quite a few of them are, and we also find our garden leaders there, and Source High school interns where Barb is at that has the gardens over at the high schools.
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So these things all built. They have to build they like she said it's not from the beginning, but she has done a very good job of building these relationships with these organizations that do collect fall into tears, and that just in turn
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helps us grow and and manage what we have
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Yeah, that's really amazing that you guys have been able to organize a really study group of volunteers and partnerships. really speaks to the authenticity of of and the passion and the true love for the work that you're
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doing in community? Some information that you shared with me on our call last week is that you have about 400 adult volunteers and about 25 youth volunteers every season.
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And that is just an amazing amazing number. something else that you both shared with me.
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Is that, Barbara is more of the the qualitative kind of the data keeper, and when not the the more from us, the storyteller
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And so maybe we can. We could go into discussing your 2021 impact numbers.
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I don't want to share share the numbers myself that's those are your numbers to share.
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But I think that everybody on the call would love to hear the amount of produce that you were able to harvest in the amount of the amount of fruit trees you were able to glean around metro denver
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So this year the amount of food that we grew was £9,800, and the amount of fruit that we gleaned was £3,100.
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All of that goes to our partnering organizations, the shelters and food pantries, those type of groups, and the year before was a really big fruit ear.
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Here in Denver. This pasture was considered a very bad year for fruit.
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So it's amazing We linda and I was like Yep, we're gonna have the fall off.
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We won't have to bother with any there's there is an app out there to get us going anyhow. So the year before was an extremely good year plus.
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We partnered with metro caring a wonderful food. pantry and our community, and we harvested £9,700 of fruit which that's a lot of fruit.
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But every single one of those events was fun we had people that we're thrilled to be a part of that, and we have lots of homeowners that were very excited to get that fruit into good places cause I mean let's all admit it.
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If you've got an apple, tree, that you can only make so many apple pies, and so much apple sauce before you've had enough of that.
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And so what what a great thing to do to be able to go in! Make the home at owner happy make the volunteers happy, and make our our neighbors, who don't have the access to healthy food make them happy and
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that's not that highlights you know like Barb says that partnership between Metro Caring they stepped in, and there, you know, we are connected as food. pantry.
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You know we we connect to bring harvest to them all the time, and we do other projects with them as well.
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And so when they heard that we were doing that, they just diverted some of their Wednesday and Friday morning time, volunteers from the pantry, which was a really wonderful act, and offered their truck to haul things away and it just immediately
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took the pressure off of us, and we could bring in volunteers.
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They could, and it just makes the process like Barb said.
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Really fun, really quick and very boundful. that's awesome So on top of your support and your partnership with Metro caring food pantry.
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How else? How do you decide where £9,000 of food goes, and how does it arrive at those places?
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Typically when the oh, go ahead when when the gardens are established.
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We either. You know what what we grow is what is requested by a nearby recipient.
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So we kind of work to figure out. who's going to get it, but we don't want to spend a lot of fossil fuel time and time getting it there.
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It needs to be located close, so we need just need like a 2 mile radius.
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So we look for recipients that are close or on our.
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You know, are no way home, or you know people who have a particular need for one thing or another.
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So That's how that happens it's very organic and it just put us in contact with some very wonderful organization organizations like the South High School Food pantry and community ministry, and we don't
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waste, and, you know, done for food, rescue, and the the Denver Rescue Mission and the Denver community fridges the free refrigerators.
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So we find ways to to to funnel that food out and make sure it goes to myriad of of groups.
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It's important, and and we also Let our volunteers decide where that's gonna go.
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Many of our gardens. The volunteers know food pantries in their own communities, so they're as you can imagine.
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There's there are plenty of opportunities, and plenty of organizations that really want this food, and we we don't have any problem finding a good home for all of it, even when we've got hundreds of pounds of
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kale coming in, we we are able to find a homes and people love it.
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Yeah, people love Kao. I love putting bake heaps of calendar, my smoothies.
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That is, in my opinion, the best way to eat it.
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So Denver is kind of a specific you know a unique place in the world.
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It's, you know, 5,000 feet in elevation Northeastern Colorado.
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You know, surrounded by mountains, although there's there's different geography there to the East.
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Could you kind of walk us through? What a year Looks like of grow local Colorado through the seasons?
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You know, like When are you communicating with Denver City greenhouse for?
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To start seeds, and then maybe you could go and do a little bit more detail about how you're in relationship with Diversity greenhouse as well.
