Husband, dad, son, brother, uncle. Mainer. Founder and weeder-in-chief at Doiron Tumblr (3.0; @rogerdoiron) no further! Our new SeedMoney program offers grants to help...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Look no further! Our new SeedMoney program offers grants to help start or sustain diverse food garden projects in the US and abroad. Our deadline is Nov 12 so get started today: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>, 27 Oct 2015 13:33:15 -0400 Happy Back to the Future Day! This post is for fans of Michael...<img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><p> Happy Back to the Future Day! This post is for fans of Michael J. Fox as well as fans of the future. For those who aren’t in the loop, in Back to the Future 2, Marty McFly takes the DeLorean time machine into the future to October 21, 2015 at 4:29pm. The garden “hook” for this post is that one of the talks I give to groups is called “Gardening Our Way Back to the Future” in which I make the case that food gardens are a bit like time machines in that they connect us with our agricultural past while offering a bridge to a healthy, sustainable future. To all the gardeners out there, thanks for keeping your own “time machines” in good working order…they’re going to be really needed in the future! <br/></p>, 21 Oct 2015 16:36:46 -0400 Sow It Forward is the MacGyver of food garden grants...<img src=""/><br/><br/><div class="post_content clearfix"> <div class="post_content_inner clearfix"> <div class="post_body"> <p>Sow It Forward is the MacGyver of food garden grants programs. Apply now: <a href="" title="" target="_blank"></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="post_footer clearfix" data-subview="footer"> <div class="post_notes" data-subview="notes"> <div class="post_notes_inner"> <div class="post_notes_label note_count"></div> </div> </div> <div class="post_controls" data-subview="controls"></div> </div>, 17 Oct 2014 13:19:22 -0400carrotoke: Carrotoke mics fall into two main categories. <img src=""/><br/><br/><p><a class="tumblr_blog" href="" target="_blank">carrotoke</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Carrotoke mics fall into two main categories.</p> </blockquote>, 01 Oct 2014 07:20:39 -0400carrotoke: Members of St. Nick’s Episcopal Church in...<iframe width="400" height="225" id="youtube_iframe" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><br/><br/><p><a class="tumblr_blog" href="" target="_blank">carrotoke</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Members of St. Nick’s Episcopal Church in Scarborough, Maine have accepted KGI’s challenge to sing into carrots in support of KGI’s Sow It Forward minigrants program. Congregation members are not only walking the talk but singing it too by starting a food garden project on the church’s grounds which will grow food for the Scarborough Food Pantry. </p> <p>Here’s how #carrotoke works:</p> <ol><li>Post a photo or video of yourself singing into a carrot. Tag with #carrotoke </li> <li>Invite/tag 3 other fun-loving, carrot-crunching friends to do the same</li> <li>Make a tax-deductible donation to give healthy food gardens (and carrots!) to folks in need here: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></li> </ol></blockquote>, 29 Sep 2014 15:36:06 -0400carrotoke: Hayley Williams of the band Paramore is a #carrotoke...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p><a class="tumblr_blog" href="" target="_blank">carrotoke</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Hayley Williams of the band Paramore is a #carrotoke pioneer. For years now, she’s been turning her mic mics into carrot mics by wrapping them in bright orange tape. </p> </blockquote>, 24 Sep 2014 15:44:41 -0400The IDEP Foundation is a nonprofit based in Bali - Indonesia....<img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><p>The IDEP Foundation is a nonprofit based in Bali - Indonesia. This spring it used its Sow It Forward grant to build new staircases into their permaculture demonstration gardens and to repair fish ponds. Each year, the gardens welcome over 1000 students including many with special needs and its important that they have safe access to them. </p>, 26 Jun 2014 18:25:11 -0400kitchengardeners: Around the world, women are underrepresented...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p><a class="tumblr_blog" href="" target="_blank">kitchengardeners</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Around the world, women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. They hold nearly half of all jobs in the US but fewer than 25 percent of STEM jobs. Given this imbalance, KGI was very happy to offer a Sow It Forward grant to Vermont Works for Women this spring to help them teach young women how to build needed structures for their gardens like raised beds, fencing, a new picnic table and a bench. </p> <p>You can learn more about their program here <a href="" target="_blank"></a> and here <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> </blockquote>, 25 Jun 2014 18:16:29 -0400Our parade of good garden news continues via our Sow It Forward...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Our parade of good garden news continues via our Sow It Forward garden grantees. Next stop: the Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden in Carrboro, North Carolina: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p>Nkechi Ibe (left) is from the town of Aba in the eastern part of Nigeria. She moved to North Carolina with her family five years ago. She began gardening in 2013. Prior to that, she had no gardening experience either in the states or in Africa.</p> <p>When asked why she joined the project, Nkechi said that she wanted to grow healthy vegetables for her kids and that she wanted her kids to learn how to garden. When asked what her favorite thing is about being part of the garden, Nkechi replied “My okra! I eat okra a lot!”