In the city, warm season crops like basil, eggplants and okra and still hanging on in community gardens, but a hard frost is knocking on our door. Although more and more people are growing greens and root vegetables over the winter, this is the season when many of us put our gardens to bed for the year. The fall of the year always leads people to ask of GrowMemphis, “what do you do in the winter?”
While it might be nice to get a four month sabbatical every year, fall and winter are actually a very exciting time for GrowMemphis. We get to turn our energies towards all kinds of things that the growing season has kept on the back burner. This time of year is dedicated to making the next growing season better for farmers and consumers alike. Let me give you some examples.
- GrowMemphis has been advocating for changes in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program at both the state and local level. With the help of partner organizations, we will be working over the winter with the Shelby County Health Department to plan outreach and training to engage more farmers in 2012.
- Plans are underway for the 2012 Farm to Table Conference for Mid-South Producers, which will likely take place in early February. This conference debuted last year and had about 80 attendees, despite a snowstorm the day of!
- GrowMemphis is convening the first meeting of the Mid-South Farmers Market Alliance on November 10th to bring the growing number of farmers markets together to share ideas and resources, and talk about how we can all work together to build a stronger local food economy.
As you can see, fall and winter is just the beginning of a different kind of growing season! Count on the fact that while our gardens rest, GrowMemphis is busy setting the stage for a better year to come. After all, next spring will be here before you know it.