GFP Logp 
Lori Garton's
Garden Philosophy
"I believe that a garden will flourish if stewarded sustainably. As responsible land care-takers we should be growing our soil -- not depleting it. That means not using any synthetic substances, including pesticides and fertilizers. It also means adding to the soil.
Composting is a key component to our Good Food Project garden. The more biodiverse an ecosystem is the healthier it is. That's why we grow as many different species as possible, including worms, chickens and bees. The more things that we have growing ... the more natural nutrient cycling and weed, insect and disease control there will be (and the less we have to do!).
This type of growing takes patience -- Mother Nature does take her time. So take a deep breath, take one step at a time, and let's grow together!"
-- Lori Garton, Director
Good Food Project
Good FoGGod Project
  Help Wanted
GFP Garden
Gear-up Day
Feb. 11, 9 a.m.
The spring planting season is only days away, and the Good Food Project community garden could use some help preparing for it.
We're calling on volunteers to come together on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 9 a.m. to put in a couple of hours of garden work.  We'll weed, prepare planting beds, make compost, plant seeds in seedling cups and perform general garden maintenance.
Our garden is located next to the Food Bank of Central Louisiana building at 3223 Baldwin Ave. in Alexandria.
You don't need experience.  You do need a willingness to get your hands dirty to help our garden grow into a model of which we all can be proud.
We'll reschedule the work day in case of inclement weather.
Please let us know if you're able to donate your time.  You can contact us at 445-2773 or at
We earnestly thank you for your assistance, and as a token of our appreciation everyone who participates will receive a Topsy Turvy aerial planter.
-- Thank You --
 The Good Food Project earnestly thanks the following businesses and individuals for their support in providing plants, supplies or services for the community garden.
Lowe's of Alexandria
Petrus Feed & Seed
Inglewood Farm
Burford Trees
Southern Loggers Co-op 
 Richard "Ricky" Melder

Sustainable Garden

Web Resources 


What Our Garden Needs
 The following items are needed to enhance our community garden.
Cinder Blocks
Plant Growing Containers
Wood Chips
Paving Stones
Please contact Lori Garton at
 or 445-2773 if you are able to donate any of these items.
Thank You! 


Good Food Project Garden News


February 2012

Thank you for your interest in the Good Food Project, which is operated under the direction of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana in partnership with the Central Louisiana Community Foundation and funded through the generous support of Keller Enterprises.
Our Sprout newsletter will keep you current with the Good Food Project (GFP) and provide useful information about growing your own healthy food and enjoying the lifelong benefits of gardening.
What Participants Are Saying
About Composting Class 
"I now know how to start my own compost pile to provide rich soil for a garden to grow healthy food for my family."
"I am a beginner composter.  Now I know where to begin."
"It gave me the information I need to be more efficient with my gardening, and it brought me in contact with other people and their perspectives."
"I didn't know anything about compost tea, and I loved the class.  This was great!"
"I finally understand how to put together a compost pile.  All of the information was very useful."
Top 3 Questions From Composting Class
What can and cannot be composted?
Things you can compost: vegetables, crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, shredded undyed paper/cardboard, grass clippings, straw, leaves, manure, sawdust, and natural fibers (wool, cotton, etc.).
What you should not compost: meat, dairy products, fish, bones, pet/human feces, diseased plants, seedy weeds, tenacious weeds, metal, plastic, dyed paper/cardboard, cooked food, poisonous plants.
What is a good ratio between browns (carbon-rich) and greens (nitrogen-rich)?
A good general recipe for compost is five parts brown material to two parts green.  Brown material, which takes longer to deteriorate, includes dried weeds, leaves, straw, paper and cardboard.  Green includes fruit, vegetables, fresh grass clippings and manure.
What is the take-home message from this workshop?
Composting brings many benefits to your garden, including improved soil conditions, increased beneficial microbial life, and fewer weed, pest and disease problems.
Compost serves as a great natural fertilizer, and it's even more beneficial as a huge resource for micro-organisms that create a healthy growing environment.
Don't forget to let your compost "cure."  Even though the compost looks, smells and feels like it's done, let it sit a little longer to convert into humus.  That's the end-product that's most beneficial to plants.
  Cover Crops Class
Coming Feb. 10
The next garden class in the Good Food Project spring education series will focus on cover crops Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. at the Food Bank of Central Louisiana warehouse at 3223 Baldwin Ave. in Alexandria.
GFP director Lori Garton will discuss the role of cover crops in sustainable gardening practices, including their soil-building benefits, varieties of cover crops and when they should be used.
The class is free, and each participant will receive a Topsy Turvy aerial planter.  For planning purposes, students are asked to register at
** Class Schedule **
Cover Crops
February 10, 3 p.m.
Vermiculture (worm composting)
February 17, 3 p.m.
Sheet Mulching
February 25, 10 a.m.
Spring Planting
March 3, 10 a.m.
Homemade & Organic Fertilizers
March 16, 3 p.m.
Garden Food of the Month
The common garden strawberry -- which actually is a fruit and not a berry -- was first bred in France in the mid 18th century from varieties found in eastern North America and Chile.
In technical terms the strawberry is considered an aggregate accessory fruit.  Unlike all other fruits, the "seeds" of the strawberry are on the outside of the fruit.  These "seeds" are actually the plant's ovaries, each containing a seed inside it.
The United States grows about 25 percent of the world's garden strawberries.  That total is four times greater than the harvest from the second-largest strawberry producer, Turkey.
One cup of strawberries contains only about 45 calories.  The fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C.  Strawberries also contain fisetin, an antioxidant being studied for potential use in treating Alzheimer's disease and kidney failure from diabetes.
Strawberries are easily grown in Louisiana with harvest generally coming in the first four months of the year.  Plants decline in fruit quality and productivity after a year or two, and they are usually planted annually to maximize the harvest.
Strawberries are mostly planted from runners or bare root plants.  They particularly like well-drained soil with plenty of compost material.
The fruit is susceptible to some 200 species of pests and a large number of diseases.  Temperature extremes during the winter often contribute to disease. 
Strawberries should be grown in open areas to discourage fungal diseases.  If watering is necessary it should be applied directly to the roots and not the leaves, where moisture may encourage fungus growth.
Garden Tilling Available
People who need plots tilled for gardens established through the Good Food Project may request free tilling services by contacting or 445-2773.
Richard "Ricky" Melder, a retired farmer and member of the Rapides Soil & Water Conservation District board of supervisors, has generously offered to provide his tractor-tiller to make land ready for planting on appropriate sites.
Garden plots must be big enough to allow access and space for the tractor to turn around.


