The “Growing Medicinal Herb” workshop was a sellout crowd of dedicated herb growers from all over the West Coast and beyond. Stephen Foster and Richo Cech shared their wealth of botanical knowledge and experience. At one hands-on seed-saving session, participants were up to their elbows in the wine-colored juice of the soaking pokeberry, extracting the seed. The program toured two farms in western Sonoma County, CA. The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and Taylor Maid Farms. Tours were led by Brock Dolman, Michael Prestly, and Gabriel Howearth. Taylor Maid is a mountainside farm edged with old-growth trees and a glimpse of Bodega Bay. The tour leaders pointed out the land’s expression of biodiversity, and how the synergy and force of elemental dynamics — wind, water, soil, and sun — shape the environment and are integrated into the design of the farm.
Urban Farming Workshop
Fairview Gardens is a rare place. It could have been lost and developed into fifty-two condominiums, but the perseverance and vision of Michael Ableman preserved it in a land trust as an organic farm with an educational component. The Urban Farming workshop was a co-production of RDI and the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. An extraordinary group of urban agricultural activists, professionals, and farmers gathered in what is known as the Avocado Grove Cathedral to hear Michael Ableman, Michael Olson, host of KSCO radio’s Saturday Morning Agriculture, and Bob and Bonnie Gregson of Island Meadows Farm in Washington share their experience, knowledge and stories.
Below are some comments from the folks who were there:
“As a farm worker with practical experience but little resources and models for how to do something like this on my own, I found the land-acquisition and marketing sections especially helpful. Beyond that, what was really inspiring was being offered the chance to gather with a diverse group of people sharing common interests, goals and work. To see, in person, Fairview Gardens, as well as slides of Bob and Bonnie’s farm was perhaps the greatest opportunity of all, for in the land lies the story. Thank you for this wonderful experience.”
“This event seemed empowering to everyone attending. It was wonderful to connect with people that are passionate about bringing organic agriculture to the inner cities. Change is happening!”