Archive for February, 2012

Organic/Sustainable Farming/Gardening

February 5, 2012
Thursday evening’s Wellness of Chatham meeting was educational and fun, and I thank our host, CCCC for the use of their classroom space in the Sustainable Tech building.  The turn out was great, and appreciation goes out to Nita Dukes, Libby Ann Capaldi, Christiana Herndon, Chris Bouton, Christi Costigan, Rudy Mullis, Cindy Shetter, Donna Poe and Judy and Mike Harrelson for their participation and great questions. 
Special thanks to our speaker, Hillary Heckler, for her discussion of organic and sustainable farming methods and practices.  Exciting and encouraging, to say the least!
I really appreciated the way Hillary opened the meeting up to question and answer right away, and our participants had a variety of great topics to address.
A brief overview of what was presented is as follows (also see attached photo “a picture is worth a thousand words” – thanks to Rudy Mullis!):
CCCC has the following community offerings – all choice offerings dictated by the needs and requests of the community – great thing about a community college!
Short-term Workshops
Continuing Ed. (1 day – 3 or 4 months)
Certificates & Certifications (1yr)
Associate Degrees (2yrs)
Check out CCCC website for more information
Some programs dealing with Organic/Sustainable and Green Environmental Education :
A.A.S. in Sustainable Ag: Robin Kohanowich & Hillary Heckler
Doug Jones – Piedmont Biofarm – Growing Organic/Sustainable Gardens (classes)
Biofuels – Bob Armantrout, program coodinator
Green Building – John Delafield, instructor
Green Technologies – Laura Lauffer, program director
Other related topics:
*Niche Gardens
*NC Botanical Garden
*Edible Landscaping
Definitions for consideration of what, where and how to plant:
Sustainability (Wikipedia)
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time, a necessary precondition for human well-being. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.
Permaculture – Harvy & Nancy Harmon
Principles on how to design a garden or food-growing space.  How to meet gardening needs in little space, very concentrated, considering concepts of sustainability and co-existence.
Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by attempting to model them on natural ecosystems.
Biodynamics (Ag)
Aligning growing plans to cosmos.  Accounting for all cycles of life. 1920’s Europe (pre World Wars)
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system.  Biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. There are independent certification agencies for biodynamic products; most of these agencies are members of the international biodynamics standards group Demeter International. Biodynamics originated out of the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy.
Historical Readings
Study locale from where foods originated.
Biochar (Wikipedia) – use of
Biochar or terra preta, is a name for charcoal when it is used for particular purposes. Like all charcoal, biochar is created by pyrolysis of biomass. Biochar can increase soil fertility, raise agricultural productivity and reduce pressure on forests. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon and can endure in soil for thousands of years.
Best question to ask when planting – WHAT DOES THIS METHOD I’M PREPARING TO INCORPORATE DO
Key to soil fertility is to always have something growing on the land.
Other important resources:
1)Growing Small Farms (Debbie Roos-Chatham County Extension Agent/Organic specialist)
2)Brian Rosa – Organic Recycling Specialist/Vermicomposing workshops.  NCDENR Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach.  919-707-8123  website:
3)Country Farm and Home Supply, Inc. – Melinda Fitzgerald  (919) 542-3353
203 S. Small Street, Pittsboro
4)The Garden of Concord, a community garden planted in Eli Whitney.
$10/season, $25/full-year memberships
Donna Poe, Garden Manager 336.512.7434