Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red Lips, Pizza and Jiminy Criket

Our beloved garden keeps giving abundantly.  We've been selling produce at our farm stand 3 days a week and are now doing 3 farmers markets a week (Railyard on Tues. and Sat., and Eldorado on Friday).

Rosa, one of our favorite customers, can eat raw beets and raw potatoes, and harvests basil like a pro.

Karim, my 15 year-old nephew was in Santa Fe (from Seattle) last week, and helped us harvest everyday, as well as worked all the farmers markets.  




He survived several days of getting up at 5:30am and working until 8:00pm.  Good job Karim!

Our last monthly community potluck on August 6.  A wonderful way to meet our neighbors and customers

Tom Watson presented a workshop on water harvesting a couple weekends ago

Our horno (earth oven) is now finished and will be inaugurated at our next community potluck on Monday Sept 3  (6:00-7:30pm).  We'll be baking bread, pizza (and cookies if your bring some cookie dough!), as well as roasting peppers from our garden.

We've been attending the Tuesday Farmers Market at the Railyard and will be selling there on Saturdays as well. Come say hello (we may be inside the Farmers Market building).

Will Atkinson, the Bobcat operator extraordinaire who helped prepare our land early in the year, paid us a surprise visit a couple weeks ago.  He hadn't seen the garden since March.  Huge gratitude Will for all that you've done.

Scarlett runner beans on the fence

Our first cauliflower (4lbs)


Needless to say that we've been running with the plants. In eight weeks, we've harvested and sold nearly 1,500lbs of produce.  We've started our fall crop (collard, chard, kale, mustard) and will be soon be transplanting the seedlings in the garden.

We did not know what to expect the first year.  We started with very poor soil and did not know how much water we could draw from our well.  Even though we worked diligently at building soil with compost and compost tea, we did not know how the plants would do on this plot of land exposed to full sun and strong winds.

Frankly, it's been short of a miracle.  Everyone of the plants has done well.  Insects, which were very active in this extra hot and dry season, took our radish crop away and left us alone after that.  Rabbits and gophers incursions were mild compared to what our neighbors had predicted.  The response from the neighborhood has been great and our farm stand has been consistently doing well.

So, what's next?  Winter is on our minds.  Will we raise the money to build a large greenhouse and keep growing year-round?  Will we manage to keep this land and preserve it as farm land for future generations?

We are just beginning a conversation with the Santa Fe High School to see if they would use our project as a classroom for their sustainability program.

We've been moving fast, trying to establish a good track record as a producing urban farm, offering classes as well as volunteer and internship opportunities.

We were featured 3 times in the local press in August (see articles here).

A lot needs to be done to stabilize this project and assure that it will have longevity.

We need to develop a curriculum for next year.  We need to find teachers to offer classes on topics related to small-scale agriculture and sustainability.  We want to plant more trees. We've increased our flock of birds from 4 chickens to now 15 chickens and 3 ducks.  We've made over 5 tons of compost in 6 months.

All that was accomplished with just a few of us.

Imagine what could happen with a larger group of people, and a little bit more financial resources.

We've been going pedal to the metal because that's what it takes to accomplish what's been accomplished in that short of the time.  We wholeheartedly believe that we need to create efficient models of organic urban farms in our city.  There are lots of plots of lands that have wells and water rights.  Every school ought to be connected to an urban farm and kids should be learning in the garden-about growing food of course, but also running a farm, selling produce, preserving food, building stuff, repairing tools, vehicles and farm structures, cooperating (vs. competing) with others, understanding and revering Nature, and more.

We all know that we've got to regain control of our food sovereignty.  Buying food and supporting your local organic farmers is a great step.  But we need to go beyond that and start regenerating our local biosphere by fostering dozens of little farms like Gaia Gardens.  It's so healthy for the local population of bees and birds (come bird watching early in the morning.  It's a delight!).  It brings the neighborhood together.  It brings health all around.

So.  Things you can do:
  • Come visit our garden (vs. just following this blog!)
  • Taste the food we grow
  • Come volunteer and take some produce home (or earn Time Bank $ if you are on Time Bank)
  • Come to our monthly community meetings (1st Monday of each month)
  • Consider teaching a workshop or on-going class at the farm if your feel qualified
  • Donate if you have the means-every little bit helps 
  • Come buy from us at the Farmers Market (Santa Fe and Eldorado)
  • Bring your kids on Wednesday 5-7pm for our kid-centered afternoon
  • Help us find grants we can apply for, or help us write grants
  • Or just come visit to say hello and keep our spirits high
Thanks for all your praises, encouragements and patronage!

We recently submitted a grant with Root2Fruit through the Santa Fe Community Foundation.  We will also be applying for a value-added USDA grant (due Oct 15).   If you feel inspired to help with that one, please email us.


