Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 -- a new gardening year

We signed up for another year at Starbird Farm. I went out yesterday and it appeared to me that I might be able to do some rototilling. I want to get at the canary grass before it gets too big. I had gotten about half the garden well tilled several times last year and that part is still really clean of weeds and grass.

I have learned that the City of Everett owns some 400 acres of farm land south of the Lowell River Road a few miles south of Ebey Island. This is good farm land, also within the 100-year flood plain so the city can't build houses there. I have made a propsal to establish community gardens on that land. It has been farmed recently and is in pretty good shape -- not covered with canary grass like Ebey Island. My long term vision is that those 400 acres should be made into 3-5 acre farms that could be leased long term (like 25-year leases) to small farmers who would produce fresh food for the city. With the looming fossil fuel shortages, we need all the food production we can create near the cities. The hill above that land -- adjacent to Interstate 5 -- could be developed into affordable housing for the farmers and their families.

For the past two weeks I was touring southern Mexico, Mayan country. I did get to visit a Mayan village and go inside a Mayan family compound. It consisted of several oval huts with thatched roofs. The Mexican government has brought water (via a garden hose), electricity (lights in the huts and a TV in the corner) and education to the villages. The people are farmers who farm very small acreages often several miles away from the village. Water is a problem. They grow corn, beans, squash and a few melons. Education is in their own language via satellite and DVD. All over the Yucatan, one sees special modified bicycles with a large cargo bay on the front end. A few of them are even motorized. The Yucatan is very flat, so this makes sense. In the Everett area, these things would need some help getting up the hills.


  1. Is that the land they've been trying to grow some sort of oil seed on? rapeseed or whatever? I think they've spent around a million dollars on that project, between the land, tilling and the crusher. thats what i seem to recall, anyway.

  2. Bruce, I don't think this is the rapeseed land. I think that is further east. I understand that this land is a candidate for being made back into swamp at tremendous cost to mitigate (atone) for the City building the commercial complex they plan on the river bank just south of Pacific Avenue. I believe that we need some balanced thinking about this headlong rush to turn low lying land back into salt marsh. We also need to feed our population in the light of diminishing fuel supplies in the next 5-10 years. The longer we put off preparing, the harder the transition will be.

  3. As you look around you on a typical day, try to imagine how things would be without fossil fuels. How would you travel? How would you get food if the trucks couldn't deliver it from Mexico, China and California? How would you get shelter and warmth? How would you survive? Do you think Exxon is concerned with that? Safeway? Your county government?