Monday, June 22, 2009

What the World Eats

Check this out!

Do people REALLY drink that much bottled stuff in a week?!?!?!?
And the amount of prepackaged foods on the tables is astonishing to me...
What would YOUR weekly spread look like?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


On June 4th, STARworks Garden hosted another worm workshop on STARworks premises. 
2 groups of fourth graders gathered under the shade of the big oak trees in front of STARworks building. 44 children!
Mrs. Lamonds had kept a worm bin in the classroom all year and her students had taken care of the worms - feeding them and learning about their behavior. Now it was time to harvest the castings, or "vermicompost". Kids took turns separating worms from castings and walking on our brand new walking trail. One of the boys said that he ran 16 laps - that's 2 miles! 
Here is Melanie Lamonds with a group of fourth graders sorting out the worms.
After harvesting the castings, Mrs. Lamonds' and Mrs. Comer's classes each started a new bin - with shredded newspaper, some compost from the old bins, and a bunch of worms. We also went to check on the flower bed that the kids planted a little more than a month ago. They recognized some plants, marveled over the height of the sunflowers, and checked the little watermelons that had started to form. Yesterday when I looked at the plants - the sunflowers were blooming, and some of the watermelons are about 4 inches in diameter! I can't wait for those kids to come back to the garden when school starts, to taste the fruits of their seeds!

Friday, June 12, 2009

BALLE Memoirs

This is going to be some serious blog entry. I mean... where do I even start?! There is no way I can convey it all...
Maybe I should start with the fun stuff?!
Below are Nancy, our Big Brain and the Heart and Soul of Central Park NC, and Eric Henry, the TS Desings Mastermind, coming up with some serious "business plan on a napkin" - the annual BALLE creative business plan endeavor... 
And here is the rest of the creative crew. Jane Norton and I were the support group. 
I drew up this very complicated map of how it all would work out... 
And Nancy put it in the right "language"... You never know. This just might be the next big thing that happens at STARworks in cooperation with TS Designs... Sorry the pictures are sideways. I strategically positioned them so it would be harder for you to copy this brilliant plan!

Among other fun things, we went to the "Tattered Cover"the largest independently owned bookstore in the USA. I bought "COOP", Michael Perry's wonderfully written and funny book about life on a farm, which I am now reading and laughing out loud most of the time.
We checked out some local places to eat, like breakfast at the "Delectable Egg"which was a perfect choice for two chicken lovers like Nancy and I. The omelet was awesome!
The Curtis Hotel, where we staid at was cool too! 

While sitting at the key note's and lectures I couldn't help but feel a certain satisfaction - there is a revolution taking place in America. I guess it could be summed up as the "Small Mart Revolution" , a term coined by Michael Shuman, who by the way is a wonderful speaker besides being a good writer and revolutionary thinker. Another man who fits that description would be David Korten. I will list some of their books at the end of this blog entry, so you can do further "deep reading" on your own. Those two men left a lasting impression on me, and seemed to be the driving force behind Local Living Economies movement.
BALLE conference could be summed up as a call to arms for distributing the idea of economies being driven by small local businesses, people standing up against the current corrupt corporate model of economy and taking more in their own hands in their own communities. 
We saw an inspiring presentation by "Biofuel Oasis" from Berkley, California, where 5 women came together some years ago, and formed a worker owned business after brewing bio-diesel in their back yards. Today they have a successful business, faithful following and a newly renovated site for making and selling recycled vegetable oil.
Another presentation which was possibly the highlight of my conference experience, was by Free Range Studios the creators of the "Story of Stuff", "Meatrix", "Store Wars" and other great educational films:) Erica Priggen, who is the producer at Free Range Studios was giving us the ABC's of how to make a "viral" video, and I bet we're going to be making some movies of our own here at STARworks in the future...
Soooo... Next year BALLE will be taking place at Charleston SC - practically over the fence from here, so we should all hop over and learn what we can do at our own hometowns, or even at our homes - to make the future a bit brighter...
Some links for your own homework:

Click away! It is encouraging to see all this information out there, so many individuals and groups doing some good work!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Just a quick note for ya'll before I head out to the garden to pick the produce for this Friday's shares. As I was driving to work this morning I listened to the NPR - as I usually do - and they had on another story of their "Farmers Market Finds" series. This time Adam Hochberg was in Ayden NC, talking to the owners of "The Collard Shack".
You can find that story HERE. I suggest to listen to the story, to get the real southern flavor:)
As with many other things - Adam and I were introduced to The Collard Shack a few years ago by our friend, teacher and mentor Seo. That was before I knew anything about BALLE.
Now, talk about Local Living Economies. The Collard Shack is a great example of a smart small local business run by Benny and Vicky Cox. When asked if they have thought about expanding their business the answer was - they have their hands full just tending the roadside stand. I bet ya. That's what sustainability is all about in my opinion. Take a bite that you can chew, and leave the rest of the pie for others, instead of flooding the market and the culture overall with mediocre "good for all" stuff, and making a ----load of money in the process... allright. I won't get started here. I'll just leave you with an "Old Estonian Saying" - "Tee järele, või maksa kinni!" roughly translated as: "Do it by their example, or pay for it!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Oh my goodness.
I came from the greenhouse about an hour ago... it was 110 degrees F in there. The plan was to move all the plants outside, as I'm not interested in frying them... but had to get out as I didn't want to fry myself either. So maybe I'll sneak back in there under the cover of the night, when it is a bit cooler. Here is the first onion I pulled last week - a beauty! kind of smallish still, but maybe also extra sweet?
Jalapenó's are starting to take shape. Yesterday I also discovered a few eggplants already on the plants! That's way earlier than I thought.
Here's a view to the greenhouse. There are plenty of little Pistou basil bushes to sell at our Flowerpot Fundraiser coming up this Saturday, June 6th, during the Star Heritage Day. 
I have sooooo much more to blog about! As I have mentioned in the newsletters - Nancy and I went to Denver, Colorado to a BALLE conference - I can't believe its already been 2 weeks since we went?! Anyway, we had a great time, and I will dedicate a separate blog entry to that. I also have several pages of notes and information to share with ya'll...  so, please be patient with me - as I try to juggle working in the garden, coordinating sales, keeping up with blogs and home life.