Author Archives: Robbie Coville

Community Seed Network & Map

The Community Seed Network is here to help facilitate the saving and sharing of seeds. The reasons for saving and sharing seeds are as diverse as the people who are doing the work. Some people in the community seed movement are activists – keeping seed in the public domain by sourcing, swapping, and freely sharing. Others are educators, organizers, innovators, and conservationists – training the next generation of seed savers while helping to secure the world’s biodiversity. And still others are home gardeners – saving and sharing seeds to carry on family and cultural traditions, or simply for the joy it brings them.

via https://www.communityseednetwork.org/why

Benefits of seed saving & sharing:

  • Keeping biodiversity alive
  • Keeping Seed in the public domain.
  • Contributing to the development of regionally adapted (i.e. Landrace) varieties.

Map:

https://www.communityseednetwork.org/map

Public Harvest Map for Onondaga County and Central New York

Here is a map of publicly available sources of food that can be harvested in Onondaga County and the broader Central New York region. This map is being shared by popular demand. It is our hope that we, people sharing interest in public food sources and all their co-benefits, will populate and maintain this resource as a community. The map is viewable and editable by the public, hosted and occasionally backed up by non-profit mutual aid group The Alchemical Nursery Project, Inc. of Syracuse, NY.

Please respect the land these potential harvests are on. Alchemical Nursery is not moderating every map entry, and we cannot ensure that points on the map are 100% publicly accessible for harvesting. You sure are welcome at the public community gardens we host, which are on this Public Harvest map and are listed in our Projects page. If you have questions or suggestions, please email us ( info [at] alchemicalnursery [dot] org ) for assistance. Please harvest honorably.


To use this map, go to the following link for zoom and search functionality: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kYz4UCuVrOMYC45WO4C1SspzhXc&usp=sharing

Or in the map below, you can click the top-left icon to view a legend of potential harvest points.

Coronavirus Response: Garden Actions and Resources For You

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and in continuation of our mission, Alchemical Nursery is taking action and making resources available for you to start or scale-up growing food in whatever space you have access to. That can be in containers, yards, or community gardens such as Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden or Gifford Street Garden in Syracuse. We hope these efforts will support community-based food sovereignty, empowering public food supply and boosting personal resilience and wellbeing.

Food insecurity is an ongoing problem worsened by disasters of all sorts. In this pandemic’s social, health, and economic challenges, we see gardening as an opportunity to reduce strain on supply chains and provide local nutrient-dense fresh foods to people who are most vulnerable to food insecurity, home-bound, or sick. To achieve more widespread and robust gardening in our communities, we’re offering Raised Bed Training Livestreams, Garden Advising, Gardening Together (with Social Distancing), and Free Seeds Distribution.

Will you join us in these efforts? Can we help you through these efforts? Reach out with a comment here, on Facebook.com/AlchemicalNursery, or by emailing us at info [at] alchemicalnursery [dot] org.


1. Livestream Trainings: Raised Beds

VIDEO #1: A 15 minute tutorial from the Bitternut Homestead including learning about hugelkultur beds, herb spirals using urbanite, using biomass to build bed structure and borders, what to plant and when. This is the time to create or prep your raised beds for vegetable growing. Our last frost in Syracuse is around the first week to the middle of the month of May, depending on your micro-climate and whether you are in the city or outside of it. So you have time to get these in place if you want to be ready for planting out. You can also direct seed to beds very soon, even before the last frost, if you use cold hardy plant seeds such as spinach, arugula, radish.

VIDEO #2: A tour of garden beds at the 610 Gifford Street Community Garden; and a look at a few edible spring perennials.


2. Garden Advising

Have questions about gardening? Need some advice? We all start somewhere. Alchemical Nursery is open to requests for garden advising, connecting folks with more experienced gardeners who can offer guidance, suggestions, and problem solving. To reach out for advise, please fill out our Request for Garden Advising form (https://bit.ly/SyracuseGardenAdvising). To be on the response list as an advisor, please email info [at] alchemicalnursery [dot] org stating your interest, preferred email, and main areas of expertise.


3. Gardening Together

As of right now, our scheduled gardening dates and times are still going forward as planned; it’s really possible to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet in the garden, while getting the advantages of being outside in the fresh air and warming soil.  If your children come to the gardens you must manage them appropriately to not congregate or get closer than 6 feet to other people; and we would recommend you bring hand sanitizer as we do not have hand washing facilities at our sites for the public.  Gloves and your own tools in hand will also be best practices.  We will follow all CDC, NYS, and local governmental directions regards activities.  Please follow our social media pages and visit our website for the latest information on scheduled events.


4. FREE SEEDS DISTRIBUTION / SYRACUSE & CNY SEED SHARE

Alchemical’s non-profit organizational applications for free seed donations have been submitted and we are awaiting the awards and deliveries.  We look forward to sharing these free seeds with you so that you can grow your own food at home and boost your family’s food security.  Distributions will take place at our community gardens and by appointment at our Otisco St office location.  More info to come.

Our Syracuse & CNY Seed Share document is up and running at https://bit.ly/SyracuseSeedShare

You also may be interested in our CNY Public Harvest map, to source plants and public edibles.

Let us know if you have questions. For now, consider posting what seeds you have to share and your contact info, or reach out for seeds! Please do share this link, in these times of need, we are hoping this tool for food security mutual aid will reach many people who are for the first time thinking about growing food!

