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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 9:53 PM

Edith on her trip and local food production

Edith on her trip and local food production
by Edith Isidoro-Mills -- As I promised last week, I’m now going to write about the other theme that was featured in the Garden Communicators’ symposium I attended in Salt Lake City earlier this month.  In my last column, I mentioned that the two themes were water conservation and local food production.  Last week I wrote about water conservation.  This week I’m going to write about local food production. The first garden we visited was a potager garden owned by a local landscape architect.  Potager gardens are French styled kitchen gardens.  The beds are set up in more or less symmetrical patterns and the fruit trees are espaliered.  The idea is organic food production in a small garden.  In this case it was small urban homeowner’s lot that also doubled as headquarters for his landscape design business.  The owner used a combination of columnar cypress trees and a decorative garden shed to disguise the large warehouse on the property that borders the back of his lot to give it a feeling of being in the country on a small urban lot.  To provide fertilizer for his garden and eggs for his kitchen he keeps chickens.  To find out more about potager gardens visit the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s blog. The next gardens we visited were community gardens where participants are assigned their own plots to grow what they want.  The New Roots Garden is a program of the International Rescue Committee and is owned by the Mormon Church.  Participants in this garden are refugees from other countries that are trying to integrate into American society.  The idea of this garden is to give these refugees a place to raise the vegetables that are unique to their culture.  Most of the unique vegetables raised in this garden are leafy greens that are out of season in September.  Most of the vegetables we saw were common to American cuisine.  However, I did find an orange eggplant. The other community garden, Grateful Tomato Garden, is run by the nonprofit organization, Wasatch Community Gardens.  This garden provides gardening and educational opportunities for all city residents.  There were both vegetables and annual flowers planted in this garden.  The flowers were there help attract pollinators. On the last day, we visited Snuck Farms, a small local commercial food production garden.  This garden combined covered production (greenhouse and hoop house) of vegetables with outdoor production to extend the season of production and a provide year-round supply of locally grown produce to local restaurants.  The greenhouse is in year-round hydroponic production of greens.  Next to the greenhouse is a hoop house with tomatoes grown in raised beds.  The beds sit on the native soil in the hoop house and compost filled.  The rest of the warm season vegetables were outside.  This operation is also organic and raises its own chickens. A commercial kitchen used for local cooking classes is also a part of this operation. One of the garden communicators asked the owner, with all the emphasis on water conservation, how could this operation justify hydroponic production of vegetables.  The owner responded, “because the water is recycled and the production is enclosed in a greenhouse water loss from the evaporation is minimized over that lost in the outdoor environment".  It actually takes less water to produce the same amount of vegetable dry matter.     Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon. Never miss the local news -- read more on The Fallon Post home page.