2015 - International Year of Soils

GoodFood World

Good food is everybody's business!

Welcome to GoodFood WorldMarch 9, 2015

Little green leaf left Little green leaf right

It's Garden Time!


With apologies to our friends in the northeast quadrant of the US, we do want to remind you that it is mid-March and it really IS time to get ready to get out in the garden.  


In the middle or late winter - or slowly dragging spring - gardeners dream about their gardens as they pore over the dozens of plant and seed catalogs that have arrived in the mail. How else do we get through these last weeks of cold, slush, rain, and grey days?  


OK, maybe Puxatawney Phil was a little optimistic (ha!) for some parts of the country where the first day of Spring is hiding underneath the snowdrifts! If you're in a part of the country still in the deep freeze, you can get those seeds ordered and start them indoors; if you're lucky and you're in a more temperate location, get out and get those seeds in the ground!


Spring garden with greens and leeks
Visions of Spring yet to come!

Gardening not only provides a connection with nature, it connects us to our food. As more and more people are concerned about the provenance of their food - where it came from and how it was grown - gardening has given "local" a new meaning. The  2014 Edible Gardening Report conducted for the Garden Writers Association Foundation notes that:


Among the 75 million gardening households that have a lawn, garden or grow plants in containers, this year more than two in five consumers (44%) said that they grew edible plants in the ground, while 15% used containers. Almost one-third (32%) grew edible plants both in the ground and in containers.  

A majority of consumers (58%) plan to grow edible plants in 2015. One-quarter of consumers plan to grow edible plants in the ground, while just under one in ten (9%) expect to use containers for growing edible plants. Those who plan on using both methods registered at 24%.


This month we give you catalog lists, books, and videos to get you ready to garden. Dream away! Plant some seeds! And plan for a perfect summer...

Kamut International

Frank Morton, Plant Breeder We have our favorite seed sources and you can check out nine in Growing Your Own - Time to Get Gardening! There are two on the East Coast, two in the Midwest, and five in the Pacific Northwest. Sorry, that reflects our home base; it's not preferential treatment.

All offer organic seed and all offer some really unique veggies and fruit. After all, they each have their own plant breeders and experiment with their own varieties.

One of our favorite growers, Frank Morton (Wild Garden Seeds), is an "Organic Elder" - one of the founding fathers of the organic movement in the 70s and 80s. Here is his take on seed breeding: How I Became a Plant Breeder. And he talks about why good seed is important here: The Importance of Seed.
The Reading List

You'd have to have your head in the dirt to miss all the garden books in every bookstore and garden center, not to mention on the Internet. It's clearly Spring and growing season!


My Farm of Edgewood But these are not your garden-variety garden books! This selection of seven books from the GoodFood World library has not been chosen to tell you how to design, construct, and grow your garden. They are to inspire your thinking, to get those creative juices flowing.


It's a mixed (book) bag of reading material offers the spirit of the garden from authors as varied as Japanese, Native American, and French. We've even included a book about a 17th century garden that is still producing in England.


And if that's not enough, here are five more timeless books that span a critical period in American agriculture - the 1880s through the early 1940s. Before the development of agrochemicals as an off-shoot of chemicals used in both World Wars, farming methods were naturally "organic." These books, while considered somewhat dated today, are our grandfathers and great-grandfathers teaching us how to care for the land and animals.  


Your Farm in the City Of course, you must read these two from some of our favorite authors! 


Your Farm in the City: An Urban-Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals by Lisa Taylor and the gardeners of Seattle Tilth. The most complete book on urban farming, covering everything from growing organic produce and raising chickens, to running a small farm on a city lot or in a suburban backyard, if we do say so! 


The Organic Seed GrowerThe Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer's Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, John Navazio. The Organic Seed Grower is a comprehensive manual for the serious vegetable grower who is interested in growing high-quality seeds using organic farming practices. It is written for both serious home seed savers and diversified small-scale farmers who want to learn the necessary steps involved in successfully producing a commercial seed crop organically.   


