Second Annual Urban Garden Series Organized by Local Food Network

By Luc Monzies

Don’t miss this year’s urban gardening series. If you attended last year, you’ll remember that all of the events sold out, so reserve ahead of time! This year, the panel discussion will be held in Casa Colectiva’s community living room that fits up to 50 people comfortably. The panel will be preceded by a keynote address by San Miguel gardening veteran Fen Lasell Taylor, whose knowledge of San Miguel’s climate teaches us to respect the environment. Her decades of San Miguel gardening experience can be captured in the following quote: “During these, the hottest and driest months, daily watering is not the answer. Mulch is nature’s own method of conserving water.” Fen wrote a regular gardening column, which was later compiled into a book; there are still copies of the book available and its wisdom is ever- relevant to San Miguel’s worsening water scarcity.

Thu, Mar 12, 1pm
50 pesos
Urban Garden Tour
Thu, Mar 19, 9am
200 pesos
Casa Colectiva
Libramiento a Dolores 11
415 111 5621
All bilingual, the tour includes lunch

The panel discussion will focus on water conservation, regional food self-sufficiency, and how urban gardening is a tool to make communities more resilient in the advent of rising food and water shortages. Following the discussion, there will be an exposé of San Miguel residents’ urban gardening experiences. The event will briefly discuss the differences between hydroponics, aquaponics, and traditional growing systems. San Miguel’s arid climate makes it a viable candidate for aquaponics, which uses up to 95 times less water than traditional agriculture. However, water-based systems, such as hydroponics or aquaponics, are not without controversy and for good reason. Many of the materials used come from the industrialized world and can be toxic to both consumers and the environment if not used properly.

Following the panel discussion on March 12, we will visit four unique urban gardens on March 19, featuring both institutional and residential applications. The all-day tour will break for lunch with freshly prepared options including salads, sandwiches, artisanal beer, smoked fish, and Aztec spirulina. Casa Colectiva member Katie Kohldstedt reminds us that “Spirulina is a blue-green microalga, considered one of the first plants to appear on Earth, and was grown by the Aztecs in central Mexico for hundreds of years.” This known superfood can be produced in urban gardens, packing more nutrition while using less water.

If you think that growing food is a messy operation, think again, because some of this year’s gardens are as beautiful as the homes they share. There will also be some more modest gardens to interest beginners who want affordable solutions.

Both events are bilingual and cost 50 and 200 pesos respectively. The panel is limited to 50 people, and the tour to 20 people, so please reserve ahead of time. Proceeds will benefit SOL, your local food network. Like last year, the series will end with a few hands-on workshops, dates to be announced, led by urban garden specialist Luc Monzies and his team at Bodega Orgánica.


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