One-on-one interviews w/ participants of local food forum hosted by Edible Columbus on April 18, 2011

Here are some notes drawn from the forum, which meets every 3rd Monday at Wild Goose Creative.

Darren Malhame of Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association --and one of the owners of North Star Café--mentioned that OEFFA is involved in a lawsuit against Monsanto.

Another person I spoke with at this event was Seth Draeger who is starting a garden on Parsons Ave near Marion Rd, and also one on Lock Ave. near Groveport Rd and 104

A guy named Nick Stanich referred me to Franklinton Gardens, which he says has been around for 5 years, now having 9 gardens.

When asked about canning what he grows, Stanich said having a “massive food processing facility” for the harvests from community gardens in Columbus would help.

Does anyone know of any such food processing facilities where people can get together to can food ? If so, let me know by commenting on this site.

Stanich also said more organization among community gardeners in Columbus and beyond would be useful.

“We need to get more of an understanding of who’s gardening around the city. There’s not that much of an established resource that connects everyone…at the moment.”

One attempt to help with that involves a newly formed assortment of people calling itself Greater Columbus Growing Coalition. Their next meeting is on Thursday, May 5 at 6 pm at Barley’s on Dublin-Grandview Road.

One person at this event---Tim Price-- who is currently getting his 10 X 20 ft. garden ready for the 2011 out-door growing season-- said the main thing keeping him from working with other gardeners around the city is his work schedule.

“I work in Dayton. I leave around 7 in the morning and get home around 7 or 7:30 in the evening.”

Jaime Moore, who owns and operates along with her husband Adam Welly, Wayward Seed Farm, was at the forum as well. She said Wayward Seed will soon get it’s USDA organic certification.

Another person there was Yolanda Moser.
“Right now, I’m doing a lot of work with the Weinland Park Community Garden at Godman Guild, and trying to bring together people in that neighborhood because they have this huge Community Challenge Grant …with HUD and MORPC to help fix the disparities with healthful food access in that neighborhood.”

Moser said the Godman Guild community garden is one of the 12 hub gardens of the Growing to Green Program of the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Moser said there will be cabbage, golden beets, broccoli, and cauliflower growing in their garden, which she said is about a quarter of an acre.

“I’m really excited because I have golden beets. I think they’re really beautiful.”

Moser said some of the compost used to enrich the soil of their garden comes from food scraps from the staff and pupils of the Head Start program at the Godman Guild.

She said the garden uses mostly municipal water from a nearby spigot, though they’ve been using some free-standing rain barrels with mixed results.

She’s inviting us to the Grub N Groove In The Garden event scheduled for Saturday April 30.

“We have Transit Arts coming and doing some performances to engage the teens. They do Hip Hop and Break Dance. Transit Arts is an organization started by Jackie Calderone, formerly with CAPA… We also have PBJ and Jazz coming to do some music in the garden, along with Local Matters doing a workshop called Food Is Art, where kids can make sculptures out of their food.”

Another person at this forum was Cameron Goodyear who describes herself as a farm worker living in the city but commuting to and from her job at Wayward Seed Farm.

“ I really like to grow kale. I think it’s beautiful. I also really love tree crops, and fruit which is really fun. Also, something I’ve been really passionate about is ‘stacking things in the landscape’---stacking trees and shrubs and then lower, shade-loving plants. So, seeing all of those things work together is one of my favorite things.”

Goodyear referred to this as gardening or farming in a way that mimics nature.

A.J. Perry, owner and operator of Sassafras Bakery was at the forum selling food that involved me deviating from my plant-based diet.