Fava Time!

Like many of you, I planted a cover crop of Fava Beans over the winter, and like many of you, I couldn’t bring myself to cut them all down before harvest time.

For those who don’t know, in order to keep all that lovely nitrogen in the soil you need to cut down the favas when they are about 80% flowering. If they start producing beans, it pulls the nitrogen back out of the soil.

However, if you were too much of a wimp to cut it back, and ignore all that delicious bean potential. You’re probably looking at some nice green pods right now. These you can collect when they’re fresh (the size of a pea or so) and prepare them like green beans. Or, you can wait until they dry on the plants, harvest and save the beans, then use all that nice dry biomass of the stalks for your compost pile.

Anyway, enjoy the spring treats!

Also if you haven’t eaten favas before, and you feel like you are having some sort of negative reaction afterwards, seek medical help immediately, as a small percentage of the population is susceptible to something called Broad Bean Poisoning.

Whew! Life’s busy on the road…

I was feeling pretty nervous a week before Friday—Justin and I were about to visit our first elementary school of the tour in San Fransisco, which was going to be my first full-on teaching opportunity.  However, I immediately felt foolish for feeling so nervous once the first group of kids arrived at Angie’s footsteps.  The students were not only the most adorable little humans I had ever seen, but all so eager to learn!  They made my job feel easy by jumping up and down with excitement, raising their hands to express their love for broccoli and carrots, and sharing genuine “oohs” and “ahhs” when they learned of Angie’s magical ability to run on French Fry oil.

Then came our second day teaching at the same school and the students continued to amaze me with their engagement and enthusiasm.  One student could hardly leave the truck behind, and kept returning to tell Justin and I all about his love and passion for veggies.

More soon to come about last week in Sacramento!

-Kasey

John Jeavons Presentation

Hey y’all—Kasey again!  Last week at the Heirloom Veggie Expo I had the chance to eat life-altering, delicious non-GMO grub (sunflower burgers and GIANT samosas), have a role reversal with kids born as late as 2005 who started teaching me all they know about growing food and gardening, and look at a giant room full of heirloom veggies of all shapes and sizes that I had never seen before (ever seen a green, lumpy, bubbly pumpkin before?).

Aside from all I saw, one of the highlights of the Veggie Expo was getting to listen to John Jeavons’ inspirational talk about the necessity of Biointensive farming practices.  He made clear that the reality of our global food system is a difficult reality to face—food prices are likely to rise up to 3x within the next three years, for every 1lb of food an individual consumes, 47lbs of soil is lost, and in order to properly feed the amount of new people born each day, farmers would need to produce 42,500 acres of new soil each day.  As frustrated and saddened I feel by these challenging fact, the truth is that our food system is not sustainable.  But the sadness I feel about the truth needs to be channeled into a will to make change.  If we want to continue feeding our communities we need to face the facts and reevaluate how we can transform this world’s soil use and food production.  Jeavons was able to deliver his talk in a way that encouraged the audience to make a change by starting in their own household or community.  I am so glad I got to hear Jeavons speak as he reminded me of why I dedicate time to learning about sustainable agriculture.  I am hopeful that whatever work I do can at least make change within my immediate surroundings.

With all this excitement and hope leftover from the Heirloom Expo, I am excited to get my hands in the dirt and start planting my first 4×8 garden plot this week in one of the Oakland community gardens.  I’ll be planting broccoli, chamomile, kale, and a few more veggies and compost crops.  In addition, Justin and I will be teaching at our first school of the tour this Friday!  Woo!

I am looking forward to the week ahead and all of the new learning to come!

Happy Earth Day!

I hope that everybody had a wonderful Earth Day! We followed up a fantastic week of teaching in South Central LA, by sharing our project at the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market, near Venice, CA.

Such fun and fulfilling weekend, and it feels great to start of the week by seeing that this video by the intrepid Dylan Magaster has gone live. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-g74F-U9yU

Now we’re off to teach the one and only elementary school of this tour, in Malibu! Adios!