 

Connect with us on Social Media for Latest Updates

Welcome to our web space! Like a garden space, it’s a little squirrely but has a lot of good going on.

Day-to-day updates are on social media pages for each project – links to that below. This site offers announcements and articles, long-term info and updates, and ways to get involved.

Connect with Alchemical Nursery on Facebook

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Fundraiser successes supporting trees in CNY!

Two local agroforestry fundraisers have succeeded in their goals this summer! Germinating projects that will grow toward fruition as we head into winter and the year to come. Much thanks for all contributions and support.

Alchemical Nursery fundraised $748/700 toward the 3 part peachy goal! “For part one, we will plant two dwarf peach at the 610 Gifford St Community Garden ($100), for part two we will invest in an electric mower (Kobalt 80V ($550) to maintain the abandoned orchard site so the peach trees there stay healthy, for part three, we will plant an additional peach tree at the Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden ($50).”

New York Tree Crop Alliance (NYTCA) co-op has raised enough funds to buy a Kern Kraft Oil Press near Ithaca! This enables tree crop stewards to process Earth’s gifts of hickories & hazelnuts into useful & healthy oils that can be stored, shipped, and used to create a variety of value-added products. A key step in scaling up toward more broadly accessible and viable tree-based livings.
🌲 🙏 🙌 🌳

Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden 10 Year Environmental Benefits Assessment: Preliminary Estimates Before Complete Tree Inventory

JULY 13, 2019 – Day of Service at Rahma

On this training & volunteer day we’ll learn about Rahma’s environmental benefits using free scientific software called i-Tree Tools from the USDA Forest Service. A basic environmental benefits report about Rahma will be presented then we’ll measure trees on site to conduct a more detailed i-Tree Eco analysis. We ask that tree ID experts come help forest garden sampling teams – please come if you can, or invite friends to help!

A digital copy of the preliminary report is available here as a PDF.

This Day of Service will be led by volunteer permaculture practitioners Robbie Coville and Frank Cetera. Please consider volunteering or donating to Syracuse’s permaculture mutual aid organization Alchemical Nursery, or even join the board of directors! Interested individuals of any skill level are welcome to get involved. To donate please consider our $1/mo campaign at https://www.patreon.com/alchemicalnursery

McKinley-Brighton Artwork & Student Garden at Rahma Edible Forest Garden

It’s taken quite a few years to figure this out, but we finally created a relationship with McKinley-Brighton school that worked! The kids and teachers did a great job with integrating their artwork into the garden, and we even coordinated a new growing space just for them to have fun and learn in. :>) Check it out when you’re heading down South Salina St! By the way, strawberries are ripening as we sleep and breathe, grab a snack, and take a look at what’s new, what’s old, and what’s in real.

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Permaculture Principle #6: Produce No Waste

Waste not, want not.

What of a tree goes to waste in a tree-based community (a forest)?

Everybody eats, everybody gets eaten. If not for you, what is this food for? Earthworms or entropy itself?

What are you made of? See what you can do!

A Rap on Monthly Permaculture Principle 5 – Use & value renewable resources & services

Principle 5: Use & value renewable resources & services

Trees. A central part at the heart of every ecosystem supportin’ human habitation. A station for renewal of many a good & service: fiber, fuel, food (for humans), fodder (for animals), farmaceuticals, and all kinds o’ fun. Did I mention they live off the sun? And the soil. And in a few hundred million years, they may be renewed to rock oil. But unlike oil, dead ‘nd deadly indeed, trees can be better than free for what you need. Paying you back in fact and potentially if the way you both act is of mutual benefit, then you’re sending it: succession through time. May the force of the forest be with you!

Monthly Permaculture Principle: 4 – Apply Self-Regulation and Respond to Feedback

This month we’re kicking off our Monthly Permaculture Principle series. Each month we’ll introduce a permaculture principle and highlight examples of it. We encourage folks to join in, seeking out and sharing examples of permaculture design principles in action.

To start with, what are permaculture principles? Briefly, they are design principles, used in the continuous and evolving process of designing one’s landscape and lifestyle.

“Continuous and evolving” is a key phrase for this month’s permaculture principle:

4 – Apply self-regulation and respond to feedback

A go-to location for permaculture principle explanations and examples is PermaculturePrinciples.com:

We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.

The icon of the whole earth is the largest scale example we have of a self regulating ‘organism’ which is subject to feedback controls, like global warming. The proverb “the sins of the fathers are visited unto the children of the seventh generation” reminds us that negative feedback is often slow to emerge.

via https://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/_4/

And a thoughtful bit about reflecting backward and forward in self-regulating:

I always thought the Native American idea “think of seven generations” meant to think ahead seven generations into the future. But I have been shown that it also means thinking back to our own great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and ourselves, as well as forward to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.In a garden, it means behaving as though we are part of a continuum, starting with an appreciation of the harvest of the land stewards of the previous generations, and planting perennials and enriching the soil so that years later our future grandchildren can continue to enjoy and reap the harvest of our labors. Responding to feedback can also mean remediating our own mistakes or those of our predecessors. This may mean replanting unproductive areas of the garden, or improving soil that has been impoverished.

via https://www.timberpress.com/blog/2013/02/12-principles-of-permaculture/

What examples of self-regulation and responding to feedback have you found in your own or your peers’ work designing landscapes, lifestyles, and other systems? Please share in the comments, and pass this principle on to others!