This video today of a group of like-minded people working together to improve their lives. They call themselves the Grow Food Party Crew, a part of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition, their goal is to work together to build their local food shed and strengthen their community. They employ permaculture principles as their design approach to food production and land use. Projects include vegetable gardens, rainwater harvesting, as well as natural earthen structures. All the while having a great time doing it!
On March 28th mine was indeed a Crowded House. The Grow Food Party Crew descended on our yard like a swarm of locusts but with the opposite effect - they left us with veggie beds, berry troughs, herb boxes, and a food forest. White and yellow nectarines alternate with a dwarf avocado and a six-graft apple tree, surrounded by nasturtiums to deter wooly aphids. Some willing volunteers helped my husband Tom put in a fence for the chickens, who’ve been muttering ever since about the unfairness of life in chicken Gitmo. Herbs and strawberries went into some brick planters in front, while three entrenched angel trumpets were wrestled out of the ground by a Jacobean team. This group, honestly, worked nonstop, and then cut and stacked all the wood neatly for the fireplace. However, Ken the mushroom guy at the Farmer’s Market later mentioned that trumpet vines are members of the datura family, which are both poisons and hallucinagens. Since we couldn’t tell which effect we’d get, we took it to the dump. The baby bunnies earned their keep entertaining a steady stream of kids. We believe these are the most spoilt meat animals on the planet. And my 10-yr-old made fast friends with a very nice girl her age named Julia.
At the lunch peak, there were over 40 people. A guy named Gary saw the event in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and recognized the address as his aunt and uncle’s house back in the ‘50’s. Throughout the event, there were songs from the 60’s played on guitars and harmonicas, with African drums and shakers. A neighbor in his 70’s brought a big, lovely artichoke to plant. The weather was a perfect day in the ‘80’s.
A young Board member of the Gray Bears delivered boxes of muffins, beautiful crimini mushrooms, and two enormous peach pies. Ethan, a member of Food Not Bombs, brought breads, chard, potatoes, and more mushrooms. He also brought a bunch of seeds to swap. Brian, one of the Grow Food instigators, brought a duffle bag full of lemons and a box of cabbages. We sautéed cabbage with lemon and salt, and when we ran out of food, made cabbage salad. As Brian says, you can never have enough cabbage salad.
While relying on the kindness of these strangers, Tom would ask them how they’d ended up here. One had a friend who was crashing on her couch that was coming, so she came along. Another guy was riding his bike past when he recognized people he knew in the yard. So he came in to help. Other people read about it in the Good Times and showed up, with their families, tools, food, and goodwill. We still have someone’s hoe if you’d like to come claim it.
If you google Grow Food Party Crew Santa Cruz, you can find a YouTube video clip about the event. The description reads, "The Grow Food Party Crew is creating abundance while your buns dance. Let’s create the world you want to live in!" While Devin explains the concept in the video, people are singing in the background, "I wanna get my hands in the dirt. I wanna plant some seeds and watch ‘em grow." The chorus is "Let the sun come down. Let the rain come down," while the video shows a hose squirting into the air for the benefit of the kids, and the chickens scrabbling in the new dirt piles, which they thought were dug up for their benefit. Little did they know.
You can read about the event and see the youtube video here: http://www.groovygreen.com/groove/?p=3383
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