Tag Archives: Louisiana

Composting on Cumberland

29 Aug

I’d like to point everyone to my friend Jen’s absolutely delicious blog Food Orleans. Reading about her culinary adventures across the Crescent City and salivating over the photographic record reminds this fellow just what it means to miss New Orleans. In pursuit of at-home sustainability, Jen recently asked me to share my thoughts on backyard composting and the lessons I’ve learned from the Greyfield Garden.

I hope I’m not the “thoughtful composter” of Jen’s post title. I wish I could put more thought and energy into our compost program here on the island. Without a doubt, it’s the easiest way to address our fertility issues. But our extreme environment doesn’t make achieving a rich humus-like product easy, especially in the summer months. I’ve heard the garden on Little St. Simon’s does an excellent job in this respect, and I plan to study their system and bring it back to Greyfield. To be honest, I just don’t feel that we’re composting as successfully as we should be.

Regardless, Jen is far too generous with her praise. I’m not half as articulate as I wish. And, honestly, I could sit down and talk about Greyfield’s compost or any other aspect of the garden for days. I am a Greyfield Garden nerd, proudly. Get ready. With a little more time and determination (and a new camera), I hope that means a lot more blogging in the near future.

Until then, please check out the inside scoop on wild horse poop:

on sustainability, part 2: the thoughtful composter

 

P.S. That’s super-Wwoofer Wynne in the compost pit. More on Wynne and the other pea in her pod, Jake, to come soon.

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Louisiana, Alice Waters, and an Edible Schoolyard

21 Mar

Hello and good day. Spring temperatures are finally here and the island is a very healthy looking shade of green. The horses are as pleased as I am with the new colors of spring and the gnats are back to test everyone’s patience, spring really is here!  I recently returned to Greyfield Inn following a trip to Louisiana.  Marksville, Louisiana was my first experience in the great state and honestly I loved it. My girlfriend and I were hosted by Mr. Rodney Rabalais and Mrs. Paige Rabalais on their property appropriately dubbed “slowness”.  The couple were absolutely amazing people and welcomed us as if we were family. Paige had been a guest of Greyfield Inn in December and on her visit she spent some time in the garden. Paige and I chatted about the local food movement, shared gardening stories, and talked about school gardens for an hour or so.  Paige had invited myself and Robbie (WWOOFer at the time) to attend a school event highlighting the schoolyard garden that she and another teacher initiated. Avoyelles Public Charter School is a lovely k-12 school in Marksville, LA consisting of a curriculum focused on the arts. Students take art, music, foreign language, and sewing at every grade level. The school really is a jewel. The students and faculty share a beautifully designed campus on a spacious piece of property. A well-constructed and creatively designed tool shed sets behind the school within wheelbarrow distance from the garden. The shed is built largely with reclaimed wood. The school held a shed- raising event that drew assistance from all over Marksville. Upon entering the shed a breath of the community surrounding its construction fills your lungs and a feeling of home is exhaled.  Signs indicating vegetables, flowers, trees, and fruits are all in written in French, which helps the students stay sharp on their vocabulary as well as teach them about their heritage.  Paige and fellow teacher Polly spearheaded the movement to create an edible schoolyard at Avoyelles Public Charter School. The students wrote letters to Alice Waters when they took their first steps toward creating the garden and invited her to attend their 10-year anniversary.  Shortly after receiving the letters Miss Alice agreed to visit the school and see what everyone had accomplished. I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Miss Alice. She is a very kind woman and truly has a golden heart and sincere love for educating adults and children alike on all things food. My experience in Louisiana is one to remember. The food was as delicious as the culture surrounding the area and the people were incredible. I tasted a few things for the first time one of them being a rice and vegetable stuffed sausage called boudin but the taste of the rich culture is one that I will truly hold on to and hopefully taste again in the future.  Until next time, take it easy (on the planet).

This is what the Avoyelles Public Charter School garden looks like mid March.

The kids were so excited about their new project!

The entire hallway leading to the garden is full of info about why the garden is the right thing to do!

The students at APCS take art, music, sewing, and foreign language classes beginning in kindergarten.

The 5th graders made an apron for Miss Alice and Mister Joe.

These folks were very informative and their honey was delicious!

One of many chefs participating in the feast surrounding the garden event.

These kids are not students however they did receive a good amount of attention.

A true Louisiana experience!

Mr. Rodney, Mr. Joe, Miss Alice and Miss Paige

Mr. Gerard and some students celebrating their heritage in the form of music.

Mr Joe doing a cooking demo using fresh garden veggies!

A few students enjoying some good food and a lovely day.