Garden To-Do List



The Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide, a free publication available from the LSU AgCenter, lists the following vegetables that can be planted in Central Louisiana this month.


Beans (snap & bush)



Swiss Chard


Chinese Cabbage

 Sweet Corn


 Irish Potatoes


Eggplants (seed)*

Hot Pepper (seed)*

Bell Pepper (seed)*

 Tomatoes (seed)*


*Seeds to be germinated indoors or in protected area from frost or freezing temperatures.


Other garden activities include mulching with leaves, straw, compost, manure and worm castings.  The winter rain will percolate the nutrients into the soil.


Bee-friend a Bee
Many sustainable garden experts regard the honeybee as an essential part of proper and productive garden ecology.
However, studies indicate that these master pollinators are declining in numbers and health due to the influx of other bee species and the use of pesticides.
A local group, Red River Beekeepers, serves as a resource for information on such topics as bee-friendly gardening, benefits of honeybees, laws and best practices, honey, and current information.
The group's informative website is
Volunteers Needed
There are multiple opportunities to assist in growing the Good Food Project year-round community garden at 3223 Baldwin Ave. in Alexandria.
The only thing necessary is enthusiasm.  Gardening experience is not required.
Volunteers may participate in planting, harvesting, soil preparation, composting, pruning, weeding, watering, landscaping, building projects, general maintenance and other needs.
Individuals, families, groups and students are welcome to tend -- and learn -- in the Good Food Project demonstration garden.  Please contact Lori Garton at 445-2773 or for more information about volunteer activities.
We earnestly appreciate your help!
Sustainable Garden
  Tip of the Month

Integrating chickens into your garden is a great way to make it more sustainable -- and it's also fun!  But before you make chickens a part of your garden family make sure there are no local ordinances that prohibit the practice.

It's legal to keep chickens within the City of Alexandria, but there may be areas where fowl is foul.

Your garden will be happy to have some chicken friends.  Adding a few yard birds to the mix has lots of benefits.  Not only can chickens be a source of healthy eggs and meat, they also fertilize your garden and keep insect and weed populations down.

Since you know what you're feeding your animals and how they're being treated, you know how healthy their eggs are too.  There's no need to worry about food safety, artificial hormones or antibiotics.

You can build a stationary chicken coop and let the birds have access to your garden each day.  Or you can construct a mobile "chicken tractor" so the birds' cage can be moved to a new area every few days to make fresh vegetation and bugs available.  They will add a nice high-nitrogen fertilizer to your garden as they rid it of weeds and pests.  Plus, their natural scratching behavior helps incorporate the fertilizer and micro till the soil.

You can feed your birds weeds and kitchen scraps (a clucky garbage disposal).

Chickens are surprisingly smart and have great little personalities.  To learn more about keeping chickens and the wonderful things they can do for your garden refer to

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