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Great. Yeah, we We have a very challenging climate here. We have a short growing season.
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It starts the end of May, and it runs through generally mid September.
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This year was fabulous. We had we were still harvesting in the first week of november which is unheard of, and i'm sure you all as gardeners are having this bizarre weather where you
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think. Oh, great! the one thing about the climate change. We have an extended sit season.
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And then last year we had a snow the end of May.
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So. there's there's always challenges with gardens but yeah, climate change definitely is adding to that list.
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We start, as a matter of fact, contacting the Denver greenhouse in January.
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We partner with several other local growers who are contributing to food, pantries and soup, kitchens and all that.
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And so 8 different members of this organization. We all have our siblings grown for us by the Denver greenhouse, which is a real gift, because the only cost is the actual materials.
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And as you know that that is a fraction of the cost.
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If you were to go to a greenhouse and get wholesale price
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So we start putting in our order in January.
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That allows them to get set up, and then they start planning our seedlings.
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In March we pick up those seedlings the end of may That's when we start planning their gardens.
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And yeah, from the point where we plant them it's just nonstop from there we do a lot of garden prep any new gardens that we have.
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We do between now and April and back we're putting in a sheet milch garden in northern Denver area.
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It's a 2 desert and we're gonna start our first project there.
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December seventeenth. So you know, people? asked Lenin.
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I will jeeze. You must be looking for things to do after you get through with with the end of the seasons like.
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Now things find out. So it's it's not as hectic.
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But we still have plenty to do during the off season.
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Have you had any. Oh, I mean you've been doing this for 13 years now.
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So i'm curious in your 13 years, How have you observed different weather patterns coming in.
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Are you noticing that it's getting cooler longer or warmer.
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It's starting to get Warmer earlier or you know what have been your observations, and how has that affected your the fruit trees, cause I know here in Arizona.
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I don't know if it was the this past winter or the winter 2 years ago, where a lot of the fruit trees weren't able to produce fruit, the stone fruits, because they didn't have enough chill out to you know
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how that natural cycle kind of make them go, Dorman, and then come spring the warmth.
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Wake them up to produce fruit. Yeah, that that's an excellent point, Francis.
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It that climate change is definitely doing weird things especially with the fruit trees. That's why last year was an incredible year, because we had very wet winter, which is not typical, for us we like I said we're a
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dry step, and we don't get that much. moisture. but we have consistent moisture through the winter of 2021, so that that was that was helpful.
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Then we had a mild spring which we don't always have and and then for the rest of the year we had moisture off and on throughout. So it ended up.
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We had a great year for for fruit. you know we had apricots, which usually we only get apricots like every 8 to 10 years, because they bloom early, and we usually have our last frost in midnight, so it's rare that we get
00:22:09.000 --> 00:22:21.000
it apricots here. This pasture was an example of that, too, that the reason it wasn't a good fruit here is because we had an unseasonably cold mid may it was right.
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Our the rule of thumb used to be you can plant your garden. you can plant those tomatoes and peppers, those those really delicate seedlings right after Mother's day.
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Well, anybody has followed that rule for the past 2 years has not had a good garden.
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So yeah. And and even though it was such a challenging spring, there were still some apple trees that did good, and it was interesting because most of them were south of town.
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So that's probably because they didn't have as extreme a fluctuation as we got in this day, Linda, you have anything to add to that.
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What I what I have observed since 2,015, and really having my face in the in the ground here.
00:23:08.000 --> 00:23:17.000
I know the length of the the heat, the hot days and the the veracity of the hail storms.
00:23:17.000 --> 00:23:23.000
They will come and wipe everything out, I mean, thank goodness, for planting a huge diverse crop.
00:23:23.000 --> 00:23:27.000
So we it's rare that we get everything gone but that has happened.
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Yeah, So it's the heat for me it's that terrible 100, you know we plant everything, and then it goes for a week with these.
00:23:37.000 --> 00:23:40.000
This unrelenting heat, and the plants don't know what to do.
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They're so young and it's stunts everything So that's a that's a really big challenge and we will never stop needing to be patient with that because we really can't intervene we can try
00:23:53.000 --> 00:24:01.000
but for the most part we we hope that the plants adapt, or an and or just make it through, you know.
00:24:01.000 --> 00:24:08.000
But we have some pretty good methods, I think, in consistency that we get most of our things to fruition.
