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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Food Water Connection

Most of you know that I do consultations as well as installation.  One of the best parts of my job is connecting people to resources.  I certainly don't claim to be able to do everything.  But I know some amazing people and resources in our community that I'd like you to know about too. 

We all know water is precious.  The other basis for human sustenance is food.  We all know it takes water to grow food, but what we may not realize is that food grown outside of our community takes far more water than food grown here locally.  The additional water costs are related to transportation/petroleum energy as well as crops grown in places they shouldn't be (like lettuce in the Imperial Valley) but due to water allocations and special pricing for agriculture, it can be justified for the price points you see at the store.  

If you really want to conserve water, besides planting yards that use only onsite water, if you can harvest additional water supplies (like rain from your roof in tanks, or greywater from your showers and laundry) you should grow food.  Then these technologies which are generally expensive and have 5+ years ROI minimum become more viable because you are generating additional cost savings, by decreasing your spending at the grocery store. 

Now to the resources:
1.  You want to redesign your space to grow food.  About half the time I go out to a consultation, what you want to do is grow food.  Logically you want to "plant the water" first.  But aren't sure what you want to grow with it.  This is a great time to call Kevin and Christopher with Savannah Agriculture.  They can develop a plan for growing a combination of drought tolerant, local, native, and edible plantings according to all your water resources.  Kevin Muno <kevin@savannaag.com>

2.  You want to grow veggies in your yard.  You'd rather not start slow and spend time and energy trying a bunch of techniques that might not work.  You might not have time and energy to do a great job but you have the space.  You should connect with Mia from Good Neighbor Gardens She has a backyard CSA program that provides ongoing maintenance and harvests from your yard combining your abundance with other yards in the community to create a wonderful biweekly box of veggies/fruits/ and other yummies.  AMAZING!  Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?!   

3.  You want to learn everything you can about growing your own food and holistic design.  Have you heard about the San Diego Sustainable Living Institute?  Have you heard about Permaculture?   I can guarantee after this class, you will see the world through different eyes.  You will have tools and resources you need, as well as having made connections with other like-minded people here in San Diego to be able to work towards designing your space and maybe creating a career combining forces with others to create change in our community.  

4.  You want to meet these people and be inspired by a functional local non-profit farm!  Check out the Kale Festival coming up Saturday, February 22 at the San Diego Peace Garden in City Heights.  And if you love the Peace Garden you can come help out and learn all about growing food on Wednesday mornings!

5.  You want another chance to meet these people, AND see water harvesting in action in the form of 2 x 500 gallon tanks, shower greywater, and laundry greywater in a highly productive and beautiful garden.  On March 15th, we will open a charming yard in South Park where you will be able to meet all the people above as well as see these water harvesting features.  We will have someone from the Water Conservation Department on hand to discuss the current rebate programs.  And I will give a tour demonstrating all the features and describing all the costs associated with the different water harvesting elements.   You can find more information at http://www.h2o-me.com  and RSVP at www.sdsustainable.org

6.  If you want to learn to install a greywater system yourself, check out our upcoming Greywater workshop on March 29.  http://sdsustainable.org/event/laundry-to-landscape-greywater/

7.  Here's some other local edible landscapers you might want to check out:
and a drought tolerant/native landscaper

Keep on Growing!
Brook Sarson
Smart Water Savings

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