Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grow A Deeper Shade of Green

Join Growing Power’s Will Allen and Lynchburg Grows for a 1 ½ day hands-on workshop on sustainable agriculture and creating local food systems

Where: Lynchburg Grows, 1339 Englewood Street, Lynchburg VA 24501

When: May 12-13 (agenda is below)

Whether you would like to get more and better crops out of your backyard city or suburban plot, start or improve a community gardening project, or learn to turn a larger profit out of a small acreage or farm, this hands-on demonstration workshop is a timely spring event you won’t want to miss.

Save the date, May 12-13 for this lifetime learning experience.

Renowned urban farmer Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power Inc., a Milwaukee farm, community food center and national training center, will lead demonstrations in some of the methods and systems that are revolutionizing organic, sustainable food growing for tomorrow’s world. Lunch is included in the price of registration.

Living Biological Growing Systems: An Innovative Approach to Sustainable Production. How to develop a comprehensive and sustainable growing system that can grow food year-round without heat.

Composting: Learn how to build indoor/small-scale compost systems, and design and maintain outdoor/small and large-scale systems.. Discuss collection of waste streams in the city or on the farm.

Vermiculture: Construct and maintain a worm bin. Use vermicompost as a fertilizer or use it for generating cash from those who want an excellent organic fertilizer.We will build an additional 4 worm-bins that will be offered for sale to participants along with a starter worm population.

Aquaponics: Build a large aquaponics unit/vertical growing system where fish and organic plants live in an enclosed system. We will also build 3-4 model demonstration units that will be offered for sale to workshop participants who want to experiment with an aquaponics system.

Community Project Design: Meet people who have actually done community projects requiring technical expertise in soil remediation, urban agriculture & food distribution, aquaculture, vermiculture, community gardening, large or small-scale composting, bee-keeping, and more.

For directions, visit

Cost: Registration is $75. You may pay by check at the time of event.RSVP to:

Please let us know you’re coming!Space is limited to 50 people so make your reservations now!
Contact: Michael G. Van Ness, Executive Director, Lynchburg Grows(434) 546 – 1793

May 12 – 13th Agenda
Will Allen visit to Lynchburg Grows

May 12th
8:00 am – 8:30 am Workshop Registration / Refreshments
8:30 am – 9:00 am Introduction (Dereck Cunningham, LG Pres. And Will Allen)
9am – 12:00 Composting and Worm Farming
Includes building a compost pile
Includes harvesting worms from worm bin and making 4 worm bins (we will sell 3 of them for $75 ea.)

12:00 – 12:30 pm Lunch
12:30 – 5:00 pm Aquaponics
Includes building an on-site aquaponics/vertical farming unit and 3-4 model demonstration units (We will be selling 3 of them for $250/ea.)
5:30 – 6:30 pm Tour of facility & Refreshments
6:30 – 7:30 pm Will Allen Powerpoint Presentation - "Community Based Food Systems"

May 13th
8:00 am – 8:30 am Registration / Refreshments
8:30 am – 10:00 am Growing & Selling Chemical Free produce for Sale
10:00 am – 11:30 am Building Local Food Systems – including CSA’s, Farmer’s Markets & Farmer’s Co-ops
11:30 am Adjournment of workshop

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Managing your Private Water Well

Informational Meeting and Bacteria Testing

May 6, 2009

James River High School Auditorium

6:30 pm

We will cover basic tips for managing your private water well and regular water testing, an explanation of bacteria testing, and instructions for collecting a water sample. You will be provided with a sample bottle and written instructions to collect a sample. Samples must be collected ONLY on the morning of May 7, 2009, and dropped off at the Botetourt Extension office that morning between 7 and 9 am. Samples will be analyzed for total coliform and E. Coli bacteria. Results and interpretation guidelines will be mailed to participants by the end of May.

The meeting is open to anyone. The cost for bacteria analysis for those using a private supply (e.g., well or spring) is $12 per sample bottle. Information about alternative testing options will be available for those on public water supplies.

Please contact Cassie Driskill, Botetourt Extension Agent, for more information at or 540-473-8260.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Farmers' Market Newsletter

Botetourt Family Farms is pleased to announce that the Botetourt Farmers Market will officially begin its season this Saturday, April 18 from 8:00am-1:00pm. We are located again this year at Ikenberry Orchards on Rt. 220 in Daleville (Find directions below).

In this week's e-newsletter you will find:
-Who and what will be at market
-Your Saturday night dinner menu including Asparagus Spinach Frittata recipe
-10 reasons to buy local food.
Come out this week to the market and you will find:
Mini Blessings Farm with hand sewn items; wood crafts; fresh herbs; home canned pickled beets, tomatoes, pears and apple butter; whole grain baked goods; honey and apple pie..
Amy Fenster with eggs, jams and pickles.

Brambleberry Farm with chicken, turkey and goose eggs; black forest baby cakes; asparagus and rhubarb.

Full Circle Farm with freshly milled whole wheat products and grass fed lamb.

Blue Ridge Poultry Coop with pasture raised chicken; lettuce; spinach; chard and eggs.

Journey's End Farm with baked goods; farm fresh pasture raised eggs; wood products and maybe early wild greens.

Shop and enjoy a beautiful Spring day at the first market of the season!

If you come to the market this Saturday, even this early in the growing season, you are sure to have an impressive, gourmet dinner Saturday night:

Fresh spring lettuce salad
Asparagus spinach frittata (see recipe below)
Roast chicken or lamb
Fresh bread with jam and apple butter
A variety of baked goods for dessert

Asparagus Spinach Frittata:
1/2 lb asparagus cut into one inch pieces
1/2 lb spinach
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 large eggs
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (1tsp. dried)
1/2 cup Monterey Jack or Mozzerella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a wide cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add asparagus and spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, till asparagus is slightly soft and spinach is wilted.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper, thyme and garlic.
Slowly pour eggs over asparagus and spinach.
Cover with cheese.
Carefully place in preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until eggs are set and cheese is melted.

From the wonderful cookbook, Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

Directions to Ikenberry Orchards:
From I-81:Take Exit 150 B towards Fincastle/Clifton Forge/220N. Bear to the right after the exit ramp. At the stoplight, turn right on US-220N (Roanoke Rd). Stay on 220N (Roanoke Rd) for approximately 3 miles. Pass Ikenberry Orchards and make a U-turn at the next intersection.

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

by Jennifer Maiser
Eating local means more for the local economy. According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.

Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

Local food just plain tastes better. Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours? 'Nuff said.

Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be "rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping.

This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

Eating local is better for air quality and pollution than eating organic. In a March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy, it was found that the miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic.

Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story. Whether it's the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.

Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination.

Local food translates to more variety. When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket. Supermarkets are interested in selling "Name brand" fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes. Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.

Supporting local providers supports responsible land development. When you buy local, you give those with local open space - farms and pastures - an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.

Originally published by Life Begins at 30, August 2005. Published with permission.