00:24:08.000 --> 00:24:25.000
Despite it All right, that's awesome and you guys kind of have diversity on your side, where you're growing in a bunch of different places that lend themselves well to to certain you know certain weather patterns and maybe
00:24:25.000 --> 00:24:30.000
less to others, and so, perhaps, where there's one garden that might be struggling with something.
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Maybe there's another garden where it's really thriving.
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So it really works out to have your your seeds planted all throughout Metro Denver, and with different people and different methods, different hand size, hearts working out of those places.
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Gosh. I just had a had a question so true.
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Yeah, I gosh! I just had a question on the top of my mind, and it totally slipped.
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So I wanna i'm just thinking I I volunteered a community garden.
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Here in 10 years ago, and i'm just thinking about the logistics of like When people come together to garden, you know you need water, and you need tools, and you need a place for people to use the bathroom and like just the reality of coming
00:25:19.000 --> 00:25:25.000
together to do some hard work, and so being in, you know, being public gardeners.
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What are some of the the challenges that you face?
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And how have you seen the community kind of step up to face those challenges or not?
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So so we bring the tools. we bring the gloves we send out notice to our volunteers, and say, please, where you know close.
00:25:49.000 --> 00:25:54.000
Choose no sandals. we're sunscreen brinkle water bottle.
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Wear a hat that doesn't mean that's what always happens.
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But you know we try to get the word out and and if people don't.
00:26:02.000 --> 00:26:13.000
Then it's. a teachable moment to discuss why sandals aren't the best thing to do, and why sun hat is a great thing to have. and but yeah, it is always always a challenge.
00:26:13.000 --> 00:26:24.000
I, you know restroom so important. Yeah. But, Linda, do you want to add to 2 how this all works?
00:26:24.000 --> 00:26:35.000
Well, you know. Yeah, I mean just for me that's kind of falls on on me like i'm always typing up the sign up volunteer signups, and that is a time when I do think about those things
00:26:35.000 --> 00:26:39.000
Civic Center Park has stepped up and made facilities available.
00:26:39.000 --> 00:26:44.000
You know, if we have private spaces at residences.
00:26:44.000 --> 00:26:52.000
One of ours has actually a small natural lake, and on the other side of the lake, which is easily walked.
00:26:52.000 --> 00:26:59.000
It's like 2 tenths of a mile There is a porta potty, but sometimes I just have to warn people. I say you're gonna be out here for an hour.
00:26:59.000 --> 00:27:04.000
We don't I mean we're not out there for 3 and 4 h at a time, unless we're installing a garden.
00:27:04.000 --> 00:27:10.000
But we would never ask anyone to stay longer. and of not take care of their needs.
00:27:10.000 --> 00:27:16.000
But yeah, I mean, you know, sometimes we have to kind of prompt them and say, you just need to take care of your needs before you come.
00:27:16.000 --> 00:27:22.000
But yeah, we do. We do our best to make sure that we have like first aid kits.
00:27:22.000 --> 00:27:25.000
And and you know all the things that Barbara listed.
00:27:25.000 --> 00:27:33.000
But it is relatively, and there may be a list of things, but I feel like It's not a really big list.
00:27:33.000 --> 00:27:43.000
It's easy to step into the garden for us it's just you know if early in the season it's just a matter of bringing one or 2 tools.
00:27:43.000 --> 00:27:52.000
And sometimes people travel with their own things if they're seasoned gardeners, so that doesn't always fall on us.
00:27:52.000 --> 00:28:04.000
Nice. nice, thank you for sharing, so I kind of wanna shift the conversation a little bit and talk about how grow local Colorado addresses the issues of healthy food.
00:28:04.000 --> 00:28:13.000
Access and an equitable food distribution in such a large city boy.
00:28:13.000 --> 00:28:29.000
Yeah, that is that's such a great question because it is a huge challenge, and i'm sure all of us remember those images at the start of the pandemic when there were mile long weights at food pantries cars lined
00:28:29.000 --> 00:28:31.000
up. we're just zigzagging through parking lot.
00:28:31.000 --> 00:28:34.000
So that was definitely the case here in Denver as well.
00:28:34.000 --> 00:28:54.000
And that's is why we got our coalition going with other growers, so that we could attempt to cover as many bases as possible, and get the food out to as many different organizations across town as possible, that said
00:28:54.000 --> 00:29:09.000
the need for fresh healthy food, is only growing and and with the inflation, even though we're past the pandemic past that bizarre time in history, and let's hope that's it for that for now but now, with
00:29:09.000 --> 00:29:20.000
inflation. Unfortunately, people are having to decide or they're gonna pay the rent, but they're gonna pay the utilities or are they gonna get healthy food for their family? What we all know what that answer is the first thing that gets
00:29:20.000 --> 00:29:31.000
cut is the food, and you know, up until a few years ago, most through the pantries you walked in, and all you were going to get was empty calories.
