City Planning Community Resources Uncategorized

Envision your Future

This past Saturday, May 18, I attended a new annual event in Frederick County, Maryland.

Envision Essentials is a 4 part public workshop from Envision Frederick County. Each of the programs presents how we are impacted by decisions about how our cities and towns are organized and shines a light on how those decisions are made. The one day programs are fun, informative, with lunch included in the fee.

Saturday May 18, 2019 all the folks attending the first program of Envision Essentials’ 4 part workshop series. Thorpewood Lodge.

The place you live and everything you love about it, someone had a plan for some or all of it; someone had a hand in creating it.

Today that someone is you.

Where I live, Woodsboro, Maryland, a delightful, tiny town, had to start sometime, beginning with the path, the trail, then the road. At some point someone decided that the location was right for houses and industry. Here it’s farming and limestone quarries.

Over the decades and centuries houses increased, nested into the natural landscape on hills or buffered from the weather by hills. At every stage choices were made according to desires and needs.

Envision Essentials, workshops for the community

Planning serves the same purpose today, to fill our needs, yours and mine and our children. Every town, city, county and state has guidelines and enforceable rules for private and public property and utilities. Each of us, including you, can add your voice to the decisions that affect us all every day.

We have tools of government which may sound dull and be a yawn in party conversation; Planning and zoning, Appeals Process, Comprehensive-Documentation-of-Everything.

But they are not dull. They are tools of action that bring us Clean Water, Efficient Road Systems, Green Spaces in our Urban Landscape.

Envision Essentials aims to give you the opportunity to learn how these things work in Frederick County, MD, and how you fit into the decision process.

The Players

  • Your Elected Officials
  • Government Office Staff

These people are your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family. Envision Essentials’ first program introduced us to people who do some of this work, who go to work everyday just like you and me and try to make a difference in our lives.

This summer of 2019 you can attend 3 more programs showcasing locations around Frederick County, MD.

  • Saturday, June 15 Local Non-Profit Organizations & Advocacy Training, Bar-T Mountainside
  • Saturday, June 29, Environmental Issues in Frederick County, Middletown Valley
  • Saturday, July 20, Local Government Elected Officials, City Hall and Downtown Frederick

Sign up on the Envision Essentials page.

Someone planned the life you are living now.

Conditions will change.

Today that someone is all of us.

Sign up.

Community Community Supported Agriculture Compost Health Resources Sustenance

Why I buy food from a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farmer

It would be hard to overstate the positive effects of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in my family life. Food, water, air, shelter; things we need for survival; daily gifts we each can take for granted.  The quality may vary but we live in a place where they exist in abundance. Participating in the CSA system connects me and my family to each of these facets of life, making us less cavalier about what we have.

Food – reduced dependence on automated food production; appreciation for fresh fruits and veggies.

Water – appreciation for the seasons where we live and our CSA food is grown.  It rained a lot in Frederick, Maryland this year and we saw the effect on the farm production first hand. We get a better understanding of what it takes to get food from farm to the table.

Air – you may need to dig a little deeper into the connection between clean air and your food on the table to see it.  Less shipping from far away farms means cleaner air; effects of weather, humidity, rain vs drought all play a part in healthy plants.

Shelter – this is so general and varied in all its forms that I am not making a farming correlation but I have to say that my home feels better in every way when food is taken care of.  Few things satisfy more than making a delicious meal for family and friends and feeling safe in your own home.  And few things make people feel more vulnerable anywhere than when they cannot feed themselves or their family.

Buying a share of the produce from a local farm each year is an adventure.  The bargain I make with our CSA, Pleasant Hill Produce, is to give them money to invest in their crops and then during the growing season to receive a weekly “share” of the produce.  The weekly batch of veggies and fruit changes over the season depending on yield, weather, insects, and other forces of nature.

Right off the bat, investing in a CSA one learns, or is reminded, that there is a lot more to producing food that sustains life than going to the grocery store.  One of the cruelest information shams we give to our children is to allow the belief that bargain hunting is the basis for survival.  Survival is determined by knowledge and the flexibility to use it well.  Sometimes there are bargains; some of them are in grocery stores.

In the USA it is probably safe to say that the majority of the population gives little thought to how we get the things we need for survival.  Money is the system we use to exchange goods and services, so that is our focus.  But that is a big step away from understanding what it takes to stay alive.  CSA is a way of contributing to society at the most basic level; an investment in sustainable food production.

How it works in our house

The weekly budget.

For the 2018 season our CSA purchase was for a household of 2.  A small share of vegetables, fruit, and 1 dozen eggs cost $36.24 per week.  Most weeks we spent about $15.00 a week to add a few things; eggs, a veggie to round out a recipe or a meal.

Average $50.00 – 55.00 per week

Pick up once a week.  Other errands are done at the same time making the driving cost minimal.  The few added miles costs less than one dollar in gas and wear and tear on the family car.

The food

CSA - a weekly small share. Veggies, fruit and eggs.

The produce will change over the season, you will like some more than others.

What we like, we consume or preserve.  We learn what works well in the freezer or small batch canning.  We find creative ways to use veggies that are over abundant and what I’ll just call “gamey” ( how much kale is too much? )

All vegetable waste goes into the compost for our own garden.

Resources – nutritious food is grown in healthy, nutrient rich soil.

Better understanding of growing food leads to better resource management.  Land and water; composting and balancing nutrients for healthy soil.

Community Supported Agriculture is an investment, right here at home, in future seasons of eating.