Meet Our New Berry Supplier

ForagedandSownLogo

HOW DID FORAGED & SOWN COME TO BE?
I’ve spent the last few years dividing my time between cultivating food at home with my family and in woods and fields foraging for unique edibles and leading walks. It’s always been my intention to expand my efforts, but I’d thought I should choose one focus. Over time, I thought my attention would be pulled in one direction or the other – making my decision for me. But when I found, last summer, was that I was splitting my time between them as equally as ever, I decided to stop waiting and move forward, integrating both passions.

TELL US ABOUT KATE
My earliest memories involve being outside and tasting food fresh from our family garden, or playing with “weeds” growing in our yard. I remember sucking the sweet nectar from red clover flowers gathered with my friends as we walked home from school. My goal is to give those same experiences to my child and to expand upon them and share them with others.

WHAT IS YOUR GROWING PHILOSOPHY?
I believe in the importance of local, organic, sustainable, heirloom. Low-input methods are my focus, particularly on the perennial berries side of the business. I believe that building many small urban food systems that sustain us for years, a non-centralized food forest if you will, is absolutely achievable and a wise use of the small plots of land many of us have here in the city.
Experimenting with heirloom varieties of cultivated plants really appeals to me, because the flavor differences are so apparent. I also really love the connection to our past that heirloom varieties lend.
I’ll pursue organic certification, maybe this year – definitely next, and in the meantime operate according to the organic standards. The public here in Columbus is wise to the big picture benefits of organic operations, and it only makes sense as a new market grower to respond to consumer preference. I’m lucky that my own ideals line up with those.

WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM GOALS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
More than anything, I want continue to experience and share flavors. Currants, gooseberries, multiple varieties of raspberries, a whole range of culinary herbs, edible flowers, foraged greens ranging from pungent to sweet and crisp – it’s obvious to me why I’ve focused on the offerings I’m growing. I’d love to be able to continue to experiment with additional offerings, those that customers are interested in and those that I discover.

HOW ARE YOUR OFFERINGS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN CENTRAL OHIO?
Central Ohio has great access to organic staple vegetable and fruit crops, and I’m providing items that can be added to those ingredients to enhance them, creating a memorable cooking and eating experience. Additionally, since I’m working on a small scale, I’ve taken the opportunity to focus on berry crops that are less usual in order to broaden the market offerings instead of competing with already-successful producers.

WHERE ELSE IN THE CITY WILL WE FIND YOU?
I’ll be selling cut culinary herbs and select foraged items at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market beginning April 25. Those who sign up for my email list will receive exclusive offers for the special items I have in extremely low quantity, including this first year’s berry crop. http://www.foragedandsown.com/sign-up/

I’ll be providing flowers, strawberries and other berry plants for City Folk’s beginning in May, and medicinal and culinary herb seedlings for Boline Apothecary.

I lead classes on wild edible identification and usage through City Folk’s Farm Shop, Boline Apothecary, the Ohio Herb Education Center, and in partnership with DirtLab Bushcraft. I’m also available for private group walks. A comprehensive schedule of current classes and walks, and a contact form to schedule a private event, is all available at foragedandsown.com or by contacting me at ForagedandSown@gmail.com

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Ground Swell 2014 Wraps Up

ground swell dish cloth

City Folk’s created these beautiful linen blend dish clothes as a graduation gift.

The first year of City Folk’s Ground Swell is complete! Last Sunday, 9 mentees graduated with the support of 7 mentors.

The year was full of learning for everyone – formal education in classes and workshops, informal round tables and gatherings, and one-on-one work experiences. Details about Ground Swell 2015 will be announced soon.

We asked mentee Ellen to summarize her experience:

“Last November I was having a really difficult month for a variety of uninteresting reasons. A lot of it was centered around a feeling of alienation – that no one I was close to was feeling the same way as I about issues related to the food system, health care, social justice, and sustainability. Shortly thereafter, I heard about Ground Swell, a homesteading mentorship program masterminded by Shawn Fiegelist, and run under the aegis of her store, City Folks Farm Shop.

The Groundswell program consists of a group of mentors and a group of mentees. The mentors teach classes at or through City Folks, and/or they have extensive experience and knowledge in pertinent subject areas. The mentees take classes in the areas of Small Livestock, Sustainability, Homemaking, Food Growing and Preservation, attend discussions, and receive help from the mentors, as needed. I thought it sounded like a great way to learn how to do things I was too scared to try without supervision.

I lived most of my life outside Chicago, two generations removed from farming. I grew up thinking that laundry detergent is Tide, toothpaste is Crest, deodorant is Secret, and you buy all your cleaners from the store. No one had ever mentioned doing things otherwise. Until 2011, when my friend made homemade bug spray. I thought that was pretty cool, but I didn’t think it worked that well, so I used Google and had my socks knocked off by the volume of homemade recipes, found in blogs, with accompanying information detailing the harmful chemicals found in commercial sprays. Things snowballed from there.

By our first Groundswell meeting, in February 2014, I had tried and rejected multitudes of concoctions, considered and rejected a couple of business ideas, made every washable textile in our home smell unwashed (still looking for the perfect laundry soap recipe, broad hint), tended many years worth of gardens with varying degrees of success, given my husband two rashes, given myself a chemical burn on the face, healed the burn, and smelled like vinegar for one entire week. It was a relief to put myself into the hands of experts.

I won’t list every class I took, you just need to look at the City Folks class schedule to get the idea, but they were many and varied. For me, this has been a period of opportunity, inspiration and community. I’ve had the chance to see almost everyone’s garden, and it’s been so fun to see what their goals are, how they plan to achieve them, and see or hear about results! I have access to a vast amount of information and advice, practical experience, tools and miscellany for borrowing, and anything else this group would be willing to share. I’ve borrowed ladders and leather jackets, received and shared SCOBYs and sourdough starter within the group and outside it, received and shared plants, seeds, and bulbs, as well as books, ideas, photos, and help – both physical and informational.

It’s difficult get us all together, given the complexity of balancing the schedules of roughly 20 individuals, but I hope that we will continue to find opportunities to do so. One of the best results of the program is that I have a warm memory of an experience, a conversation, or even just a shared moment with each person, mentor or mentee.”

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