00:29:31.000 --> 00:29:34.000
It was just, you know, Pastas canned vegetables.
00:29:34.000 --> 00:29:43.000
It it wasn't. nutritious a lot of our partnering organizations that our food pantries they are dealing with that head on.
00:29:43.000 --> 00:29:55.000
They are trying to make their offerings, much, healthier because we know that an unhealthy diet is the root of so many of our problems.
00:29:55.000 --> 00:30:01.000
That's you know that's Why, the number one cause of depth is diet related.
00:30:01.000 --> 00:30:06.000
The number with the first top. 3 causes of death in our country are are diet related.
00:30:06.000 --> 00:30:24.000
So with all that said you know. it. it's impossible for us small growers to meet all of the demand, and for that to happen, you have to have political support. and, fortunately, in Denver, and now in Colorado we are
00:30:24.000 --> 00:30:34.000
seeing more of that. where there are incentives for local farmers to share their produce with the food.
00:30:34.000 --> 00:30:37.000
Pantries with the shelters all of that so you know That's .
00:30:37.000 --> 00:30:46.000
We're starting to see a shift and hopefully it will continue on
00:30:46.000 --> 00:31:01.000
Linda Do you have anything you'd like to add i'm best to to rise to that none of us can do all of those things.
00:31:01.000 --> 00:31:15.000
We work hard with a seed an Earth day seed giveaway, where we literally receive donated seas and pass them on to the community at no cost.
00:31:15.000 --> 00:31:20.000
We also work with Metro caring in a small with a small seed project make growing.
00:31:20.000 --> 00:31:27.000
Everyone is sharing in this small community project these adapted seeds, and that is in the second year.
00:31:27.000 --> 00:31:33.000
That is no barrier to access and whenever we have seedlings.
00:31:33.000 --> 00:31:47.000
We also pass those onto the community. I mean we're doing as much as we can, but, like Barb, says, I think one of the biggest things is that political support and advocacy and a constant message, and you know placing those gardens
00:31:47.000 --> 00:31:52.000
in front of people who will advocate I think civic Center Park is a really good example of that.
00:31:52.000 --> 00:32:01.000
It's out in the open. Everyone can see it and they Wonder why the vegetables are there, and where they're going, and that opens up a conversation.
00:32:01.000 --> 00:32:11.000
I think that could be pretty powerful Yeah, I Think that's something that I find so admirable about for local Colorado is that you're doing the public gardening.
00:32:11.000 --> 00:32:19.000
You know, you're in some extent like you just said people are walking by, and they're getting curious and you're opening the door and leaving it leaving the door open.
00:32:19.000 --> 00:32:28.000
For people to see that they can reconnect with the food system that they are inherently a part of the food system because they are earth beings, and they need.
00:32:28.000 --> 00:32:33.000
And that is something that we all have in common I do want to share.
00:32:33.000 --> 00:32:42.000
I'm not sure that you specifically setting yet that you do have gardens, and like rehab facilities, and shelters and food pantries.
00:32:42.000 --> 00:32:52.000
So there is a lot of food that is staying right where it's grown to get to those people who perhaps wouldn't otherwise have access to fresh local food
00:32:52.000 --> 00:33:01.000
So is there anything that you'd like to add in that vein? I'd like to to share a story about that.
00:33:01.000 --> 00:33:18.000
So we've been partnering with women's addiction recovery facility for the past 10 years, and this past spring one of the clients who had graduated from the program. she sent me a picture to show her garden she
00:33:18.000 --> 00:33:23.000
said, thanks to your master gardeners, and then a side note.
00:33:23.000 --> 00:33:28.000
We have Colorado master gardeners through the colorado State University program.
00:33:28.000 --> 00:33:40.000
They help out, and they're fabulous because they have to have volunteer hours fulfilled, and they know a lot about gardening, and most of them are just excited to share their knowledge.
00:33:40.000 --> 00:33:51.000
And that passion itself, and is is taken in by people that they garden with. That's the whole idea of what we're doing is to get people to know that Yeah, you can grow your own food.
00:33:51.000 --> 00:34:01.000
This is empowering. So this client, she said. you know, thanks to those master gardeners, I I was really excited about gardening.
