Category Archives: Community Gardens

Savannah Food Day Festival moves to Daffin Park Oct. 28

Savannah Food Day Logo

The Savannah Food Day Festival, held last year in Mother Matilda Beasley Park, has a new home in Daffin Park this Sunday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The event features food, of course, along with a transplanted Forsyth Farmers Market (Don’t worry, the farmers market will keep its normal hours in Forsyth Park on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.). Children’s activities and musical performances are also on the agenda. The Savannah Bicycle Campaign will offer its popular Bike Valet service. A complete schedule and more information is available on the Savannah Food Day Festival website.

Oct. 22 Savannah Food Day Festival promotes sustainable food systems


Well Fed Savannah is sponsoring the Savannah Food Day Festival Saturday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mother Matilda Beasley Park on East Broad Street. What is Food Day? Organizers describe it as “an Earth Day for Food.”

“Aimed at promoting healthy, sustainable, affordable, and just food systems in America, Food Day is a national grassroots mobilization backed by some of the most prominent voices for energizing the food movement … people will gather at events big and small and from coast to coast in homes, schools, colleges, churches, city halls, farmers’ markets, supermarkets, and elsewhere to raise awareness about food issues and advocate for change.”

The Savannah event includes live music, vendors, exhibitors and workshops. The festival is free and open to the public. The Savannah Bicycle Campaign will provide valet bike parking throughout the event.

Can herbs at the curbs ease Savannah’s tree lawn troubles?

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A recent story on National Public Radio, Not All Communities Welcome Urban Gardening, covered the controversy caused when a Wisconsin family decided to plant vegetables in the strip of soil between the sidewalk and the street. In the strange dialect spoken by inhabitants of Wisconsin, this piece of real estate is called a parkway. Around these parts, they are called tree lawns and they’ve been in the news recently, too.

Last month the city announced that tree lawn upkeep would become the responsibility of residents. According to this Savannah Morning News story, city crews were pulled off tree lawn detail because of budget cuts. Tree lawns around town are already looking a little shaggy.

It is true that some residents—especially in the National Landmark Historic District—took responsibility for tree lawns long ago with pleasing results. Elsewhere however, residents may be unsure what to do as the grass and weeds, no longer harassed by city mowers and trimmers, grow higher and higher. With tree lawn maintenance now back in the hands of residents, I wondered if a Wisconsin-style parkway poblano pepper patch would get a homeowner in hot water here. I turned to the City of Savannah’s Web site and found this:

Prior to planting, pick up a copy of the Tree Lawn Brochure from Park and Tree. The brochure outlines the necessary steps. Then contact the City’s Landscape Architect to discuss proposed plantings prior to submittal of a sketch plan for review and approval.

That sounded like an awful lot of picking up, contacting, discussing, sketching and submitting just to find out if tomatoes are allowed near sidewalks, so I called Park and Tree and asked
“the vegetable question.” I was promptly transferred to the streets maintenance department, where a helpful and friendly gentleman admitted he’d never been asked that question. I suggested others probably heard the NPR story and might be calling. Rosco Philbrick, street maintenance supervisor, was identified as the guy who’d have the answer. I left a message for him. He called back within five minutes and was just as friendly and helpful as the first guy.

The verdict: Tree lawn vegetable gardens are not allowed. Yet, there is good news. Philbrick was quick to add that planting herbs is OK, provided they are less than 36 inches tall.

So there you have it. Rosemary is an acceptable street-side crop, rutabagas not so much. Of course, you could always decide to go guerrilla on the tree lawn.

Time for Savannah to chicken out?

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A story from today’s Christian Science Monitor, “Whole lotta clucking going on in cities” suggests that more Americans raising chickens in their backyards. Keeping chickens is part of a larger urban homesteading movement and is popular with folks who like to “eat local” or who are concerned about factory farm conditions, according to the article.

Angelina Shell of the Seattle Tilth Association, a group that offers sustainable-living classes, suggests that more people will be keeping chickens as the recession gets worse:

“If our economy continues on the downward spiral,” says Ms. Shell, a third-generation poultry hobbyist, “you’re going to see a lot more people raising their own chickens in their backyards and starting up vegetable gardens.”

Some communities are not so keen on the idea:

“Still, chickens aren’t always popular with neighbors in city and suburban neighborhoods. Chicago Alderman Lona Lane proposed a citywide chicken ban late last year after constituents bombarded her office with complaints about noise, odor, and rodents. But chicken enthusiasts from other parts of the Windy City cried fowl, stalling a final decision. After the holidays, Ms. Lane plans on introducing a new bill to ban chickens in just the neighborhood she represents.”

What about Savannah? Is it legal to keep chickens here? Robin Wright Gunn wrote about urban chicken keeping for Connect Savannah back in August in a piece called “The Big Chicken.”

“At least three friends are the proud owners of chickens that are scratching and laying and living their chickeny lives smack in the middle of town, beneath heirloom camellias in Parkside, or strutting among tasteful lawn statues in Baldwin Park. Each urban chicken flock boasts five hens, the maximum allowed by city ordinance. Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns are among the favored breeds. I love the idea of having friends who have chickens.”

Is this correct? Are Gunn’s friends in Parkside and Baldwin Park in compliance with city ordinances? Is Baldwin Park the hotbed of chicken-keeping it is purported to be? Will the chicken people organize to promote this practice? Are neighbors’ feathers being ruffled over the chickens next door? Please share your answers in the comments section.

Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert via Flickr.

Recycling remains the headlines, third Trustees Market scheduled for today

In the wake the Savannah city council’s approval of a contract with Pratt Recycling, local media have been devoting attention to the issue. The round up includes:

No sorting required: Council approves ‘single-stream’ recycling,” by Linda Sickler in Connect Savannah.

And

Savannah’s recycling initiative sets example,” by Eric Curl in the Savannah Morning News.

Also of note in the Savannah Morning News is Bill Dawers’ story, “Cha Bella trends toward local agriculture.

And that’s a good segue to an event happening today, right down the street from Cha Bella. Today from 4-7 p.m. Trustees Market will host a “celebration of a growing community of producers and consumers of local, sustainable products.” The event will be held at 688 Randolph St. For more information, visit the Trustees Garden Web site.