Welcome! We meet the first Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at 14 Carrot Whole Foods, 5300 Sunset Boulevard, Lexington, South Carolina, 29072. Please join us for a meeting, learn more about our playgroup and explore other ways to get involved. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MEETING : How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

 Eric McClam from City Roots stopped by to tell us about their "in-town sustainable farm." Their mission is to "produce clean, healthy, sustainably grown products while enhancing and educating our community about the benefits of locally grown food, composting, vermicomposting and other environmentally friendly farming practices."

Eric shared many of the things they are doing at City Roots, some of which can be applied to our own gardens, including:
City Roots is located on a three acre site tucked between a small airport, soccer fields and a residential community. They grow a variety of vegetables for local farmer's markets, restaurant sales and for their market on site. Their retail building on the farm is designed to suite the SC climate, minimize site and environmental impact and is seeking LEED certification.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system,  providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Read more about LEED here.

In the City Roots' green house they raise tilapia in a 3,000 gallon tank and produce nearly 500 varieties of micro-greens and sprouts. The tilapia are raised in a tank which has an adjacent biological filter that consists of two race ways with watercress to serve as both filtration and as a marketable item. They also grow citrus and use the green house for propagation for their field production as well.

City Roots grows around 30 varieties of vegetables and fruit. They have several bee hive for both pollination purposes and for honey. They have a variety of chickens that they free range and move in their chicken tractor. They have a large-scale composting operation which aides the fertility of their soil and is also used for growing several speciality mushrooms. Even their street trees that are required by the city's zoning produce fruit.

One of the key factors in starting their farm is an educational component and a community outreach program. City Roots provides farm tours for local schools, universities and the public, and hosts festivals and workshops. Those interested in volunteering or learning sustainable gardening practices should contact City Roots for more information.

One of the inspirations behind City Roots is Growing Power, a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner. You can also read more at the Growing Power blog.

For those interested, City Roots is also starting a CSA. More information can be found here.

Visit their Web site at http://www.CityRoots.org. City Roots is located at 1005 Airport Boulevard, Columbia, South Carolina, 29205. The hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Contact them at cityroots@cityroots.org or 803.254.2302.

Their produce can also be found at Rosewood Market, The All Local Market, Healthy Carolina Farmers Market and several local restaurants.

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