Pull a chair up to the fire, have a hot cup of tea, and read away these chilly, rainy spring days!


There are more books on GoodFood World and more coming all the time. Read, learn, and enjoy!

The AV Department

John Navazio, Senior Scientist for Organic Seed Alliance and a Plant Breeding and Seed Specialist for Washington State University Extension, talks about breeding healthy and robust organic spinach varieties at Nash's Organic Farm, Sequim WA.  


In this video, John explains why organic seed is important and why you can't just sow any seed for a healthy crop!   


Seed Starts With High Mowing Seeds Starting Seed Tips From High Mowing Organic Seeds  

If you garden in the northern US or southern Canada, there is still time to grow your own garden "starts" from seed.  


The folks at High Mowing Organic Seeds have some great advice on how to do it.


There are more videos on GoodFood World and more coming all the time.

The right tool for the job!

Whether you are a farmer, an orchardist, or a home gardener, good tools make the job! And you can't do a quality job without quality tools. It has become harder and harder to find well-made, long-lasting tools. How do you find good hand tools that are sturdy, repairable, and properly sized to your hand or height?


Lowells Tools, Lowell CordasAfter gathering up a collection of nearly a half-dozen hand clipper "bodies" over the years, we certainly know exactly how long a poor quality tool lasts. Every year we try to find a better quality pair and by the end of the season they have completely come apart; springs sprung, locking loops broken, coated handles worn through...


Then we discovered Lowell's Tools (and yes, he's now a GoodFood World sponsor). As we head into the spring gardening season, we'd like to share some of Lowell's simple advice for home gardeners:
  1. Buy the best tools you can afford.
  2. Fit the tools to the job.
  3. Buy tools that fit your hand, height, and weight. Women, who have smaller hands and are lighter weight should use tools scaled to their size.
  4. Get the longest handle you can find; you can always cut it shorter to fit your height. The proper length for a long handle? It should just touch your nose.
  5. Keep your tools squeaky clean. Clean your tools with foaming bathroom cleaner (including bolt threads and threads inside the tool), letting it sit for a while before wiping it off with a clean rag.
  6. Keep your tools sharp. Use the right files and right oil. The best oil to use? 30-weight motor oil!
  7. Replace worn and broken parts.
  8. Store your tools - clean and oiled - in a dry place.
Read more in The Right Tool For the Job.
Tilth Producers of Washington Upcoming Events
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Looking for educational opportunities, information, community?

Check out Tilth Producers of Washington calendar of upcoming events, including Farm walks, workshops, summits, and sales.

Great programs! Great people!

Seeking Referrals and Recommendations  


GoodFood World is an important platform to help re-establish the missing connection with our food and our farmers, fishermen, millers, and bakers - all the people who grow and prepare it.  


We've sought out sources of local or regional, whole or minimally-processed meat, fish, produce, grain, dairy, and more. We introduce producers who are growing and harvesting good food. We promote food products that we believe are not only good food, but are food produced in a way that is environmentally sensitive and socially responsible.


At GoodFood World, we are dedicated to help these people and others like them succeed and we offer consulting and business services to carefully selected clients who are:

  • Responsible food producers, processors, distributors, and retailers.
  • Environmentally and socially responsible small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Entrepreneurs launching new products and new businesses.

Leveraging my experience as a corporate executive, small business owner, and writer and public speaker, I specialize in strategic business and marketing planning, technology implementation, and marketing communications and promotion. To learn more, read about my services here and contact me here.

Contribute Content, Advice, Input

We welcome photos, tips, observations, and links to stories about the world of good food. Send us stories about what you've seen or heard. Tell us what we're doing right. We like "atta boys!" Got a beef? Send it on... we need to know! Here's the place to do it.   


Take care, eat well, and be well!


Gail Nickel-Kailing and Ken Kailing



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