00:34:01.000 --> 00:34:05.000
My partner and I. This is our way of staying sober.
00:34:05.000 --> 00:34:14.000
And then, a few months later, she sent me pictures. She had 8 quartz and tomatoes that she had canned because we teach a canon class as well.
00:34:14.000 --> 00:34:22.000
She was so proud of her accomplishments, and she was so thankful for having this opportunity to learn how to garden.
00:34:22.000 --> 00:34:27.000
And the same goes for the man when we help them out the men's addiction recovery program.
00:34:27.000 --> 00:34:35.000
The guys are so thankful to have somebody from the community that is willing to share their time and come and help them with their garden.
00:34:35.000 --> 00:34:52.000
Some of them have have helped in the agricultural business before that, just to do it, to do a a wide variety of crops, and and to do it with other people that they suddenly see You know, gardening is is pretty special
00:34:52.000 --> 00:35:03.000
activity, as as everybody here knows You know, you get your hands in that dirt, and you're addicted it's. It's a great thing to do it a great way to get over mental physical other issues.
00:35:03.000 --> 00:35:10.000
That you might have one of our one of our gardens is also at a men's.
00:35:10.000 --> 00:35:26.000
Shelter for. gentlemen in encountering houselessness, and they are hiv positive. they often, you know, as we know they've been, you know, homeless people have not been welcomed in our city and have been pushed
00:35:26.000 --> 00:35:39.000
around, and for them to walk into that shelter they have to pass by that garden, and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see someone have someone look at them and welcome them.
00:35:39.000 --> 00:35:45.000
Yeah, and and say, yeah, pick the tomato that's great you know they catch me at the door.
00:35:45.000 --> 00:35:58.000
I don't almost I don't really get downstairs to drop the food off most of the time, and sometimes they say, no, we'd rather you take it around the corner to same cafe which is a donation based cafe also
00:35:58.000 --> 00:36:08.000
serving houseless people quite often. So this is a dignified way of being in community and showing people you care and making them feel part of something, too.
00:36:08.000 --> 00:36:12.000
But you get to hear some great stories, and there we are only separated.
00:36:12.000 --> 00:36:16.000
It feels like to me by one generation from the growers.
00:36:16.000 --> 00:36:20.000
I hear it over and over again from people in their fortys, fiftys and sixtys.
00:36:20.000 --> 00:36:34.000
My mother, my grandmother grew grew this and grew that and so there's a lot of stories out there, a lot of connections that have just been severed and and we aim to tie them together.
00:36:34.000 --> 00:36:37.000
Yeah, and and kind of piggybacking on what Linda just said, too.
00:36:37.000 --> 00:36:43.000
It. It goes both ways. it's not just the people who are giving this to is also our volunteers.
00:36:43.000 --> 00:36:48.000
What do I volunteers who helps with the men's addiction recovery facility?
00:36:48.000 --> 00:36:52.000
He's he told me after he's been helping out for 3 years, he said.
00:36:52.000 --> 00:37:02.000
You know, Barb, the reason why i'm doing this is because my my stepdaughter passed away from an overdose. and so I want to say anybody else.
00:37:02.000 --> 00:37:10.000
That heartbreak that my family has experienced. And so what you know, what what a powerful story that
00:37:10.000 --> 00:37:21.000
He feels like yeah he's he's making a difference in in many lives
00:37:21.000 --> 00:37:25.000
Hmm: Yeah, I think you I have chills from you guys sharing those stories.
00:37:25.000 --> 00:37:30.000
And I think it is really important to talk about the
00:37:30.000 --> 00:37:39.000
The the harder parts of community building and putting yourself out there as an organization to be supporting
00:37:39.000 --> 00:37:49.000
People who don't have a safe place in the world because it's kind of easy to get wrapped up in the
00:37:49.000 --> 00:37:55.000
And oh, yeah, gardening is all good and it's all sunshine and rainbows, and and all of that.
00:37:55.000 --> 00:37:58.000
But it really is important to acknowledge that there is.
00:37:58.000 --> 00:38:02.000
It is hard work, and through the relationships that you build
00:38:02.000 --> 00:38:08.000
You know the the gardens that you build. you really are affecting change like on a deep level in individuals lives.
00:38:08.000 --> 00:38:19.000
So thank you so much for sharing those stories. and just you know, making that a a priority you know that's something that i'm really taking away from this conversation.
00:38:19.000 --> 00:38:25.000
Is that relationship building through growl. Local Colorado is is really important to you guys.
