Monday, February 18, 2013

City Codes Shutting Down our Farm Stand, Workshops and More

I met with Matt O'Reilly this afternoon, Director of Santa Fe Land Use Department.

Mayor Coss had asked him to meet with me, in response to a letter I had sent the Mayor regarding getting a variance to make our farm stand "legal".

Of course, understand that Matt O'Reilly is the chief City codes enforcer.

He kindly explained:

1) a farm stand is NOT allowed on residential zoning in Santa Fe

2) having campers (wwoofers/farm workers) on the property is illegal

3) advertising any kind of events (like our movie night) or workshops via our website is illegal as it brings the public to the property

He asked that any reference to a farm stand, movie nights and workshops be taken off the website.

He suggested the only way we can get a variance to the city codes to allow a farm stand on residential zoning, is by asking a member of the City Council to take up the issue.

We will thus be working closely with the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission and the Santa Fe Food Policy Council to draft a proposal and ask Chris Calvert (District 1) and Peter Ives (District 2) to bring it to the City Council.

I wasn't surprised about being given an earful at the meeting as I knew I was pushing the City codes envelope a bit...

But it was a sad day for me, not so much because the city codes are hindering what we are trying to accomplish, but because two neighbors had sent complaints to Matt's office, raising issues with having a farm in the neighborhood, making outrageous claims that we are having wild parties and have campers all over the property!   We've bent over backward to communicate with all of our neighbors, making sure they are happy and benefiting from the garden's bounty.

Because of these legal hurdles...

We will no longer advertise workshops and movie nights on the blog.

You may want to send us an email (click here) so we can notify you privately as a friend in case we continue having our movie showings.

Because we will not be able to have a farm stand this season, we are going to offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares to 20-30 individuals and families.  Weekly share with be $20.
If interested in our CSA program, please email us ASAP (click here) so we can add you to our waiting list.

If you feel inspired, you can send a letter of support for the farm and the farm stand.  We will be needing community support to go to the City Council.  You can email (email here) your letter or snail mail it to:

Poki Piottin
2255 Paseo de los Chamisos
Apt G
Santa Fe, NM 87505

I feel confident that if indeed the City administration is serious about having a sustainable Santa Fe, it has to change its codes to allow neighborhood farms and farm stands to flourish around the city.

As you all know, it's a lovely thing and it brings the neighborhood together in a magical way.

Thanks a million for all your love and support!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sunday Work Parties Begin!

It is that time of the season! As of tomorrow and for the next many Sundays, we will be gathering from 11:00am-2:00pm to make potting soil, wash pots and trays, plant seeds, and later on transplants the seedlings to give them more leg room.  We will also do the same during our regular Mon. & Wed. volunteer time of 9:00am-12:00pm.

This work is done best communally and children are welcome.
So please, come for the 3 hours or for 30 minutes or just stop by to say hello and watch the rest of us have fun.

Our new seedling greenhouse is finished!  Thanks Bret and Dominique for your good work in putting the final touch!

Our Mon. and Wed. work parties are attracting some cool faeries!  Their hands are perfect to handle small plants...

Meet Bret, recently relocated from Indiana. A carpenter and a landscaper, Bret has jumped in to help build our new greenhouse and remodel the one we built last year.

Thanks Bret for all your creativity and dedication, and for driving such a cool rig!

All our pots and trays are being sterilized with a 10% bleach solution, to make sure no disease get brought into our seedling production, which this year, could be 10,000 or more.

We began sifting aged compost from one of our many compost piles, one of the components that we'll use in our potting mix.  The rest being sand, peat moss, kelp, bone meal, blood meal, vermiculite, perlite, lime and green sand.

Don't miss our faeries' famous hoola hoop shows...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How our Small Organic Farm Works

There's the farmer guy, the one who enjoys wearing funny clothes and staying up from sunrise to sunset, attempting to reweave sanity into a culture having gone astray, and sharing his humbling experiment with as many people as possible, especially children.

And then there's Dominique, doing the fine, sometimes invisible stroking on the complex landscape of a new urban farm, keeping peace, caring for the animals and bringing an everyday Mother's love and creative Spirit that reflects in the health, beauty and abundance in the garden.

Dominique, my beloved partner from the beginning of this project, is not only finishing a Masters degree in Art Therapy and Counseling at South Western College, but also works as a Massage Therapist for a couple hotels in town.

She approves every decision that is made, collects and stores our seeds, reviews every letter, communique' or graphics that leaves the farm desk and has been present for every farm stand, volunteer days and farmers markets last season.

Without her kind, joyous, compassionate and radiant presence, this project would not be what it is.

On this special day Dominique, I want to express my deepest gratitude, respect, Love and admiration for all that you do, and how you do it.

I also want to wish you the deepest fulfillment in your new undertaking as the Pollinator Pod coordinator for the farm, setting out to grow an abundant crop of flowers and herbs, to support those creatures that support us.

Happy Valentines Day!