Bill, I think your idea of a garden “learning cooperative” is brilliant. Now, that’s learning! Nothing works better than getting out in gardens. Are you using a book to go along with your discussions and observations? When the weather gets bad, it might make a good option. I like Wendy Johnson’s Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, and wish I could use it in academic classes. That’s another advantage to informal learning.
Meanwhile, the food safety bill passed last week as a rider to the federal budget extension. There was much angst in some quarters over potential impacts on small organic growers and even backyard gardeners. My reading is that there’s not much threat, especially with an amendment exempting small growers that the North Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (NCFS) worked very hard to have included. NCFS is our statewide network of organic growers, been around for a long time, good group. North Carolina has one Republican senator and one Democratic senator, and we got both on board and working together. (See, gardens bring folks together, right?) So, we’re generally happy here, or maybe relieved is a better word—if only because it could have been much worse. Relative happiness, like a couple nice squash before the borers hit. But I’ll take it. —Don Boekelheide, Charlotte, North Carolina