The High Plains Food Bank and garden is an amazing agency that provides meals to thousands of people around the panhandle as well as throughout the world. They also provide programs that teach people about how to get the nutrition they need to lead healthy lifestyles. They offer classes over the basics of nutrition, cooking with what you have, buying on a budget, and on organic gardening as well. Which are all reasons why I have been very excited to help and to learn about everything that The High Plains Food Bank and Garden has to offer to everyone throughout the panhandle.
The High Plains Food Bank and garden exists in order to help relieve hunger throughout the panhandle. They do that in many ways which ranges from delivering foods to 29 different countries, which they delivered 6. 2 million pounds of shelf-stable and fresh foods to. They also distribute through over 165 agencies that work together with The High Plains Food Bank to locate needs throughout their communities. Many stores such as Amarillo National Executive Dining Room, Big Lots Stores, Cal-Main Foods, Inc. Cargill Cattle Feeders’ Dalhart, Texas, Coca Cola, Dalhart Processing, Donut Stop, Hilmar Cheese, J ;amp; T Distributing, JBS Swift Meat Co. , McCarty Hull Co. , Olive Garden Restaurant, Panhandle Salvage, Papa John’s Pizza, Pepperidge Farms/ Tony Weir, Pepsi Bottling Company, Plains Dairy, Red Lobster Restaurant, Scholotsky’s Deli, Starbucks Coffee, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Tyson, Villa Pizza, and Village Cafe/Bakery all help by donating supplies for the food bank and garden.
Many people combine in order to run The High Plains Food Bank and garden like Zack Wilson who is the Executive Director, Leigh Fuller is the Director of the Kids Cafe, Kenneth Poole is the food procurement Coordinator, Maribel Sotelo is the Kids Cafe Coordinator, and Cara Young is the Garden Project Manager. Volunteer opportunities can be from Monday-Friday 9-12:00pm and 1pm-4:30pm and Saturday from 9am-12noon and is located at 815 Ross Street Amarillo, TX 79102.
The Garden project, is the area of The High Plains Food Bank that my group and I will be helping with, has served as a full production urban farm and the cornerstone of The High Plains Food Banks Nutritional Education Program. In 2010, the one acre site produced 20,000 pounds of fresh produce which includes producing watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, beans, and many herbs. Workshops in the Garden include topics such as Water Conservation, Organic Gardening, Composting, Cooking in the Garden, and many ore as well as on-site training for the beginner gardener looking for some tips are available year round and coincide with current projects in the Garden. The reason why the food banks garden is so successful is because they created healthy soil by building up nutrients through compost materials that decompose and make nutrients available to the soil and plants. Compost materials also add structure to the soil by adding water-holding capacity to otherwise porous and sandy soil, and by breaking up adhesive clay soil.
The balance that they are able to achieve by having slow release nutrients in the compost and its water retention qualities will minimize the extremes that the garden will endure and help ensure healthier plants and soil. The way that the food bank uses its compost is by creating compost tea which is fairly easy to produce and all you need to create it is a five-gallon bucket, four gallons of distilled water, and aquarium pump and air stone, a knee high stocking, unsulfured molasses, and finished compost. They create the compost tea by taking regular already composted materials and filling a knee high stocking with sifted composted materials.
They then tie the stocking off and submerge it into distilled water which is very important to have because if you were to use regular tap water it would kill the microorganisms in which you are trying to create because of the added chemicals in regular tap water. After the stocking has been submerged add an aquarium pump and air stone to the water, along with four tablespoons of molasses. The air stone is put in place in order to provide and environment for microbial life to multiply and the molasses is used to keep the microorganisms moving and active.
The compost tea begins to brew immediately and the beneficial microorganisms begin to multiple very quickly. After about 48 hours have passed there should be air bubbles collecting around the top of the bucket which is an indication that the compost tea is ready for application into the garden. After you create nutrient rich soil you must be able to control pests. The best ways to prevent pest problems is by weeding, cleaning up old garden waste, and maintain even soil moisture to prevent pests from multiplying and becoming a problem. The Garden at the High Plains Food Bank uses physical barriers to prevent pests from becoming problems.
They use newspapers over planting areas and around plants to keep weed seeds and pests from infiltrating the surrounding soil. In addition to the newspaper they also use cardboard in the pathways to keep weeds from creeping into the garden beds. Newspaper and cardboard should always both be covered with woodchips or mulch to prevent them from blowing away and also so they can retain moisture. There are also many different ways to help produce and maintain your own organic garden at home. There are three basic rules that you should always follow in order to maintain a healthy organic garden.
The first rule you should follow is to keep and maintain strong and healthy soil that contain essential microorganisms that are important to a gardens strength. The second rule which is a really important step to having a healthy organic garden is composting. Organic materials that are best for composting are ones that create carbon or nitrogen such as blood meal, bone meal, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, feathers, fruits, hair, hay, lake weeds, leaves, lint, manure, paper, peanut shells, straw, grass clippings, pumpkins, vegetable scraps, and tea grounds which can all be added directly to the soil.
Materials such as cardboard, corn cobs, corn stalks, hedge trimmings, nut shells, peat moss, pine cones, pine needles, sawdust, sod, and wood chips can also be used but will need to have some special handling such as breaking them down into smaller pieces or setting them out to decompose before adding them into the garden. Lastly the weeding process is essential for an organic garden. A person could just remove the weeds completely manually or they create barriers in order to keep the weeds from growing out at all.
Barriers such as cardboard through walkways in the garden, plastic around the soil under the plants will keep the soil warm and moist, and newspapers in the walkways and also around the plants will prevent weed growth. Citations Smith, M. , Friend, D. , ;amp; Johnson, H. (1991). Composting for the homeowner.
Retrieved from http://web. extension. illinois. edu/homecompost/materials. html V. , T. (2010, 03 08). How to create and maintain an organic garden. Retrieved from http://www. gogreenstreet. com/how-to-create-and-maintain-an-organic-garden/ Young, C. (2012). The garden resources. Retrieved from http://www. hpfb. org/the-garden-resources