Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

One of the reasons I moved from Los Angeles to Riverside was to learn how to farm. When I was 14, my parents bought a dilapidated old mansion with boards over all the windows, a roof that was caving in, and a huge rotting eucalyptus grove. All of the soil had turned hydrophobic from the oils in the eucalyptus, and there were hardly any plants growing. A huge flock of crows infested the area, killing off smaller birds and creating a deafening cacophany with their incessant cawing.

When we moved in, we were overwhelmed. We started with a small garden right against the house, then slowly branched out to more and more sections of the yard. We cut down many of the blighted eucalyptus, and before we knew it, there was an acre of orchard fruit trees and another acre of orange grove. We planted an arboretum and a half acre vegetable garden, culminating in a beautiful botanical gardens where the eucalyptus grove used to be.

Now the crows are gone, replaced by myriad butteflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and a flock of chickens. We're expanding the vegetable garden, but instead of just growing for ourselves, we've invited the local community college to participate.

A group of culinary students are tending their own plots, so they can learn where their food comes from and how to grow their own herbs and vegetables. We're hosting an "Iron Chef" style competition in July and August, and everything they don't grow themselves will have to be obtained from local farmers or sustainable groceries.

We think its important that the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs get away from supporting the exploitative, wasteful global food exchange, so dependent on huge monoculture farms, genetically tampered seeds, harsh chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and huge carbon-intensive supply chains. Instead, we're doc**enting materials on how to grow locally, using organic and biodynamic methods, diverse companion and guild planting, and heirloom seed varieties.

Hopefully our initial Chefs du Potager project will expand into a global initiative for chefs to reconnect to farmers.

For more information, check out the culinary competition at Growcology.com

Views: 27

Comment by Elastika on March 12, 2010 at 4:20pm
I think farming is one of the key professions of our future. Today people respect lawyers, doctors, university professors, but in the future I think farming will gain on reputation again.
Comment by Claire Moylan on March 12, 2010 at 11:45pm
Guild farming, I like that idea.
Comment by Bongumusa on March 13, 2010 at 10:42am
It is of great interest to get some facts about how to resolve the food shortages. I like your points i.e. You move from one place to another in order to Learn How to Farm. It sound good. As I mentioned in my blogpost that EDUCATION on Agriculture can create Sustainable Economy. You cannot succed in farming if you don't want to adapt to change. You ideas are clear. A farmer must continuously learn new strategies to increase productivity. Agricultural Industries must stop at aiming high profit but rather to increase productivity and invest in Agriculture. Farming is our main source. You can check my facts on Money vs Agriculture. Don't teach your child how to take a final product, but teach your child how to make his own product that would make him survive for the rest of his life. I think that Government must also invest more on Agriculture, environmental studies. We start by educating one persona, and in future, the wh*** society would be aware of it. I wish to be an Environmental Auditor after I read your Act 2. Thanks man
Comment by Michele Baron on March 14, 2010 at 5:09am
Excellent. Glad the butterflies happy in your now-thriving orchards... It is great your wh*** family, and the invited community, participate. Much to learn, much inspiration from reading your blogs. Chefs du Potage a great idea. good EVOKING. thanks
Comment by Linda Holt on March 16, 2010 at 3:47am
Wow - I could just imagine how creepy it must have been for you in the beginning! And out of the ashes, paradise! Your story is very encouraging and your parents, like you, are great visionaries!

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