00:38:25.000 --> 00:38:29.000
And so thank you. Thank you for that. Thank you.
00:38:29.000 --> 00:38:44.000
I want to also talk about education. because that is a huge piece of getting people back to the garden and keeping them inspired is just learning about all of the different fun things that you can do with the phone.
00:38:44.000 --> 00:38:54.000
And so linda, We connected during seed school for farmers at the end of 2021 of our online programs.
00:38:54.000 --> 00:39:01.000
So maybe you could share about your experience. kind of taking the information from that program and bringing it to your community.
00:39:01.000 --> 00:39:06.000
And then i'd also just like to hear what other kind of workshops and educators.
00:39:06.000 --> 00:39:14.000
You guys are offering boy So I was interested. I I became very, very interested in once.
00:39:14.000 --> 00:39:19.000
I kind of had some time in the garden learning it it, you know.
00:39:19.000 --> 00:39:26.000
One thing begets another. I was beginning to see that seeds were again a gap in my end.
00:39:26.000 --> 00:39:37.000
Education. So, thanks to for that class really inspiring me to to be really curious about where they come from, how how they grow
00:39:37.000 --> 00:39:44.000
Their significance to other people. it just I got real excited, and so I would.
00:39:44.000 --> 00:39:52.000
I spend a lot of time educating in the garden there's this informal aspect to what we do that is a big part of what we do.
00:39:52.000 --> 00:40:00.000
And so if we have someone in the garden, we can have a conversation that is an educational one. and and so I can talk to people about that. See?
00:40:00.000 --> 00:40:05.000
Does this? Did you know that it? Actually, you can eat that, or you could.
00:40:05.000 --> 00:40:14.000
You could soak that, or you could save it how long you can't believe how long it takes, or how long they can be stored, and how easy it is to save them.
00:40:14.000 --> 00:40:17.000
I mean, I just blew my socks off, and I was like, I gotta tell everybody.
00:40:17.000 --> 00:40:23.000
I got really excited, and spoke to Jess Harper, who was part of the coalition.
00:40:23.000 --> 00:40:36.000
That barb referenced and over at metro caring and I said I I I I need to start a seed project or something, and so that's that was the inspiration, and so it's been 2 years and
00:40:36.000 --> 00:40:49.000
we have over oh, 38 varieties of locally adapted seed, and I'm just sitting on lots and lots and lots of packets of seeds, like 4 or 500 packets of seeds
00:40:49.000 --> 00:41:01.000
that we've got communities coming in and doing that So Yeah, I share the sees through the denver local seed project is what we're working with with metro caring.
00:41:01.000 --> 00:41:06.000
And we educate just Harper, the urban farming manager.
00:41:06.000 --> 00:41:10.000
Did some education on seed savings so we're beginning slow.
00:41:10.000 --> 00:41:22.000
But we have kids in the garden. We we definitely lean into that Barb and one of our our garden leaders, Stephanie Grogan, are amazing.
00:41:22.000 --> 00:41:28.000
With a special needs class itself. High school what she does with them and i'm forgetting myself.
00:41:28.000 --> 00:41:36.000
What else did you say? maybe only that to Bar Hessover and and to credit Linda, we started.
00:41:36.000 --> 00:41:50.000
We tend to grow events where we have volunteers come and help, but for a few hours, and what our bigger gardens, and then at the end, then we have a meal that either Linda or I have prepared from locally, grown
00:41:50.000 --> 00:41:55.000
produce that seasonal, and Linda is a master at that.
00:41:55.000 --> 00:42:02.000
And if people are always excited like well, that, that I never knew that Swiss chart could taste so good.
00:42:02.000 --> 00:42:06.000
So you know that's part of the education too is there's a limited amount of stuff that we can grow.
00:42:06.000 --> 00:42:15.000
And let's make that really exciting and sexy again, and get people all, all into trying new things.
00:42:15.000 --> 00:42:27.000
And so, you know, we tend to grow provides that opportunity for people to take that idea and go with it, and hopefully experiment in the kitchen with local food.
00:42:27.000 --> 00:42:31.000
Oh, and we did. We did a girl through drought we had an intern this last year.
00:42:31.000 --> 00:42:46.000
He's a was in a dip registered Dietitian program, and So he helped us run a seminar again with Jess Harper for Metro caring, and we all educated people on on what what to do with this
00:42:46.000 --> 00:42:59.000
drought how to grow. So you know, we do as our capacity dictates, and we spend a lot of time face to face educating definitely.
