In today’s video, we look at a school garden that feeds and educates students. We also look at different community efforts looking to bring nutritious food to Tallahassee residents living in food deserts.
Welcome to Part 8 (of 10) of Roaming the Red Hills, which originally aired on the April 14 episode of WFSU’s Local Routes. Through ten 3-minute videos, we’ll explore the natural soul of the Red Hills of Florida and Georgia, from the pine uplands down to its rivers, lakes, and farms. Thanks to Tracy Horenbein for creating original compositions for this video series. The series is narrated by Jim McMurtry.
Welcome to Part 7 (of 10) of Roaming the Red Hills, which originally aired on the April 14 episode of WFSU’s Local Routes. Through ten 3-minute videos, we’ll explore the natural soul of the Red Hills of Florida and Georgia, from the pine uplands down to its rivers, lakes, and farms. Thanks to Tracy Horenbein for creating original compositions for this video series. The series is narrated by Jim McMurtry.
I’m walking on a cow pasture after the rain, and the mud is sometimes hard to distinguish from the cow-pies. My production assistant, Brian, and I set the tripod. When we look up, a couple of hundred cows are all staring at us. Murmurations of birds make their way through the cows and into an adjacent field. A misty sunrise unfolds behind the feed tower at Buddha Belly Dairy in Quitman Georgia.
Mushrooms are one of the few foods we eat that are neither plant or animal. We trek to Lake Seminole Farm, where two men took a chance and have started a mushroom growing operation. In looking at how mushrooms grow, we get an unexpected lesson in forest ecology.
Rob Diaz de VillegasWFSU-TV
Mushrooms are a food with a mystique about them. They’re like oysters or sushi. There are serious enthusiasts willing to spend good money on certain varieties; others are repulsed at the thought of them. Think of the possible outcomes of trying a random mushroom found in the woods. You discover amazing flavor. You become sick. You die. You take an unexpected mystic voyage into the depths of your psyche. This is not a food that is like the other food you eat, and so it makes sense that a mushroom farm doesn’t exactly look like most other farms.
Lake Seminole Farm grows shiitake and oyster mushrooms (I love the symmetry of the Apalachicola River- the body of water to its south has oysters, the body of water to its north has oyster mushrooms). David Krause studied fungi at FSU and USF, part of a career path that led to his being Florida’s state toxicologist from 2008 through 2011. In 2011, he took a chance and decided to put his land to work. Living on Lake Seminole, his property has the dense tangle of hardwoods that you find on a floodplain. Those oak and gum trees are perfect for growing shiitake mushrooms. But the farm doesn’t exclusively use logs gathered on the property. Continue reading Growing Mushrooms and Cleaning the Forest at Lake Seminole→
Over the past couple of months we’ve made a foray into local agriculture, an industry that’s of critical importance to the ecology of our area. We’re now in the process of setting up some new adventures that get us back on the water- both salt and fresh. And of course, our EcoShakespeare segments will begin airing January 28 on Dimensions (before streaming here). We’re always looking for new ways to interact with the outdoors, and we always want to hear your suggestions for how we can accomplish this. Don’t be shy about leaving comments!
Rob Diaz de VillegasWFSU-TV
“Eating local means eating seasonal,” Katie Harris told me in an unused clip from her interview. That means that if you want to go full locavore, you’ll soon be saying goodbye to fresh tomatoes and yellow squash and hello to chard and broccoli. Katie co-manages the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance with Louise Divine, who we interviewed in part one of this video. Part of their public outreach is to provide recipes and seasonal calendars to consumers who may not be used to limiting themselves to food that grows within a few counties of their house. The food that will grow in north Florida will vary with our seasons, and so eating locally means adjusting to what’s available. Eating locally is one of those things that’s easy to get behind. You’re supporting the local economy. And you’re supporting the environment, aren’t you? Let’s take a closer look.
The above photo of an algae covered turtle swimming among algae mats was taken at a sinkhole near to Wakulla Spring. The sink is a stop on Jim Stevenson’s Wakulla Spring Overland Tour, which WFSU will be taping as part of our EcoShakespeare series. Jim uses the sink as an example of the connectivity between area sinks and Wakulla Spring, and to illustrate the high level of nitrates entering the spring. Wakulla Spring’s issues are representative of those facing the larger Floridan aquifer, through which the Wakulla Spring underground cave system runs. The Floridan aquifer was the focus of the Sharing Water Conference in Monticello earlier this month.
Rob Diaz de VillegasWFSU-TV
Are agriculture and the environment inherent enemies? Seven billion people on this planet need to eat. Industrial agriculture produces food on a large scale, but can tax water supplies and create nutrient rich runoff that can wreck marine and freshwater ecosystems. Small organic farms like those in the video above take great care to use practices that protect waterways. But can the world be fully fed by this type of agriculture? In early October, a diverse group of people gathered in Monticello to discuss issues such as these. Continue reading Sharing Water Conference: Agriculture Solutions→
Tennessee Fainting Goats and Red Zinger Tea! There are many interesting things to be found on small farms. Watch as we visit Golden Acres Ranch in Monticello and Turkey Hill Farm in Tallassee’s Baum Community.