Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

T-SHIRT INFO

I just got back from the Senate meeting and we got $450 to make our t-shirts! This is great news. Maybe we can vote on how much we'll charge for them (I'm thinking 8 or 10). Also, how cool is the logo that Ava drew??!


I'm the first to admit that I am technologically challenged so...sorry that it didn't scan too well (the bottom got kind of cut-off but you get the idea).

Garden Extravaganza this week

Hi Everyone.
We're having another party in the garden this Thursday evening at five as usual. We are also having people back to Giulia's house for dinner after so please try and leave room in your schedule for that!
Also, I am going to the Senate meeting tonight to get the funds for our t-shirts (I'll try and post the print we're doing later tonight) so fingers crossed that we'll get it!
I hope to see you all very very soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A recipe

Hi Everyone,

We have all become intimately aquainted with the patty-pan squash. We've made gratins, we've made ratatouilles, we've made ravioli, we've made lasagna, patty-pan egg scrambles...Here is one of the ways that I have most enjoyed patty-pan-- classic zucchini bread (the patty-pan is essentially a zucchini, as I think we all know!). I've been getting pretty creative with the ingredients (i.e. the other night I ran out of flour and substituted with ground almonds or adding dates and powdered ginger instead of raisins and nutmeg). All in all the loaves have been pretty good. So grab a giant squash from the garden, bake up a loaf and share your innovations with the rest of us PLEASE!

Zucchini Bread Recipe

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh patty-pan squash
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated patty-pan and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.

2 Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 loaves.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meeting Notes from Last Week

Hi All,

Here are some ideas we discussed last week--

What to do with all the veggies?
-a few different ideas came out but it became clear that most people in the club enjoy getting together for pot-luck dinners to eat the food together. So lets do it! I especially liked the idea of improve pot-luck dinners around what we have a surplus of (did someone say patty-pan squash?!). It could be kind of a giant recipe competition and cook-off. We could even compile all the recipes into a book!
- We talked about opening a booth at the Eagle Rock farmers' market which would be awesome except, first-year Jocelyn Coffin did some research and it turns out the Eagle Rock market is certified (not certified organic but certified farms). Maybe down the road we'll get there....
- Leaving some plots open for a local elementary school. I love this idea. For now we'll plant them all but maybe in the spring we can look into possible connections for this project.
- Farm to Preschool. The UEPI (which includes Giulia) just wrote a new curriculum for pre-schoolers that involves getting their hands dirty in the soil. We could partner with the pre-school on campus and help them implement the curriculum on our garden.

Art?
We are trying to set up some permanant art installations in the garden. There is an ASOC grant specifically for murals which we can apply for and possibly make some mosaic stepping stones for in between the raised beds. I think it would be AWESOME! I created a new email list for all the people who are interested in this project. I'll email you a little later :)

CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chickens are on the agenda. Annika made a beautiful drawing and detailed description of the materials we'll need to build the coop. I think a great place for it would be where all that dirt is piled up now. I was at a place that sells chicks and its best to buy them in the spring (it gets too cold in the winter for the little babies) which works really well for us because that is AT LEAST as long as it will take us to get the idea OK'd by the admin. Again, a great team of dedicated feasters signed up for this task-- there is an email group for you too so lets get jumping. For more info on chickens check the post on backyard flock biosecurity a little down the page. We're also in contact with Caitlyn Lacey from Pitzer (who heads their chicken program) and Robin Lewis at Whitman. Whitman raises birds for meat! We might not do that.

Giulia and I had out opening night of Well Fed lat night. It was pretty sweet. We used patty pan from the jardin! Look at our blog: oxywellfed.blogspot.com. ALSO if you are not yet a follower of this blog please become one (so I can at least feel like people are reading!). And become a follower of Well Fed too!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Organic Lawns on Campus?

Great day in the garden-- we leveled and staked two more beds, planted two beds, planted some flower beds, composted, moved soil, ate food and even had a YOGA class! Thanks for coming. I am going to send out a re-cap email about the sitdown meeting we had on Wednesday that also went really well.
Jocelyn Coffin (first-year) did some research the possibility of getting our produce in the Eagle Rock market. Unfortunately that won't be possible at the moment (all the stands are certified by the department of agriculture-- we're not quite there yet). She also sent this really neat article about a project that Harvard is doing-- converting all their grass to be organic. It doesn't sound that revolutionary but apparently its had huge impacts on the quality of the grass and REDUCED ITS WATER NEEDS BY 30%!!! How great would it be if we could do a similar conversion here...imagine how many gallons of water we could save. Here is a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/24/garden/24garden.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some FUNNY pictures


Chicken Report

I've compiled a report about the health and safety hazards of having a flock of chicken on campus. The main things I found were some guidelines for maintaining bio-security when dealing with chickens as well as a small write-up on Pitzer's project. I contacted the gal who is in charge there and she would be more than happy to host a field trip with us over there. I also made my facebook status "PLEASE COMMENT if your school has a chicken coop. We are trying to start a program here and I am compiling a list of schools that have projects." I didn't get as many repsonses as I would have liked but...I did find that Whitman has an extensive project that includes birds for meat, Hampshire college in MA and, of course, the Pitzer project. Good start. Also, we had the first official sit-down meeting for FEAST tonight and one club member brought in some beautiful sketches for a coop design. As well as some insights into the everyday care of chickens. WE. ARE. IN. BUSINESS.

