Fall 2014 Crop Mobs
Sad to say, the summer of 2014 is waning fast, and glimmers of autumn are beginning to appear. Of course, for those who align with the cycles of the natural world, autumn is a particularly fecund and productive time – a time to harvest many summer crops, perhaps to get another cool weather crop cycle in before the snows come. A time for planning our winter cover crops that will facilitate our spring crops, come next year. And a time to engage with our community, to see how we can help our neighbors as they prepare for the coming seasons…in other words, time for fall crop mobs!
Sept 14: First up this fall, a project that suits the season well. We’ll be helping our friends at Ekar Farm install their Urban Garden Reflection Patio. Ekar has always dreamed of a place out in the middle of the farm to sit and quietly reflect on the importance of organic food accessibility, food equality, and the community value of urban farms. Crop mob participants will layout and construct a brick patio by digging out the area, filling the hole with gravel and sand, and then placing bricks. This amazing addition to Ekar’s urban farm will allow people to enter the heart of the property to pause and reflect on life, the universe, and everything – while in the midst of the flora that will eventually be harvested and given away as food to those in need.
Please do bring your children – we think this would be a terrific opportunity for them to enjoy learning about how food is grown (Farmer Jay will of course be on hand) and also about the important issues of food security and food justice, for which Ekar is such an effective and eloquent advocate! Dogs are probably best left home this time, as they cannot be allowed in the growing area where we will be working.
Tools will be provided, so just bring your work gloves, plenty of water for hydration, sun protection as desired, along with a smile and a thirst for community!
Please be sure to register here, so we can plan lunch for the appropriate number of participants!
Completed Spring 2014 mobs:
March 29: Waste Farmers – appropriate that, for our first of 2014, we visit our good friends at Waste Farmers, scene of several past crop mobs. Waste Farmers is a next-generation, sustainable agricultural company focused on helping humanity meet current and future food demands while decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. You can read more about this outstanding Colorado success story here.
While checking on the status of the hugelkulturs we built at Waste Farmers last year, we will build and install a new set of raised beds, fill ‘em with soil and Maxfield’s specialty soil enhancers, plant ‘em with spring crops, and we’ll also build a chicken coop. Register for this event here.
April 12: The GEOS Development is a planned community like no other in Denver. Sustainability and eco-housing enthusiasts in particular will want to be on board for this mob. Billed as Colorado’s first ‘geosolar’ development, this new eco-community is an experiment in radical sustainability, featuring net-zero energy homes and native landscaping with a focus on the health and well being of its inhabitants and the natural systems that support them. More about the development here. In alignment with the principles this community espouses, we’ll be creating a large sheet mulched gardening area alongside with several of the future homeowners. Sheet mulching (aka lasagna gardening) is a permaculture no-till technique that builds soil from the ground up via layers of organic materials. This will be the largest scale sheet mulch project that Denver Crop Mob has yet undertaken.
Note that since many of the GEOS homeowners will be joining us, we will be offering only a limited number of tickets, so lock in your spot by registering here today!
April 26: This will be a Saturday to remember. Not only are we privileged to be holding a crop mob for a much loved local institution, Aleece And Kris Raw‘s ‘The Garden,’ but this crop mob will be filmed as part of the One Day in Denver project. Note that we’ll be asking participants to sign a waiver so you can be included in the documentary TV series that results!
Our host farmer, the Garden, is a community food and events center in North Park Hill that is managed, funded and supported by the members that use it and the community it serves. For people who want to eat good food while helping others do it too, they offer opportunities to connect, share, learn and grow. Their organically grown gardens serve the Sunshine Food Project food buying club, Mo Betta Green farmers market, a variety of farm-to-table events, cooking classes and workshops, neighborhood food pantries and more.
We’ll be helping Aleece and Kris with various projects around the Garden, including building, conditioning and planting straw bale gardens, helping with their first hops project, painting the chicken coop and more. This will be a fun day with relatively light-duty work and a fantastic meal provided.
May 10: Farmer Tim’s Tumbarello Farm is our friend (and crop mob veteran) Tim Engel’s farm. Tim grows food for the Highland’s Old Major restaurant (as well as for our very own Grow Local Colorado’s food pantry program), and this works to OUR advantage, as the sit down meal for this mob will feature a full spread from Old Major: a pig roast with all the fixin’s – and plenty of beer to wash down this hearty fare. That’s right – it’s gonna be a party! But first – we work! In this case, Farmer Tim will be teaching us Israeli gardening and farm-irrigation techniques, as we’ll be planting (corn, potatoes, squash, pie pumpkins, cucumbers, etc) and laying down irrigation lines. If you enjoy celebrating with good food and good beer after a hard half-day’s work among friends old AND new, in pursuit of a vibrant and just local economy, well, this is clearly the mob for you!
May 24: Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado [VOC] will be driving this crop mob, on behalf of Magpie Farms (an urban farm in Arvada) under the Denver Public Libraries ‘Fresh City Life’ program. We’ll be sheet mulching a large area for this mob, based on the success of last year’s sheet mulching crop mob. David Braden, local permaculture guru and head honcho of the Living Systems Institute, will be directing the installation, as well as educating us on the benefits of this no-till, no-weed permaculture method. If you have not experienced sheet mulching, this is a vital technology for the future of growing food, and this would be a terrific opportunity to learn about it.
As VOC will be managing this crop mob, please use their registration process – we’ll post the link here as this crop mob nears!
PRIOR YEAR CROP MOBS
Fall 2013 mobs:
October 19 – for the last crop mob of the year, it’s fitting that we visit an old friend, who we haven’t yet seen this year: H2Organics, an organic greenhouse and farm up in Arvada. They got hammered pretty hard by the rains this fall, so we’ll be helping Jeremy and the crew to clear the fields and then to plant a winter garlic crop.
