Tuesday, October 5, 2010

AA350.org and the Community Garden Challenge

I just learned about a cool new project from Neha Shah, a teacher at King Elementary School, called AA350.org.  I cut and pasted the following from a message that Neha and Jeannine Plams sent out yesterday. 

Dear Friends,
I am writing to ask you to join in a countywide effort to grow food and community.  By participating in the challenge we help to:
  * Reduce family food expenses and create a healthy homegrown food supply
  * Save energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions
  * Support local businesses
  * Build community and beautify our neighborhoods
This challenge is focusing specifically on getting together in our neighborhoods and on our blocks to figure out ways to grow more food in our yards, on our porches and patios, and even on our windowsills! Here are some ways that you can join the 350 Garden Challenge:
·         Start a food producing garden.
·         Register the garden you already have and consider expanding it.
·         Plant some perennials.
·         Talk to your neighbors so you can help and encourage each other.
·         Share your gardening experience and offer to help others get started.
·         Leaflet your block or forward this to friends.
Below are more details about the challenge and each of the suggested ways to participate. I know the kick-off date is this coming this weekend, but this is an ongoing effort. Whatever you can start would be great!  We look forward to hearing from you. Here‘s to planting seeds of hope and trust in our neighborhood!
Thank you,
Neha Shah
What is the 350 Garden Challenge? This county wide effort is called the 350 Garden Challenge because 350 is the number of parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere that scientists say is the safe upper limit. 350 Gardens allow individuals to help solve a very large, global problem, and in the process produce fresh, healthy, and affordable food for their households.
When is it happening? The Kick off date is the weekend of 10/10/10! October 10, 2010 is a global work party day to participate in solutions to reduce climate chaos. (See http://www.350.org/ ) Here in Washtenaw County, the 350 Garden Challenge is holding that date for all kinds of actions involving growing food: anything from getting together with neighbors to plan gardens on your block to actually building them. The Challenge will continue through the spring of 1011. Let’s have 350 gardens planned by 10/10/10 and 350 more by Earth Day 2011!
Details on ways to participate:
1) Start a food producing garden: Grow herbs in a kitchen, a potted garden on a balcony, a fruit tree in the front yard, or replace your whole lawn with an edible food forest!  See http://www.aa350.org/?page_id=918. Fall is a great time to start because nature does most of the work over the winter and the garden is ready to plant in the spring! There are no dig gardening techniques that greatly reduce labor and use readily available materials. (Check out:  www.no-dig-gardening.org)
2) Register your garden and consider expanding it. You can register your garden here. Besides expanding your existing garden, you could also consider planting perennials.
3) Plant perennials.  Fall is a good time to plant many of them. For some ideas of varieties and what is available locally seehttp://www.natureandnurture.org/catalog.html. Getting together with neighbors to order in bulk would reduce costs.
4) Talk with your neighbors so you can help and encourage each other. Think about being a neighborhood host. See:http://www.aa350.org/?page_id=922 and/or contact Jeannine Palms for more details: jeannine@wetmeadow.org or Neha Shah for details at: neha4education@gmail.com
5) Share your gardening experience and help others get started.
6) Leaflet your block or forward this to friends. Contact Jeannine to get leaflets: jeannine@wetmeadow.org or Neha Shah for details at: neha4education@gmail.com
 7) Other actions:
                - Join a Garden Crew:  http://www.aa350.org/?page_id=817
                - You, your organization or business can help by donating materials, making a financial contribution to the project, or helping to spread the word to family, friends, and co-workers. Photographers, videographers and sign makers are also needed. See http://www.aa350.org/?p=864 or contact Jeannine for more information: jeannine@wetmeadow.org or Neha Shah for details at: neha4education@gmail.com.

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