Chicken Report:

Many other colleges of our size and status have small farm operations including Pitzer college. Their project is maintained by Pitzer Gounds/Arboretum staff along with student help during the academic year. The chickens (3 at this time) are fed and watered daily during the work week. On the weekends the chickens have automatic feeder and water systems. In the past the college has had a rodent problem and several traps, near and around the area, were placed to control the problem. With the help of students, the chicken-coops are cleaned out monthly and new shaving placed for the chickens. Chicken manure is used in the garden and in the compost to add organic fertilizers to the garden soils.

Implementing a coop on our campus would not pose significant threats to the human population on campus, especially if students and staff involved in the project practice biosecurity. A lot of biosecurity practice is common sense. There are three major steps in practicing biosecurity:

1) Keep Your Distance:
a. Restrict access to the birds to those who know how to work with them
b. Prevent contact with other birds, including other chicken flocks
2) Keep it clean:
a. Keep the coop clean
b. Wear disposable gloves while cleaning the coop—wash your hands before and after working with the birds
c. Disinfect the tools you use
d. Clean the eggs before you use them
3) Avoid Bringing Disease Home
a. Make sure to clean up before heading to the coop if you’ve been in an area with a lot of birds (zoo).
b. Don’t use anyone else’s’ equipment

Be sure to watch for symptoms which inclide sudden death, diarrhea, a severe decrease in egg production, drooping wings or complete paralysis
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/avianflu/backyard.html

The good news in all this? It's rather difficult for chickens to get the flu from coming in contact with it (they're low on the totem pole, well below ducks and turkeys and other fowl). Couple this fact with the knowledge that our backyard flocks have very low stress levels (out in the elements, enjoying their lives scratching around our backyards) compared to their agri-business-raised sisters, and it'd be difficult for our birds to get a high-path flu.

Finally....This is a link to an awesome blog maintained by two Mt. Washington residents. I'm not sure if it is possible for two people to love their chickens more...

http://greenfrieda.blogspot.com/search/label/chickens

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chicken Talk


The word is out: chickens are on the agenda for this semester. Many other schools have them (Hampshire, Pitzer...anyone care to add to the list, please leave a comment) and its times we did too.
Here is a link to a blog post about college towns that allow chickens (LA definitely does).
http://savesewaneechickens.blogspot.com/2008/07/9-out-of-top-10-us-news-colleges-allow.html

We are having a meeting next Wednesday night to discuss the agenda for this semester. Come with chicken ideas or any ideas.

Also, garden time as usual this Thursday at 5. We'll compost, harvest, plant. All the seedlings have sprouted (kale, bok choy, broccoli, wildflowers, brussel sprouts, peas, lettuce, raddish, turnips, rutabaga). Basically we're in business.

Foraging: you know you love it.

So here's an article about some more unconventional urban harvesting. The article states that "people have this idea that food is something that you make happen -- you grow it -- they don't see it as something that grows on its own, that is out there in the world." If anyone is interested, let me know.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/142420/the_ultimate_in_eating_local%3A_my_adventures_in_urban_foraging?page=4

Friday, September 11, 2009

Food and the Health Care Debate

Hi Everyone,

Good day at the garden yesterday...we now have a lot of seeds planted-- kale, turnips, rutabagas, broccoli, peas, lettuce, radish, beets...its going to be a delectable harvest to say the least.

I found this article this morning about the connection of a healthy, local diet to the health care debate. Under the current system, the health care industry has a huge stake in keeping people overweight and unhealthy-- as Pollan puts it, " the market for perscription drugs and medical equipment that manage Type II Diabetes... is one of the brighter spots in the economy." If health insurers were required to take everyone at the same rate there would be a HUGE push to get everyone fit and healthy. If we are able to do that we could eliminate a tenth of all healthcare spending (we currently spend $147 billion to treat obesity and $116 billion to treat Diabetes).

Creating local food systems and cultures is a good place to start.

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/opinion/10pollan.html?ref=dining

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Garden time tomorrow

Hi all,

This is a reminder about garden time tomorrow. We're meeting at the garden (on the lawn in front of UEP) at 5 pm to plant, compost, harvest and have a good time.

Email feastoxy@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

FEAST OLYMPICS: round I

Yesterday FEAST took a trip up north to Ventura to collect kelp for the compost pile-- it will eventually be really good for the soil.
We had a great drive up (pretty lovey-dovey in the back seat), ate a great lunch and found a beautiful beach. We collected kelp, "swam" in the water and played games.
Here is a preview of Eric describing the first event of the FEAST olympics.



video

Friday, September 4, 2009

City Hall Farmers Market Celebration

Hey All,
Today was the 30th anniversary of L.A. County's first farmers market. At the festivities at the city hall farmer's market, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the creation of a food policy task-force which would help to make Los Angeles "the farmer's market capital of the world." The other really great thing about this event and the creation of the task force is that it was our very own UEPI that helped put everything together. Oxy is mentioned in the article, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work and the inventiveness of the brilliant people at UEPI. They are a key group in spreading the notion throughout the nation that nothing is "more important than the food we put on our table?"

Here is the link to the LA Times Article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-farmers-markets4-2009sep04,0,1235027.story

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

GARDEN TIME AND MORE

HELLO!

Welcome back. I'm so happy to see all my garden friends from last semester back for the new school year. With this many people to help we are going to have a phenomenal semester.

Garden time tomorrow at 4 pm. We're going to compost, plant, harvest and plan. We're going to take it a little slow due to the air quality.

VERY IMPORTANT: please sign up to donate $20 this semester to the Sustainability Fund. Its where we get a lot of our funding and has been integral to the success of the garden. Go to http://departments.oxy.edu/business/student/RE&SF.html to donate.

We are going to the beach this weekend. We NEED to escape the smoke as well as collect kelp for the compost (its really good for the soil).

Yipee! See you soon!