September 28 – We’ll be revisiting our friends at Waste Farmers for this crop mob, and we have some good times on tap for sure. Recall that our spring crop mob here installed a hugelkultur mound as well as building some raised beds – we’ll be checking the status on those projects, AND doing a bunch more. This time around, tasks include enhancing the hugelkulturs with poly tunnels, building cold frames (a type of season extender), prepping a chicken coop area, pouring some cement, and building a chicken tractor, among others! This is one you don’t wanna miss, and is also a good one to which to bring interested (supervised!) kids!
September 14th – We’re gonna be helping out everybody’s favorite non-profit greenhouse, local food and permaculture educator – the GrowHaus!! This is one you do NOT want to miss! We’ll be installing a 150 sq ft tropical permaculture demonstration garden, one of many, along with numerous other tasks (TBD), which may include laying tubing for a radiant floor heating system, laying pavers, prepping for a mobile test kitchen, etc. A fun – and educational – time is sure to be had by all!
Spring 2013 mobs:
March 16 – Denver Crop Mob at Infinite Monkey Winery – help fill raised beds with compost in preparation for the gardening season. Produce will be served at Old Major Restaurant.
April 6 – Our friends at Waste Farmers will be hosting this crop mob that will include numerous terrific learning activities – we’ll be helping to build raised beds that will be used to grow veggie and composting crops, AND we’ll be using Sepp Holzer’s hugelkultur technique to establish the beginnings of a food forest. Very exciting! Due to the valuable educational potential, this would be an ideal mob for older children to attend!
April 27 – Fresh City Life offers adult cultural programming, such as gardening classes, through the Denver Public Library. On this particular project, which will include clearing, soil prep, and bed prep, the garden being prepared will act as a lab space for future FCL gardening classes. Register here through Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC). PLEASE do NOT simply show up without registering via that link!
May 18 – The SAGE Project is a 6700 square foot CoExist Community Garden growing food for/with the hungry and homeless. The entire garden is engaged collaboratively and all produce is shared with those who are hungry in body and/or spirit. We’ll be reconfiguring and building raised beds and doing some planting – this is a very worthy cause that can use your support!!
June 2 – The ever popular EKAR Farms is a charity based non-profit urban farm on 2 acres. Their mission, to boldly grow where no man has…err, that is, to grow fruits and veggies in a sustainable fashion, to build community, and to provide experiential educational opportunities. This year EKAR plans to grow and donate 8,000 pounds of organic produce to various local food pantries. Mobbers will help with seed and soil work – we’ll be planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, among other tasks. VOC is coordinating this crop mob for us as well, so PLEASE – if you want to attend, you’ll need to register at this link. (Note that the Ekatr crop mob is currently full with a waiting list – why not register for the June 8 mob, at Moondog? Details just below…)
June 8 – Join us as we lend a hand to Produce Denver at Moondog Farm, a collaboration between DHA, Queen Anne Inn, Mercury Cafe and Produce Denver. Mercury Café grows herbs and fruit for the restaurant, Produce Denver grows food for restaurants and Queen Anne uses the produce for breakfasts and for the Five Points Fermentation Company. We’ll be helping out by planting, weeding, suckering tomatoes, trellising tomatoes, planting flowers, mulching, etc. Some serious gardening action goin’ down, people! Plan on getting dirty with us as we build community from the soil up!
June 29 – Calling all crop mob devotees, and Denver urban ag enthusiasts! We need your help!!
We’ve scheduled a special crop mob, last of the summer season, for next Saturday, June 29. We’ll be helping to bring the Winona Ct. Farmette (aka Dana Miller’s place) back into production. The produce from the garden of this local legend goes to a local food bank to serve the hungry.
Many of us know Dana as a co-director of Grow Local Colorado, an organization that is as unceasing as it is effective in its efforts to provide fresh food to those most in need of it. She needs our help, so come one, come all, spend a couple of hours helping to weed, clean up, and generally bring things under control, and then join us for brunch.
This will be an early, and a short crop mob – we’ll start at 7:30, and be sitting down to brunch at 9:30, which include yield from the garden, and (for the more courageous among us) a salad made from edible weeds! Included will be a mini-seminar on these nutritious and abundant plants.
Bring gloves and pruning shears if ya got ‘em!
Here’s what we did in 2012.
- April 7 – created a garden from scratch at The Garden, a new restaurant located at 3435 Albion in Park Hill. The Garden Family wants to grow much of the produce they will use in the kitchen.
- May 5 – helped South Metro Urban Farmer’s kick off their 2nd season of Neighborhood Supported Agriculture by planting seeds and seedlings in the heart of old Littleton.
- May 19 – helped Mo’ Betta Green Marketplace create an urban food forest using native medicinal and food plants at this location in Five Points.
- June 10 – at H2Organic Farms, we planted out tomatoes, eggplants and peppers in the 1/4 acre surrounding their greenhouse in Arvada and began building a produce stand.
- June 20 – Mid-Summer Night at Produce Denver at Denver ‘s Sustainability Park, located at 2500 Lawrence Street. Lots of planting of cukes, squash and tomatoes!
- June 24 – returned to Ekar Farm to complete a variety of chores including revamping an old herb garden
- August 4 – worked at Sprout City Farms, located at Denver Green School and one of 3 pilot farming projects on DPS acreage.
- Sept 29 – Star Acre Farms Harvesting was the task of the day. Tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, squash. Lots of great food, and a few sore muscles.