A couple of months ago I wrote a post on the Landshare concept, where a central organization acts as a matchmaker for people interested in farming/gardening and people with land they are willing to make available for such use. While the idea has merit, its good intentions seem likely to be crushed under the weight of issues of liability, chemicals, nuisance complaints, etc.
But I am drawn to this idea of fallow land being made available for growing food, so instead of going grand and global with the idea (as if I could do that anyway), I went local, surveying land in West Valley that might be available for such use. Let's call it the Landshare micro-experiment. I was intrigued by the piece of land pcitured above just east of Argonne Rd. next to the River. I knew it was owned by the paper mill so I wrote an email to a friend there inquiring about whether they might be willing to make it available for use as a community garden. To my shock they responded very positively. Little did I know that to most of the Valley that piece of land is known as the "pumpkin patch" because it was farmed for pumpkins by a community member for years.
We're still working out the details of liability and setting rules to avoid runoff into the river among other things, but they have given me permission to get the word out and see who might be interested in joining me in farming the land for food. Here's the concept; The Paper Mill provides the water, members of the community provide the expertise and work, and Second Harvest Food Bank gets the majorty of the proceeds. The corner lot is pretty beat down from bridge construction so the goal this year for that piece of land would be to prep the soil and maybe plant sunflowers. But the paper mill also owns the large piece of land to the east pictured above, so that would be the place to grow veggies this year. Maybe a fun pumpkin patch is in order to go along with green beans, summer squash, and cucumbers.
And get this, Bob and Bonnie Gregson, with 20 years of experience running a small organic farm, live right across the street from the eastern plot of land. Bob is willing to provide his expertise to the effort.
Are you interested? Do you have a friend in West Valley who might be? Can you help me get the word out? Do you have a tractor that we could use to get the soil prepped? Let me know?