COMMUNITY POTLUCK DINNER (First Monday of the month)
Monday Sept 3
Bring the kids and a wholesome organic dish. We'll be cooking bread, pizza and cookies in the horno.
Next potlucks (Oct. 1, Nov.5  Dec. 3)  

Mon., Wed. & Fri. 7:00-11:00am 
(As of Sept 15, 8:00am-12:00pm)

Mon., Wed. & Fri.    7:00-11:00am 
(As of Sept 15, 8:00am-12:00pm) 
Wed. 5:00-7:00pm  (kid-centered afternoon)

For more info on our activities and schedule, please visit here

QUIGONG CLASS (led by Dominique. Free)
Monday 7:30-8:00am 

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If you wish to support this project, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.   See our Wish List

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shrine Building Reflection

It was a beauty filled afternoon of inspiration and collaboration, while honoring something greater than ourselves.  We have been talking for weeks about creating numerous shrines, one to give great thanks for this generous land which has willingly welcomed us and blessed us with such abundance, another to pay homage to the many rabbits, gophers, and squash bugs that have been sacrificed for the sake of a healthy garden, a shrine to the water, both from the heavens and from the earth (our well has sustained this vision for months now, and it is time to acknowledge this gift of life), the list of elements to be grateful for which have supported and nourished our dreaming, goes on and on in my heart. 
 Today, within half an hour our first shrine was built!! Ivonne, from the Youth Shelters, brought a busload of enthusiastic teenagers to Gaia Gardens.  They helped harvest beans, cucumbers, and chiles for the farmers market, jumped in on our squash bug patrol, and then joyfully joined forces to create a shrine dedicated to their family and extended relations, even “enemies”!!

As we were collecting rocks to place in the center to represent significant family members, one young lady asked, “how about putting rocks in the shrine for our enemies?”  This gesture of reverence from this young woman, even for those that challenge us deeply, amplified a place of hope in my being.  In that moment the Power of creating with intention washed through my being. 

    Upon completing this first layer of the “family” shrine we gathered in a circle, hands joined in the center, as each participant delivered a silent prayer.  I experienced our energies swirling, a wheel of goodness spinning into the ethers.  We are one family, and I give tender thanks for this afternoon.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Falcons, Adobe Bricks & Pink Potatoes

We've been blessed with spectacular skies lately

Dominique at the Santa Fe Farmers Market last Tuesday

Kat harvesting beans and Elyse harvesting basil.  Both Kat and Elyse are long-term Wwoofers

Ma and Pa

A group of enthusiastic kids from the Little Earth School helping weed the garden

Lots of visitors this morning.  Our volunteer hours are Mon., Wed. & Fri. 7:00am-11:00am.  Feel free to stop by and tour the garden or buy vegetables at our farm stand (open on same days/time)

Poki and Rosa harvesting potatoes


Rosa making mud cakes

Morning Glories

A young Falcon resting after crashing into the farm office window

Rabbit damage on a winter squash

Participants at the Horno (Earth Oven) Construction workshop last Saturday.  Part 2 of the workshop will take place on Sat. August 18, 9:00am-12:00pm (more details here)

Instructor Pablo Navrot demonstrating the making of adobe bricks

Participants at the Medicinal Herbs Preparations workshop last Saturday.  Part 2 of the workshop will take place Sat. August 18, 2:00-4:00pm  (more details here)

Our farm stand is getting a lot of attention being adjacent to the bike trail.  The New Mexican is running a story on Gaia Gardens, possibly coming out tomorrow.  This will be the third press coverage we are getting in one month!


Tonight August 6
Bring the kids and a wholesome organic dish
Next potlucks (Sept. 3, Oct. 1, Nov.5  Dec. 3)  First Monday of the month.

Mon., Wed. & Fri.  

Mon., Wed. & Fri.    7:00-11:00am
Wed. 5:00-7:00pm  (kids afternoon)


Horno (Earth Oven) Construction
Sat, August 18

9:00am – 12:00pm

An horno is a oven of all kinds, however, in the Southwest it often refers to a wood-fueled adobe oven that has become an icon of the region.  This type of oven is usually constructed by intersecting two forms, the dome and the arch, of which are the basis for many other types of construction including Gothic architecture.  Employing earth extracted from the site, adobe offers many possibilities as a material that possesses great heat capacity; it has been and continues to be used as a means to thermally regulate buildings of all types both regionally and globally.  This two part horno construction class will cover all steps of building an horno.
Please register for workshop by emailing us
Instructor Paul (Pablo) Navrot 
COST:  On Donation

Medicinal Herbs Preparations

Sat. August 18


Learn to make your own medicinal preparations. In two afternoon classes, we will cover the basics of creating your own home remedies from local medicinal herbs. Class two: Making herbal oils, salves, and poultices. Desert first aid. 
Instructor: Kelly Frith, L.Ac. Owner of Botanical Blends, LLC. Herbal instructor at Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine for 7 years.
Please register for workshop by emailing us
COST: Sliding Scale $15-30 for both weekends

Water Harvesting Workshop
Sat.  August 11

The relationship between soil and water is essential to the success of life. The combination of the two is of course what makes life, and most of the food we eat. Tom Watson, a permaculture expert, will be discussing strategies and techniques such as water catchment, landscape design and rain water harvesting. The focus will be to capture all of the accessible water (drain water, rain water, etc), in this case around Gaia Gardens, and leading it somewhere it can be used to help with growth. The ultimate goal is for the participants to walk away with the knowledge and skills to apply at their own homes or living spaces. For more information on the techniques take a look at Brad Lancaster or check out his book series Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.
COST: On Donation

Sign-up on the right of blog (Follow this Blog by Email) to receive announcements posted on this blog.


If you wish to support this project, you can make a tax-deductible donation here. (Gaia Gardens in a non-profit project fiscally-sponsored by the New Mexico Community Foundation, a 501(c)3.   See our Wish List