MIA once again- it's been a very busy few weeks since my return from the coast. Work is picking up steam with spring fast approaching so I've been busy with preparations for the fourth season of the Growing Healthy Kids garden project. We have our first big organizational and planning meeting this afternoon with about 25 returning families and a few new folks, it will be a room filled with kids, parents and hopefully lots of energy to plan our upcoming workshops and workdays.
Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend a Growing Communities workshop in Charlottesville, Virginia sponsored by the American Community Gardening Association. An action packed 2 days learning tools and techniques for organizing communities around the development of community gardens. A fantastic group of diverse folks were there, many from Charlottesville but also California, New York and New Jersey! I got a ton of great ideas for doing more leadership development with our garden families as well as ideas for spearheading more community garden work overall in the Chapel Hill area, it was inspiring.
I stopped into Roanoke to visit my friend Carol on the way home and we had a big time dining at a place called Local Roots, specializing- you guessed it- in local ingredients. I enjoyed a slice of head cheese topped with a sunny side up egg as an appetizer and brook trout with parsnips, potatoes, kale and bacon for my entree, oooh yummm. Sunday morning was cool and clear and we walked for about three hours around the Roankoke reservoir, birdwatching and sharing each others company. Pileated and red headed woodpeckers were our companions as we wandered through the hardwood forest.
On the tail end of winter this is a recent scene from the dining table. We've been making lots of slaw and raw veggie type salads, this version had grated raw beets and carrots, green cabbage and fennel, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice; crunchy, colorful and tasty. We served the salad along side a taco of sweet potatoes and zucchini sauteed with onions, chile powder and cumin, topped with sour cream. The stack includes a seed catalog, mushroom catalog, and a book I found at the library on cooking with winter vegetables. I think I read 8 slaw recipes alone! It's got loads of good ideas for using roots.
This week is promising to bring some very spring like weather at last. Warm and sunny days are in the forecast so I'm hoping to get into my own garden for a few hours. It's time to prepare beds for the 180 onion plants and 5 dozen leek plants I am expecting delivery on next week and also it is pea planting time!
The sun is currently shining so I am going to close this post and head out into the day to enjoy a bit of it before the big meeting this afternoon.