Monday, January 24, 2011

Garden Managers & Landowners

Hello Urban Farmers!
I think we have come up with a good strategy. Next Saturday 29th at 3PM  we will have our next meeting.

Allan at Anything Grows has been generous enough to let us use their space in the basement (where the Slow Food Market is held on Sundays)

It is for anyone interested in finding out more about the project, landowners as well as those who are interested in being a 'Garden Manager' this growing season. 
So please come if you can!
Allotments/Private Plots:
The majority of the project will be us working together on gardens to keep them going - but there is also scope for people who would just like to have a small allotment in someone's yard or have a small allotment for someone else to use. Currently one such plot is available.
Garden Managers:
No Experience is Required! Just time commitment of 2+hours/week and an email account.
A Garden Manager's Responsibility will be to monitor the needs of their plot and arrange appropriate times for work with the property owner. The needs will vary through the season but as Garden Manager you will commit to keeping that garden going.

You would be expected to notify of the dates & times you will be at the garden and the task to be undertaken. This information would be added to a weekly schedule and sent out to the volunteers.
Volunteers will come out as and when they can, we have shown that this method can be very successful with our garden preps in the Fall of 2010.

You can act as Garden Manager for your own garden too! (This is a great way to have help getting started gardening and keeping your garden lively)

There is also the option of having a pair or team to share responsibilities of Garden Manager for one garden (in case of holidays etc). On the other hand you are free to take on more than one garden if you are able. This project is very flexible - we want to make it successful, so whatever works for you will work for us!

The more gardens we can take on, the more produce we can share!

If you have an area of garden you are interested in lending to the project, (and do not yet have a Garden Manager) Please write a brief outline of the amount of space to be used, the location and any information about shade/drainage/soil type that you think would be useful.
(email it to or bring it to the next meeting!)

We will allow then potential Garden Managers to choose what locations work best for them. (after having a chance to meet you too!)
Our primary focus is 'walking distance' to downtown Stratford. This will be accessible for the most volunteers.

Some of our members have started a youtube channel (straturbanfarms), and are going to be putting up video of our experiments, events & interviews. The purpose of having a video channel is to reach out to more locals and possibly start a friendly competition with other communities. We have started recording, but have yet to edit and post.

Our Blog is for any member who would like to contribute to put their perspective out there. It is a combination of information & stories about the project, events, and photos. As a collaborative blog it is open to all members' input!


8 Locations with Garden Managers
3 Locations without Garden Mangers

Thank you for your support - I'm excited to get growing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Microgreens Day

All ages fun....

At least it looks like we knew what we were doing!

chickpeas, sunflower seeds and trays of to be microgreens

one of the microgreen trays to be in the window garden

let's try the sunflower seeds!

our window garden @ revel caffe looking refreshed!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Upcoming Events

This Sunday will be a busy day - come see us at the Sunday Farmers' Market at Anything Grows 10-2 We will be selling buns & bread made fresh that morning...

All Ages Microgreens Day
Also from this Sunday 12 - 2 pop into Revel Caffe to learn with us how to start some microgreens! Thank you to Anne for all the hard work in helping getting things ready for this event. It should be fun, you can go home with some seeds to sprout up and add to your salads.

If you can bring a small container that will allow drainage that would be a great help! We have seeds & soil.

Meet & Greet & Garden Planning Part 1
Thursday January 20th 8:30pm onwards at Revel Caffe,
(please note the time change)
50 Wellington Street

We can discuss varieties of plants we want to grow as well as gardening methods we would like to try. Maybe even get a chance to start the sketch book.

As always we can have an opportunity to discuss any ideas for other events we can have in the next couple of months.

Future Events (dates to be determined):

Canning Party Day
Rent out a commercial kitchen for the day somewhere in Stratford bring local produce & jars to preserve. Learn a few new recipes, or just enjoy showing your recipes to others. Some jars we will donate to food banks, some jars we will sell at market (to cover cost of kitchen rental etc), and some we can all take home!

Fresh Juice
This was a suggestion at the Brunch last week (thanks to Anne for bringing lovely freshly made juice!) We would bring some fruit & veg to make into juice and our own containers, then all go home with some Fresh Juice.

If you would like to help out in planning of these or any other events, please let me know at or at any of the upcoming events!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

About SUFE - Updated for sheets at the Farmer's Market

A new-to-town initiative comprised of many passionate volunteers interested in learning together about how to make urban agriculture work here in Stratford. Our aims are all different,
some of us want to learn how to grow produce, some want their yards put to better use, some are striving to help create a more sustainable Stratford and others enjoy a good excuse to get out and meet new people.

We embrace collaborative, pro-active decision making and direct, ad-hoc democracy. Decisions are made as and when they need to be made, by whoever is participating at that moment. We strive to spend less time organizing the participants and more time participating. A 'facilitator' keeps us on track, up-to-date and works to keep up the momentum.

We feel this is an empowering structure for each of us as individuals and will allow everyone to take the project in whichever direction(s) they want to.

How to become a member:
Show up & participate.

Urban Produce:
The bulk of the project is based on growing vegetables in residential yards. We have confirmed about 9 gardens and plan on confirming a few more (depending on volunteer support) in the spring. With this initiative, you can provide some yard space, or your time to help prepare & maintain gardens and in return we all get vegetables.

Each garden is different, plots can be donated to be used by an individual gardener who would like an 'allotment' to take care of. Most of the gardens will be more collective projects. We strongly believe many hands make light work.

For each garden a 'garden manager' arranges time/day for work-parties (flash-mob-gardening with permission) depending on what is required for that garden each week and what suits the landowners. They will send the details to the facilitator who will send on details about all upcoming gardening activities. You can choose to come to which ever location/time/day suits you, and as frequently as you like.

Farmer's Market:
The purpose of having a stall at the Slow Food Market is to create more awareness, but also as means of fund-raising for the project. We aim to be a financially self-sufficient project as to not require membership-fees and donations to keep us going. It will also be a great outlet for surplus produce (in season) and canned items from preserves events.

Anyone can plan an event for the project. Here are some of the events:
Meet & Greet October 4th 2010 – a chance to meet others interested and talk about ideas
Garden Prep-Party&Pot-Luck October 17th 2010- share the work & some food
Ignite Stratford November 25th 2010 - Heather spoke on a more sustainable Stratford
Meet & Greet December 14th 2010 – meet new people interested and evolve the project
Drinks @ Fosters January 7th 2011 – meet up and great conversation
Brunch @ Bruce's January 9th 2011 – bring something to share or not, enjoy conversation
All Ages MICROGREEN Day January 16th 2011– learn with us how to start up microgreens

All events are informal and inclusive - join the mailing list to be kept in the loop!

(Email and ask to be added to the list!)