Archive for September, 2009

Get It Local: Think Boise First

Get It Local

Capital City Public Market
On Saturday July 11 Kalee, my boyfriend Ben Rodwell, Beth, and myself joined about 30 other volunteers in downtown Boise at the Capital City Farmer’s Market to assist with a Rapid Market Assessment. The RMA provides economic information about shoppers at the market and counts the total number of market attendees. Our duty was to ask market shoppers to participate in a dot survey; 4 questions with multiple choice answers were on 4 different boards. We handed them 4 dot stickers and they placed a dot in the column corresponding to their answers. The questions asked how often they shop at the market, what they buy (produce, crafts, art) how much they spend, and how much they spend at other downtown businesses. Other volunteers stood at all the entrances to the market and counted the people walking in with clickers. The last RMA was held 3 years ago and the total attendance count was at about 11,000. This year the total count was over 17,000 market shoppers! It is great to see the trend of more people buying fresh local produce and supporting their local farmers.

After the RMA we had the opportunity to visit with a local Boise business owner running a restaurant with a strong commitment to sustainability. Red Feather Lounge & Bittercreek Alehouse At Red Feather & Bittercreek they cook incredible food that comes from as many local growers as possible. They include food miles on their menu, showing how far each item traveled to get there. They have a huge worm compost bin in the basement and compost their organic food waste. They use recycled wine bottles as dinner glasses, and use their own ketchup bottles. It’s wonderful and inspiring to see how it’s the little changes that make the big differences. If you’re looking for a delicious restaurant and want to know they are committed to sustainability, check out this great restaurant in downtown Boise.

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Canyon Bounty Farm

I took my first Environmental Studies course at C of I last winter term, the interdisciplinary course ‘Nature and Culture.’ It really opened my mind to the serious environmental problems facing our world , and made me realize that sustainability applies to every aspect of our lives. I decided that I wanted to learn how to personally become more sustainable and in order to do so I wanted to learn more about growing my own food. I google searched organic farms in the local area, to see if I might be able to find a farm that needed a few extra hands. I was so lucky to find Beth Rasgorshek, at Canyon Bounty Farm just 10 minutes away in Nampa.
Beth offered me a job working at her farm for the greenhouse season. Beth sells a wonderful variety of vegetable, herb, and flower plant starts out of her greenhouses in the spring.  She also grows farm crops including whole wheat, (which is ground up and sold as flour) and seed crops including beans, edamamae soybeans, lettuce, peppers, onions, leeks, flowers, watermelons, musk melons and herbs. My job was to help pot up young plants from their furrow trays to the larger individual trays from which they were sold. I began to realize how many species of vegetables there were, that I had never known about before! I was surprise and excited to learn how many varieties of tomatoes exist, and how cute the names of all the species were.

I worked for several weeks with Bart Rayne, Carrie Jones, Jan Book, and Beth, to prepare the greenhouses and plants for the big opening day. When the greenhouses opened I even got to be a cashier and meet and greet with customers. It was my first year learning about gardening so I wasn’t the best at answering questions, but over this summer I’ve enjoyed watching my garden and the garden on campus grow, to see the fruits of our labor.

Beth has become a great friend and mentor to Kalee and I and through her we have made great connections with many other farmers and local business owners in the Treasure Valley who are committed to sustainability. I am ever grateful to Beth for allowing me to work with her and with the Earth. She even donated most of the plants that grow in our garden on campus! Thanks again, Beth. You’re the best!

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