Wednesday, May 1, 2013


A spring inventory found a number of shovels with worn and cracked blades and a few with loose handles. The one on the right above has been my favorite for over ten years - thin, strong blade, easy to sharpen, wooden handle, perfectly balanced. Before it lost a lot of metal to the file (a dull blade makes for a useless shovel) and interaction with the soil, it looked like the one on the left. The "oldies" have gone to the community garden for light duty in their waning years.

The inventory was inspired in part by some changes underway here. We've acquired a "junior farmer," which I guess relegates me to the role of "senior farmer"! In a trial of a new way of running Kingbird, we've been joined by Lynne Sabourin. Lynne was a stellar wwoofer* here 18 months ago and was seeking a deeper experience. She's now chief grower and manager of our wwoof visitors and seems to have things well in hand. We'll keep her for as long as it makes sense for her to stay and then, if we think the model continues to make sense, we'll look for a future season-long intern from among the ranks of former wwoof visitors.

In combination with this change, we've expanded sales to our favorite culinary magicians at Magpie Cafe in Sacramento and, in collaboration with another inspiring and energetic young woman, Misty Bell, we've started a small CSA**. Misty is a professional photographer passionate about fresh, healthy, local food. She'll manage marketing, billing, and customer relations. And she's seeking out specialty local products (honey, soap, cheese, hand-crafts) to include in the weekly food boxes. The CSA is called "From the Farm" (find us here on Facebook) and will attempt to serve as a window into the local farm-world for local city-dwellers in addition to providing ultra-fresh, healthy produce grown without the use of chemicals. (What we're in transition from, you may recall, is providing most of what we grow to the food bank in Galt. We'll be scaling back our donations but not ending them. And we'll continue our successful efforts to encourage other local growers to donate and to enable the food bank-dependent population to grow their own at the community garden.)

All of these changes have made for a very busy late winter and spring; hence the hiatus on blogging here. We're going to blog more actively now and use this vehicle for reports of interest to our CSA customers as well as to our extended Kingbird family, providing more detail and background than possible with Facebook (but continuing to use FB for alerts). I'm going to encourage Lynne (and perhaps others) to post here as well, so from now on you'll see signed pieces.

Exciting times! We'll do our best to keep you updated on the evolving adventure at Kingbird. In the meantime, please try to avoid the obvious comparisons between old farmers and old shovels!


*WWOOF is Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
**CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, the concept of linking specific consumers with specific farms. CSA relationships give farmers an assured revenue stream and consumers the opportunity to know exactly where their food comes from and how it is grown.
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