Well, school is starting, summer crops have been in full production for over a month, our CSA shares are plentiful and everybody is planning for the fall. Even though the seasons are changing and our daily routines are changing, the needs at the farm remain. Every Thursday night volunteers gather at the farm to work in the gardens so they can be more productive as each season goes by. Come up to the farm between 5:30 and about 8pm every Thursday through the fall to help us prepare the gardens for our fall harvests.
This year’s farmer’s market is off to a great start. We’re harvesting plentiful crops every Wednesday morning and setting up the market from 3:30 to 7:30 every Wednesday through the summer at Valley View Church in Garfield, 601 N. Aiken Ave. Please come up and support the farm and try something new from your neighborhood farm.
- Sunday, May 4th at the Union Project, 801 N. Negley Ave. in the morning during the marathon.
- Saturday, May 10th at the Friendship Folk and Flower Festival in the Friendship neighborhood at Baum Grove from 11am until about 2pm.
- Sunday, May 18th at Memorial Park Church after each of three worship services.
Check out the link for details on all of our heirloom varieties!
Over the past few days we’ve been working outside of a town called Quernavaca at an orphanage where about 25 boys live. It’s located at the top of a mountain and is surrounded by pine forests. Our team worked to create a small garden with a group of about 8 boys and we revamped the rabbit hutch and chicken coops. The boys were amazing to work with, all very excited and determined to grow some of their own food. I only wish we could spend more time there to teach more and see the crops grow. One boy, Omar, is very excited about the garden and already quite knowledgable about plants and growing. It seems the lives of these young men are being transformed by the care they are receiving at the orphanage and from each other. They are also working to transform the dry, hard packed land that needs restoration to create a productive garden.
Monday was quite an amazing day. We traveled south of Mexico City about 60 km to an orphanage founded by a pastor and his wife housing around seventy children. They began in the city and still have the majority of the children living in a very nice facility with outdoor gardens and play space. A few thousand feet up a near by mountain they recently began an outdoor based site for about twenty of the children, with major expansion of the facility being built. I was so amazed by these people and their passion to love these kids. At the mountain site they are raising rabbits and want our help in making plans to raise chickens and to create an intensive garden to help feed the children. Equally important to feeding the children is teaching them to care for the animals and the garden. I was not expecting such an amazing place and such concrete ways that Alyssa and I will be able to help. The garden site is currently just some bare soil, but with some good depth and color to it. It’s on a hillside so we’ll create some swales and probably do some Hugelkultur. This mountain is heavily forested so there’s plenty of old rooting wood. Some of the boys are already learning to compost and were well versed in the native wild berries around the developing little farm. We will travel back to work with the kids to create the garden space in about four weeks after I’ve been able to get some plants started and we’ve finished out time in the Northern mountains of El Huizachal. We’ll also be working on a design for new rabbit hutches and a chicken coop for at least 20 egg layers. We are so blessed to be here and to be able to serve these amazing people!
Through the Saxifrage School Garfield Farm’s John Creasy is teaching a one day intensive introduction to Permaculture Design on February 15th. Later this spring John will be teaching a 30+ hour course on Organic Agriculture which will cover topics from composting, rain water management, food preservation, seed saving and much, much more. Visit the Saxifrage School’s website to register for either class.
In August of 2012 The Open Door participated our in fourth trip to rural Mexico. Our mission partners, Luis and Karla Hurtado live and work in a village called El Huizechal with the indigenous Pamé people. In this village Luis serves as the only doctor and as a missionary with the local church. This fourth mission trip to Mexico included assisting with medical needs, construction on some local homes, and the creation of a garden. The garden was designed by the team and a small group of Pamé men in just one day, constructed in two days and then planted on our last day in the village. Dr. Hurtado hopes that this garden will become a demonstration garden for the local villagers. During a trip to Pittsburgh in September of 2013 the Hurtados shared that much more work is needed in the village to help create more gardens and educate villagers about a more broad and healthy diet. These three new gardens could be located strategically in areas where the Hurtados hope to develop new ministry and mission opportunities. These gardens would also educate toward a more self-reliant way of life, less dependent on outside money. This would allow men to stay in the village and raise their families. At one time indigenous peoples all over the world ate diverse forest crops that supported very healthy and sustainable ways of life. Today many cultures, including the Pamé, have resorted to starch based diets and heavily rely on outside sources of limited produce. Dr. Hurtado has asked my family to come and stay in the village for four to six weeks in early 2014 to develop three small community gardens and teach a four-week course on small-scale organic agriculture. In preparation for this trip Alyssa and I attended a four-day conference in Florida at Echo, a training center for agricultural mission work. This conference included around 300 missionaries from all over the world doing tropical and sub-tropical sustainable agriculture. We learned an immense amount about highly nutritious tropical crops as well as design ideas for small scale tropical homesteading. So far The Open Door Church has agreed to pay my salary while I’m gone so living expenses will be covered. We are asking you to consider helping us raise funds to allow our family to travel to Mexico and live and work with the Pamé people for at least one month. We are also seeking funds for the gardening projects in the village which may include water catchment systems, plants and trees, seeds, teaching materials, etc. Thank you for your prayers and support for Garfield Community Farm, The Open Door Church, our family and the work that God has set before us. Please pray for Luis and Karla Hurtado, their children Esteban and Rebeca, and their work in El Huizechal, Mexico. Below is an approximate list of expenses reflecting our need to make this mission work happen. Please consider how you might support us pursuing God’s work! Checks can be made payable to The Open Door Church and sent to 801 N. Negley Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
Do you really need new stuff this year when your family comes to visit for the holidays? Probably not. In fact, if you like me and my family you would be better off giving things away than adding more to what you own. The same is probably true for those you love. Of course you want to show your love and appreciation, especially as Christmas draws near. Would you consider a specific donation to Garfield Community Farm in the name of a friend or loved one? We’ll send an electronic, full color, personalized card to the recipient explaining that a donation was made in their name. If you prefer we can also send a hard copy of the card, either to you or to your friend/loved one. Check here and check out the great things you can purchase for the farm! Alternative Gift Site