</p> <p>Her oldest daughter Ogechi says she too has learned how to grow food, how deep to plant the seeds and she likes eating the fresh food. Her little brother Ikenna and sister Chesson love to fill the watering cans and help water their plot. They enjoy playing with the other kids that come to the garden. The family also like the potluck dinners held at the garden and the chance to socialize with the other gardeners. Nkechi really appreciated a clothes and toy swap that organized earlier in the season for families to exchange gently used items. </p> <p>The Ibe family members are very happy to be part of the Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden and KGI is happy to support their community garden through a Sow It Forward grant. </p> <p>All children should have a chance to see and taste where good food comes from and to play in a safe, healthy setting! </p>, 16 Jun 2014 13:26:24 -0400Let’s hear it for Carla who’s growing her first...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Let’s hear it for Carla who’s growing her first garden ever this year for herself and her daughter in Frederick, Maryland! </p> <p>Together, they’re growing collard greens, sweet peas, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and herbs. Their garden is located at Lucas Village, a public housing neighborhood that serves 92 low-income families, and is one of our 160 Sow It Forward grantees this year. </p> <p>Located over a mile from the nearest grocery store, Lucas Village is considered a food desert which is complicated by the fact that many of the residents do not own a car and rely on family or friends for transportation. Over 90% of the families that live in the community receive some form of food assistance whether it is SNAP benefits, WIC, or both and make regular trips to the food bank to supplement their remaining food needs. The garden, in conjunction with various classes being offered, is helping residents become vested in their meals by learning where their food comes from and having the opportunity to grow their own. </p> <p>Here at KGI, we’re very pleased to be able to help Carla and the other Lucas Village residents grow their own healthy foods. If you’d like to know more about their project, you can see their project page here: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p>Grow, Carla, grow!</p>, 13 Jun 2014 12:01:20 -0400I went outside this morning to put a couple letters in our...<img src=""/><br/> The garden as seen from the street. We hold our small, frontyard garden to a higher tidiness standard than our big, backyard production garden. <br/><br/> <img src=""/><br/> Do we like onions? Yes, we do! We selectively harvest and chop some of the tops into our salads and use the bulbs in all sorts of ways. Onion beds can easily be overtaken by weeds so I sprinkle grass <br/><br/> <img src=""/><br/> Kitchen gardening can be expensive but doesn't have to be. We try to use and repurpose everything we can including fallen tree branches that can serve as supports for peas.<br/><br/> <img src=""/><br/> A side view of the rear bed showing four tightly spaced rows which over time will create a living mulch to keep weeds down.<br/><br/> <p>I went outside this morning to put a couple letters in our mailbox and had one of those rare moments when I saw my own garden with a fresh set of eyes and actually liked what I saw. In case it’s useful, I thought I’d offer a few explanations of what’s growing on in this 10’ x 10’ plot</p>, 12 Jun 2014 12:04:05 -0400Yesterday I wrote about how kitchen gardens can help...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Yesterday I wrote about how kitchen gardens can help rehabilitate those whose lives have derailed. Gardens also have the power to heal as is the case with US Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Rice featured in this photo with his wife Brittany. <br/><br/>Michael served two combat tours in Al Anbar Province (Iraq) and in Marjeh (Afghanistan) and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He sees gardening as therapy. Always willing to assist in anyway, Michael is seen regularly at the Federal City Community Garden ( see more about this KGI-sponsored project here: <a href="" rel="nofollow nofollow" target="_blank"></a> ) helping the other gardeners design, plant and maintain their beds while still managing our three compost bins. <br/><br/>Since the garden’s conception, Sgt. Rice has played a leadership role in the garden’s operation. He has helped organize and has participated in three volunteer builds, which constructed a total of 41 cinder-block raised beds for active duty military, Reservists, Department of Defense workers, in addition to New Orleans Westbank residents, a population that has been traditionally underserved.<br/><br/>As Michael says “there is just something about putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually watching something grow from seed to harvest. You are creating and nurturing something absolutely beautiful. Gardening eases my stress and improves my mood while providing my family with fresh healthy food." <br/><br/>"The sense of community that has developed from the Federal City Community Garden is phenomenal. Our gardeners have become like family,” says Michael. And that family is about to grow: Michael and Brittany are expecting a new baby in July.<br/><br/>Sgt. Michael Rice: we salute you!</p>, 05 Jun 2014 14:46:45 -0400Kitchen gardens can feed people and beautify places, but they...<img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><img src=""/><br/> <br/><p>Kitchen gardens can feed people and beautify places, but they can also offer a chance at redemption as is the case with this Rhode Island prison garden which received a Sow It Forward garden grant this spring. While I could write more on this topic, the prisoners’ voices are more profound than mine: </p> <p><em>“This program has allowed me to learn things that I never thought could be possible for a guy who has sold narcotics and helped to destroy communities. I intend on following up what I have learned from Kate and Vera on the streets to help give back and help in the positive development of the same communities I helped to destroy.”</em></p> <p><em>“This is new for me, and I’m enjoying the opportunity to learn how to grow and maintain the garden, in a place of disarray and challenges. It gives me peace, and the ability to enjoy the fruits of my labor.”