00:42:59.000 --> 00:43:07.000
And Bar does the her canning class too, so that's a I don't know how long you've been doing that.
00:43:07.000 --> 00:43:13.000
It's been about 8 years now, hmm that is so awesome.
00:43:13.000 --> 00:43:29.000
So when you keep speaking about metro cares and just Harper and I wanted to invite just to mute and introduce herself and Metro cares and roll local Colorado on her end jess welcome in hi thanks
00:43:29.000 --> 00:43:37.000
for having grow local on because they're my heroes hi!
00:43:37.000 --> 00:43:41.000
I am the the manager of Urban agriculture at Metro, caring which is based in Denver.
00:43:41.000 --> 00:43:52.000
We're an anti Hunger organization and we have an urban agriculture arm that does just a slew of things. mostly inspired by what Linda and Barbara doing.
00:43:52.000 --> 00:44:11.000
But I yeah thanks for the the tiny platform. to just hold them up. they're doing really great work, and I think one of the things that I have been most grateful for is the sort of the the
00:44:11.000 --> 00:44:16.000
authenticity, and the realness that that both of them bring to the work.
00:44:16.000 --> 00:44:21.000
In in saying Yes, this is a real problem, and we are real people.
00:44:21.000 --> 00:44:27.000
And so these are the realistic ways that we can engage in this work, and we will do so with each other.
00:44:27.000 --> 00:44:30.000
And that's not that's a non-negotiable.
00:44:30.000 --> 00:44:35.000
We will do it together. so I I apologize for coming on late.
00:44:35.000 --> 00:44:46.000
I don't know they've already spoken about grow food feed people, but that's been a life-giving coalition that I've been a part of with them for the past 2 almost 3, years in la and
00:44:46.000 --> 00:44:54.000
I see a lot of familiar sort of names and faces on this call, and I'm just so stoked for everybody to be here together.
00:44:54.000 --> 00:45:03.000
So thank you for the little platform. yeah yeah no that's so great.
00:45:03.000 --> 00:45:09.000
Thank you for being willing to jump on and share a little bit we didn't get into much about
00:45:09.000 --> 00:45:15.000
What did you say? grow, grow, grow food, heal people. So we do have, you know, 13 or so more minutes.
00:45:15.000 --> 00:45:24.000
If you did want to share a little bit more about that program, and what kind of impact you guys have made together.
00:45:24.000 --> 00:45:29.000
So this started in response to the start of the p pandemic.
00:45:29.000 --> 00:45:35.000
When we saw those long lines of people waiting at food pantries, and we all came together and said, This is real.
00:45:35.000 --> 00:45:48.000
What are we gonna do about it and we figured we could do a lot more if we join force, and we certainly did just this past year, and we don't have all the numbers in yet.
00:45:48.000 --> 00:45:59.000
But just from what we've grown and given to communities of need we're at £56,000, and we haven't gotten numbers from our 2 biggest organizations so that's a lot of food going out to people who
00:45:59.000 --> 00:46:14.000
really need it. we we join forces as far as ordering seedlings, seeds, potatoes all of that kind of stuff, and and we meet once a month and we learned so much from each other.
00:46:14.000 --> 00:46:23.000
It's it's just a positive experience and so nice to know you know, when when you get hail it's like, yeah, we all got hail and we're all gonna make it through it.
00:46:23.000 --> 00:46:37.000
So yeah, it's it's a fabulous group and it just verifies we're on the right track, and we're we've got really good company
00:46:37.000 --> 00:46:43.000
That's so great, Thank you so much for sharing more about that, Linda Jess Did you have anything more you wanted to share about the program.
00:46:43.000 --> 00:46:46.000
And could you say what the program name is? One more time, please?
00:46:46.000 --> 00:46:58.000
Yeah, go for ahead, Linda. it's called grow food feed people, grow food, feed people, feed people, and that is exactly what we do.
00:46:58.000 --> 00:47:04.000
We are an organization of growers food rescuers food educators.
00:47:04.000 --> 00:47:10.000
How many are there of us barbed 14 now, as far as growers?
00:47:10.000 --> 00:47:19.000
There's 8 of us, but then we have the support groups of about 3 more organizations, which is really like great.
00:47:19.000 --> 00:47:32.000
I mean we can pass on organizational structure, everybody has a resource. and once you start speaking to each other, it's amazing what other others can bring to the table.
