Friday, July 8, 2011

On the Road to a New Market

On the evening of July 6th, Growers at the Americana, along with the Growers at the 7th Street and Southside Gardens sponsored by Kentucky Office of Refugees met to discuss the new Bluegrass Global Growers Market, a market to provide healthy and affordable local food, grown right here in the southside of Louisville.

(our logo design was provided by the enormously talented Parke Lewis Custis Dewees)

We had planned to start the market this coming Saturday, the 9th of July, but because of the late plantings due to the rains of May, Growers could not commit until the following week, Saturday the 16th of July. 

If our plants are favorable, we'll be selling lettuces, cut flowers, corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Agriculture Extension agents from Jefferson County, University of Kentucky, and Kentucky State University gave workshops on Farmers Market display strategies, pricing strategies, and the use of EBT and food stamps.

With any luck, we'll have a thriving market grand opening next week.

The Rains of May and the Heat of June

We have all stayed very busy here at Americana working on our gardens and they are blooming with lots of love. In May Youth with a Mission came out and graciously helped with pulling grass and laid out mulch around the raspberry plants to help retain water. It was a pleasure working with them and hope to have them back soon! We also took some mulch and paved the path with it, which turned out fantastic.

The Courier Journal Neighboorhoods Section also came out for a visit and did a piece on our gardens. A few great pictures were taking of Ah Pyu’s beautiful, flourishing garden and an interview was followed.

June was exciting and was filled with lots of planting. The morning family education women came out and built beds and planted plenty of squash, corn, beans, zucchini, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and cilantro. While planting, we also realized that there is a lot of purslane growing in their plot which is a great beneficial weed. It’s succulent and edible and can be used as a salad, stir fried, or cooked like spinach. YUM! It also contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. Very nutritious!

To finish up the month of June we worked with the 1st and 2nd graders to build a herb spiral. They loved getting dirty with all the sand, dirt and rocks! Inside the herb spiral we are going to plant rosemary, basil, thyme, and cilantro. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Building Beds, Planting Seeds, and Remembering Bugs

                                            University of Kentucky Extension Service telling everybody
                                             a thing or two about bugs
                                                Most everybody has put something in the ground.
                                   By raising high beds, we were able to keep the plants out of the water

Americana Garden Starts Growing

Allow me to introduce this blog, since it is just now in its infancy. 
This is and forever shall be the blog of the Americana Community Garden at the Americana Community Center located in the south side of Louisville, Kentucky. 
Just so you know, the

"Americana Community Center (Americana or ACC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a spectrum of services for the many diverse residents of Louisville Metro, including immigrant, refugee, and U.S.-born individuals and families. These services enable people to discover and utilize resources to build strong families, create a safe, supportive community, and realize their individual potential.
The center provides an array of social services and referrals explicitly designed to respond to the specific and changing needs of our program participants. Programs are re-evaluated on an ongoing basis to determine their efficacy and appropriateness. 
Great cultural, ethnic and economic diversity in the South End neighborhood where Americana is located provides a wealth of challenges and opportunities. To address these, Americana Community Center was established as a resource for area families.  Americana currently serves individuals from 79 countries."

This year is a new and exciting one. In past years, plots in the garden were small, so this year the Americana Center expanded the space for each plot. There are ten plots for individual gardeners, a plot for the kids, and a plot for Family Education.

Ways the community garden enhances the community:
  • Inexpensive source of high quality produce for low income residents
  • Better for the environment
  • Eases stress of acculturation for immigrants and refugees
  • Improves cross-cultural communication
  • Improves mental and physical well being
  • Gives individuals a sense of ‘purpose’
  • Provides a constructive activity for whole families to engage in
  • Reduces the incidence of hunger in the community

The garden needs constant care and we are always looking for volunteers and donations. 
Currently we're trying our hand at permaculture design, native planting, raised beds, and building hoop houses. 

Right now, everything is flooded. Its like a swamp down here sometimes. We'll have to put off a few things until the flood flows away.

Please do come visit us sometime