</em></p> <p><em>“This garden project is the best thing I’ve been offered in many years. It has helped me with serenity; it takes me away from the prison, and brings me back to my childhood. We always had a garden in our yard.”</em></p> <p><em>“In this environment, few opportunities arise where you can create or assist in the growth of new life…When I get out and rejoin society, the lessons I’ve learned in Garden Time will be a part of my life for as long as I have access to soil, seeds and sun.”</em></p>, 04 Jun 2014 15:22:22 -0400This year’s Sow It Forward grantees are starting to report...<img src=""/><br/><br/><div class="text_exposed_root text_exposed" id="id_538782e0eb48e4f27443012">This year’s Sow It Forward grantees are starting to report back to us about their gardens and the people they’re reaching, teaching and feeding. Here’s an uplifting story from Hope Community (<a href="" rel="nofollow nofollow" target="_blank"></a>), our grant partner in Minneapolis, MN. I love Ray’s last quote!<br/><br/>–<br/><br/>Ray was born in the deep country in Alabama in the 1950’s. His family grew all their own food and raised their own meat. One of 10 children, at age 4 Ray began carrying water to the large garden that sustained his family. “It was hard work,” he says. “We ate healthy, but we didn’t realize that at the time.”<br/><br/>When he was 10, Ray’s family moved to northern Illinois where his father and older brothers found work in the town factory. Removed from the land and the practice of growing their own food, the family’s eating lifestyle changed radically. Looking back, Ray sees this shift as one of the worst things that ever happened to him and his family. “We all got sick. All kinds of things: high blood pressure; high cholesterol; cancer; diabetes.”<br/><br/>Three years ago, Ray got involved in the healthy food work at Hope Community, located in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. It was his first return to the garden in more than 40 years. Last year, he began growing tomatoes and peppers in a 5-gallon pail on his apartment balcony; this year he shares a plot in a community garden at Hope.<br/><br/>At a community meeting, Ray spoke about his experience with people new to Hope’s work with food, health, and community: “When I started caring about myself, I started caring about other things, too – I started caring about other people, about my community.”<br/><br/>—<br/><br/>Photo credit: Bruce Silcox</div>, 29 May 2014 15:05:54 -0400Photo<img src=""/><br/><br/>, 20 May 2014 09:43:24 -0400Here’s a picture from German Chancellor Angela...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Here’s a picture from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent trip to the White House. I realize I’m kicking a hornets’ nest by posting this given how politically polarized a country we’ve become. Still, I think there’s something encouraging about two of the world’s most powerful leaders meeting in a kitchen garden under a sunny sky. One possible take-away is that we – Germans and Americans, Conservatives and Liberals, etc – have more things linking us than we have separating us. We can choose to focus on the former or the latter with two very different outcomes. I know which one I choose!</p>, 06 May 2014 15:12:55 -0400Congrats to Alice Waters for being selected as one of Time...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Congrats to Alice Waters for being selected as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, the only food-related person to make the list.</p> <p>Ruth Reichl puts it best: “Alice Waters is generally described as a chef. This is wrong. Alice Waters is a revolutionary who wants to change the world through food." </p> <p>You can see the whole list here: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>, 01 May 2014 12:34:28 -0400These are fun days for garden planning and for many of us...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>These are fun days for garden planning and for many of us planting. If you’ve never experimented with companion planting before, a great way to tiptoe in is with a Three Sisters Garden where the sisters refer to the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, corn, and climbing beans (usually tepary beans). The square foot method diagram for a 4 foot x 4 foot plot above shows you one way to lay out your crops. It shows 4 squash plants but you may want to cut the number back to 2 or even 1 depending on the size and type of squash you’re growing. <br/><br/>The idea behind this plan and all plans involving companion planting is that the crops benefit from each other. The pole beans don’t need poles because they can climb up the corn stalks. The beans return the favor by adding nitrogen to the soil for the corn which is a heavy feeder. The squash and its prickly leaves deter pests and prevent weeds from growing. Basically, it’s a real world horticultural example of how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. If you give it a try this growing season, let us know how it turns out for you.</p>, 04 Apr 2014 14:56:00 -0400companion plantingThis month, 6 gardeners from 6 countries take you on a vicarious...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>This month, 6 gardeners from 6 countries take you on a vicarious tour of their gardens via KGI’s Garden Planner. Check out the gardens here: <a href="This%20month,%206%20gardeners%20from%206%20countries%20take%20you%20on%20a%20vicarious%20tour%20of%20their%20gardens%20via%20KGI's%20Garden%20Planner.%20Check%20out%20the%20gardens%20here:%20" target="_blank"></a></p>, 04 Mar 2014 16:55:50 -0500Here’s a visual take on the possible impacts of...<img src=""/><br/><br/><p>Here’s a visual take on the possible impacts of California’s drought care of Mother Jones. I knew that California grows roughly 33% of the nation’s produce but I was surprised to read just how much of certain crops it produces: broccoli (95%), tomatoes (90%) and lettuce (74%). You might want to grow some extra of those in your garden this year. You can read the accompanying article <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>, 24 Feb 2014 13:54:55 -0500