00:47:32.000 --> 00:47:47.000
And and we you know I I think it's it's made all of us with all this resource sharing so much more confident in in moving forward, and might I say that a truck that the the truck that transports our
00:47:47.000 --> 00:47:52.000
seedlings. Thank you very much. Jess is manning the truck.
00:47:52.000 --> 00:48:03.000
And you know the Denver greenhouse. I mean who has a greenhouse that big and a staff the denver greenhouse does. and they are wonderful handling that for us.
00:48:03.000 --> 00:48:12.000
So it's it's that that coalition has done so much for supporting all of us
00:48:12.000 --> 00:48:19.000
Yeah, I could. I could go on and on about that partnership in and of itself.
00:48:19.000 --> 00:48:22.000
But and I could also go on and on about both Linda and Barbara.
00:48:22.000 --> 00:48:28.000
My partner is tired of hearing me talk about it so she's like Well, why don't you go live with them?
00:48:28.000 --> 00:48:42.000
Then but yeah, yeah exactly but But I would just say that the thing that has been most inspiring about it all is is that we really just hopped on a call, and we couldn't just decide what we wanted to
00:48:42.000 --> 00:48:46.000
call our group after we sort of got Some Momentum and we're like, Well, what are we doing?
00:48:46.000 --> 00:48:49.000
I guess we're growing food and feeding people so that's what we'll call it.
00:48:49.000 --> 00:49:00.000
And so I hope that that's inspiring to some other folks to you all to say, Okay, Well, I've got, you know, 3 friends over here and a friend over here, and maybe we'll just all get on a call or
00:49:00.000 --> 00:49:04.000
go for coffee and see what we can do to grow food and feed people that's been really inspiring.
00:49:04.000 --> 00:49:21.000
So. Hmm. Thank you that is great. and site i'm going to ask you both one more question, and then I'm going to invite our participants to to to share a story, or ask a question to you guys
00:49:21.000 --> 00:49:27.000
But first I would like to ask Barbara, what is your favorite seed to save, and why?
00:49:27.000 --> 00:49:31.000
And what is your least favorite seed to save? And why?
00:49:31.000 --> 00:49:36.000
Okay, I'm gonna be it. Oh, gr it It's the easy easy seat to save.
00:49:36.000 --> 00:49:42.000
I love the Oklahoma anyhow. it's beautiful plan. I love okra fruit.
00:49:42.000 --> 00:49:55.000
So. yeah, I have to say Oh, for that and that's a nice big It's hard to get lost as far as the one that don't like saving it would be tomatoes just because it's you know it's
00:49:55.000 --> 00:49:59.000
not like you cut open the tomato and boom there's a seed, and you put it in the pack.
00:49:59.000 --> 00:50:04.000
And now you gotta do more to It so yeah that's my Answer.
00:50:04.000 --> 00:50:13.000
What about your least favorite? No good to me is the least favorite that's the one, cause it just yeah, too much work.
00:50:13.000 --> 00:50:22.000
Yeah. Yeah. Alright, Linda, same questions for you, Cilantro.
00:50:22.000 --> 00:50:26.000
I love saving salon trustees because I like eating a seeds I like using.
00:50:26.000 --> 00:50:38.000
I like being able to use them. they're immediately available but then you can also save them, and they're so abundant and delicious.
00:50:38.000 --> 00:50:46.000
I really like it least favorite. Yeah. the goberry ones like a squash seed, I mean.
00:50:46.000 --> 00:51:01.000
They just take forever, to dry. forever and and i've been caught a couple of times with like mold and like, Yeah, but I love squash a lot, so I won't stop saving a seed I I just don't have
00:51:01.000 --> 00:51:18.000
to like fair enough. Oh, I spent almost 6 h in the kitchen, a writer on this time last year, so saving from my farm with my farm partner, and we have the whole house just a mess with different varieties of
00:51:18.000 --> 00:51:23.000
squash and pumpkin, and I have put them in jars too soon.
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So I jarred them and put them away for the winter.
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In this spring when we went to go plant them there was a whole tub of jars full of. but you know that's That's how you learn that's you know that's how you learn that's you know we all
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know that the best way to learn what's saving our with gardening is to make those mistakes, and the garden is usually pretty forgiving.
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Oh, yeah. So before I open up for questions, I would like to ask Barbara and Linda if you had anything else that you would like to share or anything that you would like to ask before the community to support you
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Linda, you wanna start out
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Are doing participating in fundraising with the seed seed.
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Oh, what is it? Seed money sued money? a campaign?
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Which is fantastic, supporting our Corey elementary school where we partner with the the children's garden.
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