Our May-June 2016 Newsletter
Much Ado About Earth

When it came time to get the word out
about CommonWealth Urban Farm’s neighborhood potluck,
a flier was created
and placed on a facebook event page
and emailed to friends. The flier
was also copied
and handed out door-to-door
in a six block area around the urban farm.
It has been a long time
since I went door to door in the city.
It was a very different experience
from inviting facebook friends
by sitting at my laptop in my house,
clicking on their names. I met
new people,
sometimes we chatted awhile;
we smiled and were friendly
with each other. I loved it:
walking the neighborhood
in autumn, beneath golden and copper-colored
trees, greeting people,
inviting them to a potluck picnic
in the garden.

Hurray! It rained most of the day Friday.
Saturday dawned damp, misty, cool.
Still, people came for the Saturday morning
Garden School. They made compost sifters
out of recycled wood and new screen.
It was dry and autumn-cool
when we sat up the tables for lunch,
and neighbors, supportive friends and food
began to arrive. David and Clem Braden
played guitar and mandolin;
David sang. Sweet neighborliness
broke out all over the place. Music, food
conversation. I didn’t see one single cell phone

DSCN8603  DSCN8610
Food and neighbors continued to arrive.
Lia gave a tour of the garden.
Several adults and one child
set out to gather items
during the nature scavenger hunt.
The little girl finished first
and judged the order of when the others
would collect their prizes. Everyone
won that way.


By mid-afternoon,
guests were gone,
tables, chairs put away.
But we who live in the CommonWealth
Urban Farm neighborhood
will for a long time
feel the sweet support
of community.


Our Latest Newsletter
November 2015
Celebratory Days at Turtle Rock Farm

It’s a beautiful autumn afternoon:
sunshine, cloudless sky, temperature
in the mid-70’s. The air is still.
If one were to be set down today
in the CommonWealth Urban Farms,
it would look like a spring garden:
Bright greens
growing in long patches
and pots. Broccoli plants, carrot shoots.
Oh, but look over there: tomatoes,
still ripening. Ah, yes,
this is the fall garden—the very best time
to grow vegetables in Oklahoma.

The secret ingredient: Lia’s soil mix

Seedlings ready for succession plantings



Our Latest Newsletter:
An Astonishing Summer at Turtle Rock Farm

There are people
who can’t stand
to let kitchen straps, coffee grounds
go into the garbage,
or—worse—use electricity
(burn fossil fuel) to grind
them into oblivion
in a garbage disposal. There is gold
in those kitchen scraps!
But not everyone has the space
or a source of carbon (leaves, manure, etc.)
to compost. Wheeling
into your Norman or Oklahoma City
neighborhood or office complex
to save the watermelon rind, onion skins,
wilted flowers, coffee filters full of used grounds,
egg shells, shredded pizza boxes (!), etc.,
is Fertile Ground. Often on bikes—
“Dirt Bikes”—
the members of this worker-owned cooperative
make weekly pickups of buckets of clients’ scraps
then deliver them to the closest urban farm
or community garden for composting. Clients
know that they are keeping waste
out of the landfill
and helping support the local food economy.

11708056_696596357140090_3870419073066591634_oEric Whelan delivering kitchen scraps to a community garden

I happened by the pickup spot at CommonWealth Urban Farms
a couple of mornings ago
when Terry Craighead was meeting a client
who worked nearby and stopped
on her way to work
to drop off her bucket with scraps.
They greeted each other,
Terry exchanged the bucket for a clean one,
they bade their “see ya next week” farewells
and off to the office she went.
This amazing act of kindness for the planet
and the community
took a few minutes,
allowed her to keep valuable nutrients
out of the landfill or sewer system
and contribute them to the making of garden beds
for urban farms and community gardens.
For this service
she pays a small monthly fee.
Besides local residents,
businesses also participate in the service,
gladly paying the fee for Fertile Ground workers
to pick up all those coffee grounds
and scraps,
and shredded pizza boxes.

DSCN7783Terry Craighead with coffee ground from a local business

Fertile Ground coop offers other services
as well: permaculture design for urban lifestyles;
construction, design and maintenance of raised bed gardens,
and zero-waste events for organizations and companies.

Today, I read news
of the loss of a five-square-mile chunk of Greenland’s
fastest-moving glacier (perhaps the largest calving on record);
more evidence of the biodiversity decline
in this, the sixth mass extinction on the planet.
Also, that the first airport in the world
to run exclusively on solar power
has launched in Cochin, India.
The huge news—good and bad—
can sometimes overwhelm us,
even paralyze our own efforts.
But the sight of a woman
bringing her pail of kitchen scraps
to Fertile Ground, a privilege
for which she pays $15 a month,
was deeply heartening. Seeing one woman
and a cooperative of workers
doing these simple acts
because they care about the planet,
is huge news.